From Leven Powell
Middleburg June 26th 1799.
Mr Elias Edmonds Junr Mr Burwell Bullitt and Mr John Bronaugh all of the County of Fauquier wish to be appointed to the command of Companies in the eventual army, the two first in the infantry and the latter in the artilery.1 I have been long acquainted with them and as I feel a confidence that they will be found to acquit themselves to the advantage of their Country and honor to themselves, it is with pleasure that I take the liberty to recommend them to your aid and attention & this I more readily do because they are decidedly friendly to the government of our Country.2 With much respect and esteem I am Dear Sir, Yr obt Hble Servt
ALS, DLC:GW. Powell wrote “Mr Bullitt” on the lower left of the letter cover. Burwell Bullitt arrived at Mount Vernon on 1 July and spent the night (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:355).
2. Powell wrote again from Middleburg the next day: “Mr Thomas Brent of the County of Fauquier is desirous of the appointment of a Lieutenant in the army which the President is authorised to raise in the event of its being wanting. Altho’ I am well acquainted with this Young gentlemans family and Connexions which are respectable I have no personal Acquaintance with him. But he comes to me so strongly recommended by gentlemen on whom I can rely with the greatest confidence as well for his sobriety & propriety of conduct as for his Attachment to the government of our Country, that I can have no doubt but he will well fill the Office which he Solicits . . .” (DLC:GW).
GW replied on 9 July: “Dear Sir, Your letters of the 26th & 27th ultimo, recommending certain persons for appointments in the eventual Army, have been received, and will meet with due attention.
“Whenever the applications for offices in this Army shall be sufficiently numerous to furnish the quota alotted to this State, a selection will be made and forwarded to the Secretary of War. In the mean time it will give me pleasure to receive recommendations of suitable Characters from those on whose judgement and patriotism I can rely: And altho’ it is not customary for me to answer all letters of Recommendation, as the subject does not require it, yet I cannot butt acknowledge the receipt of yours to assure you that I place a reliance upon them, being persuaded that you will recommend none but such as will do Credit to the service. With great regard I am Dear Sir Yr Mo. Ob. St” (Df, DLC:GW).
Powell wrote again on 4 Sept.: “I beg leave to recommend to you as a Candidate for an Office in the eventual Army Mr John Bayly who is a Young man that in my opinion will make a good Officer, he is a Son of Mr Peirce Bayly from whose respectability in this County I am persuaded his son who has conducted himself with propriety will meet with no difficulty in recruiting his men. Mr Bayly does not wish his son Appointed to a higher office than first or second Lieutenant. My Youngest son Alfred now in his twentieth year has expressed to me a wish for an appointment in that army. He is now engaged in the Study of the Law and it would be more Agreeable to me for him to pursue his Studies without interruption, but as it will be the duty of all to defend their Country in the Situation in which we shall stand if it shall be necessary to raise that Army. I have no hesitation to gratify him, but if Sir, you may think proper to place him on the list of Officers, I shall prefer his standing as Second Lieutenant—if he should go into Service and Merit a higher place he will soon get it” (DLC:GW).