George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Valentine, 21 October 1797

From Jacob Valentine

Richmond Octr 21st 1797.


You will please excuse me for the Liberty I have taken in my present address. I with a great deal of pleasure inform you that I was one that had the Honour to serve under you as Commander in Chief of the Army of the United States during the Revolution in America in the Rank of a Captain in the Regiment commanded by Colo. George Gibson. I am by Birth the Son of Jacob Valentine decd who served many years in the Character of a Stewert to the Estate of the late Burwell Basset deed on his plantations in the County of King William, it was their where I first drew the Vital Air. Inclosed I have transmitted to you for your inspection an extract from the Laws of Virginia which possibly may have escaped your notice.1 Should you think proper to condecend to give me your answer with your Opinion upon the said extract a letter directed to me in this City by Post the same will be acknowledged by Sir with every Sentement of Esteem Your Most Obedt Huml. Servt

Jacob Valentine


Jacob Valentine (d. 1824) served for three years as an officer in the 1st Regiment of the Virginia State Line under Col. George Gibson (d. 1791). Valentine, a son of Jacob Valentine (c.1720–1774) and Sarah Bachelder Valentine of King William County, lived in Princess Anne County.

1Valentine quotes the act of the Virginia legislature of 1780 providing for bounties being paid by county commissioners to those enlisting in the army. GW replied on 30th Oct.: “Sir Your letter of the 21st instt has been duly received, but ignorant as I am of the motive which has induced you to send me an extract of the Law of 1780 relative to recruits, for the army, I know not what reply to make.

“Matters of that sort, I never had any thing to do with, as Commander in Chief of the American Army; and never having speculated in any Soldiers certificate, or Rights of any kind or nature whatsoever, I am, perhaps, as little competent to give an opinion thereon (if I understood your meaning) as any man in the United States. I am Sir Your Very Hble Servant Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, NN: Washington Papers).

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