George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Zebulon Butler, Major Barnet Eichelberger and the Commanding Officer at Fort Wallis, Pa., 1 March 1779

To Colonel Zebulon Butler, Major Barnet Eichelberger, and the Commanding Officer at Fort Wallis, Pa.

Head Quarters [Middlebrook] 1st March 1779.


Persons presenting themselves at your post with passports signed by Colonel William Patterson—are to be suffered to pass and repass1 without interruption and without search of their Canoes or baggage—they are farther to be supplied with five days provision on their applying for it—and you will afford them any other assistance their circumstances may require. I am Sir Your most obedt servt

Go: Washington

P.S. In case of your being relieved—you will deliver this letter to the officer who succeeds you for his government.

LS (photocopy), addressed to Butler, in John Laurens’s writing, DLC:GW, ser. 9; Df, addressed to all three recipients, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, addressed to all three recipients, DLC:GW. The letters to these officers were enclosed with GW’s letter of 2 March to William Patterson, who then forwarded them to their intended recipients. Below GW’s signature on the LS to Butler, Patterson wrote and signed a note dated 25 March that reads: “This will serve as passport for Gershem Hicks, who may appear in Indian Dress, & the Officers commanding will receive him.” Patterson apparently covered the LS of GW’s letter to Butler with his own letter to Butler written at Northumberland, Pa., in March: “Mr. [William] Lemmon goes to your post, to wait the return, and take into his care Gershom Hicks, who is not to be examined or searched until he goes before his Excellency Gen. Washington. I inclose you his Excellency’s letter. Be careful that your people, who are out on duty, or fatigue, receive Hicks, who may appear painted, and in a canoe. His regimentals I have sent by Mr. Lemmon” (History of Wyoming description begins History of Wyoming, In a Series of Letters, from Charles Miner, to His Son William Penn Miner, Esq. Philadelphia, 1845. description ends , p. 260). For Gershom Hicks, see Patterson to GW, 3 April, and n.3.

Butler commanded the garrison at Wyoming, Pennsylvania. Barnet Eichelberger, who served briefly as a lieutenant in the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment in early 1776 and is listed as captain in records for Col. Thomas Hartley’s Additional Continental Regiment, apparently held a designation as “Major Pro: Tem: Vice Lewes Bush, who was Killed the 11th Septemb. 1777,” when assigned command at Sunbury, Pa., in September 1778 (Eichelberger to Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council, 23 Jan. 1779, DLC:GW; see also Hartley to Board of War, 20 Sept. 1778, DNA:PCC, item 78). Fort Wallis, named after Samuel Wallis, owner of the property on which the fortification stood, was another name for Fort Muncy, a work erected by Hartley’s direction in summer 1778 on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River about three miles north of present-day Muncy, Pennsylvania. Capt. Andrew Walker, the officer in Hartley’s regiment who oversaw the fort’s construction, probably commanded the garrison during winter and spring 1779.

1At this place on the draft manuscript, which is in Laurens’s writing, “proceed” is struck out and the words “pass and Repass” are written above the line.

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