George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Richard Peters, 12 May 1777

To Richard Peters

Head Quarters Morris Town 12th May 1777


I am favd with yours of the 11th. Capt. Gamble who was at princetown has been exchanged some time since, and Capt. Mcpherson who was left there wounded, has, upon his own Request, permission to go into Brunswic, whenever the State of his health will admit of his removal. The Docr will of course go with him. I never heard of any particular improper behaviour of the Docr. Genl Putnam barely mentions, that he suspects, that thro him, messages are sent backward and forward, and to get rid of him I consented that Capt. Mcpherson should go in.1

I yesterday furnished Congress with a general Return of the Army in this Quarter,2 since that was made out, I have recd Returns from Colo. Stone at Bristol of the 8th instant, where there were about 800 Men. some small detatchments have likewise since joined Genl Putnam.3

I have wrote fully to Congress upon the propriety of calling out the Militia of Delaware and pennsylvania, to which I refer the Board.4

I am obliged for the particular Returns of the Amphitrites Cargo and the other papers inclosed5 and am with great Respect Sir Yr most obt Servt

G. W.——n

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1John McPherson, a captain in the 17th Regiment of Foot who had been wounded severely through the lungs and captured by the Americans at the Battle of Princeton on 3 Jan. 1777, was being attended at Princeton by Wynne Stapleton, a surgeon’s mate sent from the British army hospital at New York. Philip Schuyler wrote Israel Putnam, the American commander at Princeton, on 10 May from Philadelphia that Stapleton “by some Means or other informs himself of the Numbers of which Every Detachment of our Troops going to the Army is composed, It is doubtless with a View to inform General Howe thereof. It is therefore tho’t best that he should be immediately removed to this Place, And if Capt. McPherson is not in a Condition to come with him that some skillful Surgeon of ours should attend that Gentleman” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 7:65). Benjamin Rush subsequently took over the care of Capt. McPherson. On 30 Aug. 1777 Rush wrote GW that McPherson finally was well enough to travel to New York on parole (DLC:GW), and GW promptly gave permission for McPherson to do so (see GW to Rush, 4 Sept. 1777, DLC:GW). Stapleton, who had been a surgeon’s mate in the 22d Regiment of Foot before being transferred to the hospital at New York in October 1776, apparently became surgeon of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion later in the war and died of fever at Waxhaws, N.C., in 1780 (see Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:386, and the Royal Gazette [New York], 15 Nov. 1780).

3John Hoskins Stone, colonel of the 1st Maryland Regiment, wrote GW a brief letter from Bristol, Pa., on 8 May, enclosing “a return of the Continental troops at this place” (DLC:GW). That return has not been identified. Stone says in his letter: “Since my last return of the 4th Inst. several detachments has marched by this place to join their respective Corps in the Jerseys.” The following return of those detachments is included on the manuscript below Stone’s signature:

marched Since my last—

part of 4th M[aryland] Regt 46
7th Virga 75
difft—Virga 40
& Several Small detachments of Pennsa.

5These documents, which apparently were enclosed in Peters’s letter to GW of 11 May, have not been identified. Congress on 8 May directed the Board of War to send GW copies of the invoices of military stores aboard the Amphitrite with a list of the French officers who arrived on the ship and their agreement with Silas Deane (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:335–36).

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