George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 31 January 1777

From James McHenry

Hydes Town [N.J.] 31 Jany 1777.1


In consequence of the inclosed application to Gen: Howe the sick privates and those who remained of the well were ordered off on parole under my care as Doctor, and the conduct of a bristish officer &c. But As the officer leaves them here, he gets no receipt. Six have died since our leaving New-York; But I flatter myself, should the weather moderate a little that most of the remainder will recover. There is now Seventy five.2

I hope that your Excellency will free me, as soon as convenient from the restrictions of a parole.3 I have the honour to be your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant.

James McHenry.

ADfS (photocopy), DLC: James McHenry Papers.

1Hyde’s Town is Hightstown, N.J., which is located about eighteen miles east of Trenton and about fifty-three miles southeast of New York City.

2The enclosure, which has not been identified, was probably McHenry’s letter to William Howe that is printed without date in Steiner, Life and Correspondence of James McHenry description begins Bernard C. Steiner. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. Cleveland, 1907. description ends , 14–15. “We should not have presumed one moment on your Excellency’s time,” writes McHenry to Howe, “were we not called upon by the most powerful motives. The state of the sick and wounded prisoners is of too melancholy a kind for recital and the consequences of a general contagion to be dreaded. . . . This winter will assuredly place them beyond reach of human charity. We would therefore, whilst a parole can be of any service entreat that a proper place may be agreed to by your Excy. and Gen. W—n where the sick and wounded may be conveyed they pledging their faith to continue unactive untill regularly exchanged or laid under such restrictions and limitations as may be tho’t necessary by your Excellency and Gen. Washington.”

3McHenry, who was one of five surgeons captured at the fall of Fort Washington on 16 Nov. 1776, was paroled on 27 Jan. 1777 and exchanged in March 1778 (see Alexander Hamilton to McHenry, 5 Mar. 1778, ibid., 15).

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