George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Board of War, 22 July 1779

To the Board of War

Head Qrs West point July the 22. 1779


I have now to acknowledge the Honor of Your Several Letters of the 28 Ulto1 and of the 10th 11th 14th & 15th Instant with the several papers & Commissions to which they refer.2

With respect to the Baron De Geismar’s application, I should be very happy to have his Exchange effected; both because it has been uniformly my wish to promote exchanges, and because it would give me pleasure to accomodate the Baron in his peculiar circumstances; but I do not hold myself authorised to indulge him with his parole to return to Germany, which is one part of his request. I wrote to Colo. Bland—to this effect on the 28th Ulto and that I would direct our Commissary of prisoners to make a proposal for his exchange—which I have done. What will be the result I can not tell. If his exchange can not take place, Congress alone can grant his request to return to Germany—if they should deem the measure eligible. I inclose the papers containing his application.3

With respect to the promotion of Field Officers in the line of the 16 Additional Regiments, I am at some loss to determine how it should be made. Before their reduction and incorporation—and at a time when there was some prospect that the whole would continue—A Board of Genl Officers were of opinion upon the Question being put, that it would be best to consider them as forming a particular line and for the Officers to be promoted accordingly.4 I do not however recollect that any promotions took place, while they remained in this situation—and perhaps it may be best, as the line is reduced and several Regiments are incorporated into one—that they should be Regimental. There is an instance in which it has been so.5 If the Board please they may appoint Capn Burows to the Majority in Spencers.6

I will ascertain the number of Men of which Captain McLane’s Troop is to consist—and appoint such Officers as may be necessary agreable to the Resolution transmitted.7

By a Letter of the 9th Inst. from his Excellency Governor Johnson of Maryland—I find the Council has confirmed the appointments of the Four Officers, mention⟨ed⟩ in my Letter to the Board of the 30th of May. A Copy of the Council’s proceedings is inclosed—and I have to request, that Commissions may be made out accordingly.8

The Board in their Letter of the 19th of June mention, that among the Other printed Resolves of Congress transmitted me, they had sent Three setts of Vol. 3d—These never came to hand; and as I could not find them on immediate inquiry after the Others arrived, I conclude they were omitted to be put up through some accident.9 They will be pleased to forward them to me by the first Opportunity.

I transmit the Board Returns of part of the 16 Additional Batallions and Corps not attached to the lines of particular States—agreable to the Resolution of the 15 of March.10 I have &c.

G. Washington

P.S. I thank the Board for the Carolina Intelligence.11

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Illegible material in the draft manuscript has been supplied in angle brackets from the Varick transcript.

1GW is referring to a letter to himself of 28 June from Peter Scull (see General Orders, 8 July, n.2).

2No letters from the Board of War to GW for 10, 11, 14, or 15 July have been found, and enclosures included with these letters have not been identified.

3The enclosed papers from Captain Geismar, a Convention Army prisoner, have not been identified, but see Peter Scull to GW, 18–19 June, n.1. Geismar’s exchange apparently occurred during spring 1780 (see Stone, Riedesel, description begins William L. Stone, trans. Memoirs, and Letters and Journals, of Major General Riedesel, during his Residence in America. 2 vols. Albany, 1868. description ends 2:87–88, 203).

4GW apparently is referring to a board of general officers that convened on 7 Sept. 1778 (see General Orders, 9 Sept. 1778, and n.1 to that document). For disaffection among officers in the Additional Continental Regiments, see GW to John Jay, 27 June.

5At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison wrote and then struck out: “If the principle of lineal promotion had been prefered—the Two first Captains in the line of Additionals ought to have been appointed to the Majorities in Hartleys & patton’s.”

6John Burrowes received a promotion from captain to major in Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment.

7GW is referring to a congressional resolution passed on 13 July (see 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 14:822–23, and GW to Henry Lee, Jr., 30 June, n.3).

8The enclosure has not been identified, but see Thomas Johnson to GW, 9 July, and n.2 to that document.

9See GW to the Board of War, 9 June, and n.23 to that document.

10The enclosed returns have not been identified, but the names of seven officers listed at the end of the draft manuscript suggests that returns came from Maj. Benjamin Whitcomb’s three independent ranger companies and the Additional Continental Regiments of colonels Moses Hazen, Seth Warner, Henry Sherburne, James Livingston, and Henry Jackson. For the congressional resolution of 15 March, see 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 13:316–18.

11For other reports from South Carolina, see Benjamin Lincoln to GW, 5 June and 7 July; see also GW to Lincoln, 30 July.

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