George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Board of War, 13 April 1779

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] April 13. 1779


We have been honoured with yours of the 8th inst. & in Consequence have enquired into the Affair of Lt Col. Nicholls promotion. The Certificate of Major Scull is enclosed on that Subject.1 We refer your Excellency to our Letter of Feby 23d2—in which is candidly stated all we know of the Arrangement & the Concern we had in that Bussiness.

The State of the Hunting Shirts you have no Doubt received.3 As that Article will be very necessary for the Light Troops & those going on the Frontiers particularly we are extremely sorry for the Deficiency.

We have been informed that from the Want of extensive Circulation of the News Papers your Excellency’s Proclamation in Favour of Deserters has not had the Effect it would have had were it more known to the Persons who are the Objects of it.4 We have had it struck off in Hand Bills & dispersed as far as the Time would admitt. But the Period for the Delinquents claiming the Benefit of the Pardon will so soon expire that we fear few will hear of it Time enough to take Advantage of it. We mention this to you for your Excellency’s Consideration that if it is consistent with good Policy further Time may be given.

We shall be glad of your Excellency’s Opinion on the Number of Hunting Shirts required & where they are to be sent. We have ordered Linen for ten thousand to be purchased by Otis & Henley at Boston & made up at that Place. We have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect Your very obedt Servants

Richard Peters
By order


1The enclosed undated memorandum by Peter Scull on Maj. Francis Nichols reads: “The appointment of Lt Col. Nicholls to the 5. Penn. Regimt was made by President Reed, and the reason that induced that nomination I am inform’d, was, that Col. Nicholls’s relative rank as Captain was prior to that of either Major Murray, or Major Mentges; and the pretensions of the three stood as follows.

“Col. Nicholls was entituled to a company from the 1st of Jan 1776 (after the death of Cap. Hendricks who was killed at Quebeck) and when he was afterwards admitted into the penna line his Commission was dated on that day.

“Major Murray was appointed a Captain in the provincial troops of pennsylvania in March 1776.

“Major Mentges continued an adjutant in the penna provin[c]ials ’till the latter end of the year 1776 when he was promoted to the rank of Major” (DLC:GW).

2This letter has not been found.

4See Proclamation to Deserters, 10 March. GW subsequently extended this proclamation; see GW to the Board of War, and Proclamation to Deserters, both 22 April.

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