George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, 8 February 1777

From the Pennsylvania Council of Safety

In Council of Safety Philadelphia February 8th 1777


In October last the Council of Safety, with the view of promoting the public Service, and for the general security of these States resolved to form the broken remains of the three Provincial Regiments, lately Colonel Miles and Attlees’ into one, and to have it recruited to the full complement of 1000 Men. The necessity of continuing the few remaining Men in the field has hitherto prevented this Arrangement from taking place. But we understand that there are now remaining at Camp only Lieutenant Robb, and Ensigns Hoffner and Sneider, with twenty or thirty Privates.1 Should your Excellency think proper to permit these Men with their Officers to join the others now in this City most of whom are recovering their Health, we will order them to be properly arranged, and endeavour to have the Regiment fit for duty as early as possible. All the new Recruits for said Regiment are to serve during the War.

In consequence of your Excellency’s representation,2 we have issued Orders to the Commanding Officers of Militia to collect all the public Arms as expeditiously as possible, and send them to Philadelphia that they may be repaired if necessary, and put into the hands of Men going into immediate Service.

As soon as we received your Excellency’s Letter of the 31st Ulto we gave Orders to Captain Courtnay, who commands the remainder of our Artillery Companies, to have as many of the Men as are fit for duty immediately equipt, and to march them to Camp to join your Army.3 We find they are but about 50 in number, and expect them to march on Monday next. I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant

Davd Rittenhouse V. President

LS, DLC:GW; Df, PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–90.

1These officers had served in Col. Samuel Miles’s Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment since the spring of 1776. John Robb (c.1733–1804) of Muncy, Pa., who had been appointed a second lieutenant in Miles’s regiment in March 1776, was commissioned a captain in the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment on 18 April 1777. John George Hoffner (1735–1799), who had joined Miles’s regiment as a sergeant in May 1776 and had been promoted to ensign the following fall, became a first lieutenant in the 13th Pennsylvania in March of this year. He was promoted to captain at the end of 1777. Jacob Snider (c.1755–1791) of Sunbury, Pa., had been appointed a sergeant in Miles’s regiment in March 1776 and subsequently had been made an ensign. He became a captain in the 13th Pennsylvania on 18 April 1777.

3Hercules Courtenay (1736–1816), who had been appointed a first lieutenant in Thomas Proctor’s Pennsylvania artillery company in June 1776, became a captain in the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment in March 1777. At a court-martial held on 28 Dec. 1777, Courtenay was tried and found guity of “leaving his Howitz in the Field in the Action of Brandywine in a cowardly and unofficerlike manner,” but because of “the State of the Evidence” GW disapproved of the conviction and ordered Courtenay to be released from arrest (General Orders, 3 Jan. 1778). On 27 Feb. 1778 another court-martial found Courtenay guilty of neglect of duty and leaving camp without permission, and he was dismissed from the service (see General Orders, 3 Mar. 1778).

Index Entries