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Phillips, William (1731?-1781) to George Weedon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06492 Author/Creator: Phillips, William (1731?-1781) Place Written: Portsmouth, Virginia Type: Letter signed Date: 6 April 1781 Pagination: 3 p. ; 32.3 x 19.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Phillips as British Major General, joining Benedict Arnold in his invasion of Virginia in 1781, to Weedon an American Brigadier General. Mentions two officers that Weedon sent to him under a flag of truce. Hopes Weedon gets a report from them that states he will act liberally and humanly during his campaigning in Virginia. Says that he doubts the Americans will act as honorable. Says a letter from Thomas Jefferson, the Governor of Virginia, and the resolutions of the Virginia Legislature are "barbarous." Says it would be unbecoming of him to answer them and hopes that the Virginians will not "carry on a peculiar war," but if they do he says he will treat the "Colony Accordingly." Encloses a letter he wrote to General Muhlenburg about exchanging prisoners of war (not included here). Says he received an evasive answer that General Steuben would have to give final word and ordered the prisoners to be sent to New York. Claims to have rescinded this order after talking to Weedon's emissaries. Talks of details of prisoner exchanges and says officers captured will be allowed out on parole until exchanged. Hopes for an immediate answer. Phillips had previously served as General John Burgoyne's second-in-command and took command of the Convention Army surrendered by Burgoyne at Saratoga. Shortly after writing this letter, Phillips was stricken with typhoid fever and died 13 May 1781.

Background Information:

People: Phillips, William, 1731-1781
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron von, 1730-1794

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsParolePrisoner of WarTrucePresidentVice President

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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