George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 2 January 1781

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters New Windsor 2d Jany 1781


I have been honored with your Excellency’s favor of the 21st ulto, in which Congress have been pleased to refer, the propriety of granting Genl Starkes request to them, to me.1 His Health is undoubtedly so much impaired, that he has been able to do but very little duty the preceding Campaign, and retirement, for a time, seems therefore necessary. Congress will either direct his return to the Army at a certain period, or they will leave it at large, as they may judge proper.

I beg leave to call the attention ⟨of⟩ Congress to my letter of the 28th Novemr last from Morris Town, in which I mentioned Colo. Scammells desire to quit the Office of Adjutant General. I had not, at that time, his letter on the subject with me. I now inclose a Copy of it, in which his reasons for wishing to return to the line are fully set forth.2 I find him still determined in his resolution, and I shall therefore, I hope, be excused for pressing Congress to appoint a successor.3

I have at length, thro’ a Channel on which I can depend, gained an account, as accurate as circumstances will admit, of the embarkation which sailed from New York on the 20th ulto. It consisted of about sixteen hundred Men, and was chiefly composed of detachments from the British—German—and provincial Corps. The Queens Rangers is said to be the only intire Corps. Arnold commands, which, my informant says, gives disgust to many of the other Officers. The destination was not reduced to a certainty, but from the preparations, and the Refugees who embarked in the fleet, it was generally thought to be to the southward.4 I have the honor to be with very great Respect Your Excellency’s Most obt and hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Capt. Mitchell of the Jersey line has marched with a Company to releive Colo. Butler at Wyoming.5

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 8 Jan. (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 19:33). For Huntington’s acknowledgement, see his letter to GW, 13 Jan., postscript.

1See Huntington to GW, 21 Dec. 1780, found at John Stark to GW, 30 Nov., source note.

2Col. Alexander Scammell had written GW on this subject on 16 November. In the army’s new arrangement, Scammell had been designated colonel of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment.

3On 8 Jan. 1781, Congress named Brig. Gen. Edward Hand adjutant general (see Huntington to GW, 12 Jan.; see also GW to Hand, 23 Jan., and Hand to GW, 18 Feb.). Hand’s appointment enabled Col. Alexander Scammell to take command of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment.

4For this intelligence, see GW to Nathanael Greene, 2 Jan., n.2.

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