George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 29 July 1796

War office 29 July 1796.


I have received your letter of the 25th with that of Mr Landais.

There are three cadets only in the corps of artillerists and Engineers vz. Philip Landais and Philip Rodrigue, both appointed the 16 of March 1795, and James Triplet appointed the 14th of April following.

In the entry of their names Landais stands first. He may therefore be considered as senior cadit, and so far (were there but one vacancy) as having a claim to be first noticed.

I do not recollect any other circumstance intitling Landais to preference over Rodrigue and Triplet; and you know how incessantly importunate foreigners usually have been, when promotion was the object.

Why were not the vacancies in the corps of artillerists filled up during the late session of Congress, when the cadets might have been appointed?

It was then thought that the bill for new arranging the legion, which did not become a law till a day before Congress adjourned/ would throw out of the legion several Captns and Lieutts some of whom might, wouthout wounding the rights of others be appointed into the artillery corps.

Had a nomination in favour of the cadets taken place before or immediately after the passage of the law, the other vacancies then existing must have been provided for at the same time; consequently as the supernumeraries could not have been ascertained, they would have lost the chance of being continued in the service. Besides, had the cadets been appointed they would rank before any deranged officer of the same grade who might be subsequently appointed; an advantage to which their services have not intitled them.

As therefore no special reason occured during the session, for pressing the promotion of the cadits; and as it was more natural and proper, that attention should be paid to natives who had gone through some campaigns and seen service, than to a foreigner, however well recommended, it was not conceived, that the interests of the former ought to have been neglected to further the wishes of the latter.

But independent of considerations of this kind, it was known, in case it should appear, after digesting the new plan, that the supernumeraries were unfit for or would not serve in the corps of artillerists, that it would be in the power of the President to fill up all the vacancies except one, which he did not intend for the cadets; as all but one had happened in the recess.

upon the whole, and to apply the matter in question to Mr Landais it may be observed. That as there are more vacancies open than three; (as you will see by the enclosed paper) and as each of the cadets have nearly equal pretensions from standing and service in the corps, one could not be appointed (were it even constitutional) without at the same time promoting the others. With the greatest respect, I have the honour to be Sir Your most obt st

James McHenry

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


c.29 July 1796

Vacancies in the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers

Recess— Captain James Gamble deceased 20. August 1795.
Recess— do Decius Wadsworth resigned 19. July 1796.
Recess— Lieut. Benjamin Wall never heard from.
Recss— Noel B. Monvel resigned 11. April 1795.
Recss— (not certain) Charles Harrison deceased. by duel
Recess— John Parker Hale resigned 9. July 1795.
Recess— Frederick Dalcho do 8. October 1795.
Recess— William Cox do 4. Decem.
Recess— George Hardy do Decem.
Peter Van Alen do 9 Janu. 1796.
Cadets in service Philip Landais 16. March 1795
Philip Rodrigue do
James Triplett 14. April

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