George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Abraham Skinner, 2 October 1779

To Abraham Skinner

[West Point] October the 2d 1779 5 0C. P.M.


I have this minute received a Letter from the Board of War, accompanied by a Transcript of an Act of Congress of the 28 Ulto of which the inclosed are Copies.1 You will observe by these—that Generals Philips & Riedsel and the Officers with them are prevented for the present, from going into New York—and that Easton—Bethlem or Reading are mentioned by the Board as the most proper places for their Residence till the further Orders of Congress are known.2 Bethlem appears to me to be the best, and most convenient of the three. I request that you will accompany the Gentlemen there, and do all in your power for their accomodation.3 As soon as you have assisted in arranging matters you will return to Camp. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt sert


Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found, but see GW to the Board of War, this date; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 28 Sept., and 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 15:1114. The enclosures have not been identified.

2For the background of these orders to detain major generals William Phillips and Frederich Adolph von Riedesel and for the ultimate resolution of the affair, see GW to John Jay, 24–27 Aug., and n.12 to that document, and Phillips to GW, 30 Sept., and n.1 to that document.

3On 10 Oct., GW wrote to Skinner from headquarters at West Point: “I am sorry to find by your letter, that you have departed from my instructions of the 2d instant; in which I very particularly gave the preference to Bethlehem. It is my wish, that you immediately accompany Major General Philips—Baron de Riedesel and the other officers of Convention to Bethlehem, and that you do every thing in your power for their accommodation and convenience” (Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). Skinner’s letter to GW has not been found.

GW enclosed his 10 Oct. letter to Skinner with a letter of the same date to deputy quartermaster general Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., dated from headquarters at West Point, reading: “I leave the inclosed letter to Mr Skinner, commissary of Prisoners, open, lest he should be gone from Easton before this arrives. Should this be the case, I have to request, that you will take immediate steps for the removal of Major Genl Philips, and the other Convention officers, to Bethlehem as directed in Mr Skinners letter. It is necessary their departure should take place as soon as possible” (Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

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