George Washington Papers

To George Washington from General Henry Clinton, 4 November 1780

From General Henry Clinton

New York November 4th 1780


I have received Your Letter of October the 22d respecting the Appointment of Commissaries of Prisoners residing with the British & American Armies.

I shall have no Objection to receive a Commissary of Prisoners to reside at New York under a Commission or Warrant Signed by You. Neither have I any Objection to the Proposals; and the Matter may be concluded upon whenever You Chuse.1

Major General Phillips has reported to me that at this Season it becomes necessary to send Cloathing, Necessaries, Refreshments, and Money to the Troops of Convention in Virginia. I am therefore to request of You, Sir, that You will Send Your Passports for a Flag of Truce Vessel going to Virginia for these Purposes. And that an officer of the Rank of Captain, one Subaltern, with two Serjeants, may have Permission to go in such Vessel in Order to take Charge of the Contents of it.2

Major General Philips also reports to me that the General Exchange of Officers & Privates Prisoners of War on both Sides has been pursued so far as possible between the Commissaries General Loring and Skinner; and waits only for the Arrival of the British and German Prisoners at Elizabeth Town to be finally concluded. That Proposals will be sent to you for the Exchange of a certain Number of the Officers of the Troops of Convention, whose particular Circumstances and Situations require their immediately going to Europe; & that Propositions are also sent to You, Sir, for a general Exchange of all the British and German Privates Prisoners of War, and of all the Troops of Convention against the American Prisoners of War remaining on Long Island and at Charles Town South Carolina.3

I sincerely wish it may be possible to effect so Compassionate a Purpose, as it will relieve a Number of Sufferers in Captivity on both Sides. I am Sir, Your humble Servant

H. Clinton

LS, DLC:GW; copy, P.R.O.: 30/55, Carleton Papers; copy, P.R.O.: C.O. 5/101; copy (extract), P.R.O.: C.O. 5/183. The extract begins with the fourth paragraph and runs to the conclusion of the letter’s body.

1For “Propositions respecting the Agents to be appointed for prisoners” that received Clinton’s concurrence, see GW to Clinton, 22 Oct., n.2; see also GW to Lewis Pintard, 9 Nov., found at Pintard to GW, 14 Nov., n.1.

2GW’s lack of response prompted Clinton to mention this subject again when he wrote GW on 29 Nov., but see William Phillips to GW, 4 and 30 Nov., and GW to Clinton, 9 December.

3For GW’s response to this proposal, see his letter to Clinton, 20 November.

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