George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Board of War, 29 May 1779

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] May 29th 1779


We do ourselves the Honour to inclose you a representation of Major Ryan with General Wayne’s certificate annexed.1 We believe the Major capable of rendering great service as a Brigade Major & Inspector; and if his request can be granted we conceive he may be appointed to that Office without injury to the Service in general. We think his case singular, & that an exception may very properly be made in his favour. But lest any Dificulties should be created by the measure, we chose to submit the matter to your Excellency’s determination, by which we shall be governed.

We are informed that probably few Majors in the line will accept the Offices of Brigade Inspector & brigade Major , and that it will be necessary to appoint Captains; We shall be glad to receive your opinion on the Subject; for if the information be well founded, it must be requisite to alter the regulation or give to your Excellency a dispensing power. We are, with great respect your very obedt servants

By order of the board
Tim: Pickering


1Pickering enclosed a letter of 28 May from Capt. Michael Ryan to the Board of War, requesting a brevet rank of major so that he would be eligible to serve as brigade major and brigade inspector; and a letter of 29 May from Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne to the Board of War, endorsing Ryan’s request (both DLC:GW). Although GW expressed a high regard for Ryan’s abilities, for a variety of reasons he advised the Board of War not to appoint him major by brevet; Ryan consequently resigned from the army (see GW to the Board of War, 9 June, DLC:GW, and General Orders, 21 May 1777, n.1).

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