George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 10 January 1799

From James McHenry

War Department 10 Jany 1799

Dear Sir

I received this morning your letter of the 6th Inst.

I was very certain you had made a short estimate of your expenses when you thought two months pay would cover them. I have therefore directed the month of October to be added and the amount Dolls. 523 20/100 to be remitted you in the usual manner which I hope you will receive. This I presume will about face your expences.1

The letters adviseing the gentlemen whose appointments have been concurred in by the Senate will go to them to-morrow. I only received the list the evening of the day before yesterday. The greatest number of the nominations for the Infantry officers from Virginia have been post-poned by the Senate, ’till the arrival of the Senators from that State. Gibbs was so strongly objected to by the Massachusetts representatives and senators, that his name was not sent in.2

One printed copy of the regulations for the uniforms of the army will accompany the notice to each officer of his appointment for his government. Inclosed are copies of the regulations and letter.3

The Cavalry officers including those from Virginia have been all concurred in, except Hite, whose name was left out of the nominations. He and his connections who live in a very federal part of the country are stated to be antigovernmental and Jacobins, and that his appointment would excite great disgust.4 I am Dear Sir Yours most truely & sincerely

James McHenry


1Samuel Lewis, Sr., a clerk in the War Department, wrote to GW on this date: “I have been directed by the Secretary of War, to transmit you the enclosed Post Note for five hundred and twenty three dollars, and twenty Cents, being the amount of a Warrant issued on account of your Pay Subsistence and Forage for the month of October 1798. You will be pleased to transmit me your receipt for the same” (CSmH). On 15 Jan. 1799 GW recorded in his Day Book $523.20 “Cash recd on a Warrant from the War Office for pay, subsistence and forage for the Month of October,” and on the next day he wrote to Lewis: “Sir, Your favor of the 10th instant, with its contents, came duly to hand—Enclosed is a receipt for the Post note of five hundred & twenty three dollars, and twenty Cents, on a/c of the Warrant issued from the War Office for my use. I am Sir Yr Obedient Hble Servant Go: Washington” (ALS, PHi: Washington MSS).

2For reference to the lists of men recommended as officers for the New Army by GW and generals Hamilton and Pinckney, which President Adams submitted to the Senate on 31 Dec. 1798, see McHenry to GW, 28 Dec. 1798, n.3. McHenry on 22 Jan. 1799 sent GW the names of twenty-seven men on the generals’ lists who had not been offered commissions, among whom was Caleb Gibbs, who had been recommended to command a Massachusetts regiment. For further correspondence regarding the rejection of Gibbs, see GW to McHenry, 25 Mar. 1799, and note 1 of that document, 23 April, and Caleb Gibbs to GW, 21 April 1799, and note 3 of that document. In a letter to Alexander Hamilton of 21 Jan. in which he enclosed the list of men not offered commissions, McHenry gives an explanation for the rejection of each and gives the grounds on which Sen. Benjamin Goodhue and several of the Massachusetts congressmen called for the rejection of Caleb Gibbs (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:428–31).

3A copy of “Uniform for the Army of the United States” dated 9 Jan. 1799 and issued by McHenry was enclosed with this letter. The regulations are the same as those suggested by GW in his second report to McHenry of 13 Dec. 1798, printed as a note in GW to McHenry, 13 Dec. 1798 (first letter).

4George Hite was the son of Jacob and Frances Beale Hite who along with their younger children were killed in South Carolina by Indians in 1776 when young George was a student at William and Mary. During the Revolutionary War, beginning in September 1780, Hite served as an ensign in the 8th Virginia Regiment, and in 1782 and 1783 he was a lieutenant in the 3d Continental Dragoons. At this time he lived in Charles Town in Virginia and was married to Deborah Rutherford Hite, the daughter of Robert Rutherford (1728–1803), a Republican congressman from Virginia’s fifth district from 1793 until he lost his seat in 1797 to Daniel Morgan. GW and the two major generals had recommended that Hite be made a captain in the cavalry. McHenry wrote Hamilton that Hite was rejected as being “anti-governmental and of French principles” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:428–31).

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