George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General William Howe, 8 November 1776

From Lieutenant General William Howe

Head Quarters [Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.]
8th November 1776


A Servant lately attending upon Major Stuart of the 43d Regiment of Foot, named Peter Jack, is supposed to have fallen a few Days ago into the Hands of some of your Parties: This Man not being in the Capacity of a Soldier, I hope, if found among your Prisoners, that you will permit him to be returned to his Master, as is customary in like Cases.1

I beg Leave to take this Opportunity of remonstrating against the Delay on your Part in the Exchange of Prisoners, after what has passed on that Subject, for the Execution of which I must own myself the more anxious, as I understand many Officers in your Power are still exposed to the Confinement of common Goals. I am also informed that a few straggling Soldiers, lately fallen into your Hands, have been sent into Jersey, instead of being immediately exchanged, which, after your Agreement to this Measure, and the Custom of War, I had every Reason to expect. I am with due Regard, Sir, your most obedient Servant

W. Howe

LS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 14 Nov. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; two copies, P.R.O., 30/55, Carleton Papers.

1Charles Stuart (1753–1801), a younger son of John Stuart, the third earl of Bute, served with the British army in America from June 1775 to November 1779, but he took long leaves of absence during the winters and springs of 1778 and 1779 to return to England and attend Parliament, to which he had been elected a member for Bossiney on 20 May 1776. An energetic and intelligent officer with considerable wealth and political influence, Stuart rose rapidly in rank during his military career. Entering the army in 1768 as an ensign in the 37th Regiment of Foot, he became a lieutenant in the 7th Regiment in 1770, a captain in the 35th Regiment in 1773, major of the 43d Regiment in October 1775, lieutenant colonel of the 26th Regiment in October 1777, and colonel of the latter regiment in 1782. Although Stuart went on half-pay in 1784, he returned to active military duty during the wars of the French Revolution, becoming a major general in 1793 and a lieutenant general in 1798. Stuart served as a member of Parliament from 1776 to 1794 and from 1796 to 1801. He also was governor of Minorca from 1799 to 1801.

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