George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Thompson, 19 July 1778

From Brigadier General William Thompson

Philada July 19th 1778.


I expected before this time to have been made happy by the receipt of my Parole from New York, and can account for its delay upon no other Principle than the hurried and very particular situation of the British Forces at this time, which may perhaps have impeded the negotiation of that business. When it arrives at Camp I am well satisfied your Excelly will forward it to me with the necessary Expedition.1

The Honble the Congress having been pleased to assure me that my Rank in the Army is reserved for me, and being now just on the brink of entering into Service, I shall stand in need of two Aids de Camp. And for that purpose I have thought of appointing John Coats Esqr. who was formerly a Captain in 11th pennsylvania Regiment but who from a Wound he received, and some other Circumstances was under the necessity of resigning his Commission. When the particulars are considered that resignation I presume will be no impediment to his appointment, more especially when it is considered that the young Gentn had my Promise and was virtually in that Capacity some time previous to the resolution of Congress.2 George Noarth Deputy Muster Mr Genl was an early and faithful Volunteer of mine at Cambridge and is entitled to every Mark of Attention that I can pay him, and as he wishes to be as actively useful as possible, and now holds the rank of a Leiut. Colo. in the line of the Army, I have no doubt but as an encouragement to merit and a reward for his long and faithful Services your Excellency will indulge him with the same rank in my family.3

I request a Line from your Excellency upon this Subject and am Your most Obedt Hble Servt

Wm Thompson


1Contrary to Thompson’s expectation, he was not exchanged until October 1780.

2Thompson may be referring to the provision in the new establishment of the army, 27 May 1778, “That two aids de camp be allowed to each major general, who shall for the future appoint them out of the captains or subalterns” ( 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 , 11:542).

3George Noarth was appointed deputy commissary general of musters in April 1777 and retired in September 1778. His resignation was accepted in April 1779.

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