George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Johnson, 28 May 1779

To Thomas Johnson

Head Qrs Middle Brook May the 28: 1779


I have the pleasure to inform Your Excellency, that after a variety of attempts, and much time and labour spent by Several Boards of Officers, the Arrangement of the Maryland line has been at length fixed1—and Commissions have been issued for the Officers agreably to it, by the Board of War, except in the instances mentioned in the inclosed List.2 The Gentlemen named in this, belong to the State, have served with the Troops a considerable time and have been recommended and arranged to the ranks against their respective names; but as they have never received any appointments from the State, I have thought it necessary to obtain Your Excellency’s sanction to the measure, previous to my application to the Board for Commissions for them. They are all reported to be Gentlemen of merit—and well intitled from every consideration to these promotions. The Two first and the last, from a deficiency of Officers have long acted as Officers in the line, and Mr Stoddart for near Two Years as a Brigade Major to General Smallwood. Indeed it would be a fortunate circumstance on account of the great want of Officers occasioned by resignations & other causes, if there were Several Other Gentlemen, who could be recommended and receive appointments. I shall be obliged by Your Answer, by the earliest opportunity.3 I have the Honor to be with sentiments of very great respect & esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, MdAA; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the project to settle rank in the Maryland line, and the disputes over GW’s authority to determine rank, see Nathaniel Ewing to GW, 9 March, and notes 4 and 5 to that document; see also GW to a Board of General Officers, 9 April, and to Otho Holland Williams et al., 10 May.

2A note on the draft indicates that “The Cases alluded to” were 1st Lt. Benjamin Garnett of the 5th Maryland Regiment and second lieutenants Parker Hall Lee of the 4th Maryland Regiment, William Trueman Stoddard of the 5th Maryland Regiment, and William Adams of the 7th Maryland Regiment.

Benjamin Garnett was appointed an ensign in the 5th Maryland Regiment in August 1778 and received a commission as first lieutenant dating from October 1778. He subsequently became regimental adjutant (see General Orders, 4 Oct. 1779, DLC:GW), and later transferred to the 1st Continental Dragoons.

Parker Hall Lee (1759–1829) of Harford County, Md., was appointed an ensign in the 4th Maryland Regiment in January 1778 and later became a first lieutenant with a commission dating from October 1778; he left the army in February 1780.

William Trueman Stoddard (1759–1793) of Charles County, Md., was appointed an ensign in the 5th Maryland Regiment in December 1776 and subsequently was promoted to second lieutenant and first lieutenant. He transferred to the 4th Maryland Regiment in January 1781 and left the army in January 1783.

William Adams was appointed a second lieutenant in the 7th Maryland Regiment in April 1778 and subsequently gained promotion to first lieutenant. He transferred to the 2d Maryland Regiment in January 1781 and left the army in April 1783.

3The Maryland Council considered this letter on 9 July and resolved to appoint the four officers; Johnson wrote to GW on the council’s behalf on the same date, listing the officers and noting that “This Board appoint the said Persons to the respective Offices aforesaid and request that Commissions may issue according to their first Appointment” (MdAA).

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