George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Glover, 27 January 1778

From Brigadier General John Glover

Cambridge [Mass.] 27th Januy 1778.


I receiv’d your Excellencys Letter (yesterday) of the 8th Inst. desiring me to join my Brigade as soon as possible.

I apprehend your Excellency has not been fully acquainted with the Business I was Charged with by Genl Gates. which has been, & still will be attended with so many Difficulties as will necessarily detain me at this Post till the Embarkation of Genl Burgoyne.

I was Honour’d with the Command of Conducting him & his Troops from Saratoga to Cambridge; for the better supplying of which, & the Conveniency of the Inhabitants of the Country through which they March’d, I divided them into two Divisions. The British by Williamston & North-Hampton. The Germans by Kenderhook1 & Springfield, with Commys Quar. Masters & Waggon Masters for each, with particular Directions to take Bills for what supplies they Recd & give Orders on me for Payment. This Order not being fully attended to, I was Oblig’d to send Qr Mr Story back to Albany, to Collect the Outstanding Accots. when that is done, I shall Charge Genl Burgoyne with the whole, in one General Account. and as many of the Charges in my Opinion, are unjust & others extravagantly high; large sums being charg’d by the Inhabitants for Damages, in burning Fences, destroying Hay, Grain, Flax &c. also for Clothing, Furniture &c. stole out of their Houses (these Charges I know Genl Burgoyne will Object to) the Inhabitants Look to me, & expect I see them paid.

to acquit myself from Censure, I’m determin’d to lay them before the General Court, & desire that a Committee may be appointed to Examine them & make what Deductions shall appear to them to be just, which I hope will give satisfaction to both parties. when this is done I have to present it to him for Payment, & then Advertise the Inhabitants to come & Receive their Monies. I shall Lose no time in bringing the whole to a Close as soon as possible. Thus Sir, I have given an Account of what I have been doing, & still have to do at this Post which I hope will meet your Excellency’s approbation. I know of no Detachments from my Brigade left at any Post. I shall Advertise & order on all Officers & soldiers who are absent with or without Furloughs, as well as those recover’d in Hospitals. In the mean time beg Leave to Observe to your Excellency that I have given three years service to my Country, in which I have ruined my Constitution, & so much impair’d my Health that I am by no means fit or able to serve her in the Field another Campaign. These Reasons I hope will have such weight with your Excellcy as to Recommend & Urge to Congress in favour of my Dismission;2 without offering others, which are Notorious to the World—which is that the pay is so small under the present Establishmt compar’d with the Enormous high Price of Clothing & the Necessaries of Life that no Officer can support himself in Camp. that being the Case, what must become of his Family. this is a matter of general Complaint, which I hope will be Redress’d or I fear the Consequences. Yesterday arriv’d in Marblehead, a Ship of 400 Tons burthen. she sail’d from Halifax with 282 Prisoners, under Convoy of a Ship of War bound for Rhode Island—she parted from the Ship in a Gale of Wind, when the Prisoners took Charge of her, & brought her in safe.3

The same day arrived a Prize Ship mounting twenty 9 Pounders, taken by the Ship Portsmouth, Laden with Wines, & English Goods, bound to York.4 I am, Sir, with great Truth & Esteem, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt sert

John Glover


1Kinderhook is a small village in Columbia County, N.Y., on Kinderhook Creek seventeen miles southeast of Albany.

2GW wrote Glover on 18 Feb. and 15 Mar., seeking to dissuade him from leaving the army, and on 29 Mar., apparently with extreme reluctance, Glover wrote to GW agreeing to postpone his resignation. Glover remained in service until July 1782, when he retired on half-pay.

3On 28 Feb. the Pennsylvania Gazette (York) printed a report from New Haven, Conn., dated 4 Feb.: “We hear that a Transport ship, bound from Halifax to New York, with 280 prisoners, on their passage found means to get possession of the vessel, and carried her into Marblehead, notwithstanding several attempts of a Man of War, under whose convoy she was, to retake her, boisterous weather, and a large sea, favouring their escape.”

4Among the four prizes taken by the American privateer Portsmouth, John Hart commander, on its voyage from Bordeaux and brought into Portsmouth, N.H., on 13 Jan., was the “letter of marque ship New Duckinfield, mounting 20 carriage guns, laden with dry goods, wines, &c.” (Pennsylvania Gazette [York], 21 Feb. 1778).

Index Entries