George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Clinton, 9 June 1779

To George Clinton

Head Quarters Smiths in the Clove [N.Y.]
June 9th 1779

Dear Sir,

Having considered our own force—the situation and circumstances of the enemy—and the inconveniences which must result to the militia from detaining them longer in the field, from the sudden and unexpected manner in which they came out. I beg leave to inform your Excellency, that, I should hope they may be dismissed and permitted to return to their homes for the present, without any great injury. At the same time I request the favor of your Excellency to make them a tender of my sincerest thanks for their readiness in turning out—a circumstance not less interesting to the States than honorable to themselves—and which leaves me intirely convinced that their earliest support will not be wanting in any future case of emergency.1 I have the honor to be With great respect & esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obet Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, PPRF; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Also on this date, GW wrote a letter to Col. William Malcom: “Desirous to avoid as much as possible keeping the militia in the field, especially at a season which requires they should be at home; I am to request you will dismiss those under your command with my warmest thanks, for the zeal and alacrity, with which they have turned out upon the present interesting occasion. This does them the highest honor and affords an earnest of what they will do on any future emergency” (LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). The address on the LS reads: “To Col. Malcolm or Officer Commanding the Militia in the Vicinity of the Furnace of Deane.”

1On 7 June, 8:00 P.M., Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall wrote a letter to Clinton from “Buds,” opposite West Point, that in part reads: “I inclose a Letter from the Commander in chief. By one to me which came with it, I conclude it is an invitation to meet him, to-morrow morning at West Point. Please to inform me by the return of the Bearer, whether you purpose goeing over” (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 5:48–49). The enclosed letter from GW has not been found. It is unlikely that GW and Clinton met on 8 June because Clinton apparently did not reach West Point on that date. For Clinton’s cancelled plan to see the general on 10 June, see his letter to GW of this date.

John Cochran, surgeon general for the northern department, wrote Philip Schuyler from Livingston Manor, N.Y., on Saturday, 12 June: “General Washington Visited the Forts at West point on Tuesday Where I had the Pleasure of seeing him in very good Health. He asked very particularly after you & desired his Compliments, if I should see you” (NN: Schuyler Papers).

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