George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Dickinson, 25 July 1775

From John Dickinson

Philadelphia, 25 July 1775

Recommends “Mr Moylan a friend of mine [who] informs me that he intends to enter into the American Army.”1

Morven M. Jones, “Brevet Brigadier-General Stephen Moylan,” in Potter’s American Monthly, 6 (1876), 14. Although the letter is printed with the dateline “Philadelphia, July 26th 1775,” the endorsement, which is said to be in GW’s writing, reads “From Jno. Dickinson Esqr. 25th July 1775,” and in his reply to Dickinson of 30 Aug. 1775, GW acknowledges “Your favour of the 25th Ulto recommendatory of Mr Moylan.” Martin I. J. Griffin reprints the letter in Stephen Moylan (Philadelphia, 1909), 8, with the dateline “Philadelphia, July 25, 1775.”

1Stephen Moylan (1737–1811) of Philadelphia was appointed Continental mustermaster general on 11 Aug. 1775 (General Orders, that date). An Irish Catholic by birth, Moylan was educated in Paris and spent three years in the shipping business at Lisbon before moving in 1768 to Philadelphia, where he became a prominent merchant. As mustermaster general, he kept the muster rolls for the Continental army and inspected the troops and their equipment. During the fall of 1775 he also assisted in outfitting several armed vessels for the Continental service. On 6 Mar. 1776 Moylan became one of GW’s aides-de-camp, and on 7 June of that year he was made Continental quartermaster general with the rank of colonel. Encountering many difficulties in the latter office, Moylan resigned in September 1776. For a few months thereafter, he acted as a volunteer aide to GW. In January 1777 Moylan was commissioned to raise a regiment of light horse, and he served as a cavalry officer for the remainder of the war.

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