George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Silas Deane, 2 September 1778

To Silas Deane

Head Quartrs White plains Sept. 2d 1778

Dear sir.

I received your favor of the 22d Ulto by Mr Webb.

The regard I have for Colo. Webb—and my wish to oblige you, would urge me most strongly to effect his release, if it were practicable; but our circumstances will not admit of it. The only rule of exchange, now existing between the two armies, is equality of rank; and unhappily, we have not a Colonel, a prisoner, in our hands. Indeed, if we had, the Enemy have other Colonels of ours, who have been much longer in captivity, and who must have a preference. As from this state, his exchange cannot now be accomplished, his enlargement must depend entirely upon the indulgence of Sr Henry Clinton, and for which I cannot sollicit, with any degree of propriety; having been obliged to refuse him requests of the same nature—and as it would lead to many inconveniences. At the same time I shall be happy, if he can obtain his parole, and from what I told Mr Jos: Webb, his Brother, I am in hopes he will interest himself through the medium of some of his British acquaintances—and that it may be granted.

With respect to news, my Letter of Yesterday to Congress, which I presume you will be informed of, contains the last from the Eastward. By General Sullivan’s account the Enemy attacked him in his retreat on the 29th Ulto and after a warm action, were obliged to retire from the Field, with precipitation, and in disorder. He had not time then, to ascertain either our—or their loss. This was a very interesting event, considering his situation, and it will give me great pleasure to hear, that he and his Troops are on the main again.

I thank you much for your promised visit, and I will thank you still more for the visit itself. I shall consider it, not only as an honorable—but as a very friendly mark of your attention. I have the Honor to be with the most perfect regard & respect D. Sir Your Most Obedt servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, PPRF; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

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