George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Generals Alexander McDougall and Israel Putnam, 14 February 1779

To Major Generals Alexander McDougall and Israel Putnam

Head Quarters Middlebrook Feby 14th 1779

Dr Sir,

Mr Burrall an Assistant Pay Master General sets out this morning with 400,000 Dollars for the use of the posts under the respective commands of General Putnam and yourself. The inclosed copy of his instructions will shew you in what manner it is to be applied.1 You will perceive that 100,000 Dollars is to be appropriated as bounty money for reinlisting the troops under your command during the war, agreeable to a General Order of the 7th Instant, which was transmitted to you some days since.2 The particular distribution of this to the several Regiments is to be regulated by your order to the Pay Master. The rule observed here and which I would recommend to you, is to issue small sums from time to time according to the progress made by each Regiment in recruiting; for which purpose, returns are made by the Commanding Officers as often as they apply for money, to show how many men they have engaged since the last grant—Inclosed is a subsequent Order of the 12th which you will also be pleased to communicate to the troops.3 You will readily perceive it’s intention. You are so well convinced of the necessity of care and œconomy that I need say nothing on that head. I am Dr Sir With the greatest esteem & regard Your Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, addressed to McDougall, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, owned (1997) by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, Cocoa, Fla.; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The docket on the draft manuscript and the headings on the Varick transcript indicate that the nearly same letter was sent to both McDougall and Putnam.

1GW almost certainly is referring to his instructions to Asst. Paymaster Gen. Jonathan Burrall, the draft of which is dated 16 Feb. at Middlebrook. It reads: “You will in the first instance proceed with the money under your care to Peeks Kill—The purposes to which it is to be applied—are to pay the troops under the command respectively of Major Generals Putnam and McDougall, to discharge the accounts for contingent expences at the posts under their direction, and to furnish bounty money for reinlisting the men during the war agreeable to the General order of the 7th instant—In paying the troops the pay rolls are to be made up to the last of december examined and certified in the usual manner; after which an order from the commanding officer at the post will be your voucher for the payment. The accounts for contingent expences, are also to be paid on orders from the respective commanding officers.

“Two hundred thousand dollars are to be appropriated for the purpose of bounty money—one hundred thousand for the troops in each command—The particular distribution of this to the several regiments is to be regulated by orders from the respective commanding officers—Major Generals Putnam and McDougall.

“All issues of money for whatsoever purpose are to be made upon warrants in the usual mode, which will be of course lodged with you to be hereafter signed by me.

“It is not meant to point out Peeks Kill as the place of your residence; I leave it to you when you arrive there to act in such a manner as shall appear to you most convenient, for answering the purposes of the different posts of Danbury and the Highlands.

“But on your arrival at Peeks Kill—I would have you give immediate notice to Major General Putnam and persue the most expeditious measures for furnishing the necessary supply of money to the different posts particularly that for recruiting in which not a moments time should be lost—When you have completed the business for which you are sent, you will return to Middle Brook” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

2See the postscripts of GW to McDougall, 9 Feb., and GW to Putnam, 10 February.

3The enclosed copies of these orders have not been identified, but see General Orders, 12 February.

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