George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General Artemas Ward, 22 March 1776

From Major General Artemas Ward

Cam[p] at Roxbury 22 March 1776

Sir

I am now to inform your Excellency that I am in such an ill State of Health that I do not think myself capable of doing the duty which to be done by me through the ensuing Campaign in the Station I am now in; and to eat the Continental Bread & not do the duty is what I am much averse to; therefore I must beg leave to resign my Command & to withdraw from the Army after the expiration of this month.1 I am Your Excellency’s most Obedient Humble Servant

Artemas Ward

LS, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, MHi: George Washington miscellaneous papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. GW enclosed the LS in his letter to Hancock of 24 March.

1Ward wrote a similar letter of resignation to Hancock on this date, and in another letter to Hancock, dated 12 April 1776, Ward renewed his request to be allowed to relinquish his commission (DNA:PCC, item 159). Congress accepted Ward’s resignation on 23 April 1776, and Hancock informed him of this in a letter written three days later (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 , 4:300; Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 3:584–85). On 29 Mar., however, GW asked Ward to take command of the Continental forces that were to remain in Massachusetts after the rest of the army marched to New York. Ward apparently agreed to do so until some other officer was found for the post (see GW to Ward, 29 Mar., and GW’s instructions to Ward, 4 April 1776). On 21 Aug. 1776 Congress resolved “that Major General Ward be authorized and requested, if his health will permit, to continue in the command of the forces in the service of the United States, in the eastern department, until farther orders” (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 , 5:694). Ward served in that capacity until March 1777 when William Heath assumed command of the eastern department. Ward was a member of the Massachuetts council from 1776 to 1780, and from 1780 to 1781 he represented the state in the Continental Congress.

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