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To George Washington from Ensign Henry Hamilton, 16 May 1780

From Ensign Henry Hamilton

Lancaster [Pa.] 16th May 1780


I had the Honour to write to you three Months Since, in order to Obtain permission, for a Short time, to go into New York.1

Hitherto I have had no Answer, thro’ which I am Apprehensive you did not receive my Letter. Notwithstanding I hope this will come safe to hand & meet your Excellency’s favorable Approbation and Answer. As I now Request, that you will be pleased to grant me a parole to go into New York for a few days, to settle my accounts &c.2 I have the Honour to be your Excellency’s Most Obedient & Most Humble Servt

Heny Hamilton Ensn & Adjutant 17th Infy

ALS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-damp Tench Tilghman wrote on the docket: “4th June. Commy of prisoners directed to send him in upon parole” (see GW to Abraham Skinner, 4 June).

Henry Hamilton secured an ensigncy in the 17th Regiment of Foot in September 1777. Soon after being captured with the garrison at Stony Point, N.Y., on the night of 15–16 July 1779, Hamilton was sent to Easton, Pennsylvania. He received promotion to lieutenant in September 1780.

1Hamilton’s earlier letter to GW has not been found.

2For Hamilton’s nearly identical letter to the Board of War on this date, see Board of War to GW, 24 May, and n.3.

Hamilton subsequently wrote GW from New York on 4 July: “I had the Honor to write to Your Excellency twice, Acknowledging your favor of permitting me to Come in to New York upon Parole; and at the Same time Entreating your Excellency, to Exchange me for Ensign Jacob Myres of the Penselvania Line taken 16th November 1776 he being the first upon the List for that purpose, or any other Officer your Excellency may point out of my Rank now prisoner, ‘Elce please to prolong my parole.’

“I hope this will come Safe, for your Excellency’s Favorable approbation & order to my request” (ALS, DLC:GW). Neither a reply from GW to Hamilton nor Hamilton’s letter to GW acknowledging his parole has been found.

Jacob Myers joined the flying camp of the Pennsylvania militia as an ensign in July 1776 and was taken prisoner at Fort Washington, N.Y., that November. His exchange evidently occurred before he placed an order on the commissary of prisoners in August 1782 for debts incurred while captive on Long Island (see DNA: RG 93, Revolutionary War Rolls).

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