George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Abraham Skinner, 18 February 1781

To Abraham Skinner

Hd Qrs New Windsor Feby 18. 1781


Inclosed you will find an extract from the proceedings of a Court of inquiry held by order of Capt. Dawson into the situation of our naval prisoners in the harbour of New York, by which you will perceive the ration allowed them by the enemy.1 Congress having directed me to retaliate the same treatment on their prisoners in our hands, which our prisoners in their hands receive, I am to desire, you will take effectual measures that all the Naval prisoners of the enemy be allowed the same ration and no more, which by the inclosed extract appears to be dispensed to ours.2 When you cannot allow the specific articles, you must give an equivalent in some thing else. I am at the same time to desire, You will ascertain the ration allowed by the enemy to land prisoners of war and make the same allowance to those in our possession. This is not meant to extend to the troops of convention whose allowance is specified by a particular article of the treaty.3 I am Sr Yr Most Obed. ser.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The enclosed extract has not been identified. For the copy of the proceedings of the court of inquiry sent to GW, see George Dawson to GW, 2 Feb., n.2.

2For this order of Congress, see Samuel Huntington to GW, 6 Jan., n.1.

3The fifth article of the surrender agreement signed on 16 Oct. 1777 furnished Convention Army prisoners “with Provisions by General Gates’s Orders, at the same Rate of Rations as the Troops of his own Army” (DNA:PCC, item 154).

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