George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to James Duane, 7 April 1779

To James Duane

Head Quarters Middle Brook 7th April 1779.

Dear Sir

I have taken the liberty, thro’ the Channel of the Committee appointed to confer with me, to lay before Congress the inclosed extract of a letter from General Knox, and the Return to which it refers.1 As the completion of the Corps of Artillery is a matter of great importance, I hope the earliest attention will be paid to that Business.

There are but two ways of keeping up the Regiments of Artillery—One by original inlistments expressly for that service—the other by drafts from the line of Infantry. The latter is attended with great inconveniencies. It is a most discouraging thing to the Officers of Infantry, after they have exerted themselves to make their Battalions respectable in numbers, to have their Men drawn from them for the Artillery, in addition to the variety of other calls for Artificers, Waggoners &ca: and if they are obliged to give them up, instead of parting with the most healthy and robust, which the Artillery service requires, they contrive, as is very natural, to divest themselves of the very worst Men under their command—The Artillery is, moreover by these means, strengthened at the Expence of the Infantry, which would not be the case, were measures taken in time to recruit both Corps2—There is so little time between the present, and that which we may expect to be called into the Feild, that I am convinced I need make no apology for requesting the Committee to urge Congress to a speedy determination upon the Business of which the foregoing is the subject.

In a letter to Congress of the 24th March, I laid before them General Greenes remarks upon the Resolve for inlisting Waggoners, in which he points out the insufficiency of the terms held forth, either to engage new or to reinlist the old Drivers.3 The times of many of the old are near expiring, and it will be too late to set about inlisting new except some effectual measure is speedily adopted. I shall therefore esteem it as a favr if the Committee will inquire what Steps have been or are likely to be taken in the matter.4 I have the honor to be with the highest Regard Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This extract from Brig. Gen. Henry Knox’s letter to GW of 6 April consists of the second sentence of the second paragraph and the entire third and fourth paragraphs of that letter.

2At this place on the draft manuscript, Tilghman first wrote and then struck out the following sentence: “The recommendations to the States to make up their respective quotas of Men having barely reached them, and been but lately transmitted to them, I could ask that whatever may be thought proper to be done on the foregoing subject, may be done speedily.”

3See GW to John Jay, and Nathanael Greene to GW, both 24 March; see also Greene to GW, 25 February.

4For legislation adopted by Congress on 17 April to promote wagoner enlistments, see 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 , 13:467–68 (see also Greene to Jay, 25 March, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:262–65; Jay to Greene, 18 April, in 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 , 12:346; and Greene to GW and GW to Greene, both 19 April, DLC:GW).

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