George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel James Wood, 11 October 1780

To Colonel James Wood

Head Quarters Prekaness New Jersey
11th Octobr 1780

Dear Sir

I have received your favors of the 25th Augt and 21st of September. I am pleased to find by the last, that your supplies had been more regular for some time, and that you had prospects of keeping them up—I never entertained the least doubt of your care and attention to the business committed to your charge, or supposed that the distresses of the troops of Convention on the score of provisions were in any degree owing to your want of proper exertions—Had such a thought ever existed, I should have altered my opinion on receiving letters upon the subject from His Excellency Governor Jefferson and from Brig. Genl Hamilton, who both speak of your conduct in the most favorable manner, and attribute the good order and temper which prevailed among the troops during the time of their distress to your prudent and conciliating management1—This intitles you to my warmest thanks.

Your command, from the nature of it, cannot be the most agreeable at any rate, much less so when attended by a variety of perplexities; and you may therefore have a wish of being releived this Winter. Should this be your inclination, I could not with propriety, in common cases object to it, as no Officer ought to have more than his share of any duty imposed upon him; but when it is considered how essential your services are in your present station—how difficult it is to find persons capable of conducting matters properly in the deranged state of all our departments, and how much better you are qualified, from an acquaintance with the business, than a stranger—to say nothing of the agreeable light in which you stand with the Officers of Convention, which will add not a little to the relief of any difficulties which may occur, you must excuse me for requesting your continuance at least a while longer—An exchange of the troops may possibly take place, or the mode of supplies may be put upon such a footing as to render your presence of less importance.2

We have never made the least difficulty of exchanging the Officers of the troops of Convention, on the contrary we have ever endeavoured to accomplish it. If therefore Brig: Genl Spetch can make interest with Sir Henry Clinton, I shall without hestitation agree to his exchange for an officer of equal Rank.3

Be pleased to inform Genl Hamilton that I forwarded the letters inclosed in his of the 24th Augt as I shall do that inclosed in your last.4 I am with great Regard and Esteem Dear Sir Yrs &.

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

2Wood replied to GW on 7 Dec. and expressed “a Peculiar Happiness to Carry your Orders into Execution, in whatever Command you May think proper to Place Me” (DLC:GW).

3For Brig. Gen. Johann Friedrich Specht’s exchange, see William Phillips to GW, 23 Oct., and n.1 to that document.

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