As Secretary of War (1810), he orders Col. Henry Burbeck to take command of
Fort Columbus, in New York harbor, and to make it fully war-ready.
Autograph Letter signed: "W Eustis", Overall 15½x9½, 7¾x9½ folded.
War Department (Washington), 1810 June 12. To Colonel Henry Burbeck,
in full: You will immediately repair to New York, take your quarters
at For Columbus and assume the command of the works & troops in the Harbour
& City. Your first object will be, to direct the labour of the troops to the
completing the Fortifications; to substitute their labour for that of hired men
in all instances, in which it can be done consistently with faithful workmanship
and dispatch; and to use your utmost exertions to have the works completed, the
cannon mounted, and every necessary preparation made to fit them for action; to
have the officers and men, not on fatigue, trained to the use of the guns.
Capt. Easterbrook's Company of Light Artillery at West-Point should be
ordered to join you as soon as you shall have determined on the Island where
their services will be most useful, and where they can be best accommodated with
quarters, of which you will advise & give him the necessary orders; and in
case an additional number of men may be employed to advantage, you will give
information accordingly. As it is determined that the works shall be completed
in the course of the present working season, you will consult Col.
Williams & give every possible aid in effecting it. Respectfully".
Docketed on verso. WILLIAM EUSTIS (1753-1825), a surgeon during the
Revolutionary war, represented Massachusetts in Congress (1801-1805) and was one
of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives to conduct impeachment
proceedings against John Pickering. Eustis served as Madison's Secretary of
War from 1809-1812, U.S. Minister to the Netherlands (1814-1818), U.S.
Congressman (1820-1823) and Governor of Massachusetts from 1823 until his
death in 1825. By 1810, US-British relations were deteriorating, largely due to
British interference with US maritime commerce resulting from the Napoleonic
Wars. The United States declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812.
Aware two years earlier that war was likely, Eustis was trying to prepare
militarily. In spite of these efforts, Eustis was assigned blame for military
setbacks, and was obliged to resign in January 1813. From the papers
of General HENRY BURBECK (1754-1848), a veteran of key battles of the
Revolutionary War. He was chief of the Artillery Corps when he received these
orders. Promoted to Brigadier General, he commanded the Connecticut State
Militia during the War of 1812. Horizontal and vertical fold creases. Otherwise,
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