Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES McHENRY, SECRETARY OF WAR. [PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.] - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO JAMES McHENRY, SECRETARY OF WAR. [PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.] - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIV (1798-1799).
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TO JAMES McHENRY, SECRETARY OF WAR.
Mount Vernon, 14 September, 1798.
My dear Sir,
Your letter of the 7th instant from Trenton is before me; and no plan is yet decided on, that I can discover, for recruiting the augmented force, or even for appointing the officers therefor.
It is for the Executive to account for this delay. Sufficient it is for me to regret, and I do regret it sorely; because that spirit and enthusiasm, which were inspired by the Dispatches from our Envoys, that resentment which was roused by the treatment of our Commissioners by the Directory, and the demands which were made on them as a preliminary to Negotiation by the latter, are evaporating fast; and Recruiting Service, which might have been successful, (of the best men,) a month ago may be found very difficult a month hence, (of the worst kind). The law passed before the middle of July, and was positive; and the middle of September has produced no fruit from it. This to me is inconceivable!
I must once more, too, my dear McHenry, request that your correspondence with me may be more full and communicative. You have a great deal of business, I shall acknowledge; but I scruple not to add, at the same time, that much of the important and interesting part of it will be to be transacted with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the U States, to whom there ought to be no concealment or want of information. Short letters, therefore, taking no notice of suggestions or queries, are unsatisfactory and distressing. Considering the light in which I think my sacrifices have placed me, I should expect more attention from the Secretary of War; but from Mr. McHenry, as a friend and coadjutor, I certainly shall look for it. Compare then my letter to you of the 3d instant, which I wrote in much pain, from the debilitated state into which the fever had thrown me, with your acknowledgment thereof, dated the 7th, and judge yourself whether I could derive any satisfaction therefrom on the score of business. Nor to this moment, although you know my solicitude respecting the General Staff of the Army, and my asking the question (in one of my letters) in direct terms, what truth there was in the report of Colo. North’s nomination to the office of Adjutant-General, has there been the least notice taken of it.
I will defer saying any thing on the President’s new arrangement of the three Major-Generals, until you shall have communicated the result of Colonel Hamilton’s answer to me.1
But in the name of the Army, what could have induced the nomination of Walter [Anthony Walton] White to the rank of Brigadier, after the State of New Jersey had been complimented with one Brigadier, and other States of more importance had received none? I formerly asked the same question with respect to Sevier to which no reply was made.
White’s name was placed in the list of Field officers (for New Jersey) merely as one that might be considered in that grade when the general organization came on, but I had no idea when you left this place, that General Officers would be appointed at the time they were, for the Provisional Army; and taking it for granted that it was a work for after consideration I bestowed no thought thereon. Of all the characters in the Revolutionary Army, I believe one more obnoxious to the Officers who composed it could not have been hit upon for a Genl. Officer than White, especially among those to the Southward, where he was best known & celebrated for nothing but frivolity—dress—empty show & something worse—in short for being a notorious L—r. This appointment will, I am told, exclude many valuable officers, who will not serve as his juniors. As to Sevier, the only exploit I ever heard of his performance, was the murder of Indians.
What measures, if any, are pursuing to provide small arms, I know not; nor of what sort or length they are intended to be; my opinion is that both musket & bayonet ought to be full as long as those, with whom we expect to contend, to give confidence to the soldiery. And it is a matter deserving consideration whether the latter ought not to resemble the dagger, more than those wch have been in common use with us.
If these, if the new invented artillery of G Britain at the cannon-works in Scotland, if the horse-artillery, in short, if any other articles of foreign manufacture are needed, not a moment is to be lost in the importation. Besides their coming much higher after hostilities shall have commenced, the obtaining of them at all will be attended with hazard and delay.
I have written you a free and friendly letter. It is intended, and I hope will be received, in that light from, my dear Sir, your sincere friend, &c.
[1 ]“In my opinion, as the matter now stands, General Knox is legally entitled to rank next to General Washington; and no other arrangement will give satisfaction. If General Washington is of this opinion, and will consent to it, you may call him into actual service as soon as you please. The consequence of this will be that Pinckney must rank before Hamilton. . . . You may depend upon it, the five New England States will not patiently submit to the humiliation that has been meditated for them.”—John Adams to James McHenry, 14 August, 1798.