Adams Papers

To John Adams from Jeduthun Baldwin, 21 January 1776

From Jeduthun Baldwin

Cambridge Jany 21 1776


Pleas to allow me the freedom of informing your Honour that in the year 1755 in August, I Received a Captains Commission in Col. Brown’ Regiment1 and marched with my Company by the Way of Dearfield, and Hoossock Fort,2 thro the woods to Fort Edward,3 and to Lake George. Soon after I got there I was employed in building Fort Wm. Henry,4 under the direction of Col. Ayres.5 In Decr., when the army came off, at the request of Genl. Johnson,6 I inlisted a Company in Col. Bagleys Regiment,7 and tarryed thro’ the winter and Spring to finish the Fort, and Garrison it, and in the year 1759, I Received a Captain Commission in Genl. Ruggles8 Regiment. After I arived at Fort Edward I was Sent to Halfway Brook, to build a Stockade Fort there,9 under the direction of Col. Ayres. When we came before Ticonderoga, I had the direction in throwing up Som brestwork at that place. After we had got possession of this place, I was ordered to Crownpoint where I was employed as a director and Overseer, under Col. Ayres, in building that large Fort. When the Army came off, Genl. Amherst was pleasd to Thank me for my Service, and ordered that I should be paid 4/ per Day from the time that I went to Halfway Brook till I left the place In Decr., which was about 6 months, exclusive of my pay as a Captain. I have Served as an Engineer in the present Army before Boston, was at the Leying out the works on Charlstown Hills, was in Charlstown the whole of that memorable Day 17th June, gave all the assistance I was able, went directly to Prospect Hill, had the direction of the work there, and then to Sewels Point in Brookline.10 I have had the principal direction and over Sight, Since the 17th of June in laying out and raising the works in Cambridge Cobble Hill, and at Lechmer Point all which I have done without having an Establishment equal to the Service. This Province made me a grant of 3o£ for my Service to the first of August,11 which was equal to a Colonel pay, and left the Establishment to the Honble. Congress.

It has been proposed that I should have a Regiment, but this was objected too, for it was, said, that I could be of more Service in the Army as an Engineer. Now Sir, all I request is Rank and pay Equal to my Service, which I Submit to your Honour’ Consideration. I am Sir your’ and the Publick’ most Obedient Very Humble Servant,

Jeduthun Baldwin12

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams Esqr A Member of the Honble Continental Congress in Philadelphia”; docketed: “Jed. Baldwin. 1776 Jany 21. answered Feb. 18. 1776.”

1Col. Josiah Brown (Nancy S. Voye, ed., Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian Wars, 1748–1763, [Boston,] 1975, No. 806).

2Probably Fort Massachusetts on the Hoosic River, present site of Adams, Mass. (Howard H. Peckham, The Colonial Wars, 1689–1762, Chicago, 1964, p. 108).

3About fifty miles north of Albany at a bend in the Hudson River (Edward P. Hamilton, The French and Indian Wars: The Story of Battles and Forts in the Wilderness, N.Y., 1962, p. 162).

4At the southern tip of Lake George (same, p. 195).

5Col. Ayres remains unidentified. He may have been a British officer.

6Maj. Gen. Sir William Johnson, commander of the expedition against Crown Point (same, p. 161).

7Col. Jonathan Bagley (Voye, Nos. 195, 196).

8Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles (same, No. 4918).

9One of several fortified positions on the road between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry (Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, 2 vols., Boston, 1905, 2:247).

10The site of Brookline Fort, which with a fort across the Charles River had the task of keeping British ships from going up the river (John Gould Curtis, History of the Town of Brookline, Boston, 1933, p. 150). Sewall’s Point is approximately the site of modern Kenmore Square in Boston (Walter M. Whitehill, Boston, A Topographical History, Cambridge, 1959, p. 75, 101).

11Baldwin petitioned the General Court on 20 Oct. 1775, asking that he be paid from 20 May to the date of his petition. On 24 Oct. the General Court authorized payment of £30 for the period of 12 May to 1 Aug. (Mass., House Jour. description begins Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [1715- ], Boston, reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919- . (For the years for which reprints are not yet available, the original printings are cited, by year and session.) description ends , 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 175, 192; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel 12, Unit 1, p. 256).

12Besides having served in the French and Indian War, Jeduthun Baldwin (1731?–1788) had been a member of the First Provincial Congress (Wroth, and others, eds., Province in Rebellion description begins L. Kinvin Wroth, George H. Nash III, and Joel Meyerson, eds., Province in Rebellion, Cambridge, 1975. description ends , p. 2829). Baldwin’s plea had no immediate effect. JA did write to William Heath asking about Baldwin’s career (18 Feb., below), and on 22 April, Washington reported to the congress that Baldwin, whom he described as an assistant engineer and “a very useful man in his Department,” had refused to go to Canada because of inadequate pay (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 4:500–501). Finally, on 26 April the congress gave him the rank and pay of a lieutenant colonel (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 4:312).

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