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TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.
Head-Quarters, Heights of Haerlem,
I yesterday evening received the favor of your letter of the 21st, by your aid-de-camp Captain Montresor, in consequence of which, I this morning despatched an express to Elizabethtown, with orders that Major-General Prescott should be permitted to return in the boat, that carried General Sullivan over to that place. I most readily concur in the proposition, which you are pleased to make for the exchange of Brigadier-General Lord Stirling for Governor Montfort Brown, and have sent for him accordingly. I should hope, that Lord Stirling will be immediately set at liberty, on my promise that Governor Brown shall be sent to you as soon as he arrives. I had no doubt but Mr. McDonald’s title would have been acknowledged, having understood, that he received his commission from the hands of Governor Martin; nor can I consent to rank him as major, till I have proper authority from Congress, to whom I shall state the matter upon your representation.1
Agreeably to your request, I shall transmit to Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell a copy of the list of officers of the forty-second and seventy-first regiments, taken by us last spring, that it may be rectified in the instances in which it may be wrong, and will then place opposite to their names the officers I would wish in return for them. The exchange of privates I shall take the earliest opportunity in my power to carry into execution; but their being greatly dispersed through the New England governments, in order to their better accommodation, will prevent it for some time. Having the fullest confidence in your assurance, that Mr. Lovell will be released when he arrives from Halifax, I have written for Governor Skene to come to head-quarters, that he may proceed immediately to you.
As to the exchange of prisoners settled between Captain Foster and General Arnold, I beg leave to inform you, that it was a transaction in which I had not the smallest concern, nor have I authority to give directions in any degree respecting the matter. The information you have received concerning the ill-treatment of your officers, I would fain hope, is not generally well founded.1 The letters from them, which have passed through my hands, hold forth a different language. In particular instances, it is true, there are some, who have been restricted to a closer confinement and severer treatment than they otherwise would have been, for breaking or refusing to give their paroles; such, I am confident, will not be countenanced by your Excellency; and I am persuaded that by a closer investigation of the enquiry you will discover, that there have been no other persons whatever, who have experienced the smallest harshness from us. I shall, however, obtain all the information on the subject in my power, that every ground of complaint, if any exists, may be entirely removed; it being my most earnest wish, that, during this unhappy contest, there be every exercise of humanity which the nature of the case will possibly admit.2
Your aid-de-camp delivered to me the ball you mention, which was the first of the kind I ever saw or heard of. You may depend the contrivance is highly abhorred by me, and every measure shall be taken to prevent so wicked and infamous a practice being adopted in this army. I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]The British commander declined exchanging McDonald for a brigadier, on the ground that he had commissioned him as major; but Congress decided that, as he had been commissioned a brigadier by Governor Martin of North Carolina, he should not be exchanged for an officer of lower rank.
[1 ]General Howe had written:—“It is with much concern, that I cannot close this letter without representing the ill-treatment, which I am too well informed the King’s officers now suffer in common gaols throughout the provinces of New England. I apply to your feelings alone for redress, having no idea of committing myself by an act of retaliation upon those in my power.”
[2 ]“The number of prisoners according to these returns is greater than we expected. However, I am inclined to believe, that, among those in the list from Long Island, are several militia of General Woodhull’s party, who were never arranged in this army. As to those taken on the 15th, they greatly exceed the number that I supposed fell into their hands in the retreat from the city. At the time that I transmitted an account of that affair, I had not obtained returns, and took the matter upon the officers’ reports. They are difficult to get with certainty at any time. In the skirmish of Monday se’nnight, they could have taken but very few.
[1 ]Respecting this ball, General Howe had spoken as follows in his letter. “My aid-de-camp will present to you a ball cut and fixed to the end of a nail, taken from a number of the same kind, found in the encampment quitted by your troops on the 15th instant. I do not make any comment upon such unwarrantable and malicious practices, being well assured that the contrivance has not come to your knowledge.”