George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg, 10 April 1778

From Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg

[Valley Forge] April the 10th 1778.


Coll Mead was with me this Morning, desiring me to give Your Excellency a final Answer, in what manner I intended to Act, with regard to the dispute between Genl Woodford Weedon & myself;1 Tho I have had time enough to consider of it, I have still put it of[f], as I expected nothing would be done in it, untill Genl Weedons return; This Affair has been often Canvassed within my hearing, by the Officers in the Army, & I find the Generality of them are of Opinion that the Change would have taken place, if Genl Woodford had had no Claim, as Congress were determind to put him into a post, where He might have the first Chance of Promotion; I must Confess neither Honor or Ambition were the leading principle that Actuated me when I entred the Service; neither shall they be the cause of my quitting it at present; But Your Excellency will Acknowledge that much depends on Opinion & whenever an Officer degrades himself in the Opinion of his Brother Officers of inferior Rank his Influence & Authority become despicable—As fond as I should be of continuing in the Service of my Country I do not think I could do it with propriety, unless some Reasons were given for the Change, This would Justify me to my Friends, & to the Army in Generall, for I cannot help thinking that something more is required for our Meridian than barely to call in & Cancell.2

Your Excellency will I hope pardon me for writing my Sentiments freely, but should Your Excellency be of Opinion that I have not been injurd, & can serve, with propriety, I shall allways think myself happy in Obeying Your Excellencys Commands. I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedt Servt

P: Muhlenberg


1For discussion of the dispute about the relative ranks of Virginia brigadier generals William Woodford, Charles Scott, George Weedon, and Muhlenberg, see GW to Henry Laurens, 1 Jan. 1778, and note 8.

2The phrase “call in and Cancell” came from Congress’s resolution of 19 Mar. on the ranks of the Virginia brigadiers (see Henry Laurens to GW, 21 Mar., and note 3).

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