George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Peter Scull, 3 June 1779

From Peter Scull

War-Office [Philadelphia] 3 June 1779.


I am directed by the Board to sollicit your Excellency’s attention to a matter that must soon become interesting to the different States. They have been inform’d that most of the inlistments in the army are “for three years, or during the war”; and from the ambiguity of the expression, different constructions have been put upon it; the Officer insisting that the latter clause extends, & the Soldier that it restricts the term of service. As inconveniences have already arisen from too short notice having been given to the States, of the necessity of reinlisting their men, & as the Board are anxious to prevent the like neglect in future; they request your Excellency would be pleased to give orders to the Officer commanding the pennsylvania line to make returns to this Board of the terms of service for which those troops are engaged, and what number of them will be entituled to discharges in the course of this year. Was it practicable the Board would be glad to have similar information from the other lines of the army that they might give timely intelligence to the legislatures of the States to which they belong.1

The commissions of the 2nd Connecticut Regiment are forwarded by this conveyance2—Van Heer’s corps has been commissioned agreably to your Excellency’s directions.3 I have the honour to be with every sentiment of respect Your Excellencys Most hble Servt

P. Scull Secretary


1See GW to the Board of War, 9 June, and n.15 to that document.

2The enclosed commissions have not been identified. For GW’s promise to forward these commissions upon their arrival from the Board of War, see his letter to Jedediah Huntington of 28 May, in Huntington to GW, 25 May, n.2.

3In his second letter to the Board of War of 22 May, GW had requested commissions for Col. Bartholomew von Heer’s Maréchaussée Corps. The Board of War promised these commissions “as soon as possible” in its first letter to GW of 25 May.

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