George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Forrest, 24 January 1781

From Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Forrest

Philadelphia Jany 24th 1781


The day after the unhappy Affair happened at Camp in the Line,1 I receiv’d a Letter from General Knox Ordering me on to Carlile to Superintend the Artificiers,2 in Compliance with his Order I have proceded thus far, & waited on the Board of Warr for my instructions. my desire to Serve my Country is as great as ever, but the Situation of my little family so Operates against my wishes & Lay’s me under the painfull necessity of troubling You, Sir, once more on the Subject of my retiring.

The plan propos’d to me by the General, for Coll Hamilton to take my place I hope will meet with the Approbation of the Gentlemen of the Corps at the park[.] I can Assure You, Sir in the Regt to which I belong there is not a Desenting Voice[.] I have wrote to the Generall on the Occoasion, but have not been answerd3 Should I succeed on the Above plan & be indulg’d with an answer it will Add to the many favours already Confer’d4 on Your Excellency’s Most Obt Very Hume sert

Thos Forrest


1Forrest refers to the mutiny of the Pennsylvania line, which broke out on the evening of 1 Jan. (see Anthony Wayne to GW, 2 Jan.).

2Brig. Gen. Henry Knox’s letter to Forrest has not been identified.

3Forrest’s letter to Knox has not been identified. For Lt. Col. Alexander Hamilton’s views on “re-entering into the artillery, by taking” Forrest’s place, see his letter to Philip Schuyler, 18 Feb., in Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 2:563–69, quote on 568.

4No reply from GW to Forrest has been found. Forrest had previously asked GW to designate him a supernumerary officer and allow him to retire on half pay, but GW had refused his request (see Forrest to GW, 12 Nov. 1780, and n.3 to that document).

Forrest subsequently sought appointment as commissary general of military stores (see Forrest to GW, 2 April 1781, DLC:GW). Congress instead appointed Samuel Hodgdon to the post on 12 July (see 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 , 20:746). Forrest then submitted his resignation and received a conditional discharge (see Forrest to GW, 4 Aug., and GW to Forrest, 8 Oct., both DLC:GW).

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