George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 20 July 1779

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Petersburg [Va.] July 20th 1779


I this moment Recd Your Excellencys favour of the 28th June by post. I cannot but be unhappy that Your letter reached me hear, when I am Shure You had reason to expect that I was at least on my march to Join the Southern Armey. I am more un[h]appy that I can’t with any Degree of Certainty Say when I shall be able to move a Nother detacht Intierly owing to the want of Clothing which I have no certainty of ever geting. the Govr and Counsil instructed me to offer money in lue of Clothing by which Means we Compleeted about two Hundred men these togather with the Old soldiers enabled me to make a Detachment of 400 Rank & file which Marched the 27th of June under the Comd of Colo. parker1 Colo. Blands Regt of Lt Dragoons Marched about the Same time2 the Very great Desertion among the New Leavies made it Necessary for me to detain one troop of Colo. Baylors Regt3 (which was the whole of that Regt that has Yet Reached this Place) for the purpose of persuing Deserters, who are very Numerous. I beg Your Excellency would impower me to Execute Some proper Objects, or I am fearfull we Shall Loose the greater part of them. I could also wish to be Authorised to receive Resignations as there are two or three officers eternally pressing me for leave to resign I am Shure the Service will not be injured by it & therfore have taken the Commission of a Lt Carney. a Rascul who Ought not to Have Born the rank of a Corporal, but not being able to Support a Charge Suffecent to Brake him he offerd his Resignation I thaught it a favourable oppertunity to get Him aut of the Service I took the liberty of Receiving it & Shall be happy if it meets Your Excys approbation.4

as for what Respects Colo. Temples letter I have found two much trooth in it.5 I have in consequince of it been obligd to Issue my warrant for the payment of Several Sums of money this was a Step that I was by no means Outhoris’d to take Had not Necessaty and the Credit of the armey Compeld the Measure in doing of which I hope I was not wrong. the People in this State have by some Means or other Been so used By our Auditors & others that they will not take Certificates, not even in the time of the Invasion Marching the Militia for their own security.6 I would before this have Sent a return of the old Soldiers to Genl Woodford, but as they still continue to come in I have thaught it Best to git the whole in that they Might be included in the Same return—I shall immediately Acquaint the Govr of Your instructions Respecting the appointment of the officers. but I assure You Sir I have But little hopes of giting proper Gentlemen to except of Ensensces in the Continental armey. especially at this time when the State is appointing officers for the State troops upon a Much Better footing,7 I wish to Send a return of Our Strength but the post cannot wait & murst therfore defer it until next weak, however I can Say that our total Strength at this place Exclusive of Colo. parkers Detachment is a little upwards of 700. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant

Chs Scott

ALS, DLC:GW. GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote on the docket of this letter that GW’s letter to Scott of 27 July “anticipates the whole of this.”

1Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson remarked on this action to spur recruiting in a letter to South Carolina governor John Rutledge, written at Williamsburg on 11 Nov., that in part reads: “It has been matter of real mortification to me that the whole of the troops ordered from this state on the Southern service under Genl. Scott have not yet been marched on. The business of recruiting in this country being difficult, the assembly in their act under which these men were raised, as an encouragement, declared that they should receive every article of clothing enumerated in the act before they should leave the state, and that to march them out of it before they should receive them, should amount to a discharge. Finding it impossible to procure all these articles, we offered liberal compensation in money to those who would march on without their clothes. This prevailed with so many as composed the first division which went on to you in June. Our efforts since that enabled us to equip about as many more which accordingly marched the last month; but those still remaining are as yet unequipped” (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 3:179–80; see also Scott to GW, 10 June, and n.3 to that document).

2Lt. Col. Benjamin Temple then commanded Col. Theodorick Bland’s 1st Continental Dragoons.

3Col. George Baylor commanded the 3d Continental Dragoons.

4Scott is referring to Martin Carney, a resident of Botetourt County, Va., who served as a quartermaster sergeant in the 8th Virginia Regiment until his promotions to quartermaster in June 1777 and ensign in September 1778. Later that same month, Carney rose to lieutenant and transferred to the 4th Virginia Infantry. He retired from the army in January 1780 but subsequently acted as quartermaster at Fort Jefferson along the Mississippi River. Carney later received a bounty land warrant and apparently settled in Kentucky.

5Scott is referring to a letter of 6 June from Temple to GW, which has not been found, but see GW to Temple, 28 June.

6For the British raid on Virginia during May, see William Maxwell to GW, 3 May, and n.2 to that document.

7For the temporary appointment of twenty ensigns in eight Virginia regiments, see General Orders, 22 July.

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