George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Gassaway, 28 August 1798

To John Gassaway

Mount Vernon 28th Augt 1798


Your favour of the 20th Instant, with other letters, were brought to this place at a time when I was not in a situation to acknowledge the receipt of them. A fever with which I was seized on the 18th could not be checked before the 24th at night; and has left me a good deal debilitated.

I mention this circumstance as an apology for your not hearing from me at an earlier period.

As I shall have no occasion for a military family until I take the field; and then, in the formation of it, shall have a variety of combinations to make, I mean to be perfectly free until that period shall have arrived, or is nearly approaching (except a particular case, or so, may occur) that I may be under no embarrassment.1

I thank you for making a tender of your Services to me as an Aid de Camp and am—Sir Your Most Obedt Hble S⟨ervt⟩

Go: Washington

P.S. Our Affairs have come to a crisis which I little thought could have happened in my day. This, & the evils with which we are threatned, will, I hope & trust, animate the spirits, & bring forward the Services of all the old and meritorious Officers of the Revolution army, in defence of the Independence and Government of our Country.

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

John Gassaway (d. 1820) was for many years register of wills in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

1After expanding on the satisfaction that GW’s appointment as commander in chief of the army had given him, Gassaway wrote from Annapolis on 20 Aug.: “I had the honor of serving all the last War under your Excellency therefore cannot be unknown to you, ever since the Conclusion of that War, I have been settled at this place in a small Office under the State Goverment as Register of Wills, which office is barely a Support for me and two Children which I am blest with, could I obtain an appointment in the Army under your Excellency, It would be an addition to the Office I hold and would the better enable me to support myself and Children. As your Excellency has the power I presume of appointing or Nominating your Aids, their is nothing upon Earth would be more gratifying to me than to be appointed as one of your Aid-de-Camps, for believe me their is no persons Life can be more devoted to you than my own. Should I be so fortunate as to be appointed by your Excellency, the Office I now hold can be carried on by proxy—I have had a Conversation with the Governor and Council of this State on the Subject and they informed me it can be so done” (DLC:GW).

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