George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Cornwallis, 6 June 1777

From Lieutenant General Cornwallis

Brunswic [N.J.] June 6th 1777.


Lt Col: Sterling of the 42d Regt1 wishes to send an Officer with money & necessaries to the men of that Regiment who are confined at Philadelphia & Lancaster: I am to desire that you will please to let me know whether you chuse to comply with Lt Col: Stirling’s Request. I am, Sir, with due Respect Your Most Obedt Servt


LS, DLC:GW. The closing and address are in Cornwallis’s handwriting. Cornwallis addressed the letter to “Genl Washington &c. &c. &c.”

1Thomas Stirling (Sterling; 1733–1808), who had begun his military career by serving ten years as a junior officer in the Scots brigade in Dutch service, was commissioned a captain in the 42d (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot in 1757, and he became its major in 1770 and its lieutenant colonel in 1771. Because the colonel, Lord John Murray, did not accompany the 42d Regiment to America in the spring of 1776, Stirling acted as regimental commander, and although Stirling was promoted to colonel in the army in February 1779, he continued serving as lieutenant colonel commandant of the 42d Regiment until February 1782 when he became colonel of the 71st Regiment. Named a brigadier general in 1780, Stirling commanded a brigade in the June 1780 raid on Springfield N.J., during which he was wounded severely in a thigh. He became a major general in the fall of 1782. At the end of the war, Stirling returned with the 71st Regiment to Scotland where that regiment was disbanded. In 1790 he became colonel of the 41st Regiment, and he was promoted to lieutenant general in 1796 and general in 1801. He was made a baronet in 1794.

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