George Washington Papers

From George Washington to General William Howe, 23 November 1777

To General William Howe

Head Qrs [Whitemarsh, Pa.] Novr the 23: 1777.


I am compelled by repeated Complaints of the Inhuman treatment still shewn to the Unhappy prisoners in your hands, to call upon you for a clear & explicit Answer to my Letter of the 14th Instant. This I shall expect to receive by Monday Evening next.1 Their sufferings demand immediate redress; And unless I obtain the most satisfactory assurances on this Head, duty will constrain me to retaliate instantly on the prisoners in my possession. I am Sir with due respect Yr Most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

Copy, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, enclosed in GW to Henry Laurens, 23 Nov., DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers; copy, PHi: Boudinot Papers; two copies, P.R.O., 30/55, Carleton Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. On 1 Dec. Congress referred this letter to the Board of War, which on 6 Dec. reported on GW’s correspondence with Howe about prisoners (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 , 9:970, 983, 1006–8).

1GW means the next day, Monday, 24 November.

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