George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Penn, 12 July 1779

From John Penn

Philada July 12th 1779


From some expressions contained in a letter I this day received from Major Taylor, I am induced to believe that he is sorry for having left the Army.1 I do not know that he could with propriety think of rejoyning his Regiment after having been absent so long, However as I always wished that the Major should continue in the Army; I have taken the liberty to mention the above, if your Excellency should be of opinion that it will not be improper for the Major to have his Commission again, I will inform him of it, if otherwise I have only to beg your forgiveness for this trouble. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Most obt Servt

John Penn

ALS, PHi: Sprague Collection.

1This letter from John Taylor, formerly a major in Col. Moses Hazen’s 2d Canadian Regiment, to Penn has not been identified. Penn, a delegate to Congress from North Carolina who had lived in Virginia until 1774, was a friend of Taylor’s uncle, Edmund Pendleton.

Taylor had written a letter of resignation to GW on 10 Feb. 1779, docketed “Virginia,” that reads: “Altho’ the army is my idol, and altho’ I have pursued every method to enable me to continue in it, yet I am now reduced to the alternative, either of resigning my commission, or of loosing my comparative consequence with the yeomanry of the community, and by submitting thereto, fix an imputation on my reputation as a man.

“The progressive steps which I have taken to obviate this necessity, and not an intention of drawing unmerited pay, have deferred my determination to this time. I hope therefore your Excellency will receive this my resignation, and no longer consider [me] as an officer of the army (ALS, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 20158). Taylor entered the Virginia general assembly in 1779 and resumed military service as lieutenant colonel commandant of the 1st Virginia State Legion in March 1781.

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