George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant William Patterson, 18 January 1778

To Lieutenant William Patterson

[Valley Forge] Jany 18. 1778


General Knyphaussen having obtained a passport for Quarter Master Major Kitz to go to Fredericksburg in Virginia with a Serjeant & Servant and a Waggon with Cloathing and Necessaries for the Hessian Officers at that place, In order that the same may be safely conveyed, and that no irregularities may attend the execution of this Business, you are to proceed with all convenient expedition with the said Quarter Master, Major Kitz with the Cloaths & necessaries he has in charge, by the most direct route to Fredericksburg, or to such other place or places as the Hessian Officers may be at. After he shall have executed his business, you are to return with him, & to make report of your arrival when you come within the Neighbourhood of this Camp, that such further orders may be given respecting him as may be necessary.1

You are to receive of the Pay Master General Two Hundred Dollars, out of which you are to defray your own expences, and you are to keep an exact account of the same & to take proper vouchers, that an Account may be settled and adjusted on your return.2 Given &c.

Go: W——gton

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

William Patterson had served as an ensign in Col. William Grayson’s Additional Continental Regiment since May 1777 and was promoted to second lieutenant in June of that year. He resigned in May 1778.

1Johannes Kitz (c.1743–1779) of Holzhausen in Germany had served since April 1776 as regimental quartermaster of Col. Johann Rall’s Hessian Grenadier Regiment. For a summary of Kitz’s report on the plight of Hessian prisoners, see Atwood, Hessians description begins Rodney Atwood. The Hessians: Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution. Cambridge, England, and New York, 1980. description ends , 199.

Tench Tilghman wrote a letter at “½ after 7” on this date to Deputy Commissary General of Prisoners Thomas Bradford at the “Spread Eagle”: “Yours dated ten last Night inclosing a letter from Colo. Fitzgerald [letters not identified] is this moment come to hand. Colo. Fitzgerald only went to Capt. Lees Quarters last Night, you will therefore see him this morning again. The Genl refuses to permit more than one British Quarter to proceed any further than the Eagle, the Gentlemen must therefore settle which is to go. Capt. Wilson is to accompany to the British, and Lieut. Paterson will meet the Hessian at the white Horse to attend him. Shew this letter to Colo. Fitzgerald, which will point out his line of Conduct to him. . . . Be pleased to return to Camp as soon as you can. There is some Business in your department that wants you” (PHi: Thomas Bradford Papers).

The quartermasters sent from Philadelphia with wagons containing clothing for British and Hessian prisoners would soon find themselves embroiled in a controversy over counterfeit currency and other matters: see William Stephens Smith to GW, 25 January.

2An entry under this date in GW’s warrant book indicates the issue of a warrant for $200 “To Lieut. Patterson of Colo. Grayson’s regt for the purpose of defraying his Expencs attending on the Hessian Comy with Baggage to their Prisonrs in Virginia” (warrant book, 13 Aug. 1776–1 Aug. 1778, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18).

Index Entries