George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Artemas Ward, 19 August 1775

From Major General Artemas Ward

Camp at Roxbury [Mass.] 19 August 1775

Recommends for the command of a regiment “Colo. Wm Henshaw who before the Arrival of Genl Gates officiated as an Adjutant Genl being appointed to that Office by the provincial Congress.”1


1William Henshaw (1735–1820) of Leicester marched to Cambridge with a regiment of Worcester Country militiamen shortly after the Battle of Lexington, and on 27 June the Massachusetts provincial congress, on the recommendation of General Ward, appointed Henshaw adjutant general of the Massachusetts army. Henshaw acted as GW’s adjutant until Horatio Gates replaced him on 9 July. “I rode three or four days around the camp, showing him [Gates] the regiments and the colonels, intending to return home,” Henshaw wrote many years later. “He requested me to stay through the campaign, as he could not do without an assistant, and I should have the same pay and rations as a colonel. General Gates told me to write to the Continental Congress for my wages, and he would write them that he had employed me and promised me the same pay as a colonel. I never wrote them, and have never received any pay for my services” (Emory Washburn, “Memoir of Colonel William Henshaw,” in Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings description begins Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Boston, 1859—. description ends , 1st ser., 15 [1876–77], 70–71). On 1 Jan. 1776 Henshaw became lieutenant colonel of the Continental regiment commanded by Col. Moses Little and served in the New York and New Jersey campaigns of that year. Henshaw left the army in Feb. 1777.

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