George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Phillips, 13 October 1780

From Major General William Phillips

New York October 13th 1780.


Application having been made by Brigadier Irvine and other principal American Officers prisoners of war upon parole on Long Island for three of their number to have the liberty of going to Philadelphia, Viz. one in behalf of the Officers from the Eastern, another from those of the Southern, and a third from those of the middle Colonies, for the purpose of procuring Supplies for the payment of their debts, &ca. His Excellency General Sir Henry Clinton has been pleased to consent thereto, and three American Officers will have liberty to go out in a few days, and His Excellency will signify what nature of Supplies for the use of the American prisoners of War he will allow to come into New York.

This affair necessarily requires the interposition and assistance of a Commissary of Prisoners on each side to be resident with the respective Armies; Letters and proposed instructions having passed between Your Excellency and Sir Henry Clinton on this subject,1 the last of which was communicated to Your Excellency by me from Elizabeth Town,2 it may not be improper for those Appointments to be immediately put into execution.3

Since I writ to Your Excellency this Morning the British Commissary General of Prisoners has received a Letter from Major Skinner proposing an interview at New York to which there will be no objection, Supposing the more desireable one offered by me to be held at my Quarters on Long Island Should, by any Accident, be postponed or prevented.4 I am, Sir, with due respect, Your Excellency’s most Obedient most humble Servant

W. Phillips


4The letter from Abraham Skinner to Joshua Loring has not been identified, but see GW to Skinner, 7 Oct.; see also Phillips to GW, this date (first letter).

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