George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 9 July 1779

From Major General Nathanael Greene

New Windsor July 9th 177⟨9⟩


I find in yesterdays orders I am directed to attend the Board of General Offic⟨ers⟩ for settleing the Rank of the Line of Artillery.

your Excellency must be sensible th⟨at⟩ the1 duties of the quarter masters Department are a sufficent employment for the most active mind. I consider my being put up⟨on⟩ these Boards therefore a public injury; bu⟨t⟩ as I seem to be excluded in the present arra⟨nge⟩ment from the honors of the Line,2 to be obl⟨igd⟩ to do the druggeries of it on one hand, with out partaking of the advantages on the othe⟨r⟩ is a personal grieveance.

There is no person more averse to complaining of either injuries or difficulties than I am; but I could wish to be excusd from this kind of business; unless the nature of it, and the circumstances of the Army forbid it; in which case, I shall chearfully do double duty, however fatigueing it may be to my self, or inconvenient to my other affairs.3 I am with the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient humble Sert

Nath. Greene Q.M.G.

ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, DNA:PCC, item 173. Mutilated text on the ALS is supplied within angle brackets from the draft manuscript.

1Greene wrote the word “extensive” at this place on his draft manuscript.

2Greene again stated this grievance in a letter to Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall written at West Point on 26 July: “I shall be much oblig’d to you to give me your opinion, both as a friend and an Officer, whether I have not the same right to command in time of action, (having reserv’d my rank) as if I did not hold the Quarter Master Generals Office. … If my holding the Quarter Master’s office is to exclude me from the honors of the line, I shall know how to take my measures” (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 4:265). For GW’s refutation of Greene’s concerns, see his letter to Greene, 3 Sept. (DLC: Nathanael Greene Papers).

3Despite his complaints, Greene participated in this arrangement of artillery officers (see Board of General Officers to GW, 8 Aug., DLC:GW).

Index Entries