George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Caleb Brewster, 10 June 1784

To Caleb Brewster

Mount Vernon 10th June 1784


I believe you have been misinformed as to a resolve of Congress, allowing officers on separate commands, extra-pay—I have heard of no such resolution—on the contrary, that these allowances were withdrawn. It was with great difficulty General Knox could obtain compensation for his extra-expences during his commd at the post of West-point—where, from the nature of it, he was absolutely obliged to encounter them, or turn strangers out of his house. I know also that application was made in favor of Lt Colo. Hull, who, whilst he was on the lines—exposed to the visits; and in a manner compelled to entertain a number of British officers, & had it not at his option to avoid expence—but with what success it was made I have never heard. this however I do know, that there were powerful objections made to both, lest it should open a door to a multitude of applications which Congress were determined not to comply with.1

Lest I shou’d be mistaken, in supposing there is no such resolve as you allude to, I enclose a Certificate which may be made use of, if there is.2

I hope you soon will be, if you are not already, perfectly recovered of your wound—my best wishes are offered for it; being with esteem & regard Dr Sir Yrs &c.

G. Washington


1It is not known when or by what means Caleb Brewster (d. 1827) made his inquiry, but GW’s certificate (see note 2) makes clear its exact nature.

2The text of the enclosed certificate, dated 10 June 1784, is: “I certify that in the year 1778, whilst the American Army lay at the white plains, it became necessary to station an officer & a few men, on the Sound to keep open a communication with the City of New York by the way of Long Island, for the purpose of my secret corrispondence: that Capt: Lt Brewster of the 2d regiment of Artillery was chosen for this service—that circumstances made it necessary to continue him therein until the close of the War—and as far as I know or believe—that he conducted the business with fidelity, judgment & bravery, having received a wound whilst he was on that duty, of which, I am informed, he is not yet recovered” (LB, DLC:GW). Brewster was wounded on Long Island Bay in December 1782 but remained in the Continental army until June 1783.

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