THE PLAN TO EMIGRATE
WHEN Colonel Lewis lost his fortune, his two youngest sons, Charles and Isham, shared the disaster with him. The land that Colonel Lewis had given Charles could have provided the young man with a modest livelihood, but he had sold it for five thousand dollars, which he soon spent. The Colonel's gift of land to Isham was little more than a token, and, like young Charles, Isham soon lost possession of his portion of the old Buck Island plantation. The education of these two sons appears to have been mediocre. They had no occupational skills, and their training and experience in business was limited to observing their father lose his fortune. The prospects for the future of these young men were not encouraging.
Charles was a little better off than Isham, however, for in 1806 Jefferson gave young Charles a commission as a lieutenant in the army. The story of Charles's army career is found in five letters from Jefferson's correspondence. The first was sent to Jefferson by Charles while the new lieutenant was in Baltimore waiting transfer to his first duty assignment.
Baltimore 29 Apl 1806
At the request of my Mother I have purchased for her in this place
a few articles, and knowing the uncertainty of their being safely
conveyed in the mail, I have taken the liberty, (for which I hope
you will pardon me) to send them to Washington by Colo Berbeck,
with a request that you will let your servant carry them to
Monticello, to which place I imagine you will shortly go.
Uninteresting as it may be to you Sir, I cannot avoid presenting to
your acceptance my respectful thanks for the commission with
which you have lately honored me, and be assured that however
thoughtless I may have been heretofore, it shall be my constant
study so long as I continue in the U. S. service, to do that which will
be most to my interest, and the interest of those by whom I have
I am Sir respectfully