George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Daniel Baldwin, 15 June 1789

From Daniel Baldwin

New York June 15th 1789

The petition of Daniel Baldwin late a Captain in the line of the Continental Army of the State of New Jersey—most respectfully sheweth—

That your petitioner in the action of Germantown had the misfortune of losing his Leg by a wound from a musket Ball, in the attack of Chew’s House, by which means, he has been depriv’d from making that provision for his family which is necessary for their comfort and assistance; that since the peace, they having considerably increas’d he has with the greatest difficulty been able to support them—And though your petitioner is fully persuaded that numerous applications are dayly made to your Excellency for Offices under the new Constitution, and notwithstanding he has the fullest confidence that those who have served under your immediate command, are ever held by you in remembrance, yet such are his necessities and so pressing his wants, that Duty, (too powerful for inclination,) compels him to present himself to your Excellency for protection and support, in the character of a reduced, distressed and crippled Officer, (with a Wife and Children unprovided for except by a small pension, which is inadequate to their support) ready and willing to execute such Trust and perform such Duty, as on enquiry, your Excellency may think him capable of discharging—Your petitioner is a native of New Jersey, though now residing in New York; He claims no preference, but what his merit and services may entitle him to—To General Dayton he begs leave to refer your Excellency for both;1 And to your own benevolence⟨,⟩ care and humanity, he leaves the future fortune of himself and family, while your petitioner with them will ever join in fervent prayers to Heaven for your health and happiness.

Daniel Baldwin


Daniel Baldwin (1753-1815) began his military career as a lieutenant in the 1st New Jersey Regiment in November 1775 and was promoted to captain the next year. He was severely wounded and lost his leg at the Battle of Germantown, 4 Oct. 1777, when, as he states in his letter, he took part in the American attack on the Chew house, occupied by troops from Lt. Col. Thomas Musgrave’s 40th Regiment. Baldwin received an honorable discharge on 1 Mar. 1779.

1Baldwin is referring to Brig. Gen. Elias Dayton (1737–1807) of New Jersey. In March 1786 a committee of Congress reported on a petition, dated 20 Jan. 1786, from Baldwin, who was requesting compensation for wartime expenses, that Baldwin had been employed by Dayton and Matthias Ogden, acting under orders from GW to engage “suitable persons to obtain intelligence from within the enemy’s lines.” Dayton and Ogden had stationed Baldwin at Newark, N.J., where he had, in the committee’s opinion, “industriously and faithfully executed the trust reposed in him, from July, 1781, to January, 1783. That during the said period, he not only expended considerable sums of his own money, but he was at the charge of subsisting himself servant and horse, for which he has never been compensated.” The committee reported favorably on the petition, noting that “after having lost his leg, in the service of his country, his zeal still prompted him to continue his endeavours to promote its interests.” After considerable discussion, Congress in October 1786 voted Baldwin $1,000 in compensation for his services (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 30:28n., 118, 207, 387n., 419–20, 31:777).

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