George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Persifor Frazer, 4 November 1777

To Lieutenant Colonel Persifor Frazer

Head Qrs [Whitemarsh, Pa.] 4th Novembr 1777


I have been favor’d with your Letter of the 9th Ulto and was sorry to find that the situation of our Officers was so disagreable. You are well acquainted with the treatment of the prisoners in our hands, and therefore can determine without difficulty, how just the grounds for your confinement are.

In respect to a General exchange of prisoners, it has ever been my wish, that it should take place on just and equal terms. My Letters to Genl Howe upon the subject, I trust, evince this to have been the case. I have written to him again, and shall be happy, if we can effect so desireable an Object on proper principles. If this cannot be done, I have proposed, that it should be no impediment to the Exchange of All the Officers, as far as circumstances of Rank and number will apply; And, if any should then remain, that they may be released on parole. The first mode mentioned for the liberation of the Officers, I expect, will be most agreable to both parties. You may imagine, your Letter upon this Subject, might have received an earlier Answer. I assure you, the delay has not proceeded from inattention to the distresses of our prisoners, or want of inclination to afford them every possible releif. I am Sir Your Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, in private hands; Df, DLC:GW; two copies, P.R.O., 30/55, Carleton Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The address, apparently clipped from the cover and attached to the bottom of the document, reads: “Lt Colo. Frazer of 5th Pensylva. Batallion, Prisoner in Philadelphia.”

GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote Frazer on 5 Nov.: “I shall be much obliged by your procuring from the Commissary and transmitting to me a list of our Officers, who have been taken since the British Enemy landed at Elk. I am induced to request this, that their Friends may be satisfied in their anxious inquiries about them. If any have died of their wounds, or thro other cause, you will be pleased to mention it” (Frazer, General Persifor Frazer description begins Dr. Persifor Frazer. General Persifor Frazer: A Memoir Compiled Principally from His Own Papers by His Great-Grandson. Philadelphia, 1907. description ends , 238–39).

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