Washington and His Generals - Vol. 1

By Joel Tyler Headley | Go to book overview
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tended to establish a post at Wilmington, in Delaware, the commander-in-chief directed General Smallwood to occupy that place. In the following year he was not engaged in any conspicuous service. In September, 1780, while he was with the army under General Gates, in the south, he was appointed a major-general, upon the ground that his state was entitled to an officer of that rank. When General Gates was superseded, after the battle of Camden, by General Greene, General Smallwood returned to the north, refusing to serve under Baron Steuben, who was his senior officer, and declaring his intention to leave the service unless Congress should cause his commission to be dated two years before his appointment.*

General Smallwood was elected a member of Congress by Maryland, in 1785, and in the same year was chosen governor. He held the latter office three years. He died in February, 1792.


JOHN PHILIP DE HAAS was probably a native of Pennsylvania. He is alluded to in a letter addressed to Mifflin as a man who will be likely to do good service with opportunity. He was appointed a brigadier-general for Pennsylvania on the 21st of February, 1777.

This claim was merely absurd. General Washington said of it, in a letter to Greene, dated 9th of January, 1780, "I cannot conceive upon what principles his claim of seniority is founded. If the date of his commission is to be carried back to any given period previous to his appointment, it may supersede not only the officers now in question, but many others, and indeed derange and throw into confusion the rank of the whole line of major-generals."


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Washington and His Generals - Vol. 1


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