George Washington Papers

To George Washington from General William Howe, 2 March 1778

From General William Howe

Philadelphia 2d March 1778


I think it necessary to acquaint you that Colonels OHara & Stephens of the Kings Foot Guards are the Officers appointed by me to meet Commissioners on your Part at German Town on the 10th Instant, for the Purposes expressed in my Letter of the 5th of February. To these Gentlemen I propose to add Capt. Fitzpatrick of the same Corps, and that you may send an equal Number, this early notice is given.1 The Officers appointed by you will, I expect, be of Ranks suitable for my Commissioners to treat with, and that they will be reciprocally impressed with proper Dispositions to dispatch and carry into Execution the Design of their Commission.

I presume you have given Orders for the Prisoners with you to repair to the Vicinity of this Place, New York &ca as mentioned in your Letter of the 10th Ulto & must own I expected the arrival of those in Pensylvania before this Date—It is my Desire that the Prisoners to the Eastward of Hudson River be sent to New York or Rhode Island, as may be most contiguous, and that all to the Westward of said River be ordered to Philadelphia.

As you have promised to send me notice from Time to Time as they do come in, there will not be any Delay on my Part in returning equal numbers. With due Respect I am Sir Your most obedient Servant

W. Howe

Copy, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, enclosed in GW to Henry Laurens, 7–8 Mar., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; two copies, P.R.O., 30/55, Carleton Papers; two copies, P.R.O., Colonial Office, Secretary of State’s Correspondence with Commander-in-Chief, North America; copy, ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers.

1Charles O’Hara (1740?–1802), who was appointed a cornet of the 3d Dragoons in 1752, became a lieutenant and captain of the Coldstream Guards in 1756, and after service outside his regiment as a brevet lieutenant colonel in Portugal in 1762 and Senegal in 1766, he was promoted to captain lieutenant and lieutenant colonel of the Guards in 1769. His army rank of colonel dated from August 1777. In October 1778 O’Hara attained the rank of brigadier general in the army, and he assumed command of the Brigade of Foot Guards in October 1780. Wounded at Guilford Courthouse in March 1781, he surrendered with Cornwallis at Yorktown later that year and remained a prisoner until he was exchanged in February 1782. In March 1782 he received the colonelcy of the 22d Foot, and in May 1782 he assumed command of reinforcements sent from New York to Jamaica, from whence he returned to England. He continued in the military after the war, rising to full general in 1798, and served as governor of Gibraltar, 1795–99. Humphrey Stephens, who had been appointed an ensign in the 3d Regiment of Foot Guards in 1755, was promoted in that regiment to lieutenant and captain in October 1758 and to captain and lieutenant colonel in May 1768; his army colonelcy dated from August 1777. In 1782 he was promoted to major general of the army and colonel in the regiment, although he functioned as first major of the regiment. Richard Fitzpatrick (1747–1813) entered the army in 1765 as an ensign of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and was promoted to lieutenant and captain in 1772. A member of Parliament since 1770, Fitzpatrick was an opponent of the American war. He arrived in America in March 1777 and served at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown before returning to England in May 1778. Thereafter, although he remained an army officer, rising eventually to full general in 1803, his career was mainly political. He was twice appointed secretary of war, in 1783 and 1806.

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