George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel James Mitchell Varnum, September 1775

From Colonel James Mitchell Varnum

Prospect Hill September 1775. Requests that Christopher Greene be brevetted as lieutenant colonel of his regiment, Thomas Holden as major, and John Singer Dexter as adjutant.1 “There are several other Vacancies, which I’ll not trouble your Excellency about, but wait, at present, & make Application to the Committee of Safety in the Colony of Rhode Island.”

ALS, DLC:GW. The context of this undated letter indicates that it was probably written during the early part of September. See note 1. Gen. Nathanael Greene added a note to this letter testifying to the good character of the three officers recommended by Varnum.

James Mitchell Varnum (1748–1789), a lawyer from East Greenwich, R.I., commanded a regiment in the Continental army until February 1777 when he was promoted to brigadier general. Varnum resigned his Continental commission in March 1779 and subsequently served as a major general in the Rhode Island militia and a member of the Continental Congress.

1GW brevetted Christopher Greene as lieutenant colonel on 12 September. See the commission in DLC:GW. Thomas Holden (1741–1823) left the Continental army at the end of 1775 and later became a brigadier general in the Rhode Island militia. John Singer Dexter served as Varnum’s adjutant general during 1776. Dexter became a captain in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment on 1 Jan. 1777, an assistant to the adjutant general in May 1779, and major to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment in August 1781. He served until November 1783.

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