George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Lincoln, 5 June 1782

Newburgh 5th June 1782

My dear Sir,

Colo. Hazen’s sending an officer under the capitulation of York Town for the purpose of retaliation, has distressed me exceedingly. Will you be so good as to give me your opinion of the propriety of doing this upon Captain Asgill should we be driven to it for want of an unconditional prisoner.

Presuming that this matter has been a subject of much conversation, pray, with your own, let me know the opinions of the most sensible of those with whom you have conversed.

Congress by their resolve have unanimously approved of my determination to retaliate—the Army have advised it—and the Country look for it—But how far it is justifiable upon an officer under the faith of a capitulation, if none other can be had, is the question?

Hazen’s sending Captn Asgill on for this purpose makes the matter more distressing, as the whole business will have the appearance of a farce, if some person is not sacraficed to the Manes of poor Huddy; which will be the case, if an unconditional Prisoner cannot be found, and Asgill escapes.

I write to you in exceeding great haste, but beg your sentiments may be transmitted as soon as possible (by Express) as I may be forced to a decision in the course of a few days. I am—with much sincerity and Affect. Dr Sir Yr Obedt Servt

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