George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Gibson, 8 January 1791

From George Gibson

8th January 1791.

May it please Your Excellency

In the month of January 1779, Your Excellency in conference with a committee of Congress was pleased to order me to reinlist for the War the men of the first State Regiment of Virginia under my command on the same terms that the Continental troops were enlisted with an assurance if the State of Virginia wou’d not take them, Congress wou’d—I have searched the Office & find the committee have reported generally. I am constrained to apply to Your Excellency humbly praying Your Excellency will please to direct that a certificate may be given me that such order hath existed. I have the Honor to be with the most profound respect Your Excellency’s most Obedient Humble Servant

Geo. Gibson

ALS, DNA:PCC, RG 360, Miscellaneous Letters.

George Gibson (1747–1791) was born in Lancaster County, Pa., and apprenticed to a merchant. He subsequently joined his brother as an Indian trader at Fort Pitt. In 1775 he organized a company of frontiersmen for service in the West. His company was attached to Hugh Mercer’s brigade and participated in minor actions in Virginia in 1775–76. In 1776 he commanded a mission to New Orleans to purchase gunpowder from the Spanish. During 1777–78 he served with GW’s army as a colonel. From 1779 until the close of the war he was in charge of the prison camp at York, Pennsylvania. After the war he settled on a farm near Carlisle. Gibson was mortally wounded later in 1791 while serving as a lieutenant colonel in St. Clair’s ill-fated campaign. On 23 Jan. 1779 Gibson wrote to GW explaining that “The Assembly of Virginia in their late Act passed for the reinlistment of their Troops have not taken any notice of the Two state regiments anex’d to the Continental Army. from what cause I know not unless it may be that they conceived the regiments to have been Continental Troops from the time they were taken into the Service, Indeed His Excelly the Governor & many Gentn of the House of Assembly told me we were considerd as continental troops from the time we were taken into Continentl Pay.” Gibson explained that the enlistments were expiring but that many men were prepared to reenlist on the same terms as Continental troops (Gibson to GW, 23 Jan. 1779, DNA:PCC, item 78). GW responded on 8 Feb. 1779 directing him to reenlist his men as Continental troops (Df, DLC:GW). No reply from GW to Gibson’s request has been found.

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