George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Zebulon Butler, 24 February 1781

From Colonel Zebulon Butler

Wyoming [Pa.]
24th Feby 1781

May it Please Your Excellency

Your Orders of the 29th Decr 1780 I received ⅌ Capn Mitchell,1 on the 22d of Jany 1781 Imidately Sent to Philadelphia for Clothing for the soldiers Urging the Nessessity of their being Supplied Quick as it was Impossible for them to March without[.] those whom I Sent were Detained in Philaa 17 Days and and were Absent 25 Days so that it was not in my Power to have them March sooner and now—they March without Blankets. I have Directed Capn Spalding to Genl Persons Divission and Capts. Schott & Seling to Head Quarters, with Respect, to my self, sometime last Decr I heard of the Mode of Arangement for the Army and from that was Confident that I was Deranged2 went to Camp in Jany last to settle my Afairs and found I was Arange’d, and found the relief for this Post had Marched. Knowing their would be Confusion if I was Absent Pushed back as fast as Possible. while I was in Camp I Obtained leave of Genl Persons for Absence untill the last of March or further Orders Capn Spalding will leave a few men behind him, but I Shall See that your Excellencys Orders are Strictly Complyd with.

Capn Mitchell who now takes the Command at this Post is an Officer and a Gentleman I am Sure will give Intire Satisfaction to the Inhabitants and is the man Intended by Congress he is Intirily Disentirested in the Dispute.3 I Shall give him every Assistance in my Power Respecting the Country and Characters, I received A Letter from the Board of War last Decr Informing me that Schotts Officers would become Supernumeries the 1st of Jany 1781. Capn Seling went to Philadelphia for Clothing, by whom I wrote to the Bord of War Desiriing them to let him know what to Depend on and Neither him nor me g⟨ot⟩ any Answer.4 and the Gentlemen supp⟨ose⟩ it their Duty to march to Head Quarter⟨s with⟩ their men.

Nothing Respecting Enemy at this Post Since my last. Can only say I have the Honour to be Your Excellencys Most Obt Hum⟨ble⟩ servt

Zebn Butler Col.

ALS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys wrote “No Ansr Necessary” on the docket.

1In his letter of 29 Dec. 1780, GW notified Butler that he had directed Capt. Alexander Mitchell to march a detachment of New Jersey troops to Wyoming to relieve Butler and the present garrison at that post (see GW to Mitchell, 30 Dec., n.2).

2Butler refers to the reorganization of the Continental army (see General Orders, 1 Nov. 1780).

3Settlers from Connecticut and Pennsylvania disputed jurisdiction over the Wyoming Valley (see Joseph Reed to GW, 14 April 1779, n.3; see also Reed to GW, 19 Dec. 1780, and n.3).

4Neither the Board of War’s letter to Butler nor Butler’s letter to the board has been identified.

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