To Colonel James Hendricks
Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 22d March 1778.
Lieut. Colo. Parker has made application to be appointed to the command of the first Virginia Regiment said to be vacant by your resignation:1 But as that resignation has not been made to me in proper form, I do not think myself at liberty to fill the vacancy without having it from yourself. I shall expect your answer by return of post or sooner if a good opportunity offers, because if Colo. Parker is to have the Regiment he is anxious to be at the head of it, that he may make use of his time in training it.2 I am &c.
Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. The original application of Richard Parker has not been identified. He renewed his request by writing GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison on 24 Mar.: “I have enclosed you a letter from Colonel James Hendricks you will find his resignation from that. I leave you to judge whether it will again be proper to make application to his Excellency for an appointment, he perhaps may have other reasons for not filling that vacancy than what I am acquainted with, I do not wish to know then if he has; being assured that he will do nothing but what I should approve of. My reasons for being so anxious to get the appointment are, that I may have it in my power to get the Regiment in some order before the opening of the Campaign, & you know Sir, an Officer’s merit is determined from the order his regiment is in, & I am determined when I cannot serve with honor to myself & service to my country, not to serve at all. If you think it proper to make application I must trouble you to do it, if not I shall be satisfied. . . . Be kind enough to return Colo. Hendricks Letter” (DLC:GW). Harrison replied to Parker on 27 Mar.: “His Excellency is willing and desirous that you should have the first Virginia Regiment and consents to your taking the immediate command of it as Colonel. He has not yet received Colo. Hendrick’s resignation, when it comes to hand and he is in circumstances to issue Commissions, he will send one to you. Your rank, I should suppose, and I am certain, will take place at an earlier day than the 10th Inst. tho dating the Commission on the latter would give you every claim in the Virginia line, it might not in the line of the Army. I have extracted the substance of Colo. Hendrick’s Letter so far as it relates to your application—The original I return you” (DLC:GW). In the extract from Hendricks’s letter to Parker of 16 Mar., he attributes his resignation to the “distress of my little family at the thoughts of my joining again” and urges Parker to apply to fill the resulting vacancy (DLC:GW).
2. Hendricks replied from Alexandria, Va., on 30 Mar.: “I received your Excellency’s letter yesterday, informing of the application of Colo. Parker for the 1st Virginia regiment, by which I find a letter I wrote Colo. Harrison hath miscarried, in which I beg’d him to return your Excellency my thanks for indulging me to retire, which I now take the liberty of doing, and at the same time, assuring you that I leave the Service with much reluctance, the more so as I conceive the ensuing will be an active Campaign, and that nothing but my Domestick Concerns Should have induced me to this Step, I have no Commission to inclose as I never received any, the time of my appointment being Some little before the action of Brandewyne, at which time and after, things were so hurried that I made no application I beg you may attribute my resignation to the true cause and be assured I shall with pleasure continue to do every thing in my power to promote the good cause at all times” (ALS, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 31291).