George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Continental Congress Marine Committee, 1 June 1779

To the Continental Congress Marine Committee

Head Quarters Middle Brook June 1st 1779.


This will be delivered you by Major Blodget, who has served with reputation in the army since the commencement of the war in the capacities of Brigade Major & Aide De Camp to General Greene—The late arrangement of the army1 unavoidably places the Gentlemen in this line, of former appointment on a footing comparitively so disadvantageous as in addition to other motives to have determined Major Blodget to leave the Army—He is still anxious to be useful in the military line, if he can be more agreeably situated and has signified to me that there is a vacancy for a captain of marines on board the Dean frigate, which he would be glad to fill2—In justice to this Gentleman’s early zeal and meritorious conduct in the service I take the liberty to recommend him to the Committee as one who deserves encouragement and who I have every reason to believe will justify the trust, if circumstances permit its being reposed in him.3 I have the honor to be Very Respectfully Gentlemen Yr Most Obedt serv.

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

1GW is referring to an arrangement that began in summer 1778 (see General Orders, 9 Sept. 1778; see also GW to Henry Laurens, 7 July 1778, and 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 11:570, 676).

2Writing from Philadelphia on 24 May 1779, Maj. William Blodget informed Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene: “Upon enquiry, the best opening for me at present is a Captain of Marines on board the Dean Frigate, which is now vacant, and by a proper recommendation I doubt not will be given me. The pursers birth I find, is not so advantageous as I judged to be, and will not suit by any means equal with the one I find vacant.

“Captain [Samuel] Nicholson who commands the Dean, I have been long acquainted with, and is very desirous of my coming into the Ship.

“The Marine Committee are composed of the following gentlemen Mr [John] Collins, Mr [James] Searle, R. H. Lee, Mr [John] Penn, with some others whom at present I cannot learn. …

“His Excellency [Washington] in addition to granting me his recommendation to the Committee was kind enough to say he would certify my conduct and time of service while in the Army; which may be of particular use hereafter together with yours to the like purpose, which if I should get on board the Frigate I hope you will grant me” (Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:72–74).

Originally a French frigate named Lyon, the Deane joined the Continental navy in 1778.

3The Board of War authorized Blodget to sail on the Deane in a letter to him from Richard Peters, written on 14 June: “Considering your peculiar Situation the Board, desirous of seconding the Views of your other Friends & convinced that in any Situation You will render your Country every Service your Oppertunities permitt, chearfully consent to your proposed Voyage in the Dean Frigate & are of Opinion your Absence will rather recommend you to the Notice of Congress than be of Disservice as it shews your Disposition (if any new Proofs are wanting) to be useful in our Cause: rather than remain idle as your Feelings will not permitt your acting in your former Line of Duty” (DNA:PCC, item 42). Blodget became chaplain on the Deane.

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