George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Steuben, 20 July 1779

From Major General Steuben

Newburg [N.Y.] July 20th 1779


Genl McDougall return’d me yesterday the Inclos’d Plan for the formation of the Massachusets & North Carolina Brigades1 which he assures me will be perfectly agreable to the Commanding Officers of Regiments If your Excellency approves it, it may be publishd in orders & take place immediately.2

The movement of Genl Heaths Division3 & the late expedition of the Light Corps4 has hitherto prevented the Light Companies of Massachusets & Connecticut from adopting the plan laid down for them & in their present state they are greatly disproportionate to the strenghth of the Regiments from which they were taken—If your Excellency thinks proper they might now conform to the Plan proposed which will leave Genl Waynes 8 Batallions of equal strength making in the whole 1312 Rank & file, a number well proportioned to our strength—the Loss sustained in the late affair should be made up immediately by the respective Regiments.

The Recruits expected in for the Massachusets Regiments cannot I think be better Employed than by distributing them in the weakest Regiments where by being mixed with the old soldiers they will soon learn their Duty—as to forming them into new Corps I think it rather dangerous—I should however be glad of your Excellencys sentiments on this Subject5 & what number may be expected to Join. I have the honor to be Your Excellencys most Obedt & very hum. servt



1This enclosure has not been identified.

3For the march of Maj. Gen. William Heath’s division to Peekskill, N.Y., see GW to Heath, 16 July (second letter), and Heath to GW, 18 July.

4Steuben is referring to the capture of Stony Point, N.Y., by the American light infantry on the night of 15–16 July.

5For GW’s agreement with Steuben’s recommendation, see General Orders, 23 July.

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