George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Ebenezer Learned, 7 February 1778

From Brigadier General Ebenezer Learned

Oxford [Mass.] February 7th 1778

Hond Sr

With the utmost Exartion I have Complyd with your Excellancies Direction to me of Jany 8th1 unless your Exellancy had Regard to Cols. Vanscayks & James Levingstons Regts of N. York State, that was left at Schanaitada, and Johnstown by Genl Gate’s order which Regts was anext to my Brigd. by Genl Schuyler—But not being Positive whether it ware Intended by your Exellancy’s Direction to forward Detachments left at Posts they have ben at during the last campaign, I have not as yet given orders to them; but if they ware Intended I shall at the first Notice forward them.

And am very unhappy I have the Misfortune of Indisposition that I am unable Immediately to take the Field myself.

I have Sent Inclosd a coppy the certificate of my Surgeons—also Genl Gate’s Permit to me leaveing the Brigd. at Albany—but Shall make no delay as soon as able to Joyn again and shall with Pleasure (as far as able) obey every order from yo⟨ur⟩ Excellancy.2

This Day I have it by an officer from Head Qurt. that my charicter is Impeeched and a complaint to your Excellancy against me I am Puzzled to know from what Quarter, or for what; it is said for conve[r]ting Publick Stores and Plunder to Private use—if this is aleg’d I am able I Determin any Minute to aquit myself of such accusation—and shall make it my first Business when able to Ride to camp.3 till when I am as ever your Excellancies very Humbl. Servt

Ebenezer Learned B:G.


1See GW to John Glover and Ebenezer Learned, 8 January. The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal printed this advertisement on 26 Jan. and the following three weeks: “Notice is hereby given, to all Officers and Soldiers in my Brigade, who have no stipulated Time of Absence, or whose Furloughs are out to repair immediately to Head Quarters in Pennsylvania, and join their respective Regiments without Delay; or expect, if Soldiers, to be dealt with as Deserters; if Officers, as Disobeyers of general Orders. By Orders of General Washington to me, Ebenezer Learned, B.G.”

2Learned’s enclosures, all copies, are in DLC:GW. Surgeon James Freeland certified on 27 Jan. “that Brigadier General Learned, in my opinion is not fit for the Continental Service, in the Army, by reason of a Breach which he received while he commanded a Regiment in the Continental Service in the year 1775. at which time I was his Surgeon; and in the year 1776, being acquainted with his disorder, and not thinking him able to endure Service in the army, wrote my opinion to his Excellency General Washington [letter not found], upon which with Genl Learneds desire he was dismissed from the Army; after coming home grew better and being appointed Brigadier Genl accepted and went through the last fatigueing Campaign to the Northward, which has increased his disorder. It is my opinion that he cannot endure the Service in the Army without endangering his life”; surgeon Jonathan King certified on 25 Jan. “that Brigadier Genl Learned on account of indisposition of Body is not able to undergoe the hardships of a Winter’s Campaign without greatly endangering his life.” Horatio Gates’s certificate reads: “Brigadier General Learned, in consequence of his bad State of Health, has my leave to go to any part of the Massachusetts State that he please; and has my further permission to be absent from the Army until he thinks himself perfectly cured. Given at Head Quarters in Albany this 29th October 1777.” See GW’s reply to Learned of 5 March.

3GW assured Learned on 5 Mar. that he had not heard of any accusations against him.

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