George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath and a Board of General Officers, 3 August 1779

To Major General William Heath and
a Board of General Officers

West Point Augst 3d 1779


I hoped after the pains you had taken to arrange the Massachusetts line1—that neither of us would be troubled farther upon the subject. In this however I have been disappointed. When I was about to transmit the arrangement to Congress—the inclosed memorial from sundry Officers was presented me by Col. Bayley.2 It seems from their state, that Mr Banister was originally appointed Paymaster to Shepards Regiment. I learn from Col. Bayley that this was the case—and that he acted in this capacity a few months, till Learneds promotion as a Brigadier—and ever after as a Brigade Major to the Brigade assigned him, which, since his resignation, has been generally commanded by Col. Bayley in whose regiment the memorialists are. I also inclose a copy of the resolutions of Congress respecting the introduction of Brigade Majors and Paymasters into the line.3 The Board will be pleased to consider the memorial and to confirm alter or intirely do away the arrangement of Mr Banister—as they may think best.4 I am convinced that no arrangement that can be made will give universal satisfaction.5 I have the honor to be with great respect & esteem Gentlemen Yr Most Obet, servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See General Orders, 23 July, and n.1 to that document; see also General Orders, 1 and 2 Aug., and Heath to GW, 31 July.

2The enclosure has not been identified.

John Bailey (1730–1810) served as lieutenant colonel of Col. John Thomas’s Massachusetts Battalion from May to June 1775 and then as colonel of that regiment from July to December 1775. He became colonel of the new 23rd Continental Regiment in January 1776 and served as its commander until November 1776, when he became colonel of the newly organized 2d Massachusetts Regiment. He continued to serve as its commander until he left the army in October 1780.

3See 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 11:542–43.

4For Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall’s desire to have Seth Banister appointed to rank of major in the line, see McDougall to GW, 14 May.

5GW transmitted the arrangement to Congress on 5 Aug. with extensive comments (see GW’s first letter to John Jay of that date).

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