George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 7 August 1775

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Lebanon [Conn.] 7th August 1775.


Fessenden is not returned hither—Your Letter to Majr General Schuyler was forwarded per Express the 1st instant1—enclosed is Copy of a Letter from Colo. Saltonstal received yesterday2—I Ordered him as Colo. of the third, Colo. Saml Coit of the 8th3—and Lt Colo. Saml Abbot of the 20th Regiment4 in this Colony forthwith to raise so many Men of their Regiments as could speedily be got in readiness to march for our Defence and safety against any attacks or proceedings from that Fleet—I have Also Ordered Major Jonth. Latimer5 & Capt. Edward Shipman6 with their Companies of the seventh Regiment raised for our Special Defence, to rendezvous for the present at New London, notwithstanding the preceeding Orders given for their March to the Camp before Boston, not doubting it would meet your Approbation on the present Emergency. I am, with great Truth and Regard Sir Your Obedient humble Servant

Jonth. Trumbull

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers.

1This letter must be either the one of 27 July or that of 28 July which GW wrote to Schuyler.

2Gurdon Saltonstall (1708–1785) of New London was an officer in the Connecticut militia. He spent the fall of 1775 and the following winter in fortifying New London Harbor. On 16 Sept. 1776 he was appointed brigadier general over nine regiments of Connecticut militia which were ordered to march to GW’s assistance in New York. Saltonstall left the army on account of illness in Feb. 1777 and resigned his commission soon afterwards. The enclosed letter from Saltonstall to Governor Trumbull concerned the British fleet off the Connecticut coast. Dated “New London Saboth Morning ½ past 9 Clo. Augst 6–1775,” it reported that “This morning at sunrise apeared a Fleet of ten Sail at Anchor half way between Fishers Island West point & the Light house, Vizt 3 Men Ware, 5 other Ships a Briggantine & Schooner, they hove up Anchers about 6 Clo., & have been beating Eastward on first of the Ebb for Fishers Island sound; 3 of the Ships probably: the Men Warr, are got into sd sound & out of view, the remainder of sd Fleet still beating Eastward—their design is to cutt of all communication with the Main & sd Island, as is generaly concluded & then Rob the Island of the Stock—Yesterday Mr Mumford Commissary took off all the Fatt Cattle from thence 15 head—the drought has been so severe, that there was not a Fatt Sheep on the Island, (as I am told) Hence it appears that there remains a large Stock of Sheep & Cattle still on sd Island; which no doubt will be acceptable to the Kings Troops in Boston—Notice through this County is gone East & West, to animate the people to hold themselves in readiness—The Companys of Foot in this Town Plot & neck are ordered to muster that they may this day receive Amunition” (DLC:GW). For other reports of the British raid on Fishers Island, see Norwich Committee of Correspondence to GW, 7 Aug. 1775, and Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., to Joseph Trumbull, 7 Aug. 1775, in Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 1:1087–88.

3Samuel Coit (1708–1792) of Preston (later Griswold) commanded his Connecticut militia regiment until September 1776, when the governor and council excused him from service on the expedition to New York on account of his age and infirmity. A member of the New London County committee of correspondence, Coit served also in the Connecticut general assembly and as a judge of the maritime court.

4Samuel Abbot remained lieutenant colonel of the 20th regiment of the Connecticut militia at least until December 1776 and was subsequently promoted to colonel.

5Jonathan Lattimer (1724–c.1790) of Montville became major of Col. Charles Webb’s 7th Connecticut Regiment on 6 July 1775 and at the same time received command of the regiment’s third company. Lattimer left the 7th Connecticut in December 1775 but returned to service in June 1776 as lieutenant colonel of Col. Samuel Selden’s Connecticut state regiment, a position which he held until the following December. During the latter part of the war Lattimer was colonel of the 3d Connecticut militia regiment, which fought at Saratoga in 1777 and at New London in 1781.

6Edward Shipman of Saybrook was a captain in the 7th Connecticut Regiment from 6 July to 19 Dec. 1775, and during the ensuing campaign he held the same rank in the 19th Continental Regiment. He later became a major in the Connecticut militia and state troops.

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