George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Robert Howe, 24 August 1780

To Major General Robert Howe

Head Quarters Aug. 24th 1780


In the report of the march of yesterday, it appears there was to your baggage a guard of a serjeant and four men, contrary to the regulations and to General orders.1 I am persuaded this must have happened by mistake; but as it is of the greatest importance that the General officers should set an example of regularity to the army I mention the matter to you that you may take effectual care to prevent the like in future.2 I am with great esteem Sir Your most Obedt servant

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

According to Hamilton’s notation on the address line of the draft, the same letter was sent to Major General Steuben with the substitution of “a serjeant and twelve men” for the words “a serjeant and four men.”

Steuben replied to GW on this date from “Camp Tenefly” [N.J.]: “I am just favord with your Excellencys Letter of this date, not expecting when I left Fish Kill to command a Division, I took a serjeants Guard from Colo. Malcoms Regiment to prevent as much as possible the taking of the Continental Troops from their Regiments when the Busine⟨ss⟩ of my Department might oblige me to go from one part of the Army to another—I now only waited a proper Oppy to send them back and your Excellency may be assured they shall without delay be orderd to their Regiment” (LS, DLC:GW).

2Howe replied to GW on this date: “The Error you speak of, did indeed, result from mistake, to which Your Excellency so kindly imputes it, it shall not be (you may depend) repeated. I thank you sir for the Polite manner in which you convey me the reprehension, or rather information” (ALS, DLC:GW).

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