George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Certain General Officers, 11 September 1776

From Certain General Officers

September 11. 1776

May it please your Excellency

The Situation of the Army under your Excellency’s Command is in our Opinions so critical & dangerous that We apprehend a Board of General Officers should be immediately calld for the purpose of considering it.1

We do not mean to condemn as unwise or imprudent any Measures which have heretofore been taken; but We conceive a Reconsideration of an important Question determined at the last Board of General Officers to be absolutely necessary to satisfy our own Apprehensions & the Apprehensions of many excellent Field Officers & others from the Dispositions now making by the Advice of that Board.2

We know the Danger & bad Policy of giving Way to Applications for the Reconsideration of common Propositions, which may have been solemnly determined; but the present Case is of such Magnitude & is big with such Consequences to All America that a Breach of common Forms & even the Risque of establishing wrong precedents should in our Opinions be now overuled.

What we have to offer to Your Excellency in general Council proceeds not from Fear of personal Danger nor the Expectation of deriving to ourselves any Honor & Reputation from a Change of Measures—it proceeds from a Love of our Country and a determined Resolution to urge the best & wisest Measures: & finally to execute if possible even erroneous Ones which on cool dispassionate Reconsideration cannot be avoided.

Nathanael Greene M.G.

Thomas Mifflin B.G.

Jno. Nixon B.G.

Rezin Beall B.G.3

Saml H. Parsons B.G.

James Wadsworth B:G:

I think it a mark of Wisdom to reconsider Opinions, upon Subjects of high Importance when ever so many respectable Gentn request it as have signed above me. I therefore heartily concur with them in the Application abovementioned.

Jno: Morin Scott B.G.

DS, in Thomas Mifflin’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Scott’s postscript to the DS is in his writing.

1See the proceedings of the council of war held on 12 September.

2For the decisions made by the council of war that met on 7 Sept., see GW to Hancock, 8 September.

3Rezin Beall (1723–1809), who was brigadier general of the Maryland militia forces in the flying camp, previously had commanded an independent company of troops raised for the defense of Maryland, and he had been wounded during an engagement with Lord Dunmore’s forces at St. George Island, Md., in July 1776. A resident of Little Paint Branch in Prince George’s County, Beall visited Mount Vernon in February 1774 and applied unsuccessfully for the job of leading the expedition that GW sent to the Ohio Valley to secure his land claims on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers (see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:232).

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