George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg, 12 October 1778

From Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg

Octobr 12th 1778.


Lieut. Colo. Ball informs me that a Number of Men belonging to the 9th Regt who receivd furlows last Winter are still in Virginia, as well as those who were exchangd last Spring & reinlisted. He requests that Lieut. Overton may be permitted to go to Virginia for the purpose of Collecting & bringing them to Camp; if his proposal meets with Your Excellencys approbation, Lt Overton will set out imediately.1 I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedt hble Servt

P. Muhlenberg


Muhlenberg wrote GW on 14 Oct.: “Major [Samuel Jordan] Cabell who has not been on Furlow since his being in the Service, requests me to Sollicit Your Excellencys permission for him to go to Virginia about the 10th of next Month—Major Cabell had the promise of a Furlow last Spring but on the opening of the Campaign, gave it up, in hopes to receive one this Fall—There are two Field Officers to the Regt besides the Major” (ALS, DLC:GW).

GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Kidder Meade replied to both of Muhlenberg’s letters on 15 Oct.: “His Excy desires me to communicate to you his determination with respect to furloughing Officers—you must be sensible the numberless applications that will occur during this Winter renders it necessary that some general regulation should take place, and you are requested to make it known to the commanding Officers of the two other Brigades, which will prevent unnecessary applications, that he is determined that two field Officers to a Regiment, and the same number of Officers to each Company unless in very extraordinary cases shall be present—and that those who are to be absent must be decided among the officers themselves that no discontent may prevail. The furloughs are all to be granted from the Adjutant Generals Office by an order from Head Quartrs & to effect this the more properly the Commanding Officer of each Brigade when an application is made by an Officer in it, will give him a certificate agreeable to the above regulation. Major Cabells pretentions to go home are surely equal to any Gentlemans, & will no doubt be attended to—many others have apply’d who will be gratified under this general rule. Lieut. Overton has permission to proceed on the business proposed by Colo. Ball. . . . p.s. His Excy also desires that the Brigade Majors may keep accurate accots of the absent Officers” (DLC:GW).

1Thomas Overton (1753–1824) had been appointed a second lieutenant in the 9th Virginia Regiment in June 1776 and had been promoted to 1st lieutenant in March 1778. He became adjutant of the 4th Continental Light Dragoon Regiment, with the rank of lieutenant, in July 1779, and he was promoted to captain in that regiment in April 1781. Overton served to the end of the war and eventually settled in Tennessee.

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