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To George Washington from Colonel Israel Angell, 2 June 1780

From Colonel Israel Angell

Morris Town 2nd June 1780

Dear Genl

The following Officers were appointed in the Regiment under My Command, by the Honbl. Majr Genl Gates and Sullivan, Viz., John Hubbart Lt appointed May 18th 1779, Joseph Wheaton Lt appointed 1st September 1779, John M. Greene Ensign, appointed 1st March 1779.

John Rogers Ensign William Pratt [Ensign] Joseph Masury [Ensign] Jeremiah Greenman [Ensign] Appointed 1st May 1779.1

The above Gentlemen have not yet Recd their Commissions, Application has been made to the State for the Certificates of their appointments, but as the hous of assembly was not Consulted on the Subject, did not incline to give them untill your Excellenceys Approbation on the matter was known, wheather that number of Officers was Necessary in the Regt. there is now Eighteen Officers in the Regt Exclusive of the field Officers. four of which are in the Staff Department, which makes it indispensable that they Should Continue. therefor beg the Genl would be pleas’d to Signify the Same to the Governor and Council of the State, by which means the Certificates would be produced and the Commissions obtaind from the Board of War.2 I am with due Respect, your Excellencys most obedt Humble Servt

I. Angell

ALS, DLC:GW; ALS, R-Ar. The ALS in R-Ar is dated 3 June and accompanied GW’s letter to William Greene of that date (see n.2 below).

1Joseph Wheaton (c.1755–1828) joined the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in March 1779 as an ensign and became a lieutenant the following August. Retained after the consolidation of the 1st and 2d Rhode Island regiments in May 1781, Wheaton served until December 1783. In April 1813 he received a commission as an assistant deputy quartermaster of the U.S. Army with the rank of captain. Wheaton received a saber wound to the head during the Revolutionary War, and, according to a document in his pension application file, this injury “troubled his mind through life” (DNA: RG 15, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900); he died in an insane asylum in Baltimore.

John Morley Greene joined the 2d Rhode Island Regiment as an ensign in March 1779 and was wounded at the Battle of Springfield on 23 June 1780. In July 1780, Angell selected Greene as the subaltern for the regiment’s light infantry company. Retained after the consolidation of the 1st and 2d Rhode Island regiments, Greene served until November 1783, attaining the rank of lieutenant.

William Pratt (b. 1759) joined the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in February 1777 as a sergeant and received promotion to ensign in May 1779. Pratt was retained in the consolidated Rhode Island Regiment. He became a lieutenant in September 1781 (with his rank backdated to May 1781) and served until December 1783.

Joseph Masury joined the 2d Rhode Island Regiment as a sergeant in January 1777. He became an ensign in May 1779 and a lieutenant in June 1780. Retained in the consolidated Rhode Island Regiment, he served until the discharge of the regiment in November 1783.

Jeremiah Greenman, Jr. (1758–1828) joined the militia near Boston in May 1775 and was captured during Benedict Arnold’s attack on Quebec in December 1775. After his release from captivity, he joined the 2d Rhode Island Regiment as a sergeant in February 1777, and became an ensign in May 1779. He transferred to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment in January 1781 and received a promotion to lieutenant in May of that year. He was again made a prisoner when his regiment was surprised at the Croton River in New York on 14 May 1781. Retained in the consolidated Rhode Island Regiment and later exchanged, he became adjutant of the regiment in October 1782 and served until December 1783. For his wartime experiences, see Greenman, Diary.

2On 3 June, GW wrote Rhode Island governor William Greene from headquarters at Morristown: “I beg leave to inform Your Excellency that it appears to me, the Officers mentioned in the inclosed Letter from Colo. Angel, are necessary; and if agreable to Your Excellency & the Council, You will be pleased to transmit it to the Honourable the Board of War, that they may issue the Commissions required” (LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, R-Ar; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft bears no date, but Harrison docketed it 3 June).

The Rhode Island general assembly subsequently acted to secure commissions from the Board of War for the named officers (see Bartlett, R.I. Records description begins John Russell Bartlett, ed. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. 10 vols. Providence, 1856–65. description ends , 9:89–90).

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