George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 27 April 1781

New Windsor 27th Apl 1781

Dear Sir,

Your letter of this date has not a little embarrassed me—You must remember the ferment in the Pennsylvania line the last Campaign occasioned by the appointment of Major McPhearson, and you know the uneasiness which at this moment exists among the Eastern Officers on Account of the commands conferred upon Colo. Jemat and Major Galvan although it was the result of absolute necessity of which i see vary little prospect from present appearances— Should circumstances admit of the formation of another advanced Corps it can be but small and must be composed almost entirely of Eastern troops, and to add to the discontents of the Officers of those lines by the further appointment of an Officer of your Rank to the command of it or in it, would, I am certain, involve me in a difficulty of a very disagreeable & delicate nature, and might perhaps lead to consequences more serious than it is easy to imagine—While I adhere firmly to the right of making such appointments as you request, I am at the same time obliged to reflect that it will not do to push that right too far, more especially in a service like ours—and at a time so critical as the present.

I am convinced that no officer can with justice dispute your merit and abilities—The opposition heretofore made has not been for want of those qualifications in the Gentlemen who are and have been the objects of discontent—The Officers of the line contend, without having reference to particular persons, that it is a hardship and reflection upon them to introduce Brevet Officers into commands (of some permanency) in which there are more opportunities of distinguishing themselves than in the line of the Army at large—and with the men they have had the trouble to discipline and prepare for the field.

My principal concern arises from an apprehension that you will impute my refusal of your request to other motives than these I have expressed, but I beg you to be assured I am only influenced by the reasons which I have mentioned. I am—Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

DLC: Alexander Hamilton Papers.

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