George Washington Papers

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

From Major General Robert Howe

West point 17th feby 1781

Dear sir

The orders given & heavy drafts made from the Army induce me to think that Some movements are intended,1 and tho’ I hinted to your Excellency yesterday in a short letter I did my Self the honour to write you, that I wished not to be Suffered to proceed to the Eastward if Service could be aided by me here, yet as that letter was dictated in a hurry And with a croud about me, (the french Gentlemen being at dinner with me),2 I fear I may not have expressed my Self as forcibly as I wished to do. I therefore, Sir, take the liberty to repeat that if my Services can be of use, I, in the most earnest Manner, Make a tender of them to your Excellency And to my Country, and in the warmth of Sincerity Sollicit, nay implore that no personal Consideration, however interesting it may be Supposed to be to me, may ever have Such influence upon your Excellency’s Generosity or attention to me as to induce you to forbear employing me, either upon this or any other occasion where military movements are to be made, and where my own fame & the good of my Country Can be promoted by My Service & exertions, for I can truly declare that to obtain glory by Serving my Country is the utmost wish of my Soul.

if Major Galvan Can be of use on this occasion, I would not wish his being temporarily Attatched to me, to intervene. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect Dear Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient and Most humble Servant

R. Howe

LS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote on the docket: “Ansd by the Commr in Chf” (see Howe to GW, 16 Feb., source note).

1GW intended a detachment for Virginia (see his two letters to Lafayette, 20 Feb. [1 and 2]; see also the general orders for 16 Feb.).

2Colonel Saint-Maisme was then at West Point (see GW to Rochambeau, 15 Feb., n.1).

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