George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Benedict Arnold, 19 July 1778

From Major General Benedict Arnold

Philada July 19th 1778.

Dr General,

I beg pardon for neglecting to answer your Excellency’s kind favour of the 11th Inst:—I shou’d by no means have so long omitted writing had I not known Congress had transmitted every Intelligence of Consequence.

I beg leave (tho late) to present your Excellency my congratulatory compliments on the Arrival of the French Fleet & Minister and the pleasing prospect of our Affairs.

My wounds are in a fair way & less painful than usual tho’ there is little prospect of my being able to take the field for a considerable time; which consideration together with that of having been obliged entirely to neglect my private Affairs since I have been in the service has induced me to wish to retire from Public business unless an offer which my friends have mentioned should be made me of the command of the Navy to which my being wounded would not be so great an objection as it would remaining in the Army.

I must beg leave to request your Excellency’s sentiments respecting a command in the Navy; I am sensible of my inabilities & the great hazard and fatigue attending the office; & that I should enjoy much greater happiness in a retired life, still my wishes to serve my Country have a greater weight with me than domestic happiness or ease.

We have just received intelligence that the French Fleet was at Anchor off the Hook the 16th—we are anxiously waiting to hear from them, & hope your Excellency in conjunction with them will soon bring the Enemy’s Fleet & Army to submit. I have the honor to be with the most profound respect & esteem Dr General your Excellency’s Mo: Obedt & Hble Servt

B. Arnold


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