George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Steuben, 9-11 January 1781

To Major General Steuben

Head Quarters New Windsor 9th[–11] Jany 1781.

Dear Baron

I have recd your favor of the 17th of last month. It is not to be wondered at that you found so great a waste and derangement of public Stores after so general a call had been made upon the Militia, who were to be equipped from the Magazines. I however have the pleasure of thinking that every possible exertion will be made by you to recover those which had been delivered out.

The Officers of the Virginia State Regiments cannot be introduced into the Continental line with out creating many difficulties and much uneasiness among the others. I had written to Governor Jefferson fully upon that subject in a letter of the 28th Decr in which the matter was referred to me by the Legislature of Virginia.1 By the additional Regiment I apprehend you mean the remainder of Gists and Graysons2—By the late regulation the Officers of those Regiments are reformed and the Men go into the line of the State.3

I think your expedient of forming the Men of the 9th Regt into two full Companies and calling down the other Officers a good one—perhaps if the Major of that Regiment is at Fort Pitt, it may be well to let him remain with the two Companies, because it may be found necessary to increase the command to another Company if the Levies come in sufficient numbers to allow it. I have written to Colo. Brodhead commanding at Fort Pitt and directed him to follow your orders upon the subject, but lest my letter to him may be delayed, I inclosed an extract of that part of it signed by me, which you will forward when you write to him and to Colo. Gibson.4

I have the pleasure to inform you that the Sub and Brigade Inspectors are contented with the addition made to their pay upon my representation to Congress.5

I am sorry to inform you of a general mutiny in the Penna line—This defection took place on the night of the 1st inst. they marched off with their Arms and some Artillery, declaring their intention of going to Congress for a redress of grievances, but they halted at princetown, where they made known their terms to Genl Wayne and Colo. Steward and Butler—They are so extravagant, that if admitted, it will end in the dissolution of the line. The enemy have been endeavouring to tamper with them, but I know not with what success—they still remained at princetown the 8th which was the last time I heard from them. The troops here shew no symptoms of the same disposition, but whether they would act agt the mutineers is a matter of some doubt—This is a most unhappy affair, the end of which cannot be foreseen.6 I am with great Esteem Dear Baron Yr most obt Servt.

P.S. 11th A very favorable symptom has appeared in the Pennsylvanians. Sir Henry Clinton sent out an emissary to them with most liberal offers—promising at the same time to advance with a Body of troops to cover them. As soon as this emissary arrived at Princetown the leaders of the Mutiny delivered him, his guide and his papers to Genl Wayne—I am in hopes from this circumstance that matters will be compromized.7

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson had forwarded a resolution of the Virginia legislature on the matter in his letter to GW of 13 Dec., to which GW replied on 28 December.

2In April 1779, Col. Nathaniel Gist’s Additional Continental Regiment absorbed Col. William Grayson’s undermanned Additional Continental Regiment.

3For the reorganization of the Continental army that, among other reforms, eliminated the additional Continental regiments, see General Orders, 1 Nov. 1780.

4See GW to Daniel Brodhead, 10 January. The extract has not been found. Steuben wrote both Brodhead and Col. John Gibson on 3 Feb. (see Zemenszky and Schulmann, Papers of Steuben description begins Edith von Zemenszky, ed., and Robert J. Schulmann, assoc. ed. The Papers of General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, 1777–1794. Millwood, N.Y., 1982. Microfilm. 7 reels. description ends ).

6See Anthony Wayne to GW, 2 Jan., and the source note to that document; see also GW to Nathanael Greene, 9–11 January.

7See Wayne to GW, 8 Jan., and notes 5 and 6 to that document.

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