George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Shippen, Jr., 26 July 1779

From William Shippen, Jr.

July 26: 1779

Extract of a Letter from Doctor Shippen

“It gives me pain to inform you Sir, that I am very fearful that all the Physicians & Surgeons of the Hospitals & Army will resign unless the Congress will attend very soon to their memorials & petitions & put them on an equal footing with the rest of the Army, all whose priviledges are now denied them, and ’tis with difficulty we can prevail on the Surgeons to continue a few weeks longer.”1

L (extract), enclosed in GW to John Jay, 5 Aug., in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1Shippen addressed this same issue in a letter to John Jay, president of Congress, written at West Point on 28 July: “I am sorry to be obliged to inform your excellency that we are in danger of losing all the Physicians & Surgeons of our Hospitals & Army unless Congress will immediately put them on the same footing with the rest of the army; I flatter myself they think this right & just & a longer delay will I fear be attended with fatal consequences” (DNA:PCC, item 78). Congress on 3 Aug. read Shippen’s letter and a report from the Medical Committee addressing “several papers and memorials from the officers of the Medical department,” and then ordered “That the same be taken into consideration, when the report from the committee on a farther allowance to the officers of the army is considered” (JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 14:917; see also Saffron, Cochran, description begins Morris H. Saffron. Surgeon to Washington: Dr. John Cochran, 1730-1807. New York, 1977. description ends 57, and Smith, Letters of Delegates, description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends 14:199).

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