George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel William Grayson, 29 January 1777

From Colonel William Grayson

Dumfries [Va.] Jany 29th 1777.

Dear Sir.

I had the pleasure of your favor by the post;1 and am extremely well satisfy’d that you have appointed Major Ross to our regiment; I saw Major Frazer in Philada but did not mention the matter to him, as from a declaration of his sentiments to me, I discovered it would not by any means be agreable: I have wrote by Post to inform Major Ross of your determination.2

With respect to the recruiting business, you may depend that every thing in my power shall be done to get the regiment completed in a short time; though I am sorry to inform you that we labor under very great disadvantages; in every part of this state, there is nothing to be seen but recruiting parties & a number of the best of the officers have been already engag’d; besides this the expectations from the three State regiments will greatly injure us, as almost every young gentleman, who is fit for an Ensign is about to apply on tuesday next at Wmsburgh for a Captain’s commission;3 We have however been able to get some officers, who I think will be able to raise their men, and also to discharge the duties of their Station & Col. Powell who is here at present & myself have Agreed on some others, in Loudoun Berkeley & Frederick; We shall set out immedy & continue to ride through the Country until we have finished the appointments. When I was at Baltimore I applied to Congress for some Cloth for the soldiers which I thought would be a great temptation for them to inlist: this they complied with & furnished me with a sufficiency for two hundred suits & gave me a promise for the residue when the recruits wanted them: these I propose to have made up immediately, & I am induc’d to believe that this step will greatly facilitate the inlistments.4 We have very little news here except that the people are exceedingly unanimous in their sentiments, & from what I can hear the recruiting service goes on tolerably well, Col: Lee told me yesterday, that he was well inform’d the six additional regiments did not want a thousand men to complete them: there are several companies in the State which have been completed some days since, & I am surpris’d they dont march: the first division of the 2nd Regiment is here, the rest are at Fredericksburgh on their way to join you; their officers acquaint me that the 7th Regiment is also at Fredericksburg & moving on for the same purpose; from the best information the strength of the two, will be about one thousand men.

Mr Triplett I this day sent to, informing him of yr intention; I do not think (if he accepts of yr offer) that it will interfere with Mr Moore who depends on a different part of the Country for his recruits.5 I am with every sentiment of friendship & esteem Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Willm Grayson

ALS, DLC:GW. Robert Hanson Harrison wrote on the letter “1777. respectg his regmt & Appointment of some Officers recd only 19 August.” Beneath the body of the letter Grayson listed the names of eight officers “already appointed” to serve in his Additional Continental Regiment, with the note: “There are several others with me who I have not yet agreed with.” Moore Fantleroy (Phantleroy) and Cleon Moore are named as having been appointed captains, Benjamin Grymes and Daniel McCarty as lieutenants, and John Hedgman, the husband of Grayson’s niece, Catherine Grayson, as an ensign. Also listed as lieutenants are a “Mr Yancey” of Culpeper County and a “Mr Grey” of Essex County, and another “Mr Grey” of Essex County as an ensign.

1This letter has not been identified. GW apparently wrote to inform Grayson of David Ross’s replacement of John Grizzage Frazer as major of Grayson’s regiment. See GW to Grayson, 11 January.

2Grayson’s letter to David Ross, Jr., has not been identified.

3The Virginia general assembly created the Virginia state line in December 1776, authorizing three numbered regiments for service within the boundaries of Virginia. The 1st and 2nd Virginia State Regiments served with the Continental army following the Battle of Germantown in October 1777, however. Grayson was named colonel of the 1st Virginia State Regiment but declined the command (see Sanchez-Saavedra, Va. Military Organizations description begins E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774–1787. Richmond, 1978. description ends , 109–14). Problems in recruiting led Gov. Patrick Henry in February to issue an executive proclamation confining the recruitment of volunteers in Virginia to the Continental service (see Journals of the Council of State of Virginia description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends , 1:350). The following Tuesday was 4 February.

4Congress passed this resolution concerning cloth for Grayson’s regiment on 21 Jan. (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:51–52).

5Thomas Triplett (died c.1780) of Alexandria, Va., served as a captain in Grayson’s Additional Continental Regiment from 13 Jan. 1777 to the spring of 1778 when he resigned because of illness ensuing from his inoculation against smallpox (see Triplett to GW, 29 April 1778, in DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 20183, and GW to Triplett, 8 June 1778, in DLC:GW). Cleon Moore (1752–1808) of Fairfax County, who was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine in September of this year, served as a captain in Grayson’s regiment until he left the army in February 1778.

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