George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Board of War, 12 June 1779

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] June 12. 1779


The inclosed letter from General Thompson is transmitted to your Excellency to correct a mistake he made of the name of a captain in the 21st British regt proposed to be exchanged on parole, the board being informed that the determination of the matter is by Congress referred to your Excellency.1 We are, with great respect, your very obedt servants

By order of the board
Tim. Pickering

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Pickering Papers.

1The enclosure is a letter written at Carlisle, Pa., on 30 May from Brig. Gen. William Thompson to Peter Scull, secretary to the Board of War: “In the List of Officers to be sent into New York on Parole, I believe Colonel Webb & myself mentioned Captn Waterson of the 21st Regt but I find on looking over the Memdm given us by Commissary Loring that it is a Captn Lieut. Featherson of the 21st and must beg the Favor of you to get the Name changed, if Congress agree to the Officers geting their Paroles” (ALS, DLC:GW). For more on Capt. William Featherstone’s parole, see William Phillips to GW, 6 June; Scull to GW, 18–19 June, and n.1 to that document; John Jay to GW, 20 June; and GW to Jay, 27 June; see also Scull to GW, 3 Aug., and GW to John Beatty, 23 Sept., both in DLC:GW.

The enclosed letter from Thompson corrected information that had prompted congressional action on 3 June. The journal for Congress on that date reads: “The committee to whom was referred the letter from Brigadier General Thompson and Colonel Webb, in behalf of themselves and sundry others, representing, that General Clinton had consented to their retiring into the country on parole, until such time as they shall be called for; and that he required in return that they should obtain permission for Generals Philips and Reidesel, with their aids de camp, and Captain Waterson of the 21st regiment, to go into New York on the same condition; and praying that Congress will be pleased to comply with the said proposal for their parole exchange, brought in a report; Whereupon,

Resolved, That the Commander in Chief be authorized to make such and so many parole exchanges as he shall, from time to time, judge beneficial or expedient” (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 14:679; see also John Jay to GW, 4 June).

Thompson and Col. Samuel Blachley Webb brought their request for parole to the attention of John Jay, president of Congress, in a letter written at Philadelphia on 20 May that in part reads: “We conceive that our long captivity, and the amazeing expence we have necessarily been at entitles us to some little favor from our Country, and most earnestly entreat Congress will be pleased to comply with this our request, that we may continue with our friends ’till such time as an Exchange may be brought about[.] His Excellency General Washington was applied to on the subject, who refered us to Congress. We beg your early attention and interest in this matter—not doubting many happy consequences will arise to the unfortunate on both sides by this Indulgence” (DNA:PCC, item 78). Congress read this letter on 21 May and referred it to a committee (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 14:623).

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