George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Thomas Elliott, 22 March 1777

From Colonel Thomas Elliott

King Willm [Va.] Mch 22nd 1777

Honble Sir

I make no doubt but you have been surprised why I did not comply with your Orders of the 12th Jany, in Joining my Regimt as soon as possable, in order to have the Troops Cloathed, Disciplin’d, and prepared to take the Feild early in the Spring; Your Letter (one I before wrote you) came to hand abt the tenth of Febry at which time I was much afflicted with an Inflamation in my Eyes, but hoped (as I then wrote you),1 shou’d be well enough to set off abt the 20th of same Month, before which time, I was seized with a pain in my Legs, which in a few Days render’d me unable to Walk without the Assistance of Crutches; and am now in such a situation that I can neither Walk nor ride, nor have I been able for 20 days past to do either; and as my disorder does not in the least abate, but rather to increase, it is impossable I can fix on any time when to set out to Join the regimt. This much I can Assure your Excellency that as soon as I am able to travel, I will repair to the Regimt without loss of time. Maj. Seayres, who was necessarily detain’d longer than I expected, I am inform’d set off about ten days ago to the Regimt who I hope will take care that the Troops are furnished with every necessary, and properly prepared to take the Field. Lt Colo. Lawsen (who by your Order superintends the recruiting service for the completion of the 4th Virga Regimt) being situated at a great distance from me, prevents me from giving you any satisfactory Acct how that business goes on, but am apprehensive men are very difficult to be got to complete the Old regiments, as most of the Men who were disposed to enlist, were engaged in the new raised regiments before the Officers came from the Northward to recruit. Shou’d my Disorder continue on me much longer, so that I can not render my Country the Service due from an Officer in my Station, I shall inform your Excellency of it, that some other person may be appointed to the command of the Regimt; for I wou’d by no means impede the service of my Country, tho it will be very disagreable to me to quit it at this Critical Juncture. I am with great respect Your Excellency’s Mo: Obt & very Hhble Servant

Thos Elliott

Colo. B. Temple, can inform yr Excellency more particularly of my situation.2

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection. The address on the cover sheet, which is in DLC:GW, reads in part “Favd by Colo. [Benjamin] Temple.” Thomas Elliott (d. 1795) of King William County, Va., who had been subaltern under Col. William Byrd III from 1758 to 1760, was nominated by the 4th Virginia convention to serve as the lieutenant colonel of the 6th Virginia Regiment on 12 Jan. 1776. In September 1776 he was promoted to colonel of the 4th Virginia Regiment. Although Elliott transferred back to the 6th Virginia Regiment in August 1777, he resigned the following month without ever having rejoined either of his regiments (see GW to Elliott, 21 June, 18 July 1777, and Elliott to GW, 6 July 1777, in DLC:GW, and Elliott to GW, 22 Sept. 1777, in DNA: RG 93, Commissions, 1775–1778).

1Neither GW’s letter to Elliott of 12 Jan. nor Elliott’s reply of c.10 Feb. has been found.

2Benjamin Temple (1734–c.1802), a French and Indian War veteran from King William County, Va., commanded an independent company of Virginia light dragoons beginning in June 1776. Temple began acting as the lieutenant colonel of the 1st Continental Dragoons earlier this year when that regiment was formed out of the six independent companies of Virginia light dragoons and was officially promoted on 31 Mar. 1777 (see General Orders, that date), and from late 1779 to the end of the war he served in the 4th Continental Dragoons.

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