To James Ash
Mount Vernon, 29th July 1798
I have been duly honored with the receipt of your favour of the 23d Instant.1
As you are known to, and have a reliance on the friendship of the Secretary of War, there can be no doubt but that his recommendation of you to the President of the United States would ensure you a Commission in the line of the army.
With respect to the Gentlemen who are to compose my family as Aids de Camp, so many considerations must combine in the choice of them that I shall delay making it—unless a particular case should occur—until I take the Field. With thanks however for your offer I am Sir Your Most Obedt Hble Servt
ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. In his letter of 23 July from Baltimore seeking an appointment to GW’s staff, Ash mentioned that he “had the honor of being known, to the secretary of war from my youth,” and he expressed the hope that his duties as GW’s aide, which “would facilitate me, in acquiring a stock of military information,” would “be no hindrance to my attendance, at the superior Courts of Maryland twice a year.” Ash wrote James McHenry on 24 Aug. that he “made a tender of my services to Gen: Washington, with a condition that I should have it in my power to attend the General Court twice a year, unless called into service” (Steiner, Life and Correspondence of McHenry, description begins Bernard C. Steiner. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. Cleveland, 1907. description ends 333–34). See also Ash’s earlier letter to GW, 8 Mar. 1798. When listing, and commenting on, the candidates for army appointments from Maryland at their meeting in Philadelphia in November and December 1798, GW and major generals Alexander Hamilton and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney listed Ash as “William Ashe,” a “Drunkard” and “a Lawyer” who “Wont do” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:308).