George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Holden Parsons, 4 October 1780

Camp Tapan 4th Octr 1780

My Dear General

If I should remain silent on the Subject of General Smallwoods Promotion, my Conduct would receive Constructions very different from the real Motives; I therefore feel myself under a Necessity of troubling your Excellency on the Subject.

I do most sincerely acquiesce in the Promotion of that Officer, the strong existing Necessity at the Time as well as his own distinguishd Merit in saving our Southern Army I think are Reasons sufficient to have induced the Measure; and the apparent Necessity of an immediate Attention to that Department may serve at least for an Apology for not taking up the Matter on a larger Scale—but I cannot feel myself reconcil’d to a consequent Disgrace I may be involved in; I have serv’d in my present Rank more than four Years and am conscious of having at all Times honestly endeavourd the Promotion of the best good of my Country. though many of my Brethren have obtaind a greater Brilliancy of military Character than I have had Opportunity to acquire—more than half this Time I have commanded a Division of the Army; not so much from accidental Causes, as a Deficiency in Numbers of Officers of a Superior Rank to do that Duty, and had the same Principles actuated the Councils of our States as have been the Rules of Proceedings in other Nations I should have had the Rank due to the Command, long since conferd on me, however as no promotions took place by which I could see myself neglected & consequently renderd contemptible I made myself contented. but my own Honor, the Rights of my Brethren & every Feeling which can most sensibly affect an Officer, forbid my continuing to serve in my present Rank longer than a Time sufficient after such representation as you will make for Congress to consider my Rights as well as that worthy Officers Merits: I know there are Difficulties in leaving Service before the Close of the Campaign, these must have there weight to prevent me till that Time. but I must own I should feel myself less obnoxious to the Contempt of my Brethren could I be removed to any command detachd from the Army until that Time should arrive. I am too sick to continue my Letter, I have very little Expectation of being better soon or I should have deferd writing you, I hope my p[oor] State of Health will be a Sufficient Apology for any Inadvertancys which may have fallen from me. I am dear General with every Sentiment of affectionate Esteem & Respect yr Obedt Servt

Saml H. Parsons

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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