George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Livingston, 27 April 1780

To William Livingston

Head Quarters Morris Town 27th April 1780

Dear Sir

I have been honored with yours of the 25th inclosing a Certificate from Mr Boudinot that Colo. Billop, after he was the first time taken by the Militia, was exchanged for Colo. Atlee a Continental Officer: But as Colonel Billop was the last time taken by a party of Continental troops and exchanged by Co⟨lo.⟩ Reynolds of the Militia, the account be⟨tween⟩ the State and Continent, so far as Bill⟨op is⟩ concerned, seems settled—However, as t⟨he⟩ releif of so1 valuable an Officer as Capt. FitzRandolph is made, by the enemy, to depend upon exchanging Capt. Pitcairne for him, I shall give directions to the Commy General of prisoners to send him in and to call for Capt. Fitzrandolph in return.2 The State will thereby become indebted to the Continent for an Officer of the Rank of a Captain, which they must take the first opportunity of paying. I have the honor to be Yr Excellency’s Most obt Servt

⟨Go: Washington⟩

L[S], in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NN: William Livingston Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Material lost along the partially torn right edge of the L[S] is supplied in angle brackets from the draft manuscript, which also is in Tilghman’s writing.

1At this place on the draft, Tilghman wrote and then struck out “worthy a Man and.”

2GW wrote Abraham Skinner, deputy commissary general of prisoners, from Morristown on this date: “I have, at the intercession of the Govr of this State, consented to the exchange of Captain Pitcairne a Continental prisoner of War for Capt. Fitzrandolph of the Jersey Militia. You will therefore be pleased to carry the exchange into execution as speedily as possible, and as the State will thereby become indebted to the Continent for an Officer of the Rank of a Captain, you will take occasion, whenever an opportunity offers, of procuring payment. … P.S. Inclosed you have a passport for Capt. pitcairne” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). The enclosed passport for British captain Thomas Pitcairn has not been identified. For earlier deliberations over prisoner exchanges involving Loyalist colonel Christopher Billop, New Jersey militia colonel Thomas Reynolds, New Jersey militia captain Nathaniel FitzRandolph, and Pitcairn, see Livingston to GW, 9 Nov. 1779, and n.5, and GW to John Beatty, 23 Dec. 1779, and notes 3 and 4; see also John Graves Simcoe to GW, November–December 1779; Livingston to GW, 8 March 1780; GW to Livingston, 16 March; and GW to Arthur St. Clair, 2 April, n.4.

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