Transcribe This: Williams Declines Promotion

December 17th, 2015

Brigadier General Otho H. Williams explains his reasons for declining a promotion to Henry Knox in this letter dated May 6, 1792.

While Williams describes himself as “very highly complimented” by Knox’s favorable opinion and understands that “the President is pleased to entertain of my abilities,” he writes that he “could not… accept a command in the army, even if the President were to think me worthy of commanding in chief.” Williams writes that his health has been “extremely precarious” for two years and requires much care and attention. If he accepted the position, Williams believes that the happiness of his family would “be for a time suspended, if not sacrificed.” Williams also notes that he has in his charge “a number of orphan children” which engages his “integrity and affections,” who would also “lie neglected.” Williams asks to be excused for “declining the honor proposed to be conferred on me” and writes that when it is in his power “to render any efficient service to my Country I shall be most happy in the opportunity.”

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Community Transcription – Fifty-Five Months

December 3rd, 2015

November was the fifty-fifth month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription, and we continue to receive regular requests for transcriber accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

Forty-six new transcribers signed up last month, and as of November 30, the total number of transcribers was 2,431. These new transcribers come from a variety of backgrounds and included historians, teachers, writers, students, genealogists, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The individuals who signed up to transcribe in November mentioned an interest in topics and people such as the San Lorenzo TreatyEbenezer Sprout, Patrick Henry, Israel Chapin, and the states of Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Transcribed documents include an assurance of friendship from Don Josef Ignacio de Viar to Henry Knox, the enlistment pledge of Samuel Burrows, the deposition of Joseph Barnett, rumors of an Indian attack on Detroit, a return of public stores deposited in Rhode Island, and confidential information on an act to be passed by Congress.

Our community of transcribers have added 130 edits to War Department documents, with the total number of saves being 16,023. Overall, we have had 292,969 page views.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.