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President George Washington Writes to the United States Senate, Requesting Confirmation of Nominees For the U.S.Õs First Standing Army

George Washington

Librería: The Raab Collection (Ardmore, PA, Estados Unidos de America)

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He acts in his official capacity as Chief Executive under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that the President Òshall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appointÉÓThe only letter of his to the Senate as a whole, fulfilling this Constitutional role, that we have ever seen; One of the nominees is WashingtonÕs own nephew, son of his sister Betty; The officers served under Gen. Anthony Wayne on the western frontierIn the early 1790s, the western Pennsylvanian frontier was a dangerous place, with white settlers clashing with Native Americans with ever increasing frequency. U.S. military expeditions against these Indians were conducted in 1790 and 1791, culminating in two major defeats at the hands of Chief Little Turtle. General Josiah Harmar lost over 700 killed and wounded at the Battle of the Maumee, and General Arthur St. Clair. General St. Clair, Commander of the U.S. Army in 1791, had his force almost entirely wiped out, losing over 900 of his 1400-man army at the Battle of Wabash. Many of these troops, who had performed poorly, were state militiamen. With perhaps about 1,000 effective and on duty soldiers in the national army left to protect the entire new nation, the United States was in a perilous military position. The Founding Fathers had been suspicious of standing armies, believing that the militia would be suited to all the nation's defensive needs. However, these defeats caused a shift in thinking. At the suggestion of Secretary of War Henry Knox, it was decided to recruit and train a "Legion" - i.e., a force that would combine all land combat arms of the day (cavalry, infantry, artillery) into one efficient unit that would be divisible into stand-alone combined arms teams. On March 5, 1792, Congress agreed with this proposal, and authorized the creation of the first American standing army; however, it would not do so permanently, but only until "the United States shall be at peace with the Indian tribes." Congress authorized President Washington to organize or complete five regiments of infantry, and one each of cavalry and artillery, and gave him broad discretion in doing so. That executive discretion was itself unprecedented. Gen. Anthony Wayne was given control of the new force, and his aide was future President William Henry Harrison. Washington proceeded to name officers for the new legion, and plans for its taking the field were set in motion. Most officer nominees accepted the new posts, but some, such as William Lewis, Hugh Caperton, Baker Davidson, William Lowther, and James Hawkins, declined. Washington nominated men to fill the posts they had declined, but since the U.S. Senate was not in session to confirm the selections, he did so on a temporary basis. Washington wrote Knox on September 15, 1792, saying ÒAs soon as the Waters of the Ohio will permit, General Wayne will forward a respectable detachment from Pittsburgh including those rifle Companies raised on the South Western frontiers of Virginia, to Fort Washington [present day Cincinnati].Ó These rifle companies were commanded by Captains Alexander Gibson, Howell Lewis, Thomas Lewis, and William Preston, three of whom were recipients of these interim appointments.When Congress returned to session, President Washington sent in the nominations for confirmation. Letter signed, Philadelphia, November 19, 1792, to ÒGentlemen of the SenateÓ. ÒÒThe following appointments have been made in the Army of the United States during the recess of the Senate; and I now nominate the following persons to fill the offices annexed to their names respectively.Ó He makes Peter L. Van Allen a lieutenant of artillery; Alexander Gibson, Howell Lewis and William Preston are all named captains in the infantry; and Jonathan Taylor and Andrew Shanklin are each made ensigns in the infantry. The document is notable, and unique in our experience, for Washington dating it not from Philadelphia, where the Federal Government sat at t. N° de ref. de la librería 10917

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Título: President George Washington Writes to the ...

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The Raab Collection buys and sells rare important historical documents, bring to its endeavors a passion not only for the manuscript but the history behind it. We've built important historical collections for institutions and historical enthusiasts. Our pieces have found homes in many major institutions devoted to preserving history.

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