Philadelphia 21st May 1780
The enclosed Letter was delivered me after a very importunate personal solicitation. I have a very great Respect for Col. Shea, and a warm desire to serve every officer of distinguished Merit; At the same time that I am anxious to do no Violence to the arrangements of the Army which have been brought into order with such infinite pains and under numberless Embarrasments. Under those Circumstances I promised Col. Shea to learn from your Excellency whether the promotion asked for Capt. McClean woud not be improper or irregular, and to give his Application Support if it coud be done consistent with the order of the Army; If your Excellency has no objection I should be glad of your Opinion accordingly. I have the Honour to be—with the utmost Regard—Sir—your Excellency’s most Obedient humble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
c.21 May 1780
In consequence of your desire of being informed in writing, of Captain Allen McClean’s Situation; I take the liberty of letting you know, that he commands a body of Infantry annex’d to a Major Lee’s independent Corps, consisting I believe of three companies, of course a Field Officers Command. His standing in the Army, his merit, which is universally confess’d, added to the extensiveness of his command, gives him the fairest pretentions to rank, that whilst withheld may be construed as a Tacit condemnation of his Conduct; he has therefore requested a Majority from Congress, and as you have been pleas’d to express a readiness to serve Capt. McClean, & to consult General Washington on that head, I flatter myself you will not think me too importunate in the cause of a man of worth, when I beg, you will, as soon as possible, with convenience to yourself write the General on the Subject. I have the honor to be, Sir Your most obdt Serv.