George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Nathan Strong, 30 March 1779

From Captain Nathan Strong

Blooming Grove Orange County [N.Y.]
March 30th 1779

May it Please Your Execellency.

I beg Leave without offence to Represent to Your Honour my Present Circumstances.

I Have the Honour to wair a Captains Commission In the Service of the United States in the 4th New York Regt Since November 1776, and think I have Served them to the best of my Power and understanding and without Contempt.1

But Sensible that Your Execellency will Not Incest on any officer Continuing in the Service whoes Circumstances will Not Admit, I hope with the Following Reasons to obtain Liberty to Resign.

Near the Close of the Last Campain I was Taken with A Sevear fit of Sickness which Confind me to my bed for Some months. and have Know but Jest Got about again. which has Left me so week and my Constitution So much brok that I think myself Not fit for a Campain. and have been Advised by Severel Ficisions Not to undertake.

These together with the Death of my Brother who was Murdered in his own Hous by the Torys and the Circumstances of his Family who has No one to take Care of them.2 but myself and a Large Family of my own & No way to mantain them but by my Pay. Has Determined me to Quit the Service If I Can have that Liberty.

I thearfore beg your Execellency to Take these matters into your Consideration and Grant me Liberty to Resign my Commission.

I am Sorry to troble Your Execey with these matters but being unfit for Service I am Loath to take the Publicks mony for No Services.

I[f] your Execellency Cold see fit to Take these into Consideration and Send me an Answer by the barer I shall be in Duty Ever bound to Serve.3 Your Excely Most Obedt & Very Hume Servant

Nat. Strong Capt. 4th New York Regt


1Before becoming a captain in the 4th New York Regiment on 21 Nov. 1776, Nathan Strong had been commissioned an ensign on 19 Sept. 1775 in the Blooming Grove minuteman company of Orange County, New York. He apparently then served as a lieutenant in the Orange County militia from February 1776 until obtaining his captaincy in Continental army. Strong retired from the army in April 1779.

2For details on the killing of Orange County militia major Nathaniel Strong at his home by Claudius Smith and comrades in the early morning of 6 Oct. 1778, see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:145–49, and the Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia), 26 Oct. 1778. For Smith’s capture, imprisonment, and subsequent hanging on 22 Jan. 1779, see the New-Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord), 2 April 1846; see also Eager, Orange County description begins Sam’l W. Eager. An Outline History of Orange County . . .. Newburgh, N.Y., 1846-47. description ends , 550–64.

3GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison replied to Strong from Middlebrook on 6 April. The draft reads: “I received your Letter of the 30th Ulto addressed to His Excellency, the Commander in Chief. You appear by the arrangement of the Officers in the New York line to stand as a Supernumerary. This circumstance dispenses with your future service in the Army and renders a resignation unnecessary; and it is preferable to one, as you will be entitled to the emoluments allowed to Supernumeraries—which, from the Memorandum on the arrangement, you seem well to deserve” (DLC:GW).

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