Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Major General Nathanael Greene, [25 July 1779]

To Major General Nathanael Greene1

[West Point, July 25, 1779]

Points submitted to the consideration of the Council—2

Our force stated at 10.300
The enemys at 12.000
—At stoney Point— 1300
  Verplanks— 700 2000—

Main body at Philips3 &c—

Questions—What general dispisition of our army should be made—Whether any and what Offensive movements can be undertaken against the enemy at the present juncture?—

Whether the muster Masters department is necessary?

Whether they ought to [be] allowed what they claim?

What new regulations may be necessary?

What is to be done in consequence of Morgan’s complaint against Shippen referred to the General by Congress?4 Is he to be arrested immedeately or not? Can he be tried immediately or not?


The bearer brings a Fiddle for Claybourne5

ADfS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1This memorandum was apparently prepared at Washington’s direction.

2On July 26, 1779, both a council of war and a council of general officers were held at Headquarters. The questions listed were submitted to the two meetings and are summarized in GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XV, 488–90.

3I.e., Philipsburg, New York.

4“A letter, of this day [June 15, 1779], from Dr. J. Morgan, was read, charging Dr. William Shippen, Jun. in the service of the United States, with mal-practices, and misconduct in office, and declaring his readiness to give before the proper court having jurisdiction, the necessary evidence in the premises against the said Dr. William Shippen” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XIV, 733).

The conflict between John Morgan and Shippen was of long standing. Morgan, a former surgeon in the British army, was named director general and chief physician of the Continental Hospital in October, 1775. His administration was severely criticized by Shippen, and he was dismissed in January, 1777. In April of the same year he was succeeded by Shippen. On June 12, 1777, the Medical Committee of the Continental Congress reported that Morgan “did conduct himself ably and faithfully in the discharge of his duties” and that “Congress are satisfied with the conduct of Dr. John Morgan while acting as director general and physician in chief in the general hospitals of the United States” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XIV, 724).

5Major Richard Claiborne, deputy quartermaster general.

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