<br /> Lee Letter: n401

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Francis Lightfoot Lee
Recipient: George Weedon

Dear Sir

I am sorry to inform you that the report of the board of Genl. Officers was
sent by the Comtee, to Congress, & is agreed to. I laid the whole
matter before them, but they were of opinion, that the surest way of
not injuring the feelings of Military Gentlemen, was to conform to the
ideas of the Gentlemen of the Army. This, I assure you, was the
principle, which directed their determination & not any preference
given the other Gentleman.1 I did not know
who was Your Post master, but being inform’d he was not well affected,
I thot it my Duty to mention it to some Gentn in the Neighbourhood. I
am glad my information was not well founded.

I wrote some time agoe to Mr Dick about his Son, prisoner in England; shd.
be glad to know if he recd. the Letr. You will do an essential service
by hastening on the men. It is the opinion of the board of War, not to
wait for inocculation, as there is little danger of infection while in
the feild.

I am Dear Sir, Your very humble Sevt.

Francis Lightfoot Lee


Receiver’s copy, Haverford College Library. Addressed: “To General George
Weedon Fredericksburg Virginia.”

1 On April 12 Weedon sent a copy of Congress’ March 19 resolution placing him
last in the seniority arrangement of the brigadiers in the Virginia
line to Richard Henry Lee, whom he asked to inform Congress that he
would not serve “in the present Arrangement.” Lee Family Papers, ViU.
Responding to Weedon the same day, from “Belleview” in Virginia,
Richard Henry urged him to remain in the army. “I am much concerned
at the resolution of Congress that you have sent me a copy of,” Lee
explained, “because I am perfectly satisfied from the knowledge I
have of this matter that it is unjust with respect to you. No
affected knowledge of military rule is necessary here, common sense
is sufficient without other aid to determine the question. When you
were appointed Brigadier, Mr. Woodford was no more an Officer in the
Continental Army than I am. He was out by his own choice, and with
respect to him, your appointment was unoppugnable. When therefore Mr.
Woodford was made a Brigadier from a Citizen, what pretext could
there be for complaint that you were above him? I regard Gen.
Woodford as a good Officer, but without flattery, I do not think his
Talents superior to yours, and this alone, could in my opinion,
justify the resolve. I must confess to you, that altho I thought well
of Gen. Woodford, I found my feelings much hurt, both as a public
man, and a friend to our righteous cause, when he resigned his
commission. I thought it could not be justified upon any principles
that I was able to try it by, and so I think still. Having thus given
you my thoughts on this point, I will with your leave put down how I
should, if in your situation, think and act on this occasion. And
perhaps I am in some degree qualified to judge because I too have as
a Citizen been not only injured in this way but in a much worse. I
did then, and would now reflect, that the Sacred cause of Liberty and
my Country supercedes all other obligations and every other
consideration and therefore when I find that Country mistaken and
acting upon wrong principles with respect to me, altho my feelings
might be greatly hurt I should be more affected for the operation
that the example might have upon the minds of others than for my
particular injury, but I would continue to exert every faculty in the
service of my

Country. I should certainly not resign, and by continuing to Act, convince
Mankind of my superiority to what you call ’the evil spirit of
intrigue,’ and indeed to every other consideration but the love of my
Country. Military Men, in these days, are apt to carry their ideas of
honor too far, for I cannot help thinking with St. Paul that
Temperance, even in virtue, is proper. As I wish you to continue in
the Army, so I could wish you would not insist on my doing the
disagreable business of Bearing your resignation.” Allyn K. Ford
Collection, MnHi.

For information on the dispute respecting the seniority claims of the
Virginia brigadiers and Weedon’s subsequent resignation despite the
pleas of friends, see Committee at Camp Minutes of Proceedings,
February 16 – 20, note 3; Committee at Camp Statement, March 2, 1778,
note 1; and Harry M. Ward, Duty, Honor or Country, General George
Weedon and the American Revolution, Memoirs of the American
Philosophical Society 133 (1979), chaps. 7 and 8.