George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 15 October 1780

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters Prackness Octor 15th 1780


In answer to my proposals for appointing a Resident Commissary of Prisoners Major General Philips by order of Sir Henry Clinton sent me a set of articles of which the inclosed No. 1 is a copy1—I have sketched an answer No. 2 which before I send it in, I transmit to Congress for their examination.2 If they have no objections, I beg them as soon as possible to signify it, through His Excellency the President.3 I have the honor to be With perfect respect Sir, Your Most Obet & hum. Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I inclose Congress a list of subsequent resignations in the Massachusetts line, No. 3 which will be an additional proof of the spirit that prevails.4

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 19 Oct. and immediately authorized GW to act “as he shall judge proper” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 18:951). Huntington acknowledged this letter when he wrote GW on 19 October.

1The enclosed proposal docketed “No. 1” is in DNA:PCC, item 152; see also William Phillips to GW, 23 Sept., n.2.

2The undated enclosure docketed “No. 2” and titled “Articles of Agreement for the appointment of a Commissary of prisoners to reside with the American & British Armies respectively” only slightly revised the British proposals (DNA:PCC, item 152). For the final agreement, see GW to Henry Clinton, 22 October.

4The undated enclosure docketed “No. 3” lists captains Silas Burbank and Daniel Shays and lieutenants John Blake and Benjamin Lynde as resigning on 14 Oct., as well as Capt. Moses Greenleaf resigning on 15 Oct. (DNA:PCC, item 152). Shays became notorious for his involvement in the rebellion of Massachusetts farmers in 1786.

For the poor morale in the Massachusetts line and discontents among its officers, see Benjamin Gilbert to his parents, this date, in Shy, Letters of Gilbert description begins John Shy, ed. Winding Down: The Revolutionary War Letters of Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts, 1780–1783. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1989. description ends , 25–26; see also GW to Huntington, 11 October.

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