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23   William Henry Harrison  $500 $807 $888 6 You must login to place a bid.

#23 - William Henry Harrison

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The 1812 war hero responds at length to allegations of corruption in “supplying the troops at Detroit under orders given by General Cass & Colo Butler”

ALS signed “Willm Henry Harrison,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.5 x 12.5, September 18, 1816. Letter to Peter Hagner, in part: “When I received your letter containing a Statement of Certain Claims made by Mr. Orr against the Government I appointed a day to meet Capt. Oliver in Cincinnati for the purpose of examining the statements together that we might write in affording you all the light on the Subject which it was in our power to afford. But when I expected to meet him, I found that he had taken a trip…I enclose you the statement with the several items numbered & here follow my remarks on each.

No 1 I made in the course of the last Winter a long statement containing all the circumstances which authorised this purchase to be laid before a Committee of Congress…amongst the documents which accompanied it were the original letters from Gen Gano to me describing his situation & that of the Garrisons of Sandusky & Put in Bay & the neglect of the Contractor to broker the necessary supplies. A referrence to these documents will furnish all the information which I can give. Capt. Olliver says that the documents which accompanied his accounts will also shew the Correctness of his proceedings.

No 2 & 3 I do not know from the manner in which these two charges is made to what purchases they refer. I suppose however that they refer to the purchase of Beef Cattle made by Mr. Piatt in the fall of 1813 & to the Purchases made by him in the Winter following winter for the supplying the troops at Detroit under orders given by General Cass & Colo Butler in the first instance & afterwards repeated by me…in June 1813 I offered to deliver to Mr. Orr the whole of the public provisions, he refused to take them upon the only terms which I thought proper to offer them…

After the Contractor had refused to take them in June I did not think that the Government were obliged to deliver them. When they had been bought at great expense, difficulty & risque to the very margin of the lake. From a calculation which was made by Col. Bartlett the Quarter Master General it appeared that the United States would gain a considerable sum by pursuing this course—as the state in which the provisions then were would enable the commissioner to issue them with little or no loss…The other considerable purchase of provisions made by the Commissary was done by the direction of Gen Cass & Col. Butler (who successively commanded at Detroit) to supply the neglect of the contractor in furnishing the troops then…

The march of the Army up the Thames was certainly rapid but I cannot conceive why it should be called Desultory.—the rear of the Army was safe & the Contractors proper I should suppose might have taken care of the Hides—Altho not within my own knowledge I think it very probable that beeves were often taken in the way here stated & the Hides lost to the Contractors…I shall be at Washington in December & will then settle the account and will also give any further information in my power on the subject of Mr. Orr's claims.” In very good condition, with intersecting folds (horizontal fold passing through the signature), some separations to folds expertly reinforced, and overall toning.

Harrison's letter responds to an inquiry made into whether he had misused funds during the War of 1812, undermining contractors for his own personal gain; it was found, however, that 'general Harrison stands above suspicion as to his having had any pecuniary or improper connexion with the officers of the commissariat for the supply of his army; that he did not wantonly or improperly interfere with the rights of the contractors.' The Battle of the Thames, which he touches upon at the end of the letter, was a decisive US victory and critical moment in Harrison's military career. The battle took place on October 5, 1813, and resulted in the death of Shawnee chief Tecumseh, whose alliance with the British subsequently fell to pieces. The American victory led to the re-establishment of American control over the Northwest frontier. Harrison was then able to negotiate an armistice at Detroit with the chiefs and representatives of several Native American tribes, and then returned to Washington where he was celebrated as a hero—a legacy that would help him rise to presidential office in later years. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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