George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Powell, 4 April 1791

To Robert Powell

Mount-Vernon, April 4th 1791.


Being induced by the fair representation which is made to me of your character I do hereby notify to you your appointment to be Major Commandant of a battalion of Levies, directed by an act of Congress to be raised for the service of the United States in the State of Virginia—and I enclose to you a statement of the pay, clothing, and rations, and forage allowed to the said battalion.

It will be necessary, if you accept the appointment, that you should come immediately to Mount-Vernon, as I shall leave it within a day or two—and I wish to give you some directions before you repair to the Secretary of war, from whom you will receive your commission and instructions.1 I am Sir, Your most obedient Servant

G. Washington.


Capt. Robert Powell of Fairfax County (1753–1815) was commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental army in February 1776 and promoted the same year. He resigned in 1779 and became a major in the Virginia militia in 1781.

1As Powell neither immediately replied nor appeared at Mount Vernon, William Jackson asked James Craik of Alexandria, on 7 April 1791, if a letter from Powell had been received by the postmaster there and, if not, requested him to transmit another letter to Powell by express. Jackson informed Craik that if GW did not hear from Powell before he left Mount Vernon on 8 April, he would refer the appointments of major, captain, and subalterns to William Darke (DLC:GW). Powell, who was not at home when GW’s letter arrived, wrote to GW from Culpeper, Va., on 7 April that he had just received it and would accept the appointment but could not reach Mount Vernon before 9 or 10 April (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

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