George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 4 June 1799

From Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charleston [S.C.] June 4th 1799

Dear Sr

I wrote to you from Mulbury Grove the seat of our deceased friend Genl Greene in Georgia, & enclosed you my letter to the Secretary of War giving an account of the progress of Brigr Genl Washington, Major Rutledge & myself on the sea Coast1—I now enclose you two other letters to the Secretary, one from Augusta & the other from this place.2

The Arrangement for North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia have been transmitted to the War Department, & copies of them shall be forwarded to you by Brigr Genl Washington, who will set out this day week3—He will also carry two plumes for you, one for Coll Lear, & another for Captn Thornton if he does me the honour to accept his appointment—I enclosed a Letter for him from Mulberry Grove4—On My return I found Mrs Pinckney had been very ill; she was then better, but has had two relapses since I arrived, & today has been attacked with a vomiting of green black bile; this she trusts will be an excuse to Mrs Washington for not yet answering her last letter5—She & my Daughters unite with me in affectionate respects to you both; & I remain with the utmost esteem & veneration Your affectionate & devoted hble Sert

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

ALS, CSmH; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

1When Pinckney wrote to GW from “Mulberry Grove on Savannah River” on 20 April 1799, he enclosed, among other things, copies of his letters to James McHenry of 19 and 20 April.

2The enclosed copy of Pinckney’s letter of 19 May from Augusta, Ga., to James McHenry reads: “Brigr Genl [William] Washington, Major [Henry M.] Rutledge, & myself, arrived yesterday at this place from Fort Wilkinson on the Oconee. Lieutt Coll [Henry] Gaither has doubtless, transmitted you a plan of that Fort; if he has not, I will forward you one. It is beautifully situated on a hill on the South Side of the River. The defences are calculated only against an Indian foe; and if attacked only by such, it is not of so great importance, that is commanded by two heights, one in the front and the other on the right of the Fort. We think a block house should be constructed on each—I was glad to see an extensive & excellent garden, between the Fort & the River. This peice of internal œconomy should never be omitted, in a garrison, where practicable, as it greatly conduces to the health & comfort of the Soldiers. Both Officers & Soldiers here, enjoy a great share of health, & 1 think you will find from the inspection of the Returns that the Soldiers in the Garrison & at St Mary’s are as healthy as Soldiers are in any part of the U. States. This Fort has been built with great industry by the Soldiers at very little expence to the Government, & they have been kept so closely at this business, that tho a body of fine active young fellows, we did not find them so adroit in handling their arms, & in their marching and manœvering, as we could have wished. This however will be immediately remedied as the Colonel assures me, he will now attend so unremittingly to the training them, that it shall be no easy matter for the new Regiments to equal them. We found that insubordination, of which you were apprehensive, among the Officers, actually to exist, & we were under the necessity of very severely censoring their conduct. It appears to us that it had been produced originally by too much familiarity on the part of the Commandant with his officers, & when he ⟨wished⟩ to restore that respect, which should always be paid by inferior Officers to their Superior, it was too late, & their want of Subordination, broke forth in those unprecedented & unmilitary proceedings of the Courts martial, alike disgraceful to the Courts which permitted, & to the Defendants who utterd the libels—I trust you will not hear again of any such licentious behavior, in these Officers, or in any in the Southern Department, as I am determind to have a strict discipline observed in every part of the command entrusted to my care, & in doing this, I have a firm reliance, on the support, & countenance of the Executive—We entered into an investigation of the various complaints against Coll Gaither, the particulars of which, & the opinions of Brigr Genl Washington & myself thereon, shall be transmitted you from Charleston; they are too long to be transcribed here. In this enclosure you will see a Copy of my Instructions to Capt. [James] Taylor of the Federal Dragoons, whom I have detached with his troop to dislodge, some persons, who are attempting to make settlements, on the Indian territory, beyond the ⟨Ocunna⟩ mountain, & which if not immediately broke up will probably bring on an Indian war. Please to let me know the President’s pleasure, with regard to the Old Settlers to whom the Indians, do not object; the distinction I have made between them & the late Intruders, seems to have given great satisfaction . . .” (DLC:GW). In a postscript Pinckney refers to earlier correspondence with McHenry. The copy of Pinckney’s second enclosed letter to McHenry, from Charleston, S.C., dated 29 May, is in DLC:GW. Pinckney also enclosed a copy of his instructions of 14 May 1799 to Capt. Taylor and a copy of his letter of 18 May from Capt. Abimeal Nicoll (both copies also in DLC:GW).

3William Washington did not arrive at Mount Vernon until 7 Sept. (see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:364). The lists of officers for North and South Carolina and Georgia have not been found. Gov. William Richardson Davie sent GW a list of candidates for commissions in North Carolina.

4See Pinckney to GW, 20 April, n.1. GW wrote Presly Thornton about the plume on 12 Aug. (see GW to Pinckney, 10 August).

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