1802 – Receipt from the Paymaster General of the U.S. Army acknowledging his deputy’s accounts showing the total cost to defend the western frontier immediately before the Louisiana Purchase. Caleb Swan.

1802 – Receipt from the Paymaster General of the U.S. Army acknowledging his deputy’s accounts showing the total cost to defend the western frontier immediately before the Louisiana Purchase

Probably signed at Fort Washington, Ohio: 1801. This receipt from Major Caleb Swan acknowledges that had received the accounts documenting the total cost to defend the United States’ western frontier for the years 1798- 1801 from his Deputy Paymaster, Captain Samuel Vance. Probably signed at Fort Washington, Ohio (now downtown Cincinnati about two blocks for the Red’s Great American Ballpark).

“Received of Captain Samuel Vance . . . an account current for one hundred and fifty thousand one hundred and four dollars and eighty seven cents, in which there is a balance stated to be due from him to the United States of Six thousand three hundred and fifty nine dollars, and ninety five cents. – Also fifty two parcels or packets of vouchers and receipts, numbered from one to fifty two inclusive, amounting to one hundred and forty three thousand seven hundred and thirty four dollars, and ninety two cents being for payments made by him from 1 October 1798 to the 31 March 1801 of pay, forage, subsistence, bounty, premium, and incidental expences of the troops on the north western frontier.”

. Item #009896

In 1800, there were 3,429 soldiers serving in the Regular Army: four infantry regiments, two troops of dragoons, and two regiments of artillerists and engineers. Most were deployed along the western frontier and a few assigned to Atlantic seaboard garrisons. Both the cost and the size of the Army would soon increase drastically as America’s frontier rapidly expanded with the completion of the Louisiana Purchase.

Caleb Swan served in the Revolutionary War, first as an officer in Massachusetts regiments and later in the 1st American Regiment, which remained on active duty following the war. After serving as a clerk in the War Department’s pay office, he became an Agent to the Creek Nation. He was appointed by George Washington as the paymaster for the Legion of the United States in 1792, and after that force transitioned into the United States Army in 1795, he was given the rank of major. The Act of May 8, 1792 officially charged him with managing “the pay, the arrears of pay, subsistence or forage, due the troops of the United States,” and after certifying accounts to be correct, issue warrants for their payment.

Samuel Vance had been a captain in the 1st Sub-Legion of the Army and later the 3rd Infantry Regiment. While in the 3rd Infantry, he was selected as the deputy paymaster for the Northwest Territory and was headquartered at Fort Washington, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

(For more information see Maas’s Defending a New Nation 1783-1811 and Ward’s The Department of War, 1781–1795.)

A scarce financial record documenting the cost of providing for the defense of America’s old western frontier during the two years immediately prior to the Louisiana Purchase. At the time of listing, no similar documents are for sale in the trade, and the Rare Book Hub shows only three have appeared at auction in the past 135 years. There may be similar documents located at the National Archives or the Arthur G. Mitten and Vance Family Papers collections at Indiana State University.

Price: $750.00

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