PRESIDENT MARTIN VAN BUREN - NAVAL APPOINTMENT SIGNED 09/16/1837 CO-SIGNED BY: L.B. HARDIN, MAHLON DICKERSON - HFSID 30560
Sale Price $1,190.00
MARTIN VAN BUREN and MAHLON DICKERSON
The 14-year-old nephew of Naval Commanders John Rodgers, Oliver Hazard Perry, and Matthew C. Perry is commissioned a Midshipman; he was killed in the Civil War at age 40
Naval Appointment signed: "M. Van Buren" as President and "Mahlon Dickerson" as Secretary of the Navy, 1p, 11½x7½. Washington, 1837 September 16. On vellum. In part: "Know Ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the Patriotism, Valor, Fidelity and Abilities of George W. Rodgers I appoint him a Midshipman in the Navy of the United States, from the 30th of April 1836. He is, therefore, carefully and diligently to discharge all the duties of a Midshipman And I do strictly charge and require all Officers, seamen and others, under his command to be obedient to his orders...." Lightly embossed 2½-inch diameter seal at lower left. George Washington Rodgers was only 14 when he received this presidential appointment retroactive to when he was 13, most probably due to his family connections. His father, also named George Washington Rodgers, was a War of 1812 hero and commanded the Brazilian squadron; he died at the age of 45, when his son was nine. Rodgers' uncle, JOHN RODGERS, the ranking officer in active service in the War of 1812, had fought the Barbary pirates (1802-1806) and served as President Monroe's Secretary of the Navy (1823). Two other uncles were OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (War of 1812 hero: "We have met the enemy and they are ours.") and MATTHEW C. PERRY (the Mexican War hero who later "opened" Japan to western trade). In 1842, at the age of 19, Rodgers became passed Midshipman and served aboard the frigate John Adams during the Mexican War at Vera Cruz and at other points on the Gulf coast. In April 1861, Lieutenant Rodgers saved the U.S.S. Constitution from a threatened attack by secessionists at Annapolis. Commander Rodgers was commanding the monitor Catskill when he participated in attacks on Charleston. He was appointed Chief of Staff by Admiral Dahlgren on July 4, 1863. In the attack on Fort Wagner on August 17, 1863, a shot hit the pilothouse of his vessel, killing 40-year-old Commander Rodgers instantly. MARTIN VAN BUREN (1782-1862), a shrewd politician known as "The Little Magician" and "Old Kinderhook" (the origin of the term "OK") had been a U.S. Senator(1821-1828) and Governor of New York (1829). He was Jackson's Secretary of State until April 1831, when he was appointed Minister to Great Britain. Jackson quarreled bitterly with John C. Calhoun, Vice President in his first term, and replaced him with Van Buren in his second (1833-1837). Van Buren was himself elected President in 1836, but lost his bid for re-election, in large measure because of a severe economic slump which many historians attribute to Jackson's policies. Van Buren would run for President again as candidate of the Free Soil Party in 1848. MAHLON DICKERSON (1770-1853) served as Secretary of the Navy under Jackson and Van Buren from 1834-1838. Presidential appointments of noted officers rarely appear on the market. This was the first appointment in Rodgers' illustrious naval career. Faint, but legible signature of Van Buren. Folds, 1 vertical touches the "e" in Buren and the "M" in Mahlon. Ink transfer at blank areas. Light shading at some areas. Lightly creased. Pinhead-sized hole at cross fold at blank area. Otherwise, fine condition.
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