George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Robert Howe, 17 January 1781

From Major General Robert Howe

West point 17th January 1781.

Dear sir

I was honoured with your Excellency’s favour of yesterday1 and am obliged to you for the pleasing information of the insurgents having moved on to Trenton and given up the british emissaries, from which good effects must certainly derive. how happy Should I be, My Dear General, if Congress can fall upon measures to accommodate this unfortunate affair with dignity to them Selves and without injury to the Service? but alas! there appears to me no medium for them betwixt dignity and Servility but Coertion, nor any other method without wounding discipline.

General Parsons & Col. Scammel suggest to me that Should the troops proceed, it will be Absolutely necessary that a number of Shoes Should be taken on or follow Soon after the men, as many of those they have are So bad they will probably be worn out in a few days, and the men by that means be rendered unfit for Service.

I thank you, Sir, for the letter forwarded from North Carolina and am, Dear Sir, with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient & Most humble servant

Robt Howe


GW replied to Howe on 19 Jan. from headquarters: “I was favored last Evening with your Letter of the 17th Instant. It will not be necessary, under the present circumstances I believe, to draw shoes for the Detachment out of the common Mode” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

1See GW to Howe, 15 Jan., and the source note to that document.

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