George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Gamaliel Bradford, 12 July 1779

From Colonel Gamaliel Bradford

Westpoint July 12th 1779.


As the Officers & Soldiers of my Regiment are in great want of the gratuity, granted to them by the Massachusetts State,1 They are very desirous that Lieutt Peterson should go for that purpose to Boston.2 If your Excellency thinks it consistent, I would humbly request, that Lieutt Peterson might be granted leave of absence for four Weeks, for the above purpose. I am your Excellency’s most Obedt & very hble Servt

Gaml Bradford Colo.

LS, PHi: Gratz Collection.

GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison replied to Bradford from headquarters on 14 July: “His Excellency has just now received Your Letter of the 12th. He thinks it an unlucky time for an Officer to be sent from the Army and if the Gratuity given by the Massachusetts State could be yet obtained with conveniency, without Lieutenant Peterson’s going for it—he would be glad. But if it cannot, his Excellency will not object to his going for it provided he is not absent on the business more than Four Weeks, the time you mention” (DLC:GW).

1For this gratuity from the Massachusetts Council, intended to be paid by 1 Dec. 1778, see the Officers of Colonel Henry Jackson’s Detachment to GW, 8 March, n.1.

2Likely enclosed was an undated letter, docketed 12 July, from Lt. Col. Barachiah Basset and nine other officers to Bradford, commander of the 14th Massachusetts Regiment. That letter reads: “As the Gratuity of Massachts State remains due to the Officers & Soldiers of Colo. Bradfords Regt, there being no immediate probability of receiving it; we therefore desire that Lieut. Peterson may be sent therefor” (DLC:GW).

David Peterson served in a militia company from Duxbury, Mass., that joined the Lexington Alarm in April 1775. He then served as a corporal in Col. John Thomas’s Massachusetts Regiment from April to August 1775 and as a sergeant in Col. Thomas Marshall’s Massachusetts Regiment from May to December 1776. He received a lieutenant’s commission in the 14th Massachusetts Regiment on 1 Jan. 1777. Peterson was dismissed from the army after a court-martial held on 27 Aug. 1780 found him guilty of ranging beyond camp until “an unseasonable hour in the night in Contempt of orders” and illegally selling horses (General Orders, 3 Sept. 1780).

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