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With war against Britain imminent, Eustis as Secretary of War signs urgent orders to artillery chief Henry Burbeck for military preparations in New England, including purchase of all available powder.
Manuscript Letter signed: "W. Eustis". 1 page, 7¾x9½. War Department (Washington), 1812 May 18. To Col. Henry Burbeck, in full: "Your letter of the 14th is received. The military storekeeper at Springfield has been ordered to forward 100 barrels of cannon powder to Newport., and 150 barrels to Boston. The Superintendent of M. S. has been directed to furnish ordinance stores on your requisition. Purchase from Bullus & or any other manufacturer of powder, all that may be offered on reasonable terms. It is presumed the works are in perfect order for defense - should there be anything deficient it must be supplied immediately. The militia ordered to assist in manning the works will be distributed as you may think proper. Respectrfully". 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. The United States declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812. Aware that war was imminent, Eustis was emphasizing war readiness. However, despite some stirring naval victories, the first year of the war did not go well for the US, with forts lost and an expedition to Canada defeated. Eustis was assigned a share of the blame for these failures, 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. Slight bleeding of ink. Horizontal fold creases. Creased, toned and lightly foxed. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: June 10, 1753 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died: February 6, 1825 in Boston, Massachusetts

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