George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonels Henry Sherburne, Samuel Blachley Webb, David Henley, Ezekiel Cornell, and Alexander Scammell, 12 January 1777

To Colonels Henry Sherburne, Samuel Blachley Webb, David Henley, Ezekiel Cornell, and Alexander Scammell

Morris Town January 12th 1777


Instructions—Recruiting Orders—and a Warrant for 6,000 Dollars to Recruit with, are now Inclosed to you—Copies of the Recruiting Orders are to be given to the Officers so soon as they are Nominated,1 & I should think if only part of the bounty was given to the men at the time of enlisting them & the residue when they Joined the Regt it might be a means of preventing Desertion.

You are to fix upon some Central place for the Rendezvous of your Recruits where you are to attend in Order to receive—form—Cloaths—Dicipline and provide Necessaries for your Regiment—the Recruits with proper Officers are to be Assembled at that place as fast as they are Inlisted—and you are once a Week to advise me of the State of your Regiment & how you proceed in the Recruiting of it.

The short time allowed us for the most Vigorous Exertions which I am perswaded render Arguments unnecessary to Stimulate you to the Speedy Completion of your Regiment and preparing it for the Field.

In this Business I heartily wish you Success—& am Sir Yr most Obt Servt

Go: Washington

Note. Eleazor Oswald late with Genl Arnold is to be yr Lt Colo.—Bradford is to be your Major.2

LS, to Henry Sherburne, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, RNHi; ADfS, DLC:GW; copy, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Following the signature on the copy in DLC:GW, which was made at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on 13 Aug. 1781, is Richard Varick’s certification that “the above is a true Copy of Orders in the proper Hand Writing of His Excellency General Washington addressed or indorsed to ‘Colos. Webb, Henley, Cornell[,] Sherburne & Scammell’ now remaining among the Papers of His Excellency, in my Charge.” Cornell and Scamell did not accept GW’s offer to command one of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments.

1For these recruiting orders, see GW’s Circular Recruiting Instructions to the Colonels of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments, 12–27 January. The warrant for $6,000 enclosed to Sherburne, which has not been identified, was issued on 13 Jan. (see GW’s warrant book no. 2, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18); the amount of the warrant is left blank in the draft, the copy, and the Varick transcript. A warrant for Webb for $10,000, addressed to Paymaster General William Palfrey and located in DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 275, was written by Webb on 13 Jan. and signed by GW (see also GW’s warrant book no. 2, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18). Webb’s receipt of 31 Jan. for $5,296, “in part of the Within Warrant,” is on the back of the warrant made for him. A warrant for $6,500 was issued to David Henley on 11 Jan. (see GW’s warrant book no. 2, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18), but no evidence has been identified that Scammell was ever issued a warrant.

2The note is in GW’s writing and appears only on the letter sent to Sherburne. Eleazar Oswald (1750–1795) of New Haven, Conn., who was captured at Quebec while serving as an aide to Col. Benedict Arnold on the Canadian expedition in 1775, was exchanged on 10 Jan. 1777 but he declined the offer to become Sherburne’s lieutenant colonel in favor of serving in the same capacity in the 2d Continental Artillery Regiment (see Sherburne to GW, 4 Feb. 1777). Oswald resigned his commission in June 1778.

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