George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith, 29 April 1779

From Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith

Camp [Middlebrook]
April 29th 1779

May it please your Excellency

Immagening that the multiplicity of Business that your Excellency must at present be necessarily engaged in, would render it something inconvenient to honour me with a private Audience; I have thought it most proper to adopt this method to inform you of my Situation which at present is not so agreable as I could wish.

I was permitted by M.G. Sullivan to come on with him to H. Quarters, to enquire into the arrangement of the Corps under the command of Colo. H. Jackson in which I have the Honour of commanding a Regt & if they were to be thrown into two Regts I flatter’d my-self I should continue in the Command of one of them as being the 2d in Rank in that Corps & consequently return, in which Situation I might probably have got my Regt removed to some Brigade which would have re[n]derd it more pleasing than when under the Command of Colo. Jackson, in short, it is so disagreable that I cannot think of sacrificeing my feelings as a Gent. & a Soldier any Longer.

If your Excellency could with any degree of propriety remove me from the Corps I should be happy otherwise I fear I shall be under the disagreable necessity of Leaving the Service of my Country a Circumstance that I candidly acknowledge to Your Excellency affords the most disagreable reflections, for I can conceive of very few Reasons that will Justify a young Gentleman in my Situation Quiting the Service while the Enemy are ravageing the Country that gave him Birth. The reasons that I could offer, why, being under the command of Colo. Jackson is disagreable to me, are so many & so lengthy that I fear it would be trespassing too much upon your Excellency’s Patience at present to rehears⟨e⟩.

Relying entirely upon your Excellency’s Pleasure by which I would wish to regulate my Conduct I have the Honour to subscribe myself Your most devoted Servt

Wm S. Smith Lt Coll

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter is docketed “not to be ansd”; Smith transferred to Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment shortly after writing this letter, and remained in service until the end of the war.

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