George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Peters, 13 August 1781

Camp 13th Aug. 1781


I have the Honour to lay before your Excellency several Papers by order of the Board of War on which I shall be happy to recieve your Answer & Opinion & to confer with you on the Subjects of them if your Excellency shall deem it necessary.

The Letter from Genl parsons was sent because a Doubt arose on the Resolutions of Congress relative to the Invalid Corps whether an Officer under the Situation described in the Resolves is of Right entitled to be put into the Invalid Regiment or whether it is discretionary in the Board. If discretionary there were some Objections as to the Number of Officers of the Connecticut Line kept in the Arrangement who were not fit for Field Duty & when these are invalided a Necessity will be created for an additional Number of Officers to be taken from the Citizens & so both the Officers transferred & the Officers newly appointed in their stead would be drawing whole pay: Whereas if the convalescent Officers had retired on half pay & the effective Officers remained the public would have been benefitted by their Services & much Expence saved. I have had the Honour of a Conversation with Genl parsons since my Arrival at Camp & he informs me that the retaining these Officers was a Matter of Necessity. As the Election was given to the eldest Officers who chose to retire.

The Essay of a plan for the Hospital Department will explain itself.

The Letter from the Treasury Board is probably [sent] that a Certificate may be obtained from your Excellency of Lieut. Streuben’s Appointment & Right to be considered as an Officer.

When the papers are perused by your Excellency, I shall be obliged by the Return of the original Letters. I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect & Esteem your very obed. Servt

Richard Peters

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Boston June 25th 1781.

These may certify that Lieut. Hammond is so reduced in Health that it is absolutely impossible for him to joine his Regiment—That from our attending him as Physicians we find him in a very declining state, and after all Methods, & Priscriptions, according to our Judgments have failed of having the wished for Effect—We think it advisable for him to try a Voyage to Sea in order to Recover his Health.

S. Whitwell Surgn 3d M. Regt

S. Adams surgn 3d Regt Ay


Camp, Peekskill June 30th 1781

This may Certify, that Capt: David Parsons, of the 3d Connecticut Regiment, is (in my Opinion) rendered intirely unfit for Military Duty, in a Marching Regiment; by reason of his advanced Age, and having his Constitution much impaired, by a Series of Fatigues & hardships, to which, he has been (necessarily) Subjected, whilst in the Army: is therefore recommended as a fit Subject for the Corps of Invalids.

Jeremiah West. Surgeon.

3d Connectt Regt


Camp near Dobbs’s Ferry 10th July 1781


I had the Honor of a Letter from the Board of War by Capt. Weed, and was incourag’d by that to expect a speedy Determination of the Board respecting the Officers who appeard proper Subjects of the Corps of Invalids. as the Army have now taken the Field and the Officers become necessary in Camp, I am oblig’d to trouble you again on the Subject and request that the Officers for whom Certificates were transmitted may be transferd, that their Places may be supplied with such as are able to do Duty, with the Addition of Cpt. Parsons for whom Certificates are inclos’d. of this Number Capts. Parsons & Weed & Lieut. Belding would prefer going out on half pay if it can be admitted: Captains Reed & Hodge prefer the Corps of Invalids as do the other Lieutenants who were named in my last Letter. the many Invalids & Vacancies made by Resignations since the Arrangment in January render it necessary that more Officers should be soon appointed to do Duty; which cannot be done until the Determination of the Board of War is had respecting the Invalid Officers.

this becomes more particularly necessary at this Time as I have every Reason to apprehend the Resignation of much the greater half of my Officers in a few Days. the State of Connecticutt, have fed them upon Promises of advancing them some little Part of their Wages, from January to this Time, and after affixing particular Periods, from Time to Time, for the payment, have finally disappointed them of every farthing they have promis’d; and tis now more than fifteen Months since they receivd one’ farthing from the public and they are really wretched. your Answer by the return of the Post will oblige yr obedt Servt

Saml H. Parsons

Lt Mix has come in since writing the above & has so far recoverd his Health as to performd the Duties in Field.


Treasury Office Augt 2d 1781


The Commissioners of the Chambers of Accounts, in their Report upon the Balances due to the Officers and Privates of Capt. Van Heers Corps of Dragoons for Depreciation of their Pay, represent to the Board of Treasury, "that Philip Steubing has been regularly mustered and paid as a Lieutenant but they do not find from their Application to the Board of War that a Commission has been granted him" and that "as no other Proof is before us than the pay Rolls, Muster Rolls and the Captains Assertion we apprehend that no Certificate ought to be granted till further Proof is produced of his Appointment." The Board under these Circumstances are in doubt about the Propriety of granting the Certificate; and desire of the Board of War their Opinion on the Case; for it is supposed some General Rule is laid down in respect of the Pay of the Troops which will comprehend the Affair in Question. I have the Honor to be Gent. Your most obed. & very hble Servt

John Gibson


At a Board of War August 4. 1781


That the essay for the Hospital Department be laid before the Commander in Chief by Mr Peters, and his opinion requested thereon. Extract from the Minutes

Jos: Carleton Secy


c.4 August 1781

Whereas the Honorable the Congress of these United States have thought proper to establish Hospitals for the Use of such of their forces as shall happen to be sick or wounded in their Service they do hereby direct the following Rules—Regulations and Orders to be duly observed within the same.

1st. That the Officers commanding in Chief do inspect and see that good Order and discipline be kept in the said Hospitals and give all necessary directions in any manner relating thereto.

2ndly—That the said Officers commanding in Chief do take Care that the Physician Surgeons Apothecaries and all other Officers do constantly attend and perform all manner of duties which shall be imposed on them which is consistent with the line of their profession and the Obligations of their Office and upon the neglect or Misbehaivour of any of them, he may suspend them and appoint some other person giving Notice thereof to the Commissioners of the War Office, and that the person may remain so suspended untill he shall be tried by a Court Martial or until the pleasure of Congress shall be known.

3dly—That all Soldiers to be received into the Hospital do bring a Certificate under the hand of the Officer in Chief of the Regiment to which they belong and of the Surgeon of the said Regiment or his Mate specifying their distemper or Wounds the Company they belong to and the day of their being sent to the Hospital according to which Certificate the days of their Entries are to be regulated which with those of their discharge are to be sent to the War Office once a Month or as often as shall be found necessary in order to discover whether Rations are drawn in Camp for such persons at the same time.

4thly—That for the better ascertaining the expence of the said Hospitals the Officer commanding in Chief do take Care that the Charge of the dyet of each Soldier do as little exceed the Sum of eight pence a day as possible for answering whereof he is to make Application to the Superintendant of finance for such Sum or Sums of Money as shall be wanting who is to supply the same according to the Number of sick and wounded Men: of which Sums so received he is at all times to give an exact Account to the said Superintendant of finance And Whereas it may be necessary in some Cases to establish permanent hospitals and it may also be proper and expedient in other Cases to make Contracts for the supplying the said Hospitals with provisions: it is further directed that the said Superintendant of finance do make Contracts for the supplying the sick and wounded at such Hospitals and for such Numbers as the Commander in Chief shall direct so that he may have it in his Option to furnish the sick and wounded in either mode as may best accord with the Good of the Service.

5thly. That upon the death of any Soldier Care be taken for his interment the charge whereof not to exceed ten shillings and the Cloaths belonging to such Soldier at the time of his death shall be preserved and delivered to the Officer appointed by the Regiment to receive the same.

6thly. That no internal or external medicines be applied or administered in the said Hospitals without the prescription or Allowance of the Physician and principal Surgeon respectively of which Medicines an exact Account is to be kept and vouched by such prescription or Allowance in Writing for the preventing all embezzlements or misapplication thereof.

7thly—That the present and all former Systems of the Hospital department be and are hereby declared to be void and of no Effect and that in future the said department shall be governed by such Rules and Regulations as the Commander in Chief shall think expedient to communicate either by general Orders or through a Board of Officers or in such other manner as he shall think most conducive to the good of the Service.

8thly—That the Officer commanding in Chief be directed to report to Congress the Number of Physicians Surgeons Apothecaries and Mates he conceives to be necessary taking Care that the Arrangement be formd upon the most oeconomical plan and according to the Number of Troops of which the Army is composed. Also the Number of Persons at present in Office that Congress may proceed to the election of those who are essentially necessary.

9thly. That when any Vacancy happens in the said department the Commander in Chief (if he thinks it ought to be filled up) shall recommend a proper person for the same whose Appointment shall be valid until the pleasure of Congress shall be known.

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