George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Board of War, 31 October 1780

To the Board of War

Head Quarters near Passaic Falls 31st Octobr 1780


You will oblige me by forwarding the inclosed to Colo. Wood, as expeditiously as possible. It contains orders to send down Brigadiers Genl Spetch and de Gall of the Convention troops, to whose exchanges sir Henry Clinton has consented. The Gentlemen are both old and infirm and it is therefore to be wished that they may accomplish their long Journey1 before the severity of the season sets in.2

I have recd Mr Stodderts favor of the 28th with Colo. Jacksons Commissions.3 I have the honor &.

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

1This word appears as “Jouney” on the draft.

2Writing from headquarters near Passaic Falls on this date, GW sent orders to Col. James Wood, who oversaw the Convention Army at Albemarle barracks near Charlottesville, Va.: “Major General Phillips has informed me that Sir Henry Clinton has consented to the exchange of Brigadiers General Spetch and de Gall with the Officers of their suite and their attendants—I have acceded to this proposal, You will therefore immediately permit those General Officers with their families to repair to Elizabeth Town, by the Route of Lancaster—Reading—and Easton, avoiding any cantonment of the Army in their way thro’ Jersey” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Wood to GW, 7 Dec.).

GW also wrote Maj. Gen. William Phillips from headquarters at Preakness on this date: “I have received your letter of the 23d and have directed my Commissary of Prisoners to accede to the exchange of the two Brigadiers you mention, on terms which I have pointed out to him and conformable to his former instructions.

“I have sent an order to the Commanding officer at Albemarle barracks for expediting the coming on of those Gentlemen to Elizabeth Town as you propose” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Phillips to GW, 23 Oct.).

GW had written Abraham Skinner, commissary general of prisoners, from headquarters at Preakness on this date: “In a letter from Major General Phillips of the 23, he proposes an exchange of Brigadier Generals Spæcht and De Gall, for any two of the three Brigadiers, Thompson Waterbury and Irvine.

“I have already instructed you respecting General Thompson—It is my wish that you exchange the Gentlemen of the Convention troops above mentioned as well as Generals Philips and Reidesel—but I make it a condition to the exchanges of these General Officers that General Du Portail and the other characters particularly mentioned to you by Congress and the Board of War be included.

“Generals Spæcht and De Gall are immediately to come on to Elizabeth Town so that it is necessary you should inform me as soon as possible, whether our proposals are accepted” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to Skinner, 22 Oct., found at GW to Joseph Reed, 19 Oct., n.7). Phillips commented on the exchanges of brigadier generals Johann Friedrich Specht, Wilhelm Rudolph von Gall, and Duportail when he wrote GW on 4 Nov. (see also GW to Duportail, 8 Nov., found at GW to Nathanael Greene, same date, n.11).

For an earlier, unsuccessful effort to negotiate the exchange of Specht and Gall, see Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 271.

3The commissions were for officers in Col. Henry Jackson’s Additional Continental Regiment (see the Board of War to GW, 28 Oct., found at GW to the Board of War, 12 Oct., n.4).

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