George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel George Baylor, 31 January 1777

From Colonel George Baylor

Fredricksburg [Va.] January 31st 1777

Dear Sir

Your favors of the 9th and 17th of January are just come to hand, by Major Clough and by the Post. I am at a loss how to express my gratitude to you, for the honors done me, in my appointment, that of the Majors, and my Friend Lewis’s. I can only say that I am laid under all the obligations to you, that a man can be to another, and shall exert every nirve, and spair no pains to be adequate to your expectasions.

I have writen to Colo. Carters grandson soliciting him, to accept the commission which you mentiond, and shall be particularly attentive to the Troop, which is to be commanded by the gentleman now in camp, whose name you did not mention as I shall be to all your instructions.

As I am but a few days old in my Commission, I have made but two or three appointments. Capt. Robert Smith of Baltimore to a Troop and his Cornet, who is a brother to Major Sam Smith. Lieut. Churchel Jones of Middlesex and Cornet Walker Baylor a younger Brother of mine.1 I have reason to believe I shall have in a few days, the list that is here made out. Capts. Presly Thornton son to Colo. Frank Thornton, Mr Nathaniel Nelson, and Mr Robert Page of Mann’sfield, Lieuts. Mr Carter, and Mr Carter Page son to Mr John Page of Gloucester, Cornet young Brent2 I shall this day set out for Williamsburg to meet a number of young Gentlemen who are to be there to make applications for Colonial commissions on the 4th of Febry and to request of our legislative Body to let me employ theirs, and Mr Hunters Gun Factories, and from thence to Newcastle,3 Richmond, and Petersburgh, to get Saddles and others accoutrements which I am affraid will be my greatest difficulty; though I am apprehensive we shall be longer raising our Men than you may expect, for which reason I should be glad, provided you can spare Capt. Lewis, to let him come down, who will be of much service in our Recruting.

I have writen to him desiring him to be in Philadelphia some time, to perchase our Clothes, provided it is agreeable to you. I am Dear Sr with the highest esteem and Respect Your Obedient Hble Sert

George Baylor

P.S. I shall be happy to receive your instructions from time to time I shall miss no opportunity of informing you how I go on.


1Robert Smith of Baltimore was still serving as a captain in the 3d Continental Dragoons in 1780. Churchill Jones (1723–1790) of Middlesex County, Va., served as a lieutenant in Baylor’s dragoons until the close of the war. Walker Baylor (1760–1823), who was commissioned a lieutenant in his brother’s regiment in June of this year and promoted to captain in February 1780, resigned from the army in July 1780.

2Presly Thornton (1760–1811), the son of Col. Anthony Thornton (1727–1782) of Ormesby in Caroline County and the son-in-law of Col. Francis Thornton of Society Hill in King George County, was commissioned cornet of the 3d Continental Dragoons on 21 Feb. 1777. He was promoted to lieutenant on 27 May 1778 and to captain on 16 May 1780, and he resigned from the army in March 1781. Thornton, who was living in Kentucky at the time of his death, is often confused with his cousins, the sons of Col. Presly Thornton (1721–1769) of Northumberland House in Northumberland County, Peter Presly Thornton (1750–c.1781), who was appointed an extra aide-de-camp to GW in the summer of 1777 (see GW to John Tayloe, 5 Aug., GW to John Augustine Washington, 5 Aug., and General Orders, 6 Sept. 1777, all in DLC:GW), and his younger brother Presley Thornton (1760–1807), who later served as a captain in the U.S. Army (see GW to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 31 Mar. 1799, in DLC:GW). Nathaniel Nelson (d. 1786) lived in Yorktown. Robert Page (b. 1751) of Mannsfield, near Fredericksburg in Spotsylvania County, Va., was the brother of Mann Page, Jr. (1749–1803), a member of the Continental Congress from Virginia in 1777. Robert Page later resettled at Hanovertown in Hanover County, Virginia. Carter Page (1758–1825) of Willis’s Fork, Cumberland County, Va., the son of John Page of North End, Gloucester County, Va., served as a first lieutenant to April 1778 when he was promoted to captain. From June to November 1781 he was an aide-de-camp to Lafayette.

3James Hunter (d. 1785) manufactured small arms for the Virginia convention and for the Continental Congress at his ironworks at Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg. Newcastle (New Castle), an important colonial Virginia trading center, was on the Pamunkey River in eastern Hanover County about eighteen miles northeast of Richmond.

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