George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Mifflin, 19 January 1784

To Thomas Mifflin

Mount Vernon Janry 19th 1784


In a Letter which I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency, on the 21st of Decr, amongst other matters which were submitted to the consideration of Congress, I mentioned the case of Brigr Genl Michael Jackson, and informed you that having mislaid the papers relative to it, I could only state the facts from my recollection—having now found the original documents I take the liberty to enclose them to Congress, and to submit the case to their decision.1

In the beforementioned communication, I believe I also omitted to include Capt. Houdin, (a french Gentleman who has served many years with reputation in the Masstts Line) amongst the Officers who were desirous of being arranged on any Peace Establishment that might be adopted—in that case, I beg leave to mention him as a deserving Officer, and to place him on the same footing with the other Candidates.2 With great respect I have the honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedt Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in David Humphreys’ hand, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW.

1Michael Jackson (d. 1801), colonel of the 3d Massachusetts Regiment and brevet brigadier general, sent GW a memorial dated 18 Nov. 1783 “to lay before Congress” (Jackson to GW, 19 Nov. 1783, DNA:PCC, item 152). The memorial in part reads: “That your Memorialist began the war at the action of Lexington, on the nineteenth of April, 1775, and has continued in the Service of this Country ever since, in the Cause of which he has been in a number of severe actions; particularly one on the 24th of September, 1776 [at Montresor’s Island, N.Y.], in which he received a wound; The pain which he has endured in consequence thereof, is beyond expression—more than thirty peices of bone have been extracted from him” (DNA:PCC, item 41). The doctors’ certificate signed by John Cochran, D. Townsend, and Sam Adams confirmed that Jackson could “never expect to have the free use” of his leg again (26 Oct. 1783, DNA:PCC, item 41). GW’s letter of 21 Dec. 1783 summarized all of this and reported that he had told Jackson that Congress was not likely to make provision for him alone but, instead, would do so in a general way when it provided for those similarly disabled from war wounds.

2In his letter to Mifflin of 21 Dec. 1783, GW enclosed a list of sixteen officers who wished “to be on Peace Establishment” of the army, noting that “most of the Gentlemen whose names are on the list are personally known to me as some of the best officers who were in the Army.” Michael Gabriel Houdin (d. 1802), who was a major by brevet, had been an officer in the Massachusetts forces since 1 Jan. 1777.

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