George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Jay, 21 January 1779

To John Jay

Head Quarters Philadelphia 21st Jany 1779.


Colonel Rawlins who as well as his officers in general distinguished himself at the affair of Fort Washington1 has remaining of his Regiment about fifty or sixty men and a few officers.

As the latter are at present an expence to the Continent without being employed—and the Colonel after having deserved well of his Country and suffered a grievous captivity, has some claim to attention—I beg leave to propose to Congress, that the Officers be authorised to complete2 their present number of men being part of three companies—to the full establishment by recruiting—there is an additional motive in favor of this, which is that the three full companies might be employed in the Western Expedition under General McIntosh—and being composed of men enlisted for the War supply with advantage the place of so many Militia—the uncertainty of whose service is often a great impediment to the most important Enterprises. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect sir Your most obedt and most hble servt

Go: Washington

LS, in John Laurens’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 23 Jan. (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 , 13:104). For the resolutions that Congress passed on that date authorizing Lt. Col. Moses Rawlings and his officers to recruit the three companies of his independent corps to their full strength, see Jay to GW, 23 Jan., and GW to Rawlings, 30 January. Although Rawlings had previously been entitled to promotion to full colonel and often was addressed or referred to by that rank, he had not received a commission as colonel and apparently remained a lieutenant colonel (see GW’s second letter to Henry Laurens of 21 Aug. 1778, and n.1 to that document; General Orders, 16 Feb. 1779; and GW to Rawlings, 7 March 1779).

1Rawlings had been wounded and captured at Fort Washington, N.Y., on 16 Nov. 1776 and had been exchanged in December 1777.

2At this place on the draft manuscript, Laurens first wrote “augment.” He then struck out that word and wrote “complete” above the line.

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