George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith, 4 November 1780

To Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith

Head Quarters [Preakness] Nov. 4th 1780

Dr Sir,

The subject on which you spoke to me yesterday did not strike me in a proper point of view, which prevented my immediately acquiescing in it; but on revolving the matter, I perceive there can be no inconvenience, and wish exceedingly it could take place. If more of the Lt Colonels of either of the lines you mentioned are willing to retire than the establishment will permit provided they could have the benefit of half pay and not otherwise, in this case I see no objection to one of them exchanging with you. It can make no difference in point of expence to the public and it can injure none of the inferior officers. But it must after all depend on the particular states themselves and on the officers themselves. If agreeable to both, it will give me pleasu⟨re⟩ to see you provided for.1 I am with great regard Yr most Obedt servt.

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

1Smith, who was part of Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment, then served as inspector of the Light Infantry with Major General Lafayette (see General Orders, 5 Aug.). He formally joined Lafayette’s staff as inspector and adjutant on 1 Jan. 1781, the same date that the Continental army’s reorganization eliminated the remaining Additional Continental Regiments (see General Orders, 1 Nov. 1780; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 26 Oct. 1780, and n.1).

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