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From George Washington to Brigadier General John Sullivan, 28 January 1776

To Brigadier General John Sullivan

Cambridge 28th Jan: 1776

Dr Sir,

I quite forgot to enquire last night (when you were shewing me the Militia Pay Rolls) at what rates the Officers pay was charged—I am willing to allow them the same pay as the Troops here had, and have—that is, to the first of Jany agreeable to the old Establishment—(more I cannot)—& For the Month of Jany according to the present pay. this is putting of them in all respects upon a footing with the Continental Army. You will consider therefore how far this alteration will square with your mode of making up the Pay Rolls, as the manner of charging, & extending the Sums shd appear clear upon the face of the Accts—I must again desire you to request the Captains to be very correct in making up their Accts not only because they are to Swear to them, but because I must for my own justification have all the extensions, & additions tryed. Should any of them therefore prove wrong, they will not only give themselves a good deal of trouble & delay for nothing, but me also; and I must again desire that they may be caution’d against Including Men that have Inlisted into the Continental Service, as I will take a good deal of pains to prevent, and if not prevented, to detect an Evil, which I am apprehensive will be practiced.1

If I recollect the Roll you shewed me last Night, Men of the same Company, and as I suppose from the same Town, are charged a different Number of days, whereas I think the Ingagement is, that they are to be paid from the time of their Marching from the Town—however as I was ingaged in reading Letters & News Papers at the time, I might have Mistaken the matter.

As I understand the Muster Rolls of these Companies (from N⟨ew⟩ Hampshire) are lodged with yo⟨u. I⟩ should be glad to receive them with your Acct of the Money expended. If the Mileage is drawn for in the Manner propos’d by you, the Comy should be appriz’d of it, as he told me some of the Militia Captns without distinguishing of which Government, were applying to settle with him2—I am Dr Sr Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. If you are not Ingaged I should be glad of your Company at Dinner at 2 O’clock.

ALS, owned (1970) by Thomas N. Cross, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The payrolls that Sullivan showed to GW were for the New Hampshire militiamen who served with the Continental army from about 10 Dec. to the end of January. On 23 Jan. Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Sullivan: “I have it in command from his Excellency to inform you, that General Gates handed him your letter of the 22 inst. containing a gross estimate of the pay you supposed would be due the New Hampshire Militia, when the time they are engaged for shall expire.

“His Excellency says that he cannot possibly give a warrant on this estimate, and that each Captain must make out a particular list of their respective companies, noticing the time when any of their men inlisted in the [Continental] Regiments (if that shall have been the case) and on the other side an abstract of the pay due—There is a necessity for this, because the list and abstract are vouchers for, & the foundation of the warrant annexed to them. The time when any of the men enlisted in the Regiments must be mentioned, & pay only drawn till then, as they will be from thence included in the Regimental abstracts.

“Having made out lists & abstracts in this way, the Captains will give credit for the money they have received.

“It is also necessary that each Captain should subjoin an affidavit to the foot of his abstract, similar to the copy inclosed—This mode has been & will be invariably pursued respecting the militia of this Colony—It is necessary, & founded on the difference between the Regiments which continue in service, & the Militia which do not. In the abstracts for the pay of the former an affidavit is not material, because, if there should be any mistake or error in them, it may & can be discovered & rectified at a future day: it is otherwise as to the latter: After they are gone this cannot be done, & therefore their abstracts should have some degree of authenticity: not that any intentional mistakes are apprehended to be made, but that the public may be satisfied.

“When the lists and abstracts are made out in the manner directed, and the time of their engagement expired, his Excellency will give the proper warrants for payment. He would not have no objection to giving them sooner, if he was not fearfull that some of them might go off after receiving their pay” (DLC: Peter Force Collection).

On 27 Jan. Stephen Moylan wrote to Sullivan: “I have it in Command from his Excellency to desire you will Send him in an account of the distribution of the 5,682 dollars, to be particular in the Sum given to each Company, that when they bring in their pay abstracts he may Compare the Sum they give Credit for, with that they have received” (DLC:GW). On 11 Jan. GW gave Sullivan a warrant for $5,682 apparently as a partial advance on the pay due to the New Hampshire militia. Most of the warrants for the balance of their pay were issued to the captains or lieutenants on 1 and 2 Feb. (see account of warrants signed, 10 Sept. 1775–12 Aug. 1776, DLC:GW).

1For GW’s orders regarding the pay of militiamen who enlisted in the Continental army, see General Orders, 26, 29 Jan. 1776.

2GW apparently is referring to the commissary of musters, Stephen Moylan.

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