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Letter from Major De Hart to Lord Stirling


New-York, March 14, 1776.

SIR: Yesterday I was informed of Lieutenant-Colonel Winds' s promotion to the command of our regiment, and Mr˙ Ogden, of Elizabethtown, preferred to be Lieutenant-Colonel. This last appointment, I confess, much surprises me; and leaves me in doubt whether I may consider it as a particular honour meant to be conferred on him, or a direct affront to me.


If it has been a rule in the Continental Army to promote inferiors directly over the head of superiors in rank, I shall silently acquiesce; but if, on the contrary, I am the first that has fallen under the predicament, I shall consider, it in the last-mentioned light. Believe me, sir, I assure you before this promotion no wish ever entered my heart to advance to that station, while I could remain with honour in my present; more studious to qualify myself in that, than to seek further.

But when I consider that, on those principles, I am absolutely forced out of a service I was fond of, I confess it gives me pain, and would more so to deserve it. As I entered into this service with no sinister views, no private feelings shall induce me, in the hour of danger, to quit it. If I stand in the way of the more deserving, or if a satisfactory answer cannot be had to what I have before proposed, I shall beg leave of your Lordship to resign my commission to that honourable body from whom I received it; and, at the same time, to give you my reasons with it; determined, at the same time, in such case, to retire to the station of a private sentinel, and there remain till death or the end of this glorious contest shall release me from the service.

I am, sir, most respectfully, yours,


To His Excellency the Earl of Stirling.