George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Arthur St. Clair, 17 January 1781

Mr Hoopers near Trenton Janry 17th 1781


In Obedience to your Excellencys Desire by your favour of the 12th, I set out the night before last from Morris Town and got to this Place this Morning, where I have had an interview with Colonell Barber. My Information with Respect to the Negotiation which I communicated on the 15th was right—The Terms of it are that all those enlisted for the Bounty of Twenty Dollars, and whose Enlistments express that they are to serve for three Years or the War, are to receive their Discharges; and those also who have been engaged for the Bounty of one hundred and twenty Dollars under a like Stipulation; where the Enlistments cannot be produced the bulk of the Soldiers is admitted, and as it is the Case that many of the Enlistments cannot be produced they swear away without any Compunction—It seems there was a Necessity for proceeding to Business before there was time to get those of the first and second Regiments down from the Hutts, and in Consequence, the greatest part of these two Regiments are already discharged, and all the third except about sixty, indeed I do not expect that many will, under these Circumstances, be retained in any of them. Those that are, receive a furlough for forty Days, and Places of Rendevouz are appointed them, in different Parts of Pennsylvania, where they are to assemble at the Expiration of that time—The Arms are delivered up, as they are discharged or furloughed put on Board Shallops, and sent to Philadelphia. The Artillery, which they have given up, is also sent there. from this your Excellency will see that it is unnecessary to send any detachment on Account of the Mutineers, as in a few Days the whole Line will certainly be dissipated but whether it may not be necessary to post some more Troops upon the Communication you will be best able to judge.

In my last I mentioned that I had reason to believe that the Ennemys Troops were returned from Staaten Island, but I have since seen Colonell Barber, who assured me that on friday last they were still upon the Island—That Sir Henry had no Accounts from the People he had sent out, nor did even know where the discontented Troops were. It is most probable that he will remain there untill he obtains that Information, which one would think he must have had long ere this as the Spies were exceuted on Thursday last.

We have it reported that the French Fleet with ten thousand Troops are arrived at Rhode Island—in that Case we shall the less miss the Pennsylvanians.

I informed your Excellency that I should order the Jersey Detachment from Chatham for the Hutts but in a Conference with Colonell Barber I thought it better, to allow him, as soon as it should be asscertained that the Ennemy have returned, to march the Detachment to Pompton, leaving a Guard for the preservation of the Hutts and the Stores at Morris Town.

I mentioned a Wish to your Excellency to return for some little Time to Pennsylvania—I am afraid I shall not be able to wait for your Permission, having been attacked by the Gout last Night, and am now in very great Pain—I shall give it a tryal however—if it goes off—again will—if not I must hobble Home the best way I can. With every Sentiment of Respect I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servant,

Ar. St Clair

Governor Reed and the Committee of Congress have left Trenton There Remains Genl Potter, Collo. Atle , Blair McClennachan and Capt. Saml Morris as Commissioners to enquire into the Soldiers Claims.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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