George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Francis Mentges, 12 October 1787

From Francis Mentges

Philadelphia the 12 8bre 1787


Some time ago I presented a memorial to the Honorable the Congress respecting the Command I had from your Excellency to superintend the Hospitals in the state of Virginia, and praying for a Compensation for Extra services. To support that Claim, I inclosed your Excel. letter of the 28th March 1782, in which your Excel. signified the highest approbation of my Conduct on that Duty—Congress has taken my Memorial into Consideration and appointed a Committee to report thereon, I am now informed by a friend of mine in Congress, that it was necessary to produce to Congress a Certificate from your Excel., when I was ordered and recalled from that Command, I believe that your Excel. remembers that General St Clair marched with the Pennsy. line from york town in Virginia the 4th of November 1781—and the 5th Novr your Excel. was pleased to order me to superintend the Hospitals in the different parts of Virginia, but the latter your Excel. can not ascertain unless your Excel. will believe me that it was the 28th of March 1782, and previous to your Excellencys orders from want of necessaries for the sicke to support them, which I mentioned in my letter—I am sorry to call your Excel. attention from busseness of greater moment, necessity obliges me to request of your Excel. for a Certific⟨ate⟩ your Excel. will be the best judge wheter I am intitulled to a Compensation1—certain I am that the Command not only in superintending the Hospitals, but more in paying attention to British ⟨illegible⟩ and collecting the prisoners in the Divers part of Virginia, have been very expensive to me, and were executed by me by an order from Count Rochambeau—I beg you will be pleased to answer my Request, and I am with the highest Esteem your Excel. Most Ob. humble Servt

F. Mentges


1Mentges’ memorial to Congress asking for compensation for extra service while superintending the hospitals in Virginia in 1781–82 is dated 23 Feb. 1787 (DNA:PCG, item 41). On the recommendation of the Board of Treasury, Congress on 18 April denied Mentges’s petition (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 32:211). GW replied on 27 Oct.: “Sir, In answer to your favor of the 12th I shall inform you that without unpacking my public Papers (which would be very troublesome to me as they are volumenous and in a variety of [ ] I cannot ascertain with precision the commencement of your superintendance of the Hospital in Willimsburg—and if these ware to be unpacked I might not come at the date of your recall from this duty. I should suppose you acted under written orders in both cases—these therefore will go fully to the points you want to establish.

“That you must have taken charge of the Hospital in Wiliamsburg at the time you say—viz. the 5th of November 1781 cant I believe, admit of no doubt as all the distributions were then making and as far as the recollection of circumstances will aid me, I think you must have remained on that duty till the latter part of the spring following. If this testimoney of the matter, and a thorough persuation of your having discharged the trust reposed in you with intelligence and fidility can avail your cause this cirtificate may be adduced from. I am Sir &c. G. Washington” (LB, DLC:GW).

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