George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Armstrong, 7 July 1779

From John Armstrong

Philada 7th July 1779

Dear General

Major Nichols having been Nominated by the Board of War as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania line, and afterward disappointed of that rank by the judgment of a Board of Officers, has I find for some time past been indulgeing in himself that Spirit of resignation but too general in our Army at present—His better reflexion however has led him to observe that Several other Officers in the Same or a Similar predicament have found themselves Obliged to Submit to the decision of that Board whereby his principal Objections appear to be alleviated & his natural wish is to return to the Service again excited—This temper encouraged by any advice I cou’d give, has produced the following resolution, that if agreeable to your Excellency to grant him a Brevet as Lt Coll or any other mode whereby that rank may be reserved to him, he will chearfully Serve as a Volunteer or in any other way your Excellency may think proper to point out, until the next vacancy—Nothing but the importance of the present labouring Service wou’d justify my asking a line in answer to the above, whereby Major Nichols may be determined1—nor my farther hint for One to Captn Kersley at Wioming,2 knowing as I do the numerous & heavy avocations of the present hour. I heard a good discourse the other day on these words—Be not weary in Well-doing for in due time you Shall reap, if ye faint not. I am Your Excellencys unfeigned friend And humbl. Servt

John Armstrong

This afternoon came Genl Lincolns dispatches into Congress which you will Soon enough See for all they contain—The best I can at present infer from them is that Charlestown is in no immediate danger— and the Worst, that the Enemy may get away if they please.3



1For the resignation of Francis Nichols, formerly major in the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment, see Board of General Officers to GW, 23 April, and n.2 to that document; see also Peter Scull to GW, 22 Feb., n.1. For GW’s refusal to reinstate Nichols, see his letter to Armstrong of 13 July.

2For Armstrong’s prior request to have Samuel Kearsley reintroduced into the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment at his former rank of captain, which GW refused, see Armstrong to GW, 25–29 June, and n.8 to that document.

3Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s letter of 4 June that Congress received on this date has not been identified, but see John Jay to GW, 9 July, 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 14:807. This information apparently confirmed that prior reports of an overwhelming American success in the south indeed were erroneous (see Jay to GW, 4 and 7 June, and GW to James Clinton, 13 June; see also GW to John Augustine Washington, 20 June, and n.7 to that document).

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