George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Stephen Moylan, 12 August 1779

To Colonel Stephen Moylan

West-point Augt 12th 79

Dear Sir,

Mrs Moylans illness will readily obtain my consent to your being absent from the army a fortnight, provided a movement of the enemy should not require your presence sooner.1 General Howe should be made acquainted with your absence.

The sum you speak of as having expended for secret Services surprizes me exceedingly, because I do not call to mind ever having empowered you to lay out money for such purposes, nor do I recollect ever to have received any intelligence of an extraordinary nature from you differing in any respect from that which every Officer at an advanced Post, or removed from the main army regularly obtained (by his own observation & industry, or from the Inhabitants) & transmitted to head Qrs—and because the Sum exceeds the aggregate of the charges of all the Officers of the whole line for services of this kind, although some of them have been appointed, and attended to this particular business.

Under these circumstances, and as a public Officer, my duty obliges me to call for such an acct as will justifie my conduct in ordering payment.2 with esteem & regard I am Dr Sir Yr Most obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, CSmH; AdfS, DLC:GW; Varick Trancript, DLC:GW. GW addressed and signed the cover.

1GW is responding to a letter from Moylan that has not been found, but to which Moylan refers in his letter to GW of 13 August. Moylan had married Mary Ricketts Van Horne in the fall of 1778.

2For Moylan’s defense of his expenditures for intelligence operations, see Moylan to GW, 13 August.

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