George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 24 September 1779

From Major General Horatio Gates

providence 24th September 1779


I have the Honour to inclose for Your Excellency’s Determination, a petition I have just received from the Canadian Soldiers in Col: James Livingston’s Regiment.1 Baron Stuben assured me, he would make such Report of that Regiment to your Excellency, as would induce some orders to be taken thereupon, the most Beneficial to the public Service; at present they are a very unprofitable Corps to the States—The Men in it are greatly disgusted, and desert very fast. They were a few Days ago but 109 Rank and File.

Yesterday I received the other Inclosure from Lt Col. Macpherson, and Captn Ross of the 73d Regt. such Orders as Your Excellency is pleased to give upon Their petition, I shall immediately send to them at Cambridge.2

I should be Glad to Know from Your Excellency, when the Operation of the Resolve of Congress of the 18th of last Month, for raising the Subsistence Money of the Army to One Hundred Dollars for each extra Ration, is to Commence.3 The Militia who came here for the Month of August, to Supply the place of Jackson’s Regiment, Demanded it from that Day. I have Declined paying it to any Corps, until I receive Your Excellencys Orders on The Subject.4 How are the Staff to be consider’d.

Tuesday I received Your Excellencys Letter of The 14th Instant from Fish-kill,5 Your Orders with Regard to Holding the Troops in readyness to March shall be Stricktly Obeyed—I have a ⟨small⟩ Fast Sailing Sloop.

ADf, NHi: Gates Papers; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to Samuel Huntington, 2 Oct., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1Gates probably enclosed a copy of a petition addressed to him, written “in Behalf of All the Frenchmen in Colo. James Livingstons [1st Canadian] Regt,” dated 16 Sept. and signed by Corporal Jaques Laframboise “au nom des Canadiens ci mentionne”; in the petition, the soldiers requested their discharge after three years’ service because the regiment had not returned to Canada, as promised by the officers (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ).

2Gates most likely enclosed a copy of a 16 Sept. letter, addressed to him from Lt. Col. Duncan Macpherson and Capt. David Ross (NHi: Gates Papers), containing—in almost identical language—the same request they made in their letter to GW of 14 September.

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 14:978; see also General Orders, 29 August.

4On 2 Oct., GW replied regarding the commencement of the extra pay for officers that had been specified in the resolution. However, he requested direction from Congress on its applicability to militia (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 2 Oct.). Congress replied with a clarifying resolution, which GW forwarded to Gates (see Huntington to GW, 9 Oct., and GW to Gates, 22 Oct. [NHi: Gates Papers]).

5GW’s 14 Sept. letter to Gates was addressed from headquarters at West Point.

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