George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Reed, 18 April 1780

In Council

Philadelphia April 18th 1780


I have the honour of three of your Excellencys favours respecting the Supplies furnished by this state agreeable to the Resolve of Congress of the twenty fifth of February. The number and distance at which these magazines are to be formed will I fear be found very difficult if not impracticable, as the Transportation (for which no provision is made by the Resolve of Congress) will in many cases prove more expensive and difficult than the cost and difficulty of procuring the articles themselves.

We submit to your Excellencys consideration whether this circumstance is not deserving of attention it is a burthen which ought not to be partially laid and if not rectified will fall extremely heavy on this state which has its deposits at such a distance and must depend on the inner Counties to have them filled. After viewing the matter in every possible light, and with the most anxious desire to exert ourselves and raise as few difficulties as possible we are obliged to acknowledge that we see no prospect of effecting the transportation at such distance by the exertions of the state singly.

The enclosed representation has been transmitted to us from the Army, as we find upon enquiry it had not been communicated to your Excellency we thought it incumbent on us to forward it to you as soon as possible and that before any measures had been taken upon it, either in the state, or Congress. Its Contents are really important and may lead to consequences the most interesting we must therefore intrude so far on your time as to request your opinion and advice both in matter and manner, by which we shall be very much directed in our farther proceeding thereon. As we conceive voluntary enlistment now nearly over we confess the incorporation of the regiments would be very agreeable to us as it would prove a great saving of publick expence, a very necessary consideration at all times, and at this in particular but we do not seek local gratifications if incompatible with the general good of the service.

It has been very much the wish of the Legislature of this state that three or four loose Artillery companies belonging to this state but doing duty with Colonel Lambs regiment should be incorporated with Colonel Proctors regiment General Knox when I was at camp approved of it highly on condition some vacancies in Proctors regiment could be previously filled up—to this the Officers in those Companies consented but by some means the incorporation is not effected. It would be tresspassing on your Excellencys time to send you the Resolves, but there have been two express recommendations on this subject from the House of Assembly to their Delegates in Congress the latter referred it to the Board of War, and they informed us they waited your Excellencys opinion upon it, this is now some Months past. I am with very great respect and regard Your Excellencys most obedient and very humble servant

Jos: Reed


DLC: Papers of George Washington.


In Council

Philada Thursday April 13th 1780

The representation of the field Officers of the Pennsylvania Line was read—and is as follows vizt.

"Camp March 30th 1780

To the Honorable the President and Council of the State of Pennsylvania

We the field Officers of the Pennsylvania Line having taken into Consideration the present weak state of our regiments, and the many alarming instances of desertions beg leave to represent, that the depreciation of the Continental money is a considerable source of desertion, and that the aid and comfort which deserters receive from time to time from the disaffected inhabitants in our state, as well as many professional Whigs whose insatiable thirst after gain, leads them to employ them in their service, are likewise great inducements for the soldiery to desert the Cause of their Country.

We therefore most anxiously wish that your Excellency and the Honorable Council, would solicit the timely interposition of the legislature, in order to prevent this growing evil, as a continuation of it will too probably terminate in the total extinction of our line—that they would make the most vigorous exertions to apprehend all deserters, that they would particularly at this time give their aid to our Officers, whom we have lately detached on this business and that all manner of persons who have harboured & otherwise secreted deserters, may be furnished in the most exemplary manner.

We further beg that your Excellency and the Honble the Council, will use your influence with the Honble House of Representatives, to order the recruiting service to be immediately opened in order to fill our respective regiments, that we may still continue to make that respectable figure in the field, which we flatter ourselves we have heretofore made: and in case it shall be found impracticable we pray that an incorporation may take place in such a manner that the whole corps of Officers of the particular regiment or regiments, ordered to be reduced may retire on whole pay (not nominally but really valuable) and be and remain to all intents and purposes on the same footing with those Officers who continue in the field, and that they shall be liable to be called into service agreeable to their respective ranks as soon as vacancies shall happen in the Line.

It is truly irksome for us to caution you on this head, but we hope we shall be justified when your Excellency and the Honble Council consider, that not long since, a number of respectable Officers in our Line, after having patiently submitted to the toils and dangers incident to War, after having sacrificed their health and ease, and wasted their little fortunes in the honest service of their Country, were obliged ignominiously to retire bereft of rank, the honorable birthright of a soldier, and totally unrewarded with any kind of compensation for their past services, save the honorable wounds which they have to shew their Countrymen, nay they did not even receive the lands and other emoluments which had been most solemnly promised them, on the plighted faith of the whole Continent.

We also beg leave to represent that the troops under our command by reason of the depreciation of the Continental money are by no means paid, adequate to the service they render their Country, and that very alarming consequences are to be feared unless their pay is rendered more valuable or the depreciation of the pay which they have already received, be made good to them, as has been the Case in other states.

Emboldened by former indulgences, and conscious that our requisition will not be esteemed extravagant we take the liberty to beg that some attention may be paid to our present depreciated pay, the pay of our troops we have already mentioned, our own is also an object worthy of consideration, it is needless to mention the inconveniences to which we are subject in consequence of the depreciated value of our pay, you are but too well acquainted with similar inconveniencies yourselves, and we cannot help saying that your disinterested attachment to the service of your Country, reflects the highest honour upon you, and is realy worthy of imitation we trust we have not been wholly void of the same attachment and we do assure your Honorable Body that no selfish view but merely a desire of such compensation, as our services merit, hath led us at this time to draw your attention towards this point.

We likewise pray that your honorable body would use your influence with Congress, to induce them to establish a General Hospital for all invalids belonging to the Army, founded on the same liberal and broad bottom with Chelsea in England.

Having taken the liberty of addressing your honorable body on this occasion we beg you will permit us to return you our hearty and sincere thanks for the constant and steady attention you have uniformly paid our Line and particularly for your vigorous exertion in procuring us in some degree a compensation for our past services more especially in passing our half pay Law, and continuing our supplies during service.

We lastly beg through your Honorable Body to acknowledge ourselves imprest with a due sense of the favours which the Honble House of Representatives have conferred upon us, and we hope by a steady attention to duty in some degree to merit them. We have the Honor to be Your most obedient humble servants

Walter Stewart Colo. 2nd P.R.

J. Greer Major 10th P.R.

Adam Hubley Lt Colo. Comt 11th P.R.

Caleb Noarth Lt Colo: 9th do

Samuel Hay Lt Colonel 10th do

Francis Johnston Col. Comt 2nd P. Brigade

James Hamilton Major 2nd do

Richard Hampton Colo. 10 P.R.

Francis Mentges Lt Colo: 3rd do

James Chamber Colo. Ct 7th P.R.

John Murray Lt Colo. 2nd P.R.

Joseph Harmar Lt Colo. Comt 7th P.R.

James Parr Major 7th P.R.

Thomas Robinson Lt Colo. 1st P.R.

Thomas L. Byles Major 3d P.R.

Ev: Edwards Major 1st P.R."

On Consideration Ordered That the said representation be transmitted to His Excellency General Washington and that his advice thereon be requested. Extract from the Minutes

James Trimble

for Timothy Matlack Secry

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