Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES McHENRY, SECRETARY OF WAR. [PRIVATE]. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO JAMES McHENRY, SECRETARY OF WAR. [PRIVATE]. - 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, 27 January, 1799.
My dear Sir,
The enclosed letter for Mr. McAlpin, (my Tayler in Philadelphia,) left open for your perusal, may be delivered or not, as you shall judge best; and, if the former takes place, to be accompanied with your sentiments on the doubtful parts of it.
It is predicated, first, on the supposition, that the uniform for the different grades of officers is conclusively fixed, & to be established as a standing regulation; and, secondly, on the presumption that no attempts will be made this Session of Congress to repeal the law for augmenting the army of the United States, or to reduce it below its present establishment. If the former is liable to no change, and there is no indication of an attempt to effect the latter, I would go to the expense of providing a uniform, previously to the spur of the occasion, in conformity with the regulations ordered by the war department agreeably to the President’s command. On the other hand, if either of the above things is likely to happen, I shall suspend doing it.
On reconsidering the uniform for the Commander-in-Chief, it has become a matter of doubt with me, (although, as it respects myself personally, I was against all embroidery,) whether embroidery on the Cape, Cuffs, and Pockets of the Coat, and none on the buff waistcoat, would not have a disjointed and awkward appearance. It is neither required nor forbidden. Which then, in your judgment, or that of connoisseurs, if you should confer with any on the subject, would be most agreeable in itself, and accordant to what is expected? To you I submit the matter, as I also do whether the coat shall have slash Cuffs, (with blue flaps passing through them,) and slash pockets, or both shall be in the usual manner.
These apparently are trifling matters to trouble you with; but, as it is the commencement of a new scene, it is desirable that the thing should take a right direction. I have therefore upon the whole, and since I began this letter, determined to direct Mr. McAlpin to apply to and follow your directions in making the uniform. I should not prefer a heavy embroidery, or one containing much work. A light and neat one would in my opinion be more elegant and more desirable, as well for the Coat as the Waistcoat, if the latter is to receive any. If there are workers in this way in Philadelphia (and the French are most likely to understand it), they will no doubt have a variety of patterns to choose from, and I pray you to examine them.
The eagle, too, having become part of the American cockade; have any of them been brought into use yet? My idea of the size is, that it ought not to be larger than would cover a quarter of a dollar at most, and should be represented (for the officers) as clothed with feathers. This any ingenious silversmith can execute; and, if four were sent to me, I would thank you, and would remit the cost as soon as known to me.
I must further beg, that proper stars for the epaulets (the latter I possess) may be sent to me with the other articles, that I may be equipped in dress at least; and if there are any handsome cockades (but not whimsically foolish) in wear, or any one who can make them, I should be glad if they were sent with the eagles fixed thereon, ready to be placed in the hats. Does the Presidt. and yourself wear them? Excuse this scrawl and trouble, as I wish to set out right; and be assured of the sincere esteem & regard of, dear Sir, your affectionate.