George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Woodford, 7 December 1779

To Brigadier General William Woodford

Hd Qr Morris Town Decr 7th 1779

Dr sir

It is my wish that we should endeavour by every practicable means to reinlist The Old Troops for the War. I therefore request that you will inform the Cols. & Commanding Officers of Regiments in the Virginia line—that they may inlist promiscuously throug[h]out their line—Any of the Soldiers whose present terms of service will expire by the last of February. The Men reinlisting for the War shall be furloughed to the first of April—and as soon as they are properly engaged & a List of their names transmitted & certified by You—a Warrant shall be granted for the Continental bounty of Two hundred Dollars to each—and 10 Dollars to the Officers for every one reengaged. Where Regiments are incorporated—the Officers of each may inlist for those to which they respectively belong. I should hope by proper pains that Many of the Men whose inlistments are already expired might be engaged on the same terms.1 The Officers had better go to their several Regiments as they have been arranged & superintend the building of their Huts. This may be done without my publishg an Order—which for reasons I would wish not to do.2 I am Dr sir with great regd &c.

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For more on the recruiting and re-enlistment of Virginia troops, see Thomas Jefferson to GW, 28 Nov.; GW to Woodford, 14 Dec.; and Woodford to GW, 28 Dec.; see also GW to Samuel Huntington, 10–11 Dec., and 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 15:1382–83.

2Until he received approval from Congress of his plan to transfer the Virginia line to reinforce the southern department, GW wanted those troops to continue normal winter encampment preparations (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 29 Nov., and the source note to that document; see also GW to Woodford, 8 Dec.).

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