To a Board of General Officers
Head Quarters [Valley Forge] May 29th 1778
I send you herewith a memorial from Lt Col: Regnier of the 4th New York regiment, explaining the principles on which his claim of rank in the army is founded, which you will be pleased carefully to examine into and report your opinion concerning—as directed in the general orders of yesterday.1 I send you also a resolve of Congress of the 30th of last month determining the nature and operation of brevet commissions, and the proceedings of a Board of General Officers, held the 19th of February past, the principle of which may perhaps have some influence in the present case.2 There are other papers, which would be useful in the decision, that I have not at this time, in my possession—The resolve of Congress passed, I think, in October 76, vesting the sole power of appointing all regimental officers in the several state-legislatures, with which, you are no doubt fully acquainted, ought to be properly attended to;3 and the arrangement of the state of New York, which gave rise to the dispute, between Lt Col: Regnier and the other Lieut. Colonels of that line—This I imagine will be produced by the parties themselves—There is also an article of war, the 24th of the 13th section, to which I beg leave to refer the attention of the Board.4 I am Gentlemen Your most Obedt servt
LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
2. For the resolution on brevet commissions, 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 , 10:410; for the report of the previous Board of General Officers, see General Orders, 20 February.
3. GW is referring to a resolution of 16 Sept. 1776 (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 , 5:763).
4. 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 , 5:800. The Board of General Officers reported on this date: “At a Court of Enquiry held at Genl Lee’s Quarters, for the Settling of the Rank of Leiut. Colo. Regnier May 29th 1778—Present Major Genl Lee—President[;] Major Genl Marquis de La Fayette[;] Major General Baron De Kalb[;] Brigadier General Knox[;] Brigadier Genl Vernum[;] Brigadier General Huntingdon[;] Brigadier Genl Du Portell[.] The Claims of Lt Colo. Renier, and the other Lt Colos. of the State of New York, respecting their standing in Rank, being considered, the Board are of Opinion that Colo. Renier will take Rank of those Gentlemen upon Courts martial, Detachments & all Duties from the Line; But that they command him in the Line of the State, For, notwithstanding Colo. Renier’s Rank as Lt Colo. was anticedant to theirs in the Line, yet his Appointment in that State was posterior” (DLC:GW).