George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 25 December 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor 25th Decembr 1780.

Dear Sir

The time of the reform of Livingstons and Spencers Regiments is so near at hand, that you will be pleased immediately to relieve the Posts at King’s ferry which they at present occupy with a Captain and fifty to each.1 I would wish you to make choice of good Officers, because I think it will be better to let them remain the Winter, than to be often changing.

Inclosed you have the Returns of the two Regiments specifying the States to which the Men belong.2 You will have those of Pennsylvania and Jersey marched under the care of one of the Officers to those lines near Pompton and Morris Town. The few belonging to Maryland may go with them and be delivered to Colo. Weltner commanding the German Battalion, who will be found either at Sufferans or with the Jersey line near Pompton. A Captain Marshall of the New York line was left purposely to take care of and carry forward the Men of that State. You will therefore deliver them to him. Those of the Eastern States will join the respective Lines.

You will desire Colo. Livingston and the Officer commanding Spencers to make me very accurate Returns of the Names and Ranks of the Officers at the time of dissolution, that they may be transmitted to the Board of War, in order to be registered upon the half pay list.3 I am Dear Sir Yr most obt and humble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Heath replied to GW on 28 December.

1Neither Col. James Livingston’s 1st Canadian Regiment nor Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment was included in the new establishment of the Continental army implemented on 1 Jan. 1781 (see General Orders, 1 Nov. 1780).

2These returns have not been identified.

3Spencer had written GW from Mendham, N.J., on 23 Nov.: “I hope your Excellency will excuse my Troubling you on the Subject of promotion due to some Officers in my Regiment agreeable to an Arrangement handed to your Excellency along with a List of promotions due to the Officers of the Jersey Brigade; the latter having taken place I should esteem myself happy to be honored with your Excellency’s answer to that of my regiments, which being now on the point of being reduced, the Gentlemen concerned have desired me to mention the matter to your Excellency, and as it is more than probable the Officers of my Regiment must Retire it will make a very material difference to them in the allowance of their Half-pay” (LS, DLC:GW; the arrangement and list of promotions have not been identified).

Livingston had written GW from Verplanck Point, N.Y., on 9 Dec.: “I beg leave to trouble your Excellency Once more, relative to the Ranks of the Officers of my Regt: There are Several Vacancies in the Regt that ought in Justice to the Officers have been fill’d up for upwards of a twelve Month past.

“I was referred by your Excellency at Morris Town, to the Committe of Congress who assured me the Vacancies shou’d be fill’d, up, but have as yet had no Orders respecting the same.

“As the Regt will soon be incorporated, shou’d be glad to know if there wou’d be any Impropriety in filling up the Vacancies the next muster, as I am informed all Vacancies in the Line have been fill’d (except my Regt)” (ALS, DLC:GW; the cover is addressed to GW at New Windsor).

GW subsequently wrote Livingston from headquarters at New Windsor on 14 Dec.: “You will be pleased to make & transmit to Head Quarters immediately, a Return of Your Regt specifying the States to which the Non Commissd Officers & Privates respectively belong—And also the number of Foreigners, who are not reckoned as the quota of any particular State” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; the draft is addressed to Livingston as well as the officer commanding Spencer’s regiment, indicating that the letter went to two recipients).

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