The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From General Robert Howe,

Has received NG's letter; is pleased that NG, for whom he has much "regard & love," has not "forgotten" him.[1] Feels "exceedingly" for NG's situation, which appears to be worse than Howe feared, but he knows no one "so capable of Encountering the Difficulties." Is sorry and surprised that NG has "not met" Col. Drayton.[2] Howe might once have been surprised by what NG told him "respecting parties, not that they Existed but at their existing between the characters" NG mentioned. Applauds NG's "method of conducting" himself in the matter.[3]
There have been "Embarassments" [in the North], the "sources" of which NG and Howe "have so frequently Descanted upon." NG must have heard about the mutiny in the Pennsylvania line. Washington wanted to coerce the mutineers, and Howe was to have commanded a party "form'd for this purpose," but "Civil Authority" intervened. "A Treaty was open'd," even while the Pennsylvanians "had arms in their hands." The settlement permits "at least one half of the Division" to be discharged and overlooks the "murders" that were committed. As each soldier will take an "oath in his own cause" concerning the terms of his enlistment, "perjury" will "become frequent."[4] When "the Jersey line caught the Infection, & went off in a Body," Washington ordered Howe to lead another detachment. He encloses "the Result."[5] Praises "the New England Troops," who "Exalted themselves exceedingly" in the "Expedition against the Insurgents." These men rose "superior" to their own grievances and their feelings toward their "Brother" soldiers.[6] Some states have not "seconded Congress in their Efforts to obtain an army for the war"; hopes they may "have no reason to regret it." Asks NG not to complain about his "bad writing," for Howe has done his best; NG must simply "learn to read it."[7]
Autograph Letter Signed (NjP) 7 pp.
    [1.] See NG to Howe, 29 December 1780 (PGNG, 7: 17-18).
    [2.] Howe had recommended his former aide, Col. Stephen Drayton, to NG in his letter of 25 October 1780 (PGNG, 6: 429). Drayton wrote NG on this date (PGNG, 7: 236-237).
    [3.] In his letter to Howe of 29 December, NG had discussed his strategy for dealing with the political factions and personalities in Howe's home state of North Carolina.
    [4.] On the mutiny in the Pennsylvania line, see Madison to NG, 13 January (PGNG, 7: 116-118).
    [5.] For more on the New Jersey mutiny and its outcome, see Washington to NG, this date (PGNG, 7: 240-241 ). Washington had ordered Howe on 22 January "to compel the mutineers to unconditional submission" and to "grant no terms" while they were "in a state of resistance." (Fitzpatrick, GW, 21: 128) Howe reported on the success of his "expedition" in a letter to Washington of 29 January, a copy of which he enclosed to NG. (Washington Papers, DLC)
    [6.] Among the New England troops in Howe's detachment were Massachusetts men who had recently submitted a petition regarding their own grievances. (Van Doren, Mutiny, pp. 205-6)
    [7.] NG must have found Howe's writing all but indecipherable. (For a sample, see illustration at PGNG, 7: 238.)