George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay, 29 March 1777

To Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay

⟨Headquarters, Morristown⟩ March ⟨29 1777⟩


After returning my most sincere thanks to you & the other officers of your Battalion for your services, since your arrival in this State, I am under the Necessity however painfull to me of requesting you to remain at your present Post a few days longer, (not having it in my power at present to relieve you.) I am Sensible of the Disadvantages which must of course Accrue to you & many of your Battalion, by being from home at the Approaching Season, but when you Consider our Situation, & that I only want you to Stay untill the Troops (now on their March from Philada) arrive, I flatter myself I need not add a word more to Induce you to this necessary Step, than, that your Marching the first of April would leave that usefull Post intirely Defenceless—If you would agree to remain Eight days longer, I am satisfied it will answer every purpose & I think cannot materially injure you.

If you find the Men are ⟨d⟩eter⟨min⟩’d to go at the time appoint’d ⟨You will please order the arms &c to be delivered⟩ to the Person appoint’d by Lord S⟨tirling to⟩ receive them. I am Sir Yr mo. Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, PWacD. The mutilated text within angle brackets is from the printed copy of this letter in the Magazine of American History, 6:139.

Nathaniel Ramsay (Ramsey; 1741–1817), a planter and attorney from Cecil County, Md., who had served in the Maryland convention from 1775 to 1776, was appointed a captain in Col. William Smallwood’s Maryland regiment in January 1776 and lieutenant colonel of the 3d Maryland Regiment in December 1776. Wounded and captured at the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778, Ramsay was not exchanged until December 1780. He retired from the army on 1 Jan. 1781, and he served as Maryland commissioner of confiscated British property from 1781 to at least 1783. Ramsay was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1787, U.S. marshal for Maryland from 1790 to 1798, and naval officer for the port of Baltimore from 1794 to 1817.

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