George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Washington, 5 April 1777

To Samuel Washington

Morris Town April 5th 1777

Dear Brother,

Thornton returns to you well recover’d of the Small Pox, as I hope to hear that my Sister, and the rest of your family are. I heartily congratulate you on the favourable manner in which you had it yourself.1

To save Thornton, or you, the expence of buying a Horse to ride home on, I have lent him a Mare of Mine which I beg of you to have sent by any safe conveyance which may offer to Lund Washington at Mount Vernon. If she should be in want of a Horse before any oppertunity offers of sending her down please to put her to some good (but not expensive one) altho she is not very valuable herself. When you send her down let Lund Washington know whether you have put her to Horse or not, & what Horse.

To my very great surprize General Howe has made no Capitol movement yet—a few days ago a detachment of his Army (consisting of about 600 Men) run up the North River in Transports and destroyed some Rum, and other Stores of that kind belonging to us at a place called Peekskill where the Post happened to be Weak—but, upon the Assembling of some of our Men they Imbarkd in great haste and went back again to New York. They are also Imbarking Men (to the amount it is said of 3000) for some expedition, but the destination is unknown—my conjecture is Philadelphia; as we know they have been endeavouring to get Pilots well acquainted with the Navigation of the Delaware. An agent of theirs detected in this business got exalted upon a Gallows at Philadelphia the other day.

Our Troops come in ex[c]eedingly slow—whether owing to an unwillingness in the Men to Inlist, or to the Idleness and dissipation of the Officers, and their reluctance to leave their friends & acquaintance, I shall not undertake to say; but it looks to me as if we should never get an army assembled. Mr Thruston to whom I have given the raising of one of the Sixteen Regiments, will give Thornton a Commission in it.

My best wishes attends my Sister & the little ones whom I hope I may congratulate on their perfect recovery—in this Mrs Washington who is with me, sincerely joins. I am with every Sentiment of regard & love, Dr Sir Yr Most Affecte Brother

Go: Washington

P.S. Mr Johnston has lent Thornton a Saddle & Bridle, & I suppose has told him what is to be done with it.

Since writing the above I have determ⟨ine⟩d ⟨to⟩ send by Thornton 2000 Dollars to Lieut⟨t Colo.⟩ McDonald, who I intend (if he will accept of it) for Colo. Thrustons Lieutt Colo.2 Let Thornton if you cannot Conveniently see McDonald yourself carry the Money to him immediately (a reciept to be taken for it). Thornton will receive his Recruiting orders from McDonald who will appoint a place for him to send his Recruits to in order to be forwarded on to the Army, or disciplined.

Go: W.

ALS, PHi: Washington Manuscripts. GW addressed the cover to “Colo. Saml Washington In Berkeley County Virginia By Mr Thornton Washington.”

1GW’s sister-in-law Anne Steptoe Allerton Washington apparently died from her smallpox inoculation (see GW to John Augustine Washington, c.1 June 1777, and GW to Samuel Washington, 10 Aug. 1777, PWacD). For the inoculation of GW’s nephew Thornton Washington in early March, see GW to Samuel Washington, 15 March. For Samuel Washington’s earlier unsuccessful attempt to inoculate his family, see GW to Samuel Washington, 6 Dec. 1771.

2GW’s aide-de-camp George Johnston wrote Angus McDonald on 4 April: “With this you will receive Two thousand Dollars, all in 30 dollar Bills—and a Draft of the Recruiting Instructions to be delivered to the Officers—His Excellency desires me to inform you That the Convenience of carrying the Money, induced him to send it in such large Bills—In addition to the recruiting Instructions you will be pleased to order the Officers to make Note of their Mens size, flesh Marks, places of their Nativity & where & by whom they were inlisted—and likewise appoint a place of general Rendezvous, to which You will order the Officers in the most peremptory manner to send their Recruits as soon as they inlist a reasonable number, equal to the trouble of sending them; in the mean time each Capt. must fix upon some certain place for his Men to continue at, & not permit ’em to straggle about the Country, to the great Injury of the Service. ⟨At⟩ the general Rend⟨ezvous,⟩ you will be pleas’d to order some experienced Officer to remain, that he may be train’g the Men, while the recruitg service is going on—Colo. Thruston has offered Captaincies, & wrote Letters to that purpose, to Messrs Edmund Taylor of Frederick, Andrew Buchannan of Falmouth, John Thruston of Gloster, William Baker of Suffolk & Jos. Eggleston of Amelia, & directed them to apply to his Major Mr John Thornton of Culpeper County for recruiting Money—Now I would beg leave to recommend to your Consideration Whether it might not advance the service to send such a part of this Money to Majr Thornton as you shall judge necessary for the Gentlemen in the lower part of the Country; they will get it more conveniently than by sending all the way to Frederick.

“Tis His Excellency’s earnest Wish, that you accept the Commission he offered you by his letter lately sent you by Mr Edwd Smith—Should you, contrary to his desire, refuse it, pray be so good as to forward the money & Instruction to Major Thornton, that no time may be lost in raising the Regiment” (Df, DLC:GW). GW’s letter to McDonald offering to appoint him lieutenant colonel of Thruston’s Additional Regiment is dated 16 March. For that letter and McDonald’s reply to GW of 20 April declining to accept the commission, see Thruston to GW, 14 Mar. 1777, n.2.

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