George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Walton, 5 August 1777

From George Walton

Philadelphia, August 5 1777.


I moved Congress a few days ago, to order Brigadier-General McIntosh from his station in Georgia to join the grand Army; and it was objected to, because it was feared it might derange the Army, or that you would have no command for him. The cause of my having made this proposition was, that he had lately fought a Duel with Governor Gwinnett, in which the latter had fallen;1 and I was afraid the friends of the deceased, made sore by the loss of their principal, would again blow up the embers of party & dissention, and disturb the harmony & vigour of the Civil & military authorities.

I have since received a letter from Georgia, proving that my conjectures were too well founded. I therefore take the liberty of requesting to know, whether it will be convenient and agreeable to you that he should be ordered to join the grand Army.

He is a man of sense and judgment, with a great experience of the world; and, in point of bravery, he is fit to fight under the banners of General Washington. I have the happiness to be, Sir, your Excellency’s most obedient Servant,

Geo. Walton.

N.B. As I intend to send off an Express to Georgia tomorrow I should be obliged by an answer to day.


1The duel between Col. Lachlan McIntosh and former Georgia governor Button Gwinnett occurred in mid-May 1777. The two men, long political and personal rivals, had clashed over Gwinnett’s proposal for the Georgia militia to attack the British forces in eastern Florida. An expedition was launched but quickly failed, partly because of McIntosh’s unwillingness to reinforce Gwinnett’s militia with Continental soldiers. An inquiry by the Georgia general assembly into the Florida expedition sided with Gwinnett in the affair and resulted in McIntosh denouncing Gwinnett as “a Scoundrell & lying Rascal,” for which Gwinnett challenged McIntosh to a duel. The two met outside the city of Savannah on the morning of 16 May 1777, exchanged fire at close range, wounding each other, and Gwinnett died three days later.

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