George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Edward Stevens, 24 January 1778

From Colonel Edward Stevens

Camp [Valley Forge] January 24th 1778


The Situation of my private Affairs, obliges me to enclose you my Commission. It gives me concern that I ever accepted it. As I find from my present situation, I can’t (all at the same time) continue to do Justice to my Country, Family and others whom I have been concerned with. I in some measure shudder at the thoughts of laying myself any ways open to the censure of my Country. But conscious of never receivg any thing from them undeservedly, I must trust to their Justness And altho’ I shall not be in the Fighting department I ever will be Aiding & Assisting in the noble Struggle With the utmost esteem I am Sir Your very hum. Servant

Edward Stevens

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

John Fitzgerald responded for GW in a letter to Stevens of this date: “His Excellency has receiv’d your Favor of this date with your Commission inclosed, which I am ordered to return to you & at the same time to Inform you, that He will not in future receive the Resignation of any Colonel without the approbation of Congress thereon It will therefore be necessary, if you persist in this Resolution, to apply to them.

“The General is sorry to find, that when leave of Absence is not immediately granted, upon application, be the Circumstances what they will Officers should think themselves justifiable in laying down their Commissions, & leaving the service of their Country, it having been his constant study to gratify every Officer as far as he could do it consistent with the safety of the Army” (DLC:GW). Stevens wrote Henry Laurens on 30 Jan. seeking to resign his commission, and after reading the letter on the same day, Congress referred it to the Board of War. Congress accepted Steven’s resignation after receiving the Board of War’s report on 31 January (DNA:PCC, item 78; 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 , 10:101, 104–5).

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