George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay, 11 November 1780

From Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay

Philadelphia Novemr 11th 1780


I am extremely happy in having it in my power to report, that in consequence of your Excellencies directions to the Commissary of Prisoners, I am now compleatly exchanged.1 The distance to head Quarters, and the inconveniency of travling, have induced me to hope, that your Excellency will excuse my not waiting on you in person to make the report, and receive your orders.

The small remains of the Regiment which I have the honor to command, is now in Carolina, where, I learn the whole of the Maryland Troops are thrown into one Regement, and those Officers of that line, not appointed to command in the new arrangement, are returned to the State.2 In this situation of affairs, I wish to receive your Excellencies commands, whither to proceed to the southward, or to remain in Maryd—to assist in raising, and equipting the recruits to be raised. I have no wish or request to make for a furlough, but on the Contrary will esteem myself obliged and honored in being ordered to any duty in any place which will give me an opportunity of being active in the service of my Country.

As General Green passed on to take command of the southern division of the Army, I took the liberty of waiting on him, and mentioning the probability of my being soon exchanged, and my wish to Join the Army, if my service could be of any immediate use, he was so obliging as to promise to write to me as soon as he arrived, and examined into, and made the necessary Arrangements of troops under his Command.3 I have the honor to be with the utmost respect Your Excellencies Most obedient and Most Humble Servant

Nat: Ramsey

ALS, DLC:GW. Ramsay wrote “⅌ favor of [Lt] Colo. [Alexander] Hamilton” on the cover.

1See GW to Abraham Skinner, 8 November. Ramsay’s exchange had been under consideration for many months (see GW to Skinner, 12 July and 17 Sept.).

2For the new arrangement of the Continental army, see General Orders, 1 November.

3GW replied to Ramsay from headquarters at Passaic Falls on 18 Nov.: “I am favored with Your Letter of the 11th Instant, and sincerely congratulate you on Your exchange.

“The disposition you discover, of instantly entering into an activity of service, and rendering every possible assistance in the defence of your Country, is too laudable to be passed by unnoticed; Opportunities cannot be wanting to gratify so commendable an inclination—But as the remains of Your Regt are with the southern Army, You will necessarily be considered as under the immediate Orders of Majr General Greene; who will be able to determine whether Your presence is absolutely necessary with the Army, or will be of more utility in promoting the recruiting service in the State. In the mean time, as Brig. Genl Gist is employed in superintending that service, it may not be improper to advise him of your liberation, and receive his instructions, until Genl Greene shall write to you, agreeably to his intimation” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Nathanael Greene to GW, 31 Oct. and 3 Nov.). No correspondence from this period between Ramsay and Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene has been identified. Ramsay retired from the army on 1 Jan. 1781.

Index Entries