George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Steuben, 22 October 1780

To Major General Steuben

Head Quarters Prackness Oct. 22d 1780

Dr Baron,

Though I am sensible how important your services will be in this quarter; yet as to the Southward, there is an army to be created, the mass of which is at present without any formation at all, your services there will be still more essential—and as I am persuaded your inclination is to be wherever you can be most useful, I have recommendd it to Congress to send you with General Greene to the Southern army. If Congress approve you will take his orders and proceed as speedily as possible.1 I wish you may have been able previously to obtain a satisfactory establishment for your department, which in your absence will become more necessary than it has been heretofore—But if it is not done, I would not have it detain you2—Assure yourself that wherever you are, my best wishes for your success and happiness attend you.3 I am with great regard D. Baron Your most Obed. servant.

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

1Congress agreed with GW on 30 Oct. that “the talents and service of Major General the Baron Steuben, inspector general, will be very useful in the southern department” and directed his departure (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 , 18:995; see also GW to Samuel Huntington, this date).

2See GW to Huntington, 13 Oct., found at GW to John Laurens, same date, n.5.

3Steuben apparently replied to GW from Philadelphia in a letter dated October: “I had the honor of addressing your Excellency under date of the 23 Ins. and am this moment favord with your Letter of [ ].

“Your Excellency does justice to my Sentiments in supposing that it is my highest ambition to render myself usefull to the United States—If I can be more so to the Southward than in this Department I go with pleasure and it is this Idea alone that lessens the regret I feel in leaving the Army under your Excellencys immediate Command.

“With respect to the Arrangement of my Department I must refer your Excellency to my last—the only wish I have to prefer is that those Officers whom your Excellency has chosen & who have hitherto assisted me with so much Credit in the Department may be continued and their situations made as Elligible as possible” (LS, DLC:GW; see also Steuben to GW, 23 Oct.). GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Steuben on 10 Dec. (DLC:GW).

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