George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Pettit, 15 October 1778

From Charles Pettit

Camp near Fredericksburg 15 Octr 1778


As General Stark’s Complaint against Col. Lewis, Depy Q. Mr General at Albany, was addressed to your Excy,1 I take the Liberty of inclosing to you Col: Lewis’s Defence together with the Certificates he has transmitted as Vouchers for what he has asserted in his Letter.2 I have the Honour to be, very respectfully Your Excellency’s most obedient & most hum. Servt

Cha. Pettit


1For this complaint, see John Stark’s letter to GW of 21 August.

2Col. Morgan Lewis says in the enclosed letter that he wrote to Pettit on 9 Sept. from Albany that “I cannot but lament that a Man of such narrow and contracted Sentiments as Genl Stark possesses, should have it in his Power to sport with Public Characters even at the Expence of Truth. Knew you the Man, you would not be Surprised at this base piece of Conduct; for notwithstanding his Attempts in this Dark and Assassin like manner to wound my Reputation I can Assure you, he ever meets me with a Smile, and takes me most cordially by the Hand. Every thing that bears the resemblance of a Gentleman is to him disgusting. The whole Tenor of his Conduct justifies the Assertion; for his Only Companions are a set of Tavern Keepers, and some of the most Vulgar Characters the City Affords. However the business of this Letter is not to Descant upon the propriety of General Stark’s Conduct, but to free myself from the malevolent Aspersions he has undeservedly endeavored to cast upon me.” Morgan then proceeds to refute at great length Stark’s charges that universal complaints had been made about his conduct, and that he had failed to supply sufficient tents and camp kettles for the troops in the northern department, or adequate provisions for the troops on Otter Creek or grain for Stark’s horses. Lewis suggests that Stark’s enmity for him may stem from the fact that he was a New Yorker and Stark was a native of New Hampshire. The two states had a long-standing bitter dispute over control of the Hampshire Grants, which later became the state of Vermont. Lewis’s letter included the following four enclosures: (1) a certificate of 10 Sept. verifying Lewis’s good conduct, signed by a number of prominent citizens of the city and county of Albany; (2) two notes from Stark to Lewis of 5 Aug. requesting that Lewis’s carpenters build Stark a riding chair, and Lewis’s reply to Stark of 6 Aug. saying that although the carpenters were not public employees and worked only by the job, they could be engaged to build the riding chair if Stark so wished; (3) a certificate of 9 Sept. from Jacob Cuyler, the deputy commissary general of purchases at Albany, verifying that Lewis had never failed to furnish proper transportation for his department; and (4) a certificate of 10 Sept. from John J. Wendell, the overseer of the public stables at Albany, verifying that Stark had kept in the public stables “sometimes Seven, sometimes Eight, and for the most part, Nine Horses which said Horses have been Constantly Fed with Bran, Hoggs Cornel and Such Forrage as was supplyed by the commissary of Forrage,” and “that the Forrage fed to Colonel Lewis’s Horses was not drawn from the forrage Master, but Purchased by himself.” Lewis’s letter to Pettit and its enclosures are in DLC:GW.

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