George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel John Hoskins Stone, 21 March 1778

From Colonel John Hoskins Stone

Annapolis March 21st 1778.

May it please your Excellency

From my present situation I cannot flatter myself that I shall ever be able to take the field as an officer, as yet I cannot walk without my Crutches, nor shall ever be able to walk well, my command will be so very small that it will not entitle me to ride, and as my Regiment must suffer much for the want of a field officer, I shall, if ever, not be able to take the field ’till after the ensueing Campaign and by holding my Commission I may prevent the promotion of some good officer—for these and other reasons I must beg your Excellency’s permission to retire from the army1 whenever my health and Situation will permit I shall always think it the greatest honor and it is the utmost of my wishes to Serve my Country where your Excellency commands.

I had the honor to receive your favor of the 8th ulto relative to Colo. Smiths taking charge of my Regiment and communicated it to Colo. Smith by the first opportunity—with the greatest regard & respect I have the honor to be Your Excellencys very obt Hume Sert

J.H. Stone


1GW replied to Stone on 4 April: “I am sorry to find your own account of the state of your wound contradict the favorable one which I had recd from others. Your desire to quit the service because you cannot be longer useful is certainly laudable, but perhaps you judge your case desperate before you have given it sufficient tryal. Good and moderate weather, in which you can take exercise may have an effect beyond your hopes and I would therefore advise you to defer your Resignation at least a month or six weeks longer. If at the expiration of that time you still find yourself unlikely to recover you can put your present resolution into practice. If you are obliged to do it, I shall regret that the service has lost so good an Officer” (Df, DLC:GW). Stone remained in service until September 1779, when GW, expressing a wish for “a more perfect recovery of your wound,” accepted his resignation of 1 Aug. 1779 (GW to Stone, 13 Sept. 1779, DLC:GW).

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