George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 5 September 1780

To Thomas Jefferson

Head Quarters Bergen County 5th Sepr 1780


I was yesterday honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 9th ulto enclosing a return of 40 prisoner’s of War delivered to the Continental Commy at Winchester, for which the state will have the proper credit. Now I am upon the subject of prisoners, I would wish to be informed in what light I am to consider Governor Hamilton, as I do not observe him included in the list. That Gentleman has already been the subject of several propositions on the part of the enemy, and should others be made before I hear again from your Excellency, I shall be embarrassed, as I shall not know on what footing to place him.1 Indeed there will shortly be an interview on the subject of exchange, at which it is more than probable he will be again mentioned. From what I have heard, I have reason to beleive that the enemy will exchange him for a Lieut. Colonel.2

should there be any other Officers in Virginia who are considered as prisoner’s belonging to the State, I shall be glad to be informed of their names and Ranks, and whether I may include them should opportunities offer of making either a partial or general exchange.3 I have the honor to be &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For previous attempts to exchange Henry Hamilton, British lieutenant governor of Detroit, see Commissioners for the Exchange of Prisoners to GW, 26 March (second letter), n.5, and GW to Arthur St. Clair, 2 April, n.1.

2Hamilton remained a prisoner after the next exchange negotiations but shortly after received parole (see Abraham Skinner to GW, 24 Sept., and n.2, and Jefferson to GW, 25 Oct.).

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