The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From William Sharpe[1]

Dear General

In one of the papers inclosed [not found] you have an account of the defection of the Pennsylvania line, about one third I am told are discharged from service. About a week ago part of the Jersey line followed their example, but was soon suppressed without any bloodshed.
The commander in chief has determined to bring all mutineers in future, if any should happen, to unconditional obedience.
This is a very serious event and strikes a deep blow against the subordination of the Army. If it stops here it may have salutary effects on the councils and efforts of America.[2]
All is quiet at New York. Genl [Henry] Clinton was much elated on hearing of the revolt in the Pennsylvania Line; but on hearing of the execution of his emissary and guide he droped into sadness.[3]
Not a word from Capt Paul Jones, nor a word from Gibera[l]ter.[4] The news from the paracide [i.e., parricide] Arnold you will be fully accquainted with from Virginia.[5] With the highest esteem and regard I have the honor to be Sir

Your Most Obt Humble Servt

Wm Sharpe

[P.S.]
P.S. The legislature of Maryland has instructed their Delegates to sign the confederation, and Virginia has ceded to the united States her claim of Lands west of the Ohio River on some small conditions. This opens a flattering prospect.[6]
Autograph letter signed (NNC).
    [1.] Sharpe was a delegate to Congress from North Carolina and a member of the "committee to correspond with the commanding officer of the southern department." (JCC, 18: 963)
    [2.] The mutiny in the Pennsylvania Continental line is discussed at Madison to NG, 13 January (PGNG, 7: 116-118). On the later mutiny in the New Jersey line and Washington's response to it, see Washington to NG, 2 February (PGNG, 7: 240).
    [3.] Clinton's reaction to the Pennsylvania mutiny is noted at Madison to NG, 13 January (PGNG, 7: 116-118), as is the execution of the two emissaries he sent to the mutineers.
    [4.] As noted at Izard to NG, 19 January (PGNG, 7: 152), Capt. John Paul Jones was expected to bring long-awaited supplies from France. Spain's efforts to recapture Gibraltar from the British were unsuccessful.
    [5.] On Gen. Benedict Arnold's campaign in Virginia, see Steuben to NG, 8 January (PGNG, 7: 76-81).
    [6.] The Virginia legislature on 2 January had passed an act ceding to the United States the territory to which it held claim northwest of the Ohio River. Because of this cession and pressure from the French minister, the Maryland legislature in late January authorized its delegates in Congress to subscribe to the Articles of Confederation. The official ratification ceremony and public announcement of the new national union took place on 1 March. (Burnett, Congress, pp. 499-500)