George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Richard Butler, 24 November 1780

From Colonel Richard Butler

Totowa Camp 24th Novr 1780


Inclosd is the Resignation of Lieut. Douglass of my Regt who has been prisoner with the Enemy Since the Affair of Bound-brook, the 13th April 17771—his health & Constitution is much Impaird by his Captivity, And Although he has not the most flattering prospect by going into Civil life, it Seems to be A punctilio with him to leave the Service as he finds he is not Able to go through the Fatigues of Camp duty.

His property was left in the back Country in An Unsetled & Scatterd Sittuation (as was the Case with many others) & (his lands Excepted) is Almost all destroyd, Therefore has little hopes but to begin Again with A Worn out Constitution.

He is A Gentleman of the Strictest Fidellity, An Excellent pen-man & Understands Some branches of buisiness, & am Certain, wishes to Render any Service in his power to his Country in Any Station of trust that he Could Serve in with honor to himself—I have taken the liberty to give your Excellency the Outlines of his Worth, As I well know your Excellency has Ever taken Merit under your Protection; And I Flatter myself if there is Any thing in Your Excellencys View that can Serve him it will be thot of, I take the liberty to mention the Post of Indian Agent at Pittsburghs being Vacant, if Such an Appointment is Requisite he would fill it with Fidelity & is Very Capable being Well Acquainted with the Indians & talks the Delaware tongue Exceeding well, Indeed if it be possibble to Retain him in the Army he will one day make A fine Officer2—I have the Honour to be with great Respect your Excellencys most Obedt Hbl st

Richd Butler Col. 9th P. Re.

ALS, DLC:GW. Butler wrote “Lt Douglass” on the cover.

1Lt. Ephraim Douglass evidently was among about eighty prisoners taken during the British attack on Bound Brook, N.J. (see GW to Owen Biddle, 14 April 1777, and n.3). His exchange presumably occurred with several others in November 1780 (see GW to Abraham Skinner, 8 Nov.). The enclosed resignation has not been identified.

2Douglass remained in the army until later in the war when he became an Indian agent in Pennsylvania (see Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 13:681). The Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council confirmed his election as “Prothonotary of the county of Fayette” on 6 Oct. 1783 and two days later appointed him “Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Clerk of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, and a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas of the county of Fayette” (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 13:702, 705).

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