George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nicholas Cooke, 5 November 1777

From Nicholas Cooke

Providence Novemr 5th 1777


I do myself the Honor, by Lieut. Colonel Barton, who will deliver you this, to transmit you the inclosed Resolution of the General Assembly of this State; and, agreeable to it, do recommend to your Excellency that brave Officer, who hath heretofore distinguished himself by his Activity, and enterprizing Spirit, and the several Commissioned Officers who served under him in that successful Expedition.1 I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedt hble Servt

Nichs Cooke

LS, DLC:GW; Df, R-Ar. The LS is docketed in part “ansd 31 Decr 1777.”

1The enclosed resolution, dated “August Session 1777,” reads: “Whereas Lieut. Col. William Barton with a Number of Officers and Soldiers under his Command lately made an Expedition to the Island of Rhode Island, and in the most prudent and gallant Manner happily made Prisoners of, and brought off Major Genl Prescott, his Aid de Camp, who was of the Rank of Major, and a private Soldier: And whereas this Assembly, at their Session in March last, as an Encouragement for an Expedition on Rhode Island, offered Rewards for the Captures of Officers & Soldiers who should be made Prisoners in said Expedition, provided the same should be made in a limited Time, which is expired, by which Act the Rewards for the taking such Prisoners would amount to Eleven Hundred and Twenty Dollars: And this Assembly being at all Times desirous of rewarding distinguished Merit do Vote and Resolve, and it is Voted and Resolved that the said Sum of Eleven Hundred and Twenty Dollars be allowed and paid out of the General Treasury into the Hands of the said William Barton to be divided between him and the other commissioned and noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers of the said Party in Proportion to the Wages of the said Officers and Soldiers.

“And it is further Voted and Resolved That the Thanks of this Assembly be and hereby are given to the said Col. Barton and to the Officers and Soldiers of the said Party, for their brave Execution of that Enterprize.

“And it is further Voted and Resolved that this Assembly will recommend the said Col. Barton, and the other commissioned Officers of the said Party to the Notice of his Excellency General Washington for Promotion according to their Merit” (DLC:GW). On 24 Dec. Congress resolved that Barton be promoted to the rank of colonel “and that he be recommended to General Washington, to be employed in such services as he may deem best adapted to his genius” (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 , 9:1051). For GW’s difficulty introducing Barton into the Continental army, see GW to Cooke, 31 December.

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