War-Office December 23rd 1782
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s letters of the 16th and 18th instant addressed to the Secretary at War—their enclosures will be attended to, and transmitted. an eligible opportunity offers for South-Carolina tomorrow, by which your letter for General Greene will be forwarded.
The Amazon flag vessel is arrived at Wilmington, from whence the supplies for the British prisoners will be sent to the several posts.
In reply to that part of Your Excellency’s letter which refers to Sir Guy Carleton’s remonstrance on what is termed the cruel treatment of the German prisoners—it is only necessary to remark that what he supposes a hardship is regarded by the prisoners themselves as a benevolent indulgence accorded them by Congress at a time when the British Commanders in chief have neglected them, by refusing to sublist their prisoners.
No constraint is expressed in the act of Congress which grants this permission to the prisoners to dispose of themselves—nor has it even been requisite to employ persuasion.
The British prisoners are daily soliciting the like indulgence—Congress have not yet thought proper to extend it to them.
Those prisoners who still remain confined are by no means rigorously treated—complete rations are issued to them daily, as appears from the returns of their own Officers—their provisions are not only wholesome but palatable—and their accomodations are equal in every respect to their best expectations.
Not a single complaint has been made by the prisoners—and I am warranted in assuring Your Excellency that there has been no cause to induce any.
I have the honor to enclose a late resolve of Congress. I am, with profound respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant
Assistt Secy at War.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.