ALS: This is a COPY of a letter from the "Major General of Seventh Division" (gen Davis), and signed "John Spurr, Jr ADC", (aide de camp) requesting the formation of a detachment of artillery and cavalry for use by the Commander in Chief (Jefferson), and providing instructions/ details on the personnel elements of forming a detachment of Artillery (29 men) and Calvary (71 men), totally 100 men. This COPY is hand written by Jacob Fisher, Brig Major, in Fisher's handwriting, and is addressed on the envelope or Outer Folds: to "Cap James Wilder, Sterling "(Mass)". General Orders July 1807" This COPY sent/signed by Jacob Fisher, Brig Major, and addressed accordingly on envelope (outer folds)
CONTENT: ALS, (COPY) of 2 sided letter to Brig. Gen. S Holman from Maj General Seventh Div. Mass Militia (Maj Gen Davis), signed by John Spurr Jr ADC (Seventh Div. Mass. Militia) dated July 20 1807
Side 1: "Division Head Quarters at Oxford (Mass), July 20, 1807. Brig Gen S. Holman"... Is a letter Brig Gen S Holman requesting support for ongoing troops to support the needs of the "Commander in Chief" (Thomas Jefferson) for his use in the defense of the United States. In other words, this letter outlines and appeals for a national force at the disposal of the President. The need was a result of Jefferson's isolationist/protectionist trade policies, England's growing opposition, and (later) evolving with Madison's actions until the War of 1812 resulted. At the time of this letter, there was a growing support for a national military. A large number of this General Order were hand copied and distributed to those who could/would/should follow through with urgency, and thus providing Jefferson with a known level of military support. Side 1 is signed "By Order of the Maj General of Seventh Division (Davis), John Spurr Jr., ADC"
Side 2: This side details the specific detailed personnel instructions for the formation of a 100 man detachment, with 29 men Artillery and 71 Calvary, including ranks. And signed again "By Order of the Maj General of Seventh Division (presumed Maj-Gen Davis), John Spurr Jr., ADC" (Aide de Camp)
Proceedings of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume ppg. 123-127, available on Google books, provides details of how this General Order evolved into a large gathering of Mass. Militia in Worcester, Mass, Sept 1807, just 2 months after the letter described was originally sent. Levi Lincoln Jr, Brig Gen S Holman spoke at the gathering. John Spurr Jr sent the invitations.
Of Note: According to preceding's of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 9 "The State Militia, especially the Seventh Division, was composed in 1807 of active, energetic men, who felt an interest in citizen soldiery of the Commonwealth, and are willing to contribute both time and resources to their respective organizations". Thomas Jefferson, through his isolationist/protectionist trade policies, was leading the U.S. closer to the War of 1812. In context, this document/letter is an element of military history leading to " An Act for Regulating, Governing, and Training the Militia of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" passed March 6, 1810, which is the foundation for U.S ongoing military.
Names mentioned in ALS:
John Spurr Jr: There is a John Spurr listed in the participants of the Boston Tea Party; with a newspaper notation that he later became a Colonel in the Rhode Island militia. In the official US Gov. Archives, a John Spurr was commissioned captain in the Mass Bay Militia. Not sure either are the same guy, but being that this ALS is not actually penned or signed by him, there's not a lot of reason to check. Rationale: Thomas Jefferson is mentioned in the letter, but obviously he was not involved in writing or signing, so only has a passing significance.
Major Jacob Fisher: The Jacob Fisher House is owned by the Lancaster Historical Society. "Major Fisher, a cabinetmaker from Princeton, no doubt came to Lancaster through his marriage to Nancy Carter, who was from a prominent Lancaster family. A respected and effective leader, Fisher served on many town committees, and his energy and talent promoted the development of business in the area." Taken from: https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:73666j716
Brig. Gen S. Holman is not significant because he did not write or sign this letter, although he did have a long military history from the Rev War through leading the Massachusetts Seventh Division
Thomas Jefferson: Only mentioned as Commander in Chief. Not significant in regards to this letter.
Summary: Very interesting content for the military historian, local historian (Lancaster). In terms of historical significance, this MSS. is a worthy historical document reflecting the development in political and military thought as it pertains to forming a regular militia to be used by the Commander in Chief (national deployment) for the defense of the U.S., and at the discretion of the Commander in Chief.
Copies of General Orders are not uncommon, as they were required to be kept in a Regimental Book, or by any division receiving primary copies also, general orders were hand copied often, and we sent around to staff, subordinates, etc. Many ended up in private hands and many were tossed. ALL general orders are available in the military archives, so the General Order portion of this content is not original. The letter portion of the content appealing for the detachment into specific Artillery and Calvary units has well documented detail, but still is compelling due to historical context. Should be of interest to a collector or researcher of Worcester County, Lancaster, Sterling, or even general Massachusetts military history, or to a student of the period surrounding Jefferson/Madison's time in office, and/or the War of 1812, and/or, the history of American commerce, and/or the history of American maritime impact on international trade
Date: Dated July 20 1807