George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Armand, 23 December 1779

To Colonel Armand

[Morristown, 23 Dec. 1779]


You will proceed with your corps to Monmouth County and take such a station as will best accommodate your men and horses and enable you to communicate with Major Lee for the purposes of mutual security, covering the country and preventing all intercourse between the inhabitants and the enemy. As your corps has been upon very active and severe duty during the campaign,1 I do not require that your attention to these objects should engage you in any duties inconsistent with its repose; so far as may be requisite to the comfort of your men & the accommodation of your horses2 Without interfering with these, I am persuaded you will wish to be as useful as you can. You will immediately open a correspondence with Major Lee.3 Given at Hd Qrs Morris Town Decr 23d 79.

P.S. No flags are on any pretence to pass to or from the enemy.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See William Heath to GW, 8 Nov., and n.1; see also Heath to GW, 7 Dec., and n.5.

2To assist Armand, GW wrote the Board of War from Morristown on this date: “Col. Armand during this campaign has been constantly employed with his corps in active service and has been very useful. In the course of it he has lost several horses and reports his accoutrements to be almost wholly out of repair. The inclosed is a return of what he wishes to be furnished with. Though we do not in common remount the dismounted dragoons, yet it appears to me the case of this corps ought to be an exception. For this there are two reasons, its being a partizan corps and the Colonel’s having as he informs me originally purchased the horses for the whole troop at his own expence. This being the fact Justice requires they should be replaced as they were lost in the public service. The Board who are acquainted with circumstances, I am persuaded will give the proper orders on the occasion and have due regard to Col. Armand’s zeal and exertions” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). The enclosed return has not been identified.

The Board of War considered GW’s appeal and wrote a report dated 11 Jan. 1780, which Congress read on 12 Jan.: “The Board are extremely averse from troubling Congress on matters of small importance. They ever avoid it except where consequences are involved in the measure which may create future uneasiness with respect to other cases. The officers of all the regiments of light dragoons are anxious to have as many of their men mounted as possible and from the scarcity of cash and the great expence of horses we have given very little encouragement to any applications for the purchase of horses. By the enclosed letter Congress will perceive that Genl Washington thinks Colo. Armand’s case is an exception as he purchased the horses originally at his own expence and these are looked upon as a debt due in kind from the United States to Colonel Armand, tho’ he does not expect that the horses shall be his, but remain the property of the public. If Congress shall be of opinion that Colo. Armand’s request to have twelve horses to replace those lost last campaign ought to be complied with they will be pleased to resolve” (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 16:43–44). Congress adopted a resolution on the same date that directed the Board of War “to order twelve dragoon horses to be delivered to Colonel Armand for the use of his corps, the said horses to be taken from those already purchased for public use, and not otherwise necessarily employed” (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 16:44).

3GW also wrote Maj. Henry Lee, Jr., from Morristown on this date: “Col. Armandt who is to take a Station this Winter in Monmouth County will on his arrival there give you notice of it—& afterwards communicate with you, for the mut[u]al security of both Commands” (Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to Lee, 28 Dec., and Lee to GW, 29 Dec.).

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