George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Abraham Skinner, 9 August 1780

From Abraham Skinner

Commy Prisoners Office 9th Augt 1780


Agreeable to your Excellency’s orders signified to me in your letter of the 24th ulto I have made the proposals to the British Commissary of prisoners for the exchange of Genl du portail taken at Charlestown,1 and also for the exchange of Genl Burgoyne for our Colonels prisoners with the enemy upon the principles expressed in your Letter—To which proposals I have received Mr Lorings answer, of which the inclosed is a Copy.2

At a late meeting with him for the settlement of Accounts, I find a Balance due to us of thirty private prisoners of War, which I expect to receive from among the eldest in the Enemy’s hands. I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s Most humble Servt

Abm Skinner D. Comy Prisns

Copy, enclosed in GW to Samuel Huntington, 24 Aug., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1Brigadier General Duportail, along with numerous other officers, was finally exchanged in November 1780 (see GW to Huntington, 7 Nov., DNA:PCC, item 152).

2A copy of the enclosed letter from Joshua Loring to Skinner, dated 4 Aug. at New York City, reads: “I have reported your letter of July the 25th respecting your proposed exchanges for Lieut. Genl Burgoine and General du portail to His Excellency the Commander in Chief. I have it from his orders to signify to you that since the Commission at Amboy, the exchange of the troops of Convention has not come into consideration other than the Negociation which Major General Lincoln went to Philada to propose for himself to the American Congress and therefore any Exchange of Lieut. Genl Burgoyne or of General Du portail must be deferred for the present, and indeed untill some account is received of Major Genl Lincolns success in his applications.

“To prevent any further trouble on the subject of Exchanges I am directed to refer you to my private and public letters of the 21st June last wherein is proposed a general exchange of all the British and German officers prisoners in War in your hands against an equal number Rank for Rank of the American Officers prisoners of War on Long Island &ca &ca and also proposing the exchange of the American privates now in New York for an equal number of British privates according to the list I then inclosed to you” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

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