George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 30 August 1778

From Henry Laurens

[Philadelphia] 30th Augt [1778]


I had the honor of addressing Your Excellency twice on the 28th Instant by Jones,1 in that which was written last, I ought more explicitly to have acknowledged the reciept and presentment to Congress of Your Excellencys favor of the 25th and of Copies of the several Papers from General Sullivan’s Camp.2

Congress Yesterday ordered the public Treasurer to pay into my hands five hundred Guineas to be transmitted to Your Excellency to be expended at your discretion Sir, for public service.3 These I have put under a firm cover and committed the safe conveyance and delivery of the package to the bearer of this Captain Josiah Stoddard of the 2nd Regt of Light Dragoons.

Captain Stoddard has been long soliciting Congress on behalf of himself and twelve other Memorialists of the same Regiment for a compensation equivalent to their extra expence in equipping themselves for the service in which they are engaged. The Memorial was committed and a Report made which together with divers concomitant Papers are referred to the present Committee of Arrangement at Camp who are desired by an Act of Yesterdays’ date, to make necessary enquiries of Your Excellency respecting the application of Captain Stoddard, I shall therefore for Your Excellencys’ information inclose with this a Copy of the abovemention’d Act.4 I have the honor to be &c.

LB, DNA:PCC, item 13.

1Laurens was referring to his two official letters to GW of 28 August.

2Laurens was referring to GW’s second letter to him of 25 Aug., which enclosed papers from Rhode Island and was read in Congress on 28 Aug. ( 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 , 11:848).

3For this order of 29 Aug., see ibid., 11:851.

4The enclosed copy has not been identified; for the act, see ibid., 11:851–52. Stoddard’s memorial and the cavalry officers’ petition (neither identified) were first read in Congress on 28 July and referred to the Board of War. The board’s report was laid on the table on 7 August. Two additional letters from Stoddard were laid on the table on 22 Aug. before the matter was taken up on 29 August. On 27 Oct., Congress resolved to allow $500 to “the field officers, captains, subalterns, chaplain and surgeon of the light dragoons respectively … to compensate the extraordinary expence of his horse and equipment, beyond that of officers of the like rank in the infantry; provided always, that any officer receiving such sum shall be liable to refund the same if he leaves the service during the present war,” which resolution was one of two suggested by the committee of arrangement’s undated report on Stoddard’s memorial (ibid., 11:724, 758, 819, 827, 12:1066–67; DNA:PCC, item 21).

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