Head Quarters Newburg 1 April 1782
I have to reply to your favor of the 26th March which was handed me on my way to this place.
When the matter respecting the number of Servants to be allowed to the offices of the Army, was taken up by the General Officers, If I am not mistaken, it was the general Sentiment that the indulgence ought to be confined to the officers of the Line, that as the Staff were in general allowed a pay superior to them, they ought to provide themselves with Servants & receive therefore the allowance of Cloathing &c. regulated by Congress—It was upon this principle the regulation was made and I cannot help thinking that if we depart from it instead of lessening the evil we have increased it—for if the indulgence is granted to any one of the Staff Departments it must be granted to all & the object of the regulation is then intirely lost—Whether necessity will oblige us to this—you Sir must judge and make the necessary regulation accordingly.
As I passed the Artillery at Burlington, Colo. Stevens informed me that the Men who were taken from the Regiments and employed as Artificers had formerly been promised some compensation for their extraordinary services & that those promises having never been complied with—they grew dissatisfied & it was with great reluctance that they continued to work—their services are very important & motives of policy as well as justice require that some trifling compensation should be paid them to encourage them to continue—their number is but small and I suppose a half [Dol]. given to each of them would answer the purpose.
Genl Smallwood writes me, that he has near two hundred men who want Clothing & Equipment to prepare them for service and that it would favour the Recruiting Service greatly if Cloathing could be furnished the Recruits as they are raised—I would beg leave to recommend it to you to send on such a supply as our circumstances will afford. I am &c.
P.S. I am not certain whether those officers of the Staff who have Rank in the Line, were not to be allowed servants agreeable to that Rank—I think they were but wish Genl Hand, Baron Steuben, Gen. Knox or any of the Genl Officers before whom this matter came and who may be in Phila could be inquired of respecting the Sentiments that governed at the time.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.