George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander McDougall, 3 August 1781 to 6 August 1781

West Point 3d-6 August 1781


Last Monday an Officer of the Corps of Invalids from Boston, came to this Post for orders, expecting they would reach Fish Kill the next day.

He was ordered to releive the Guard at that place, as their Number is competent for it: But as I have not heard from the Officer commanding, I conclude they have not arrived.

Last night those from Philadelphia arrived here, they are in a truly wretched and pitiable Condition, fitter Subjects of a good Hospital, than to compose part of this Garrison, where Strength and activity are necessary to collect wood and water for their own use. Till the Cold Season sets in, they may take Care of themselves, but can afford no Strength to the Garrison, then they must have assistance from others, or perish.

I take the Liberty to inclose a Return of their Number, and that of the Strength of the Massachusets Militia, which have arrived since I had the honor to address you. I have also transmitted the Sentence of a General Court Martial, against Edmund Burke and Garret Lansing, of Colonel Vanscaik’s Regiment, as I do not conceive myself authorized to decide on their Case.

There are three Soldiers of Artillery, left here under sentence of Death, besides those I mentioned to your Excellency in a former Letter. Burke is a very bad fellow and has more than once excited Mutinies in that Regiment, and it is the General opinion of the Officers, whatever may be the Result of his Sentence, he ought not to join the Regiment for Corporal punishment has proved ineffectual to reclaim him.

Colonel Hughes has represented to me, that the Boat Builders at Wappings Creek are greatly distressed with large Families, not having received any pay for near two years, and that they are earnestly sollicited to enter into another Service, on advantagious terms, which they will accept, unless they are furnished with the number of Rations in the inclosed List, for which they are willing to pay out their wages due to them. The number of Rations are so great, that I did not conceive myself at Liberty to comply with their request, as I do not know the prospect we have of being supplied: But assured him, I would write your Excellency on the Subject, and communicate your determination, as soon as I received it. I have the honor to be your Excellencys most humble Servant

Alexr McDougall

August 6th 1781

Forty five more rank and file of the Connecticut Militia have arrived Since the last return. Secretary Trumbull’s Letter of the 4th instant is received giving an account of a spy Sent out by the Enemy. The light Company of Col. Cortlan[dt] is come down, and will move to morrow; some necessary repairs of Arms have detained him here Since Saturday.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Index Entries