George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Jay, 24 March 1779

To John Jay

Head Quarters Middle Brook March the 24: 1779


I have been honoured, in due order, with Your Excellency’s several Favors of the 15. 17 & 19 Instant with the Papers to which they refer.

I shall direct the earliest Returns to be made, that circumstances will admit, of the Officers—Soldiers &c., who are the Objects of the Act of the 15th—and will transmit them to the Board of War.1 Captain Greene’s case shall also have my attention—and his release be effected among the first Officers, if an exchange is agreed on—and there shall be no objections on the part of the Enemy.2

With respect to the Act of the 16th for inlisting Waggoners, I beg leave to observe that the Quarter Master General is decided in his opinion, that it is too limited to produce the salutary and beneficial consequences intended by it. A copy of his Letter, upon the occasion, I take the liberty to inclose, as his reasonings are full and founded in his own experience.3 It is an interesting point—and I am persuaded it will receive an early determination. I have the Honor to be with the highest respect & esteem Yr Excellency’s most Obed. servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 29 March and referred it to the Board of War (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 , 13:384).

1For this resolution requiring that returns be made of all Continental officers and men who were not serving in the eighty-eight infantry regiments “originally apportioned on the states,” see John Jay to GW, 15 March, n.1. For GW’s requests for the submission of these returns, see his letters to Henry Knox of 23 March, to Thomas Proctor and to Edward Hand, both this date, and to Alexander McDougall of 25 March. Also on 25 March, GW made the same request in an unfound letter apparently addressed to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan (see John Glover to GW, 2 April, and n.2 to that document) and in brief letters to Brig. Gen. James Clinton and to Lt. Col. Anthony Walton White. GW wrote Clinton on that date: “As the inclosed Resolves respect the Artillery and some other Corps under your command be pleased to communicate it to them and require them to make the Returns called for therein” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). GW’s letter to White of 25 March reads: “As the inclosed Resolve includes your Regiment, you will be pleased to make the Returns called for therein” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, owned [2000] by C. A. Philippe von Hemert, Philadelphia, Pa.). For responses to GW’s requests, see Knox to GW, 25 March and 6 April; Hand to GW, 29 March; Glover to GW, 2 April; and Proctor to GW, 3 April.

2For Capt. Ebenezer Green’s case and the continuing delay in his exchange, see Jay to GW, 19 March, n.2.

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