George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Alexander Dow, 23 December 1777

From Lieutenant Alexander Dow

Campe [Valley Forge, Pa.] Decemr 23th 1777


I Tack the Leberty To aquant yow with my Cliams To the Comand of Capt. John Hunters Company now in Colln. Malcoms Redegment from the Following Facts I Lived in good Credit in Philadelphia I was one of the first asaaseaters ther and Thow a person of no Established fortun I Sackrefised Every Comphort for the Leberty and Safety of my Cuntrey & wint out as a first Lieut. in the five munths sarvis and was free the 1th of Last December 76 I then went a Volanter With Capn. James Montgumery and Sarved in the Winters Campean By which I Lost my Birth of Capn of marens as apointed in the Oliver cromuel,1 in April Capn Hunter Chos me for his first Lieut. I Raised near all the Compeny at a Vast Expence and Trubel maney of which Listed with me that would not a Listed with aney other Officar and I have had the Chef Comand of them all along as Capn Hunter has never Ben a full week att one Time presant, as to my Charater as an Officar and Solgar I Choss To Refer your Excelancy To Collns. Malcom & Burr or Colln. Patton wher we Did Duty the foarpart of the Sumar Eather of which I flatter my Self will Do me Honour and as Rank is not properly Settled in our Redgt, I think this may be Easely Determened, one Allan Cals himself Oldast Lieut. he has Ben Tryed for Cowerdiss and one, Robart Cals himself Ouldest Lieut. his Capn and he has Dun wondars By Listing one man and If I am to Be Subgict To Such I Shall2 Then think Ther is Small Regard for me, and The Soldiars Says They will Have no othar Capn. I am with all Dew Respect your Excelencys Mutch Devouted Humbel Sarvant

Alexr Dow


Alexander Dow, who claimed to be a foreigner, remained a lieutenant in Col. William Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment until it was consolidated with other regiments in early 1779. Dow then joined Col. Benjamin Flower’s artillery artificers corps, where in July 1780 he was promoted to captain lieutenant, to date from April 1780. He served until 1781, after which he petitioned Congress several times to secure back pay. The Board of War, when considering one of his petitions in May 1781, called Dow “a deserving, attentive officer” (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 , 20:539). Capt. John Hunter resigned his commission in December 1777.

1The Pennsylvania privateer Oliver Cromwell was captured in October 1777.

2James Allen of Massachusetts, who had been commissioned a lieutenant in Col. William Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment in January 1777, served as brigade quartermaster from January 1778 to April 1779. Although John Robert was commissioned a lieutenant in Malcom’s regiment in February 1777, he had been commissioned a lieutenant in Col. Josiah Smith’s militia regiment in July 1776. Robert resigned from the army in April 1779.

Index Entries