George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Henshaw, 6 July 1776

From Lieutenant Colonel William Henshaw

Long Island [N.Y.] 6 July 1776. Asserts right to command a regiment. “In the present Campaign I was appointed a Lt Col., under Col. Little, which reduced the Rank I formerly held in the Service, & exposes me to be Commanded by many, who have been on Command under me. . . . I have no doubts in my Mind, Sir, but that you will take my Case into Consideration, and grant me the Rank I have heretofore held, when you can without injuring the Service, or doing injustice to others—Happy shall I esteem myself, when I can retire from the Service without Injuring the Cause, or dishonouring myself.”

ALS, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 14 Aug. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

William Henshaw (1735-1820), who had commanded a militia regiment from Worchester County, Mass., during the first weeks of the siege of Boston and had acted as adjutant general at Cambridge before Horatio Gates arrived on 9 July, was lieutenant colonel of Col. Moses Little’s 12th Massachusetts Regiment during 1776. Although Joseph Reed recommended Henshaw for advancement in his letter to John Adams of 4 July, Henshaw was not promoted, and he left the army in February 1777 (see Taylor, Papers of John Adams description begins Robert J. Taylor et al., eds. Papers of John Adams. 17 vols. to date. Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1977—. description ends , 4:358–60).

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