Huts Massachusetts Line Jany 11. 1783.
The inclosed Letter I recd Yesterday from Lt Thomas Cole of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment requesting the benefit of retire’g from service on the Provision made by Congress in their Resolve of the 7th of August last.
I should not have troubled your Excellency on the subject of it, but it appears that his present situation is not from any neglect of his, but to Colo. Shepards leave’g service before Lt Cole’s Letter could possibly reach him.
Lt Colo. Mellon informs me Lt Cole mentioned to Colo. Shepard previous to his going on furlough his determination (provided his friends would assist him in business) to retire on the above mentioned Resolve, he being at that time a Junior Officer—at the final arrangement of the Lieutenants in the Line on the 31st Ultmo their was thirteen more of that grade that was necessary on the present Establishment of the Army.
I beg your Excellencys direction in order that Lt Cole may conduct himself accordingly—I am with the Highest Esteem & regard your Excellencies most Obt humbe Servt
Henry Jackson Colonel
4th Massa. Regiment
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Providence Decr 26th 1782
Upon my arrival here my Friends made me a generous offer to go into business, and the 4 Instant I wrote Colonel Shepard on the subject; requesting he would be pleased to return me as an Officer who was entitled and determined to retire the first of January on the provision made by Congress for Officers in my situation: but Colonel Sprout informs me that he either left Camp before my letter arrived, or that he neglected to mention the contents of it in Season to the Board appointed to settle the Arrangement. He also informs me that you have succeeded him in the command of the 4th Regiment which I am very happy to hear, being fully persuaded that the whole regiment must be perfectly well satisfied with their Lot.
From a knowledge of your readiness at all times to serve the distressed when in your power, I am induced to lay before you the present state of my embarrassment which took its origine from the failure of my letter to Colonel Shepard, concerning my retiring from service. previous to my departure from Camp I informed him that I should, provided my Friends would put me into business, grasp at the present opportunity to retire from service—and taking for granted that he must have recd my letter in season, entered upon the business proposed by my friends, and they expect that I pay that steady attention to business with is necessary. The case being thus with me, if I cannot obtain permission to retire upon the establishment, it will be equally ruinous to which course I take, for if I defend my present business, I shall loose not only the confidence of my friends, but the benefit of their present good intentions towards me. & if I persist in leaving the service, shall forfeit all pretention to a future reward for past Levies, which would be very crewil indeed. I hope both you and the rest of the principled gentlemen of the line will take my case into serious consideration, and endeavor to obtain for me a discharge upon the establisment; as it will plainly appear that the failure of my letter only, has drawen me into this disagreeable predicament. I am Dear Colonel your obt sert