George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Burke, 28 March 1779

To Thomas Burke

Head Quarters Middle Brook 28th March 1779.


I am favd with yours of the 24th inst. If Congress should be of opinion that either Baylors or Blands Regiments of Dragoons in their present situation would render any essential service to the southward, I should have no objection to one of them being ordered thither. The time of the Service of most of the Men of Blands expired last Winter, and I fear very few have been reinlisted—They may perhaps have about 80 Men fit for duty, but they are not yet clad for the next Campaign, nor could they possibly move without new Cloathing—Baylor has about 140 Men, but they are very weak in Horses, owing to the misfortune they met with last fall:1 But if Congress are determined not to fill up the Regiments of Cavalry Baylors dismounted Men might be furnished with some of Blands spare Horses. I cannot undertake to Say whether the Cloathing of this Regiment has yet reached them, if it has not, it will be necessary before they can move. Your Committee will be able to judge from the foregoing State whether either of those Regiments circumstanced as they are, will be worth sending to the Southward, and will make application to Congress accordingly2—Should the Volunteer Horse be preferred, I would have you recommend it to the Governor of Virginia to get them off with as little delay as possible, and not suffer them to wait to be accoutered in the most regular and uniform manner.

I do not think myself at liberty to send either of the letters put under cover to me into New York before they receive the approbation of Congress—That from Mr Eustace proposes an interview with Colo. Campbell which I shall not think myself at liberty to grant without the sanction of Congress—and that from Mr Iredell invites a Gentlemen to come into the State of North Carolina by land, who from the proceedings of the Assembly plainly appears to be a dis-affected person.3 I for the above reasons return you the letters. I have the Honor &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the surprise attack on Col. George Baylor’s 3d Continental Light Dragoon Regiment near Old Tappan, N.J., during the predawn hours of 28 Sept. 1778, see Israel Putnam to GW, that date, and n.1 to that document.

2For Congress’s decision on 7 May 1779 to order south the regiments of colonels George Baylor and Theodorick Bland, 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 , 14:559–60; see also Richard Henry Lee to GW, 28 April (DLC:GW), and GW to Lee, 30 April (CSmH).

3Neither of these enclosed letters has been identified, but it is probable that one involved Maj. John Skey Eustace and British lieutenant colonel Archibald Campbell. The one from James Iredell almost certainly related to his ultimately ineffective efforts to protect from confiscation the extensive North Carolina property holdings of his cousin Henry Eustace McCulloh (c.1737–c.1810), who journeyed from England to New York in 1778 and wanted to travel south before abandoning the attempt and returning to England, where he represented North Carolina Loyalists who submitted claims to the British government. James Iredell (1751–1799) began to practice law in North Carolina in 1770. Despite being appointed deputy king’s attorney in 1774 and having strong family ties to Loyalists, he supported greater American independence and sided with the Patriots after the Declaration of Independence. The North Carolina general assembly appointed him a superior judge in December 1777, but Iredell resigned after six months and returned to private practice. He subsequently served as the state’s attorney general between July 1779 and the end of 1781, and later in the decade vigorously advocated ratification of the Constitution. GW nominated Iredell as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in February 1790, and he served in that capacity until his death.

Index Entries