George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Timothy Pickering, 10 November 1780

From Colonel Timothy Pickering

Camp [Preakness] November 10th 1780


In the arrangement lately made by Congress, and announced in general Orders, I observe that there is to be but one Regiment of artificers; and it is directed that this regiment be furnished by the State of Pennsylvania.1

I am in doubt whether this refers to Colonel Baldwins regiment only, or is intended to comprehend his & Colonel Flower’s regiment of artillery artificers; by uniting them, & from both forming a Single regiment. In either case a reform will be necessary, as in the other Corps of the Army. Colonel Baldwins Regiment alone consists of ten Companies; but the new regt is to be composed of eight only. There is but one Company of Colo. Baldwin’s Regiment belonging to Pennsylvania.

Colonel Flower has four Companies of artillery Artificers belonging to and now serving in Pennsylvania. A fifth Company raised by him was attached to the artillery in the field, where what is left of it still remains, but united with a like company raised in Massachusetts or the eastern States, that served in 1777 with the northern army; both2 now forming one Company. There are besides these, four Companies of artillery artificers at Springfield in Massachusetts, which were raised in and belong to that state; but they have now very few men.

Colonel Baldwin’s regiment having been ever under the direction of the Quarter Master General; and both the Colonel and his officers being desirous of knowing in what manner the new regiment of artificers is to be formed and themselves arrang⟨ed,⟩ I request to be favoured with your Excellency’s orders and instructions concerning them.3 I have the honour to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

Tim: Pickering

LS, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Pickering Papers. Obscured material on the LS is supplied in angle brackets from the copy.

1See General Orders, 1 November.

2This word appears as “buth” on the LS but is rendered as “both” on the copy.

3GW replied to Pickering from headquarters at Passaic Falls on 12 Nov.: “In answer to your Letter of the 10th I can only observe: that it is not in my power to give any particular explanation to the views of Congress in the establishment of the Regiment of Artificers, beyond what is expressed in their Act. Nor do I know, with precision, what proportion of Artillery or Quarter Master Artificers may be necessary with the Army.

“I would therefore wish you to have a meeting with General Knox on the Subject. And report your opinions to me, respecting the reduction & incorporation of the Corps of Artificers now in service—that the necessary Measures may be pursued.

“You will be pleased to forward the Letters herewith transmitted by Express” (LS, in David Humphreys’s writing, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 25432; Df, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Pickering Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; Humphreys wrote “proportion” above the line after striking out “number”). The enclosed letters have not been identified.

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