George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Officers of Colonel Thomas Proctor’s Regiment, 9 March 1778

From the Officers of Colonel Thomas Proctor’s Regiment

Park of Artillery [Valley Forge]
9 March 1778

Much Respected Sir

The Officers of Collonel Thomas Procters Regiment of Artillery humbly begg leave to offer to your Excellency a grievance they labour Under—hope from your Usual goodness to find redress.

Enclosed your Excellency has a copy of a remonstrance deliver’d to Collonel Procter1 to which he has given a Verbal Answer to the following purport.

That with respect to Annexing two Company’s to his Regiment to which he had before given his Assent he then thought it improper, and in case of any Augmentation in the Regiment the senior Officers before, therein, were intiteld to be preferr’d.

As to reserving a Captaincy which has been Vacant Above Nine Months in the Regiment he has done, and is determined to do it as long as ly’s in his power, for Captain Lieut. Turnbul who was taken prisoner at Middlebrook in April last. We think it hard that Collonel Procters particular respect to an individual should retard the promotion of his Regiment and give umbrage to his Officers in general. We for the whole, with the Utmost respect subscribe ourselves Your Excellencys Obedient and devoted Servants

A. Wilkinson Capt.

Pat. Duffey Captain Lieut.

John Bryce Captain Lieut.

Geo: Cottnam Capt. Lt

LS, DLC:GW. The text appears to be in Patrick Duffey’s writing.

Amos Wilkinson (1749–1833), who had been appointed an ensign of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment by 1 Nov. 1775, was promoted to second lieutenant in January 1776 and to first lieutenant on 4 May 1776. He became a captain in the 4th Continental Artillery on 14 Mar. 1777 and served until his resignation in June 1779. He later served in the navy. John Bryce (Brice) was commissioned a captain lieutenant in the 4th Continental Artillery on 14 Mar. 1777. Bryce was promoted to captain in June 1778 and remained in the regiment at that rank until at least May 1781. George Cottnam was appointed an ensign of the 3d New Jersey Regiment on 29 Feb. 1776 and served to December of that year. He became a captain lieutenant in the 4th Continental Artillery on 14 Mar. 1777 and remained at that rank until he resigned in September 1778.

1The enclosure, dated 4 Mar. and signed by twenty-two officers, stated two grievances: “First—They think Agreeable to the promotion in each Regiment to that of Captain should take place, and any Augmentation that might be Necessary, in such case the Senior Officers before in the Regiment to be prefer’d.

“Therefore that no Company’s be Annex’d to your Regiment as Proceedings of Such Nature must Justly insult them.

“Secondly—As you retard the promotion of your Regiment through a particular respect to Gentlemen prisoners, they look on themselves much agrieved, ’tis contrary to resolves of Congress that Officers should be promoted during their imprisonment, instances of that Nature being conspicuous through the line, of inferiur Officers being prefer’d in the room of Others Superiour prisoners, the Omission of which would injure the Service and give Umbrage to Numbers—You were pleased to Mention your intention of witholding a Company for Captain Lieut. Turnbul. they look on it excessive hard and unprecedented that respect to an individual should injure a Regiment” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries