George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General Gurdon Saltonstall, 28 April 1777

To Brigadier General Gurdon Saltonstall

Head Quarters Morris Town April 28. 1777.


An abstract of pay for you from the 7th Septemr to the 27th November is this moment presented to me; in which you demand pay as Brigadier from the 10th of Septr:1 This I confess to be altogether unexpected, as, if I remember right you were but a very few days with the army; and when, your imperfect state of health required you to leave it, I had no other idea than that you meant at that time to decline the service, and would not continue to claim the emoluments attending the post of Brigadier, for which the public was to derive no equivalent.2 I am persuaded on recollection you will concur with me in opinion, that there is a manifest impropriety in the Public’s being three or four hundred dollars out of pocket, without receiving any adequate benefit or compensation; and will readily3 approve my not complying with your order in favour of Col: Latimer.4 If you will send me an abstract charging your pay as Col: & as Brigadier while you were really in service, together with Major Saltenstals pay who continued with the army, I will give a warrant to receive the money.5 I am Sir Your most Obdt servt.6

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This pay abstract has not been identified.

2At this place in the draft, Hamilton wrote: “or recompence.” He then struck those words.

3At this place in the draft, Hamilton wrote: “justify me in.” He then struck those words.

4GW on this date issued a warrant for $17,312 60/72 “To Lieut. Colo. John Latimer for Ballance of Pay due Colo. seldons Regt of Connecticut new Levies” (warrant book no. 2, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18). Jonathan Lattimer was lieutenant colonel commandant of Col. Samuel Seldon’s regiment of Connecticut militia levies during the fall of 1776.

5For GW’s reference of this matter to Congress, see his letters to Saltonstall and Hancock of 5 July 1777 in DLC:GW. Saltonstall’s son, Winthrop Saltonstall (1737–1811), had served as his brigade major during the previous campaign. Winthrop Saltonstall represented New London in the Connecticut general assembly in October 1777, and he was a city alderman from 1784 to 1806.

6Hamilton signed the draft “A.H.” He then struck those initials.

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