Greenfield Jany 20th 1783
At the earnest Sollicitation of Mr Banks, of this place, I have been prevailed on to write Your Excellency respecting his Son Thos Banks, who deserted from the Regt about six Weeks ago, joined Col. Thompson’s Corps, & this morning returned & delivered himself up to me at this place. I am not willing to become an Advocate for a Person guilty of so heineous a Crime, but this much would observe that when he left us the Officer concluded, from his former good Character, that he had been lead away by some other who deserted at the same time. As a Soldier he has generally behaved himself well in the Regt, & if Your Excellency should suppose him a Proper Subject of Pardon, without injuring Service, I cannot but hope his future good Conduct will justify the measure.
His Father has proposed to me to procure a Substitute for him, who has served three Years in the Army with reputation. I have given him no promise to either request, but have refered him to Your Excellency for Directions, & shall hold the Soldier in Custody until Your Excellency’s Pleasure is known.
Yesterday one of the Enemies Gallies took a Vessel close under our Shoar, upon which I immediately threw about forty Men on board two fast sailing Vessels & some boats with a View to board her. They Pursued her & had almost come up with her, when She cut loose her two boats, & under Cover of a thick fog, which very suddenly came up, She made her Escape. I was the more anxious to Capture this Gally, as She has for some time been the only cruizing Vessel in the Sound, and a Principal Protector of Trade. Our boats at the same time fell in with and took some People from this Shoar, who had been to Long Island on the trading Plan, and were returning with Goods—I shall thank your Excellency for an order of Condemnation against the two boats taken from the Enemy, that the avails may be divided among the Captors.
I had the honor to write Your Excellency on the 4th inst. inclosing other Letters, which I hope come safe to hand.
Since the arrival of the Charlestown Garrison I have recd no Intelligence of Consequence from N. York—I have the Honor to be, With great Regard, Sir, Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servt
P.S. 11 oClock A.M. Since writing the foregoing I have recd the enclosed Letter of Intelligence. B.T.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Palmers Hill Jany 18th 1783
I returned Last Evening from New York There is nothing of Consequence that I can Communicate to you, but Every thing that has come to my Knowledge I will Relate to you as Follows—I saw a Private Letter from London to New York by which I am Assur’d that the Committee from the different Powers Setting at France, have declar’d and Treat with the American Embassadors as an Independant Power, and that there Will be a Peace within Six Months from this date.
There is at Present not one ship of the Line in New York. 2 fifty gun ships; & 23 Frigates There are 157 Transports, The Transports are all drawn up in the different harbours of Long Island.
Adjacent to New York, Viz. The Wallabough Harbour, Newtown Creek & Halletts Cove, The Ships of War all drawn in to the docks at the Citty, Occasioned by the great Quantities of Ice which is now in the Water—The Charles Town Garrison has Arrivd Some Time Since, the Hessian & American Cores; no British Except Such Small detachments as Belonged to Regiments in New York.
All The Officers that Were Absent from the American Cores on the Recruiting Service were on the fifth of this Instant Ordered to Join their Respictive Regiments with Orders to the American Officers in General not to Enlist another Man Except at their Own Expence. When the Garrison of Charles Town Left that Place Such of the Loyalists as would go to Hallifax or Augustune were Provid’d with Provision Cloathing & other Necessaries together with their Passages Free at Goverments Expence but such as would Come to New York had no Assistance but Came at their Own Expence The Engineer Department belonging to his Majesties Service in New York are most all of Them Discharged.
No Alteration in the Cantonements of the Army Except the Troops that Came from Charles Town being Stationed in New York & on Long Island. I am Yours &c.
P.S. You Should have heard from me before this but my health Would not permit as I have had a Very Ill Turn.