George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James McHenry, 6 May 1799

To James McHenry

Mount Vernon 6th May 1799


It is a point from which I have not deviated, to forward all recommendations, & applications, which have been made to me for Military appointments, to the Department of War.

In confirmation of what is said in the enclosed letters from General Morgan, and the Colonels Meade and Parker,1 I may add that, the same good report of the merits of Major Lawe Butler has, verbally, been made to me by others. Although he served through the War, his person is unknown to me. This, however, is no evidence of his unfitness to fill the vacancy his friends solicit for him; because, the Virginia line of the Army, to which he belonged, was but a short time under my immediate Command.2

With respect to the application of Rowland Cotton, through the medium of Mr Cooper, I have only to add that, the Applicant & Recommender (if it is the Cooper who was in Congress) are as well known to you,3 as they are to Sir—Your Most Obedient Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1The letter from Daniel Morgan may have been that of 3 April, a copy of which from the Hamilton Papers is printed in GW to Morgan, 10 April, n.1. The letters from Richard Kidder Meade and Thomas Parker have not been identified, but see GW to Meade, 12 Aug. 1799, and Parker to GW, 23, 26 July; the latter two are printed in GW to Alexander Hamilton, 14 Aug., nn.2 and 4.

2Lawrence Butler was a captain in the 11th Virginia Regiment when he was taken prisoner at Charleston on 12 May 1780. He was appointed major in the 8th Infantry Regiment of the New Army on 24 April 1799.

3The letter from William Cooper (1754–1809) of Cooperstown, N.Y., the father of James Fenimore Cooper, recommending Rowland Cotton for a commission in the New Army has not been found. Cooper was elected to Congress in 1795 and again in 1799. GW wrote Cooper on 5 May: “Sir, I have been duly favoured with your letter dated the 22d of May (April, I presume was intended) and, as in all applications of a similar nature, I have forwarded it to the Department of War, for the Consideration of the President; to whom alone nominations and appointments belong. I am Sir Yr most Obedt Servant Go: Washington” (ALS [photocopy], ViMtvL; letterpress copy, DLC:GW).

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