George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Captain William Galvan, 11 March 1779

To Captain William Galvan

Head Quarters Middle Brook March 11th 1779


While I was in Philadelphia, I received your letter accompanying a “scheme of instruction” which you propose for the Armerican infantry—I have since received your other letter of the 9th of last month on the same subject.1 I have attentively considered your work and find it to be a work of merit, framed on principles corresponding with those of the most approved systems of tactics—But I do not perceive any utility that could be derived from encouraging the competition you seem to desire between you and the Gentleman who has already been appointed to superintend the instruction of the army. The specimens he has given2 of his zeal and knowlege intitle him to my confidence; and he has just prepared a plan of regulations which have received my approbation,3 These appear also to be founded on the best principles simplified and accommodated to the particular situation of our service.4 ⟨You⟩r manuscript and letter to Congress are returned herewith.5 I am with great consideration Sir Your most Obed. serv.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Neither Galvan’s letter to GW of 9 Feb., nor his earlier one that GW received while in Philadelphia, which was between 22 Dec. 1778 and 2 Feb. 1779, has been found.

2At this place on the draft, Hamilton first wrote “I have a high opinion.” He then struck out those words and wrote “The specimens he has given” above the line.

3GW is referring to Major General Steuben, who was then completing the manuscript of a military instruction manual (see GW to Steuben, 26 Feb. and this date; Stirling to GW, 26 Feb.; Henry Knox to GW, 5 March, and n.3 to that document; and Steuben to GW, 5 and 17 March).

4At this place on the draft, Hamilton first wrote “troops.” He then struck out that word and wrote “service” above the line.

5Neither Galvan’s manuscript, nor his letter to Congress, has been identified, but see Galvan to GW, 13 March, and n.2 to that document. For GW’s previous wariness of Galvan, see GW to Henry Laurens, 12 Sept. 1778 (third letter), and n.3 to that document.

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