George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Christopher Gadsden, 4 July 1777

From Brigadier General Christopher Gadsden

Fort Moultrie, S.C., 4 July 1777. Introduces Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: “I did myself the Honour to write a few Lines to your Excelly the other Day by my Worthy Friend Coll Danl Horry I now beg leave to introduce his Brother in Law Coll Chas Cotesworth Pinckney to your Excelly.1 He is Coll of the regimt I lately commanded the first of this State, station’d at Fort Moultrie under my immediate Command—He is a polite Spirited, active & Worthy Officer, & tho’ I am sure he has no Occasion for my Assistance to be made known to yr Excelly being so nearly connected with other Gentlemen much better able to do him that Service, yet my sincere regard for him made me unable to forbear contributing my Mite & at least shewing him my good Will on this Occasion.”


1Gadsden’s letter to GW introducing Col. Daniel Horry has not been found, but it apparently was written around 6 June 1777, the date that Edward Rutledge wrote a letter of introduction for Horry to GW. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1745–1825) was a successful Charleston, S.C., attorney who had studied law at Oxford University in the 1760s. Pinckney served in the South Carolina provincial assembly in 1769, in the South Carolina provincial congress in 1775, and on the South Carolina council of safety in 1776. In June 1775 he was appointed the ranking captain of the 1st South Carolina Regiment, and in September 1776 he became the regiment’s colonel. Pinckney remained with the Continental army in 1777 for several months before returning to South Carolina. In 1778 he became a member of the lower house of the South Carolina general assembly, and the following year he was the president of the state senate and once again a member of the council of safety. Pinckney was the commander of Fort Moultrie when it surrendered to the British in May 1780; he was exchanged in 1782 and breveted brigadier general in November 1783. Pinckney visited Mount Vernon when on his way home from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in October 1787 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:193). Between 1791 and 1795 he turned down offers to cabinet posts in GW’s government as well as the command of the army and a seat on the Supreme Court. He did accept the appointment to replace James Monroe as minister to France in 1796. He served as a major general in the U.S. Army from July 1798 to June 1800. He was Federalist candidate for vice president in 1800 and for president in 1804 and 1808. Other prominent Charlestonians wrote letters of introduction for Pinckney to GW on 5 July 1777, including Thomas Lynch (NN: Emmet Collection), Henry Middleton (PHi: Gratz Collection; DLC:GW), Edward Rutledge (DLC:GW), and John Rutledge (DLC:GW).

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