George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General John Stark, 5 August 1778

To Brigadier General John Stark

Head Quarters White plains 5th Augt 1778


I recd yours of the 29 July by Lieut. Randolph and of 31st inclosing the order of Congress for raising those Men who are now demanding pay. As this is a matter of a particular nature, I cannot undertake to settle it. I think the charges, whatever they may be, ought to [be] drawn out and submitted to Congress—I cannot determine what is to be done respecting the State prisoners at Albany who draw continental provision. Govr Clinton says those at Pougkepsie are furnished with provision by the state. I would have you enquire of the Magistrates of Albany and know of them how it first happened that those prisoners drew from the continental store. The Commy should keep an exact Acct of what he issues.

I cannot see why the Soldiers Wives in Albany should be supported at public expence. They may get most extravagant wages for any kind of work in the Country and to feed them, when that is the case, would be robbing the public and encouraging idleness. If they would come down and attend as Nurses to the Hospitals they would find immediate employ. When I sent up Lieut. Colo. Butler with his own Regiment and a detatchment from Morgans, I intended he should have taken the command of all the troops employed upon that service, provided it did not require a Genl officer He is not only a very brave but an experienced Officer especially for such an expedition. If Colo. Alden is with his Regiment, and forms a junction with Lt Colonel Butler, he must command him of course, except Colo. Alden could by any means be put upon some other service. If the thing could be so managed it would be very agreeable to me, as I place great dependance upon Colo. Butlers Abilities as a Woodsman.1

I will send up as many of the Articles as can be procured for Butlers and Morgans Regt by Lieut. Randolph. I am &c.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Shortly after his arrival at Albany, Lt. Col. William Butler had written New York governor George Clinton on 29 July with a string of complaints about Stark, including that, by ordering Col. Ichabod Alden to join his regiment, Stark had deprived Butler “of the Honor your Excellency intended me in the Command of the whole.” On 4 Aug., Clinton wrote Butler from GW’s camp at White Plains, reporting that he had “communicated the Contents” of Butler’s letter to GW and “that if it can be done without giving just Cause of Offence to Officers of Supperior Rank he wishes you may have the Command of the Detachments allotted for” offensive operations against the Indians (Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 3:595–96, 605–6).

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