George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Antoine-Jean-Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail, 16 April 1783

philadelphie 16 april 1783

dear general

I take the liberty of sending to your Excellency a letter from Cap. bushnell to general lincoln Concerning Mr [Reckless]. you will see what is the subject of the application of this gentleman. gel lincoln believes that the only thing necessary in that affair is to ascertain the facts mentionned in the letter and to Know if the intention of your exellency was to appoint Mr [Reckless] in the Corps of sapers and miners and if you have been prevented from doing it only by the doubt of your wright. we beg your Excellency to be pleased to let us Know his intention.

I am expecting every day the orders of the Court of france. as they will probably Recall us home and will give us perhaps very little time, I wish if your Excellency thinck that we Can be of some farther service to this Country in this moment to Communicate to me his orders and wishes. my attachment to america and in particular to your Excellency will not finish with the war but only with my life, and I will thinck myself very happy and much honored if I Can be of some utility to a Country that is in my heart next to the Country to which I owe my birth. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s the most obedient and humble servant


DLC: Papers of George Washington.


West Point April 6th 1783


Mr Anthony Reckless, who delivers this, has served as a Volunteer, in the Corps of Sappers & Miners about thirteen Months; he has had encouragement from his first joining the Corps, of an appointment in it, and I understand, the only reason why he has not been appointed, was, the doubt his Excellency General Washington entertained, of his right to appoint him. This was the purport of his Excellency’s Conversation (as I have been informed) with Major Villefranche last Summer, then the Chief Engineer, when he solicided the General in behalf of Mr Reckless—Afterwards I mentioned the Matter to Colonel Humphrys his Excellency’s Aid, who immediately laid it before the General—Colo. Humphrys informed me, the General was willing to have Mr Reckless appointed, but could not determine whether he had the right of appointing him before his papers were examined; if upon examination, the right was found in him, he would appoint Mr Reckless; if not, he would use his influence as far as was consistent—The General’s papers were examined, and as nothing appeared that determined the Matter, as I was informed, it was concluded he consult your Honour upon the Subject, you being then expected at Head Quarters. A few days ago, I was informed, by Colonel Humphrys, that the matter had been referred to you, that a memorandum was given you, and that the whole depended upon you, and advised me to write to your Honour respecting it.

I trust the Memorandum contains every necessary information. An Objection may arise, against appointing Mr Reckless, as the War is at a Close, and he, by an appointment may be intitled to half pay or the commutation agreeable to Resolves of Congress. It is of consequence to Mr Reckless to have an appointment, if he receives no emolument from the publick—He would freely give up every Idea of half pay, commutation, or compensation for what is past, if he can but be gratified in this his earnest request. Though I believe many have been appointed since he joined the Corps, and will enjoy every emolument of Officers who have been long in service I cannot plead, that it should be done for him; your Honour will judge the propriety of it. If he should meet with your approbation, and re[ceive] a Commission I could wish, if he has no other advantage, that his Commission[   ] so much for the sake of the pay as that it might appear [   ] been neglected by the Publick, while in her Service, though he does not request it for himself. I have the Honour to be With the greatest Respect Your Honour’s most obedt Servant

D. Bushnell Capt. Comdg

Sappers & Miners

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