George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Shippen, Jr., 2 June 1777

From William Shippen, Jr.

General Hospital Philadia June 2. 1777

Dear Sir

I am honor’d by yours of this days post.1 In answer to Dr Craiks to me, containing the same sentiments as are expressed in his letter to your excellency,2 I have enclosed his commission & desired him till he can come on, to assist & direct Dr Tilton one of our senior Surgeons who writes me he has near 1100 Carolinians, officers included, under inoculation at Dumfries, Alexandria & Georgetown;3 Not one of these men have been subjects of our Hospital, but are in a fine state to recieve the small pox & promise fair to have that disease very lightly; owing the Dr writes to their officers great attention to the cleanliness of their men; than which nothing can more effectually secure the health of a large Army. All these men had suffered the eruptive fever & will be fit to march in a few days.

Tomorrow agreable to your order I shall send off 4 or 5 hogsheads of good Vinegar—100 shall follow in quick succession. In consequence of your request that I would see that every Regiment was Supplied with a Surgeon & Presidents Hancocks approbation, I have taken the liberty of appointing them, if I exceed my power, I beg to be corrected; & the necessity of the case must plead my excuse.

When Dr Craik arrives I intend to give him the direction of the Hospitals near the grand army, and recall Dr Bond. All the Hospitals in this part of the country are in excellent order no Disease rages.

Mrs Miss & Mastr Shippen thank you for your kind remembrance & join me very cordially in wishing you health, happiness & a successful Campaign.4 I have the honor to be Dr Sir Your Excellencys most obedt & affecte Servt

W. Shippen jr


1This letter has not been found.

3James Tilton (1745–1822) of Dover, Del., who had studied medicine at the College of Philadelphia before the war, served as surgeon of the Delaware Regiment from January 1776 to January 1777, and on 23 April 1777 Congress directed him “to repair to Dumfries, in Virginia, there to take charge of all continental soldiers that are or shall be inoculated” (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 , 7:292). Tilton was a hospital physician from 1777 to 1780 and a hospital physician and surgeon from 1780 to the end of the war. He served as a Delaware delegate to the Continental Congress from 1783 to 1784 and as commissioner of loans for Delaware from 1785 to 1789. Reappointed loan commissioner by GW in 1790, Tilton continued to hold that office until 1795 when he resigned. Tilton was physician and surgeon general of the U.S. Army from 1813 to 1815.

4Thomas Lee Shippen (1765–1798), Doctor Shippen’s son, later studied law under James Madison at Williamsburg, Va., and at the Inner Temple in London.

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