George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Horatio Gates, 5 February 1783

Ellison’s 5th february 1783


After paying all due respect to your Excellency’s order of the 17th Ultimo, and after having heard and examined, what the parties had to alledge in support of their claim to be posted to the lieutenant colonelcies of the fourth and Sixth Massachusetts regiments vacated by the appointments of Lieut. Colonels Millen and Cobbe to be Lieut. Colonels commandant of the Third and fifth regiments of that line; I am clearly of opinion, that Lieut. Colonel Newhall should be posted to the fourth, and Lt Colonel Hull, to the sixth Massachusetts regiments—and for the following reasons.

First, because of the respect, I think due to the seniority of Lieut. Colonel Newhall.

Secondly, because it does not necessarily follow, that the first vacancy having happened in the fourth regiment, Lieut. Colonel Hull is to fill that vacancy; The sovereign authority by which officers are commissioned, can alone decide, when, and by whom a vacancy shall be supplied.

Thirdly, because posting officers, is not in this instance, promoting officers, it is only directing which regiment a Lieutenant Colonel shall serve with and as your Excellency has followed the line of seniority in posting the Lieut. Colonels commandant; I think myself doubly authorized in my decision. with great respect I am Sir Your Excellencys most Obedient Humble Servant

Horatio Gates

Maj. Gen.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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