George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 9 July 1779

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Fort Mont[gomer]y [N.Y.] 9th July 1779

Dear General

Enclosed is a Letter from Genl St Clair who has sent Lieut. Butler (a Brother of the Colonels[)]1 to take the place of Lieut. Gibbons in the Infantry—I believe them both deserving Spirited young Officers—but can’t think myself justified in the Exchange of any Officer belonging to the Corps—least it shou’d lay a pre[ce]dent for Other exchanges from every Division and every Regement in the Army—at any time they might think proper to propose it—I shall therefore wait your Excellencies Orders on this & every similar Occation2—Lieut. Gibbons seems much hurt at the proposi[ti]on altho’ Delecately Mentioned by Genl St Clair.

I cou’d wish to draw the Light Corps together in order to Manoeuvre them & to give the Officers & men an Opportunity to mix & become acquainted with each Other—as also to Introduce a Similarity of dress & duty.

perhaps this may be done whilst the Enemy are at so great a Distance without any disadvantage—for before they could possibly Effect a Landing the Light Corps could be detatched to the posts they at present Occupy if thought the most proper position.

I had a person up from the Vicinity of Stony point last evening every thing Remains as you saw them except that the Enemy have not sent a Single party out since we were there.3

I have a Small party of Rifle men hovering about them who have orders to keep them in Constant alarm—with a promise of 20 Dollars bounty for each Deserter from our army that they take up I have given the most pointed Orders to guard against a Surprize & not to trust any man in that Country. I am your Excellencies Most Obt Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers.

1Edward Butler (1762–1803), the youngest brother of Col. Richard Butler, entered the army as an ensign in his brother’s regiment, the 9th Pennsylvania, in June 1778 and became a lieutenant in January 1779. He transferred to the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1781 and to the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1783. Butler left the army in November of that year. He rejoined the army in 1791 and became a captain in the 5th U.S. Infantry in March 1792. He remained in the army at that rank until his death.

2The enclosed letter from Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair, presumably to Wayne and apparently dated 8 July, has not been identified, but Wayne discussed that letter when he wrote St. Clair from Fort Montgomery on 10 July: “I was favored with yours of the 8th by Mr Butler & Immediately transmitted it to his Excellency Genl Washing[ton] accompanied with the Enclosed letter—His Excellencies answer is that he can’t agree to the exchange—altho’ he allows Colo. Craig’s claim to have Weight & wishes that a proportion of Officers had in the first Instance been drafted—but that after the formation of the Corps & the Officers in possession of their Respective Commands—to withdraw Any of them now must hurt the feeling of every man [of] Spirit & be a tacit Reflection on his Conduct for want of care Abilities or Discipline.

“However you will please to present my most Respectful Compliments to Colonel Craig & tell him that I have Obtained his Excellencies permission for an Officer of his to fill the first Vacancy in the Corps that may take place in our Line— which in all probabilities won’t be many day’s distant” (PHi: Wayne Papers). Col. Thomas Craig commanded the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment.

St. Clair replied to Wayne from Smiths Clove, N.Y., on 11 July: “I had the Pleasure of yours of Yesterday by Mr Gibbons, and am not Sorry that the Matter with him has taken the Turn it has done, as I believe him a very good Officer, and feared he would feel himself hurt by the Exchange—The reasons of the Change have not however been fully understood or attended to—The Manner of drawing out the light Corps was very disagreeable to many of the Officers, and the General recommended to me to try if some Method could not be fallen upon that wou’d give satisfaction—that by Detail from the different Regiments seemed to be the Wish; but at a Meeting for the Purpose it was determined they should stand as they had been first sent out, only giving Col[on]el Craig a proportion of Officers to the Men taken from his Regiment, which I thought was no unreasonable request, and did therefore promise him it should be done. I am however perfectly satisfied that Mr Gibbons should remain with the Infantry, and the more so as I doubt we should have lost him otherwise, and I hope Colonell Craig will be satisfied like⟨wi⟩se” (PHi: Wayne Papers).

3Wayne and GW had reconnoitered Stony Point, N.Y., on 6 July (see Wayne to GW, 3 July, and n.9 to that document, and GW to Wayne, 5 July, and n.5 to that document).

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