George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel George Baylor, 1 May 1778

To Colonel George Baylor

Head Quarters Valley Forge
⟨1st May⟩ 1778

Dear Sir

I am favd with yours of the 5th of last month. I have not the least doubt but your time and attention have been both fully applied to the Business upon which you were sent, and in which, I hope you will have the desired success.1

I wrote to Colo. Bland about ten days ago,2 and directed him to send forward the Horses and Recruits in squads, as they could be got ready; those men who have not had the small pox may be sent on and innoculated with their Regiments. I repeat this to you, lest you should not have been informed of it by Colo. Bland.

By a letter from Colo. Moylan a few days ago,3 I find that his Regiment and Sheldons will want Arms—Swords and pistols in particular, and as they are not to be obtained to the Northward, I beg you will engage all that you possibly can from Hunter.

I approve of your employing Officers to purchase Horses &ca in preference to the common dealers in that way, and as you seem to think that Capt. Lewis can be particularly useful to you, I shall send him back to Virginia.4

Capt. Lewis informs me that you have been appointing Cornets to your Regiment, upon a presumption, I suppose, that the plan for augmenting the Cavalry is actually adopted—You must remember, that this was only a recommendation of the Committee, but whether Congress have confirmed it, I do not yet know.5 If any young Gentlemen apply for admission into your Regiment, I would have you take an account of them, but make no absolute promise of a Commission. As I am not clear that the powers, formerly vested in me by Congress to appoint Officers, have not expired, I would not myself undertake to fill up the Vacancies, and therefore I desire that you may not proceed further.

If there is a vacant Cornecy in your Regt I should wish it reserved for Mr Peregrine Fitzhugh, son of Colo. Fitzhugh of Patuxent in Maryland, a young Gentlemen strongly recommended to me by his father.6 He is now here, but will go over to Major Clough and receive proper instructions from him, to fit him for command. Should your Regiment be full, be pleased to speak to Colo. Bland and desire him to reserve a Cornecy for Mr Fitzhugh. I am Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, sold by Sotheby’s, New York, item no. 153, 7 Nov. 1994; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1Baylor’s letter of 5 April has not been found. For his mission to purchase cavalry horses in Virginia, see GW to Baylor, 4 March.

3GW is referring to Moylan’s letter of 21 April, which has not been found; see GW’s reply of 29 April.

4GW entrusted Capt. George Lewis with a number of errands on his trip to Virginia, including the delivery of this letter to Baylor; see GW to Lewis, 3 May, and Baylor to GW, 11 May.

5Congress resolved on the new arrangement of the cavalry and the rest of the army on 27 May; see 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 , 11:538–43, and General Orders, 7 June.

6Peregrine Fitzhugh (1759–1811) of Calvert County, Md., was appointed a cornet of the 3d Continental Dragoons on 16 June 1778 and was promoted to lieutenant before being taken prisoner late in September 1778. He remained in captivity until his exchange in October 1780, and although he had by that time attained the rank of captain in his old regiment, he became an aide-de-camp to GW with the rank of lieutenant colonel on 2 July 1781. He left the service by the time of his marriage at the beginning of the following year. Peregrine’s father was William Fitzhugh (1721–1798).

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