George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William McLeod, 10 September 1779

From William McLeod

Elizabeth Town [N.J.] Septr 10th 1779


The purpose of this letter is to signify to your Exellency that I am a Capt. in the Royal Artillery, and at the end of last war being indulged with his Majesty’s leave to retire on my pay, have ever Since resided in this Town, where at the beginning of the present Troubles I was made a Prisoner on parole to continue my residence here as usule or else where in Jersey: till exchang’d or releas’d by order of the Commander in Chief of the American army: having no other means to suport my self and family than by Drawing my pay from England therefor hope your Excellency will be pleasd to favour me with Permission to pass to New york for a few days to negotiat bills of Exchange for that purpose, and leave to bring out with me a few Necessaries which myself and family are much in Need of. I am Sir your Excellencys mos Obedt Sevt

Wm McLeod

ALS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman docketed the letter: “Ansd and desired to make application to Govr Livingston.”

GW’s reply has not been found, but McLeod wrote to New Jersey governor William Livingston on 13 October. For Livingston’s reply refusing McCleod permission to go to New York, see Livingston to McLeod, 3 Nov. in Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 3:194. In 1780 McLeod again sought GW’s grant of a pass to New York (see McLeod to GW, and James Caldwell to GW, 18 May 1780, both DLC:GW). No response from GW has been found.

William McLeod (MacLeod; d. 1782), of Elizabeth, N.J., became a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery Regiment in April 1744. He served in America during the French and Indian War, and he participated both in Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock’s disastrous expedition in 1755 and in Brig. Gen. James Wolfe’s successful campaign to capture Quebec in 1759. In October 1758, McLeod was promoted to captain in the regiment, and, at the end of the war, he retired on full pay. In 1775 McLeod accepted an appointment as an ensign in the British 52d Regiment. However, in July of that year, while trying to embark at New York to join the British army at Boston, he was arrested by the order of the Provincial Congress of New York and sent back to the Whig committee in Elizabeth. He remained a prisoner on parole there from 1776 until 1780. He died at Fort George, N.Y., in March 1782, while holding the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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