George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel John Lamb, 6 August 1779

From Colonel John Lamb

West-Point, Augst 6th 1779.


O[b]serving by the General Orders of yesterday, that, a Board of General Officers; is to Sit this Day, to settle the relative Rank, of the Colos. of Artillery; I have to request, the favour of your Excellency, to direct, that Lt Colo. Stevens, attend the Board, to ascertain certain Facts, respecting the pretentions of Colo. Crane.1 I have the honour to be; with the greatest Respect, your Excellency’s Most Obet Hume Servt.

LB, NHi: Lamb Letterbooks, 1778–1782.

GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton replied to Lamb on this date: “The General had just mounted his horse when your note arrived and did not see it. But if he had seen it, I do not believe he would have consented to the attendance of Lt Col. Stevens—’Tis his plan, that as some of the parties are at a distance and cannot appear in person to support their claims, the affair should be taken up intirely from the written representations and documents of all concerned; and as an auxiliary to this General Knox who is at the head of the corps and supposed to be the best acquainted with facts is desired to attend the Board to give information respecting them—I think you will see the equity of this mode of proceeding and the consequences that would be drawn from your Lt Colonel being permitted to attend” (NHi: Lamb Papers). For Brig. Gen. Henry Knox’s attendance at the board of general officers, see GW to a Board of General Officers, this date.

1On 7 and 8 Aug., Lamb submitted two letters to the board of general officers stating his claims to seniority of rank in the artillery corps (DLC:GW; Lamb misdated the 7 Aug. letter as 7 July). On this date GW passed to the board a letter which he had received in July from Lt. Col. John Popkin, which presented the case for the seniority of Col. John Crane’s regiment of artillery in the artillery corps (see GW to a Board of General Officers, this date, and Popkin to GW, 8 July). The board, after a delay to obtain information and papers, met on 8 Aug. and conveyed its decisions on the ranks of the colonels to GW (see A Board of General Officers to GW, 8 Aug.), which were then published in general orders on 10 August. Col. John Crane received seniority over Lamb. For Lamb’s dissatisfaction with the board’s decision and the ultimate resolution of the affair, see Lamb to GW, 12 Aug., and GW to Lamb, 13 Aug., n.3.

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