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Not an officer in this State (that has come to my knowledge) has yet received his commission, to the great dissatisfaction of all, and relinquishment of many, who would no longer remain in a state of suspense and idleness. With great truth,

I remain,
My dear Sir,
Your affectionate humble servant,



April 15th, 1799.
April 20th, 1799.
April 25th, 1799.

May 24th, 1799. General Hamilton presents his compliments to General Wilkinson, and sends him at foot, heads for conversations which it is proposed to have, in order to call the attention of G. W. to the several points. Most of them have, no doubt, been topics of communication with the War Department, but the freedom and particularity of conversation will yield additional lights, and lead perhaps to a correct system for the management of our Western affairs in their various relations.

Objects. 1. The disposition of our Western inhabitants towards the United States and foreign powers.

2. The disposition of the Indians in the same aspect.

3. The disposition of the Spaniards in our vicinity—their strength in number and fortification.

4. The best expedients for correcting or contracting hostile propensities in any or all these quarters, including,

5. The best defensive disposition of the Western army, embracing the country of Tennessee and the northern and northwestern lakes, and having an eye to economy and discipline.

6. The best mode (in the event of a rupture with Spain) of attacking the two Floridas. Troops, artillery, &c., requisite.

7. The best plan of supplying the Western army with provision, transportation, forage, &c.

8. The best arrangement of command, so as to unite facility of communication with the seaboard, and the proper combination of all the parts under the General commanding the Western army.


New-YORK, April 17th, 1799. SIR:

Your letters of the 15th and 16th are duly come to hand; that for Lieutenant Leonard, with the money, will be forwarded without delay.

To-morrow I shall leave this place for Philadelphia. Several things will best be settled by personal conference, which in future will be mutually convenient, and will promote the service.

With great respect, &c.


New-YORK, April 17th, 1799. SIR:

My object is to see exemplified the elementary evolution of the cavalry, according to the systems of Prussia, France, and Great Britain, in order to compare them with each other, and select the best. For this purpose, I wished you to instruct

in those different evolutions a troop of volunteer horse, commanded by Captain Giles. I have spoken to this officer on the subject, and I wish you to see him, and concert a plan to fulfil the above purpose.

You will clearly understand, that I do not wish to extend your attention to the more complicated movements, but to the simple formation into columns, and display in line.


PHILADELPHIA, April 20th, 1799. SIR:

Inclosed are the proceedings of a General Court Martial, of which Major Wilcocks is President. All the sentences except that of Richard Hunt have been approved, and directed to be executed. The corporal punishment in the case of Goldsberg, is remitted agreeably to the recommendation of the court. You will observe that the pay due to each of the offenders is forfeited.

As I do not conceive the United States to be now at war, in the legal import of that term, (which I construe to be a state not of partial but of general hostility,) I considered it as beyond my power to approve or execute such sentences as by the articles of war are referred to the President in time of peace. But while I think it my duty on this ground to transmit the sentence without acting upon it, I feel myself called upon by a profound conviction of the necessity of some severe examples to check a spirit of desertion which, for want of them in time past, has become too prevalent, and to respectfully declare my opinion that the confirmation and execution of the sentence are of material consequence to the prosperous course of the military service. The crime of desertion is in this instance aggravated by the condition of the offender, who is a sergeant, and by the breach of trust, in purloining the money which was in his hands for the pay of his company.


PAILADELPHIA, April 23, 1799. SIR:

Upon a careful inspection of the articles of war, I entertain doubts, whether I can act upon, by approving or disapproving sentences of courts martial, referred to me from the Department of War in cases in which the courts have been instituted by that department through organs other than myself.

As there is peculiar delicacy in inflicting punishment upon questionable authority, I shall be glad to be exempted from the embarrassment, which references of the above-mentioned kind will occasion.*



WAR DEPARTMENT, 230 April, 1799. DEAR SIR:

I wish you to state to me, 1st. The rule which in your opinion will be the least exceptionable, whereby to determine the relative rank of the field officers of the new regiments and the reasons for preferring the rule. 2d. Whether any objections have occurred to you, which ought to induce any alteration in the general rules of promotion suggested by the general officers in the Commander-in-Chief's letter, dated the 13th December, viz., “That all the officers shall rise in the regiments to which they respectively belong up to the rank of major, inclusively, that afterwards they shall rise in the line of the army at large, with the limitation, however, that the officers of artillery, cavalry, and infantry shall be confined to their respective corps, until they shall attain the rank of colonel.”

* I have written personally to Col. Strong to abstain from the execution of martial law at Detroit till further orders, as I desire maturely to reflect on the subject before a definite step.


PHILADELPHIA, April 26th, 1799. SIR:

It being urgent that the two regiments of artillery should be organized into companies, and disposed of to the several destinations which you have contemplated, the result is, that a very in convenient delay would attend the making of that arrangement in concert with General Pinckney, as suggested in your late letter. As, likewise, this arrangement is a mere matter of organization, the distribution of force having been previously determined upon, it is presumed there will not appear, on further consideration, any sufficient motive for incurring the delay of such a concert; and that you will think it preferable, by the intervention of your agency, to settle the arrangement, and communicate it for execution to the two major-generals.

In this expectation, I beg leave to submit to you the plan of such an arrangement. The result will be seen in the paper herewith transmitted.

A preliminary basis, in conformity with the rule by which the twelve regiments have been numbered, is on the seaboard to give the right to the first regiment, the left to the second. This, as it happens, will occasion the least possible dislocation of the companies from the present stations.

You will perceive that a battalion of the first regiment is left to the western army; and it so turns out that the number of officers in that quarter corresponds.

Another battalion of the same regiment is assigned to the posts in Georgia and South Carolina, and a third to the posts in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.

The fourth will remain for the troops in the field, and may

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