George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Peters, 23 July 1777

From Richard Peters

War Office [Philadelphia] July 23d 1777


As no precise Account had ever been transmitted of the Strength & Situation of the Division under General Putnam I had it in Direction to write to him for Returns of the Numbers of Men, & the Situation of their Arms & Clothing, their Supplies & their Wants. I have the Honour of enclosing the Answer I received which is by no Means satisfactory to the Board who expected General Putnam would have complied with their request, altho’ not in a separate Department, being too of Opinion that no regular Returns were made to your Excellency or they would have been transmitted to Congress. The Board have transmitted the enclosed Resolve of Congress to Genl Putman & again desired his Returns, but if there be more Propriety in their coming thro’ your Hands, you will be pleased to give the necessary Orders concerning the Matter.1

General Knox informs me your Excellency has not recieved the Resolves of Congress relative to the Invalid Corps. I thought I had sent them. But least I should not have done it, I enclose them. Your Excellency will excuse their being sent in a News Paper as we are much hurried.2 I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect Your very obedt Servt

Richard Peters Secy

Colonel Lewis Nicola is appointed to the Command of the Invalid Regiment.


1The enclosed copy of Israel Putnam’s letter to Peters, written at Peekskill, N.Y., on 16 July 1777, reads: “I received your’s of the 7th on the 14th Inst.; and Contains in the first Intimation, that such Returns are to be made by me to the Board of War as being in a separate department—Weekly Returns of this Division of the Army under my Command, are made to General Washington. The Stores of Provisions & Arms &c. belong to the Commissary & Quarter Mr General’s Department, and are comprehended in their Returns. As to Cloathing we have not had any here, Mr Young carried them to Fish kill, by whose Order, I know not, he is now gone, and what he deliver’d out, is not in my Power to inform—if there are any Resolves of Congress regulating the Matters pointed out in your Letter, that concern me as being in a separate Department, should be exceeding happy to be furnished with them, and shall not delay or be wanting in doing whatever shall appear my Duty in this great Contest” (DLC:GW). The enclosed copy of Congress’s resolution directing Putnam to furnish the Board of War with a return of the troops in his division is dated 19 July (DLC:GW; see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 8:564).

2GW had received a copy of the Continental Congress’s resolution of 24 June 1777 concerning the establishment of the Invalid Corps (see John Hancock to GW, 24 June, and note 2), but he apparently sought a copy of a second resolution that Congress passed on 16 July “for carrying into execution” its first resolution on the subject (ibid., 554–56). Part of the second resolution contained an advertisement that Congress ordered to be printed in newspapers (ibid., 555), and it appeared in the Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia) on 17 July and the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia) on 23 July.

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