To Lieutenant General Cornwallis
Middle Brook June 6th 1777
I received the favour of your Lordships letter of this day. I am sorry, I cannot with propriety comply with Lieut. Col: Sterlings request; but as I wish not to obstruct any supplies, you may think proper to send for the comfort and accommodation of your prisoners with us, I am to assure you, that the greatest care will be taken to forward and deliver, whatever money or necessaries may be transmitted for the purpose; and vouchers of its being done will be returned for the satisfaction of the gentlemen from whom they come.
Lieut. Col: Sterling can send those articles by a flag addressed to Elias Boudinot Esqr. Commissary for prisoners, with proper directions for the distribution of them and they will not fail to be observed. Every matter of a similar nature is to pass through his hands, and to be transacted by him; as was signified in a late letter of mine to Lieut. General De Heister, to point out the proper channel of conveyance in these cases.1
I cannot forbear taking this occasion to remark that it appears to me not a little singular to find a gallant discharge of duty in an officer assigned as a reason for exercising the greatest2 barbarity towards him. I confess I should imagine that the eye of generosity3 would rather view it as a motive for applause and tenderness.4
Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
2. At this place in the draft, Hamilton wrote and then struck out the words: “cruelty and.”
3. At this place in the draft, Hamilton wrote and then struck out the words: “and humanity.”
4. At this place in the draft, Hamilton wrote and then struck out the following phrase: “and cannot feel the force such an apology for a species of conduct equally unjustifiable by the civilized principles of war or the dictates of humanity.”