George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant General Heister, 13 May 1777

To Lieutenant General Heister

Morris Town 13º May 1777


I was honoured with your favour of the 8th Inst. by Capt. ORiley of the Hessian Corps.1

Altho’ the receipt and distribution of Money & other Necessaries, intended for Prisoners, properly fall within the Commissary’s departmt (who shall strictly attend to all Directions that come with them) and must in future pass thro’ his hands, Yet I will not in this instance refuse permission to Lieutt Miller to go with the desired Transport, accompanied by one of my Officers: For which purpose a Passport is inclosed—Lt Miller will call upon Genl Lincoln at Bound brook, who has my Orders to furnish the Escort. I would extend this Indulgence to some of your noncommissioned Officers, did Circumstances justify it.

Count Donop’s verbal Message by Capt. O’Riley gave me much uneasiness,2 as it must be founded on the supposition, that an Application of a similar nature had already met a refusal—I enjoy too much pleasure in softening3 the hardships of Captivity, to withold any Comfort from Prisoners; and beg you will do me the Justice to conclude, that no Requisition of this Nature, that shd be made, will ever be denied.

I am highly honoured by yr good Opinion of me, & hope that no part of my future Conduct will give you cause to change it. I have the honour to be with due respect Yr most Obd. Hb. Sert.

Df, in George Johnston’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Maximillian Michael O’Reilly, a native of Ireland who had served with the Austrian army during the Seven Years’ War, arrived in America in August 1776 as a captain in the Hessian 2d Grenadier Battalion, and he was slightly wounded during the Battle of Long Island later that month. Considered to be one of the best company commanders in the Hessian army, O’Reilly fought with his battalion during 1777 at Brandywine and Red Bank. He was a major by August 1781 when he was sent with a detachment of one hundred men to reinforce Cornwallis at Yorktown. During the ensuing siege O’Reilly commanded Bose’s musketeer regiment with which he surrendered at the general capitulation in October.

2Carl Emil Kurt von Donop (1740–1777), a Hessian colonel, commanded a brigade composed of three grenadier battalions and the jäger corps. Put in command of the Hessian garrisons near the Delaware River by General Howe in December 1776, Donop was at Bordentown, N.J., when GW attacked Trenton, and upon learning of the Hessian defeat there, Donop withdrew his remaining troops to Princeton. On 22 Oct. 1777 Donop commanded the Hessian force that attacked Fort Mercer at Red Bank, New Jersey. Severely wounded in the fighting, he died three days later.

3At this place in the draft, Johnston wrote and then struck out the word “smoothing.”

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