Three of the officers who served under William Henry Harrison wrote this four-page letter to Harrison on the occasion of his resignation. The men praise Harrison for the sacrifices he made and declare that he "emulates the virtues of Gen. Washington." The letter measures 7.75 by 10 inches (19.69 by 25.4 cm).
William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) was a member of a prominent Virginia family who made a career of the army. He served as aide-de-camp to General Anthony Wayne during the Battle of Fallen Timbers. After moving to Ohio, he became secretary of the Northwest Territory and served as the territory's first representative to Congress. In 1801, Harrison became governor of the Indiana Territory and served in that position for 12 years. As governor, one of Harrison's major responsibilities was to obtain title to Indian lands to accommodate white settlement. Harrison achieved his greatest fame during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. He was planning an attack on an Indian settlement known as Prophet's town. Instead, the Indians attacked Harrison's camp on the Tippecanoe River. Harrison's troops repulsed the Indians, but suffered almost 200 dead and wounded. During the War of 1812, Harrison commanded the Army of the Northwest and attained the rank of brigadier general. In 1813, he defeated the combined forces of the British and American Indians at the Battle of the Thames, where chief Tecumseh was killed.
Harrison resigned his commission in 1814 and returned to Ohio. He entered politics and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress and the state senate. Supporters suggested Harrison as a possible candidate for vice president in 1836, but he swore he would never accept that office and campaigned for president. Because there were three Whigs running for president, Democrat Martin Van Buren won the election. Still, Harrison gained enough support to make him a viable candidate for the 1840 election. Harrison won the election, but contacted pneumonia and died after only one month in office.