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To George Washington from the Board of War, 1 April 1779

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] Ap⟨ril 1 1779⟩

mutilated

The Board have agreed upon the enclosed Regulations for the Engineering Department in Addition to those made by Congress & in Consequence of their Orders. We have the Honour of enclosing a Copy of them to your Excellency previous to their being printed that if any Additions are to be made the whole may be struck off together.1

We thought it best to leave the Points of travelling Charges & Horses undetermined as we understood some Regulation would be speedily adopted by Congress affecting all Officers sent on at a Distance from Camp or Quarters. The Engineers will shar⟨e⟩ in this general Allowance with other Officers ⟨mutilated⟩ if there are any special Reasons for Extra Advan⟨ces⟩ the Quantum had better be determined by the particular Occasions than that there should be a larger Allowance made to Engineers by a general Regulation which would be a Source of Jealousy.2 As perhaps it will not be necessary to provide Horses (except on particular Occasions) for future Engineers we were of Opinion that any thing on this Subject had best be omitted & left as it has been heretofore to the Discretion of your Excellency or the Commanding General of a Detachment. We have given an Order for as many Horses as General Du Portail informed us were necessary at this Time ⟨mutilated⟩ of them as were appropriated for the Officers to be of ⟨mutilated⟩ better Kind than they have heretofore had as they complain heavily on this Score. We have reported to Congress as to their Pay & when the Report is acted upon no Doubt your Excellency will be informed of it.3 We have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect your very obedt Servants

Richard Peters By Order

The Board will be obliged to your Excellency for Information respecting the German Battallion which they have heard is annexed to Maryland & a Claim of the State of Pennsilvania to Part of this Regt is now before ⟨the⟩ Board for their Report thereupon ⟨whic⟩h we cannot make until properly ⟨mutilated⟩ed of Facts.

ALS (mutilated), DLC:GW. Although Robert Hanson Harrison docketed the manuscript in part “ansd 3d,” GW actually replied to this letter on 4 April.

1The enclosed document, which is in DLC:GW, contains a copy of Congress’s resolutions of 11 March establishing the engineer corps, and the Board of War’s proposed regulations for that corps and the companies of sappers and miners, dated 30 March and signed by Peters on behalf of the board. That resolution and many of the regulations were published in installments in the general orders for 30-31 July and 2-4 Aug. 1779. For Congress’s resolutions of 11 March regarding the engineer corps, see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:305–6.

2In a report to Congress dated 27 March, which Congress considered on 11 May, the members of the Board of War said that “they would have reported on the travelling expences of Engineers, but were informed that a general regulation as to all Officers on Command was about to be made by Congress, and it was thought best, to avoid comparisons and jealousies, that the Engineers should partake of the same regulation, and if at any time extra allowances were necessary, it would be better to make them in every particular case, than to establish a rule for the Engineers only” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 12:570–71).

3Congress resolved on 11 May that “the pay and subsistence of the engineers and of the officers and men of the companies of sappers and miners, shall be the same with those of officers of the like ranks and of the men in the artillery of these states” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 14:571). A copy of that resolution was enclosed in John Jay’s letter to GW of 12 May (DLC:GW).

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