Description

    Jefferson retains Kentuckian Joseph Boomer as First Lieutenant after Meriwether Lewis rates him "1st Class, so esteemed from a superiority of genius & Military proficiency."

    Thomas Jefferson Commission Signed "Th: Jefferson" as President, one page, 14.75" x 18". Washington, April 17, 1802. On vellum. The signature of Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, "H. Dearborn," is almost completely obliterated although the words "Secy of War" are legible. In part, "Know Ye, That reposing special Trust and Confidence, Valour, Fidelity and Abilities of Joseph Boomer I have nominated and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate do appoint him First Lieutenant in the second Regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States, to take rank as such from the second day of March, one thousand [sev]en hundred ninety nine..." On March 25, 1802, President Jefferson sent Joseph Boomer's nomination to be First Lieutenant with the following message: "The act fixing the military peace establishment of the United States, rendering it necessary that the officers retained in service, should, in most cases, be transferred into regiments different from those to which their commissions attach them, new commissions are deemed necessary for them, as well as for those entitled to promotion, and for the Ensigns newly nominated. The enclosed report from the Secretary at War, exhibits the transfers, promotions, and new appointments, proposed in conformity with the law, and I accordingly nominate the several persons named in the report, for commissions, according to its tenor." According to Secretary of War Dearborn's report, at the time of this appointment to the 2nd Regiment of Infantry, Boomer was First Lieutenant in the 4th Regiment of Infantry. On March 26th, the Senate "did advise and consent" to Boomer's nomination.

    On July 24, 1801 the War Department had supplied President Jefferson with a roster of the 269 officers, all career professionals, serving in the U.S. Army as of that day. In his December 1801 message to Congress, Jefferson proposed that Congress consider a reduction in the force structure. His proposal became the Military Peace Establishment Act, passed by Congress on March 16, 1802. In his capacity as the President's secretary, Meriwether Lewis played an important role in the reduction process. Lewis prepared a report in which he classified the Army's officers by military merit and by political affiliation, if known. Both of these factors were considered in identifying candidates for dismissal. Lewis made a table of five columns: Name of officer, Rank, Date of Commission, State, and Remarks with 11 codes including political affiliation, military proficiency, and whether the officer was "Republican," "opposed to the Administration otherwise respectable officers," "opposed to the Administration more decisively," "violently opposed," "Political apathy," "unworthy of the commission they bear," etc. Joseph Boomer was on Meriwether Lewis's list. He was listed as: "Joseph Boomer 1st Lieut. March 2, 1799 Kentucky oX" "o" in Lewis's code "Denotes such officers as are of the 1st Class, so esteemed from a superiority of genius & Military proficiency." "X Denotes Officers whose political opinions are not positively ascertained." Joseph Boomer retained his commission. As a result of the reorganization, 88 of the officers lost their positions. A 5" square replaced loss is in the upper right. There are repairs to holes on verso. The document is soiled in most areas. Jefferson's signature is light but clear. A complete seal of the War Office is affixed with wax at the upper left and there are patriotic and military vignettes in the upper and lower area. This document was issued as a result of Meriwether Lewis's positive report to Jefferson of an officer's qualifications to retain his position in the U.S. Army, a military force made up of officers who were qualified but also were not opposed to the Administration.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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