“A STRONG INTEREST IN THE SUCCESS OF HIS APPLICATION”: DECATUR leans on the Secretary of the Navy to appoint a young man from a family he credits as “amongst the most respectable in the country”
American naval officer (1779–1820) who cemented a reputation as a hero for his peerless leadership during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Following a raid on a U.S. frigate that had been seized during the First Barbary War, which England’s Lord Nelson deemed “the most bold and daring act of the age,” Decatur was promoted to the rank of captain at the age of 25, a record that remains unmatched in the history of the American Navy. ALS, one page both sides, 7.75 x 9.75, December 17, 1814. Decatur writes to the Secretary of the Navy. In part: “Mr. John Abercrombie, son of the Rev. Dr. Abercrombie of Philadelphia, is desirous of entering the naval service for a midshipman. This young gentleman has received a liberal education expressly with a view to the profession, & has made one voyage in the merchant service to obtain information. From unquestionable authority I am informed that Mr. Abercrombie’s education, morals … qualifies him for the situation he solicits. The family & friends of the applicants are amongst the most respectable of our country, & I beg leave to add that I feel a strong interest in the success of his application…. In very good, bright condition, with subtle show-through of text, faint intersecting folds (vertical fold through one letter of last name), a few mild wrinkles, and a few marginal chips and tears with expert archival restoration (not affecting text). Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.
#332 - Ended April 16, 2008
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