George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Seymour, 20 October 1778

To Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Seymour

Head Qurs near Fredericksburg Octo. 20th 1778


I received your favor of the 6th Instant by Lt Ellsworth, with the inclosure referred to; and also the Company Rolls and pay Abstract of the Horse under your command, in 1776. The Rolls and Abstract, according to constant practice, were transmitted to the pay master General for examination, by Mr Ellsworth, who reported that they contained a load of inadmissible & unprecedented charges—&c. such as in justice to the public, he could by no means think himself authorised to allow.1 Under these circumstances, a Warrant could not be granted for the claim, and the adjustment of it is rendered the more difficult—by the length of time since the Horse were out; and by all my papers & Letters of that date, which respect the matter, being deposited at philadelphia. It is my wish to do justice in all cases, both to the public and to Individuals, but, in the present instance, I cannot act & bring matters to a conclusion for want of proper information. After the report of the pay Master, I wrote to Colonel Sheldon, hoping that his memory would serve to clear up some points in question—but it will not.2 I mean as soon as the situation of things will admit, to collect all my papers together & when I obtain such as relate to this subject, I will take the earliest opportunity to advise you—in the mean time the Rolls & Abstract will remain with me unless you should call for ’em. I am sir Your Most Obedt servt


Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Harrison wrote at the end of the draft: “vide a Resolution of Congress 16 July 1776, fixing the subsistence of the Horse @1 ⁄2 Dollr per Week” (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:564).

2Col. Elisha Sheldon wrote GW on 18 Oct. from Bedford, N.Y.: “I reced a Letter from Colo. Harrison last evening in which I am requested to Inform your Excellency upon what Terms the Connecticut Light Horse came out in 1776 under the Command of Lieut. Col. Seymour—when I recd my orders to march my Regt which I then commanded to New york, I was at the distance of about seventy miles from Govr Trumbull, and had no opportunity of Knowing upon what Terms we were sent. our leaving New york in the manner we did, displeased me so much, I never made any Enquirey into the matter afterwards—I let Colo. Seymour know I should never make any demands on the publick for our Services but that I was of opinion we were Indebted to our Country for Quiting their Service in so Scandalous a maner” (ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. The addressed and docketed cover is with the Sprague transcript in DLC:GW). The letter that GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Sheldon on or about 17 Oct. has not been identified.

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