JACKSON, ANDREW. 1767-1845.
JACKSON LAUNCHES THE CAREER OF WILLIAM S. HARNEY.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Andrew Jackson"), 1 p, 4to, Nashville, July 23, 1817, to Benjamin Crowninshield, fine condition, float-mounted and framed.
Written by then Major-General Andrew Jackson, commander in chief of the Division of the South, on behalf of a young man aspiring to a position in the Navy, this letter marks the outset of a long military career marked by unusual distinction. Jackson informs Secretary of the Navy Crowninshield of a request from his old friend, Army surgeon Dr. Benjamin Harney, to help him "to procure an appointment in the Navy for his youngest brother W.S. Harney." Jackson explains that his confidence in Dr. Harney "induces my strong desire that his application may meet with success; in which event nothing would afford me more pleasure than being instrumental therein."
Jackson's letter did not, however, achieve its aim, as William S. Harney did not receive an appointment to the Navy. He did, however, receive one to the Army, and the following year, at the age of 17, he entered the U.S. First Infantry as a Second Lieutenant. Harney went on to distinguish himself in the 1st Seminole War, the Mexican War, and several other military campaigns leading up to the Civil War, in which he earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first prisoner taken by the Confederate Army. Upon his retirement from the army, Harney was brevetted to Major-General, and in the following years he played an integral role in the negotiations between the U.S. and the Indian Nations, among whom he HAd earned a reputation as an honest man.
- This is a Letter Signed, not an Autograph Letter Signed. The body of the letter is in the hand of Jackson's aide, James M. Glassell [1790-1838].