George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Phillips, 8 January 1781

To Major General William Phillips

Head Quarters New Windsor 8th Jany 1781.


I have received your favors of the 18th and 23d of December. Soon after the Passports for the Flag Ship were sent to you, I was informed by the Governor of Virginia, that there had been a necessity of removing the British Troops of Convention to Fort Frederick in Maryland; I therefore, in answer to his letter, desired him to give permission to the Ship, upon her arrival in James River, to proceed with the Stores for the British, to such other place in the Chesapeak as would be most convenient to transport them from to Fort Frederick.1

As to the propositions contained in your letter of the 23d December,2 I can only say, that I am not at liberty to go into a further exchange of the troops of Convention, before there is an adjustment of the debt incurred for their support.3 I have the honor to be Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, P.R.O.: 30/35, Carleton Papers; Df, DLC:GW; copy (extract), NjMoHP; copy (extract), P.R.O.: C.O. 5/183; copy (extract), P.R.O.: W.O. 1/11; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The copy (extract) in NjMoHP consists of the first paragraph. The two copies (extracts) in P.R.O. consist of the second paragraph.

1In his letter to GW of 18 Dec. 1780, Phillips had requested the extension of the ship’s passports to provide for the delivery of supplies to the Convention Army prisoners at their new location. Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson advised GW of the transfer of the British prisoners to Fort Frederick, Md., in his letter of 26 Nov. 1780. For GW’s request, see his letter to Jefferson of 9 December.

2In his letter to GW of 23 Dec., Phillips had requested the exchange of some Convention Army officers.

3GW evidently had not yet received the act of Congress lifting this restriction on prisoner exchange negotiations (see Samuel Huntington to GW, 2 Jan., and n.1 to that document). GW acknowledged receipt of the act in his letter to Huntington of 15 January.

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