west point 23th agust 1782.
Nothing in the world Could have impress’d me with a more sensible grief, than that which I experiencd yesterday from the knowledge of having incurd your excellencys disapprobation; god knows the most flattering reward; I expectd for my service in america, was the esteem and Confidence of your excellency, as a testimony of that kind would have acquired me a greater reputation, and more glory among my Country men than any other mark of Dignity whatever. how painfully sensible I am of my misfortune, no person Can judge better than your excellency, since I Can aver, with great truth, that during a service of fifteen years, I never untill now experienced the smalest degree of Censure, from any superior officer. I shall not attempt to justify my Conduct, in the Case of the sappers and miners; your excellencys expectations being disappointed is too incontestable an evidence, of guilt on my part. but if after what I have already said, your excellency Could suffer me, the indulgence to say aught in extenuation of my fault; it would be to observe that I have ever untill now, Concivd the Conduct of general duportail to determine in practice, [that] of all others engineers relative to the Corps of Sappers; and indeed, I dont recollect an instance of general du[portail] or Colonel gouvion having orderd the Sappers to be instructed in the art of Blowing.
in obedience to your excellencys Commands, I have directed that three men, from each Company should be employd Constantly with the Blowe[rs] taken from the line, and an officer from the Corps is appointed to over [see] them, & I shall myself pay the most dilligent attention to their instruction, and hope in a little time to be able to send those blowers detached from the infantery, back to their respective regiments. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, your excellencys Most humble and most obedient servant.
Villefranche Majr of [Engr]
DLC: Papers of George Washington.