George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, 4 August 1780

From Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs

Verplanks Point [N.Y.] 4th Augt 1780


I have this day receiv’d intelligence from my Family, of a nature that requires my return to it immediately; nothing but obligations too Sacred to be disregarded could induce me to request leave of absence at this time; when I would gladly do my part in the important Campaign before us. It is with regret that I am obliged to inform your Excellency; that it depends on circumstances, whether I shall ever be able to return to the command of my Regt again: if it should be impossible to return, I Shall write & request a dismission from the Army, bearing the present date, as I never have, or wish to eat the Bread of my Country without rendering personal Service.1 It affords me no small satisfaction that I shall leave two Able Field Officers in the Reigiment I have the Honor to command.2 I am with the most perfect respect Your Exellencys Obedt servant

R. J. Meigs.


GW replied to Meigs on this date from Peekskill, N.Y.: “I have received Your Letter of this date and am exceedingly sorry that any events should occur to require You to be absent from the Army. I am convinced that those on which You have founded your request, are of a delicate & interesting nature; or that You would not have made it. In this view I cannot but consent to your going home, and I will not undertake to limit the day of your return. I am persuaded it will be as soon as circumstances will admit, and I have only to add my wishes, that You may find those to be such, as to justify it immediately” (LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC: Meigs Family Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). No further correspondence during the war between Meigs and GW has been found.

1For Meigs’s request for a discharge, see Samuel Holden Parsons to GW, 8 Sept. (DLC:GW). Meigs’s 6th Connecticut Regiment was redesignated the 4th Connecticut Regiment on 1 Jan. 1781 and placed under another colonel.

2Meigs is referring to Lt. Col. Ebenezer Gray and Maj. Eli Leavenworth.

Index Entries