John Macrae to Thomas Mann Randolph

Dear Colonel,—

I should have written to you frequently since my return home, had I consulted my feelings only; but I was detered from this gratification by the fear of troubling you with letters in which you would find so little recompense. I assure you, however, though I have remained silent, I have cherished with grateful sensibility, the recollection of the period when we were associated in military service, and of the particular acts of kindness you have rendered me.

I saw a letter you addressed to Lt Hayes, a few days ago, in which you were good enough to remember me. I was greatly relieved indeed, to perceive that you had not resigned as was reported; though I felt regret at understanding that the circumstances of your family made it still uncertain whether you would lead your Regiment the next campaign. Should you determine not to proceed to the frontier this Spring, my ardent desire to return thither will have been greatly abated: for the disadvantages & ignominious inferiority of a consolidation with another regiment, have already been felt by me already with too much pain & mortification, to be viewed with other sentiments than those of aversion & disgust; besides the fond wish, entertained by me in common with all your officers, to be commanded by you. This I may mention without the imputation or suspicion of flattery; because it is too intimately connected with my own feelings & interests to be kept concealed; and you must have been apprised by the candor of those under your command, of the partial sentiment your conduct has inspired.

I have been unremitingly engaged in the recruitg service since my return to this place, but my success has not been commensurate with wishes or endeavors: I have only four men, and see no favorable prospect of increasing the number.

Mr Peyton (a brother of the Captain) has just come here, and informs me that you have resolved to return to the command of your regiment, upon which I much congratulate myself. The 20th I understand, has been much diminished since you left it, both in character & numbers; and I trust, your presence will regenerate & reinvigorate it. Capt Peyton is to proceed from Leesburg in the course of the month to the lines with a valuable accession to our strength, I am told; and I hope Capt Pollard’s Company will be permited to unite its force with us.

Capt Jett wrote to me a few days since, & says he has “determined to resign his commission in the US’ service.” Capt Thornton, I am induced to believe will shortly resign also. I shall greatly regret the loss of these excellent officers.

Now to the main point: I wish for orders to resume the command of my Company on the frontier on the 1st April next, or immediately, or when you go on, as you may think best. I shall feel great inquietude & mortification should I be disappointed in this application. Be pleased to communicate your intentions as soon as you conveniently can.

In case you go to Leesburg, I shd be glad to [. . .]t you there.

With sentiments of gratitude & affection, I am, dear Sir, your obt svt
J Macrae
Capt 20th Infy

P.S. Colo Campbell has apprised me of his resignation, which I sincerely lament. In him we have lost an officer of value, and an agreeable gentleman.

RC (MHi); addressed: “Colol T. M. Randolph 20th Infantry Monticello Albemarle County Virginia”; stamped with: “Public Service J Macrae Capt 20th Infy ”; postmarked; endorsed by Randolph: “Jno McRae March 8. 1814.”
John Macrae
Date Range
March 8, 1814