George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln, 15 October 1783

War Office, October 15 1783.

Dear General,

There are in Philadelphia six or eight officers and about one company of the invalid regiment. They are in a situation disagreeable to themselves and expensive to the public. Some of the Officers, by the loss of limbs and other inabilities, are rendered totally incapable of acquiring by their own exertions a support in life—others are in a degree debilitated, while some seem to have recovered from their wounds, and now enjoy a pretty good state of health, and would go into business with advantage. Anxious that there should be a discrimination made between such officers and those in the former classes, I wish, while the former are provided for by Congress, according to the inabilities, services and sufferings of such Officers, the latter may be permitted to return to their homes, on the same footing as other officers of the lines of the army have been. I some months since laid the state of the disabled Officers before Congress, but nothing has yet been done in it, and the multiplicity of business now before Congress precludes a hope that it will soon be decided upon.

I beg leave therefore, to suggest to your Excellency the propriety of having those troops now at Philadelphia immediately mustered, and those who are fit objects and wish to avail themselves of the benefits of the acts of Congress, which permits soldiers to retire with the pay of five dollars per month during life, should be suffered to go to their several homes—those who are not so entitled to be discharged—and the others, who are strangers in the country and are rendered incapable of supporting themselves, should be immediately sent to the hospital at West Point which is an healthy spot and where they can be supported with much less expence than will support them in Philadelphia. Besides, the Continent have sufficient buildings for this purpose at West Point unoccupied, while they are at great expense for the hire of hospitals wherein the sick and invalids now are, all of whom may be removed by water to West Point.

The officers under the first discriptions may also be removed, much to their own ease and happiness.

Should your Excellency be in sentiment with me, the post at Philadelphia may be soon broken up—and when the source is dried, those streams of expence will cease flowing. I have the honor to be, dear General, with the highest regard Your Excellency’s most obedient servant,

B. Lincoln

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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