George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 12 August 1775

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Lebanon [Conn.] 12th August 1775


Since my Letter of Yesterday, desiring an Allowance to retain at Hartford such quantity of Powder as you shall judge expedient out of the next that comes; I have received a Letter from the Honble Henry Middleton, and Edward Rutledge dated Hartford August 11th 1775 informing that a Company of Rifflemen with eight Waggon Loads of Powder have come into that Town and the Article of which they have the Charge would be absolutely necessary at New-York in case an Attack should be made upon that Colony; Suggesting the Propriety of sending off an Express to you informing of their Situation and to Obtain An Order to Stay the Refflemen and detain the Powder there, as most likely to be conducive to the public Safety.1 All Circumstances considered, I have directed two Waggons of Powder to be detained, ’till your Excellency’s Orders are received—The Rifflemen to proceed with the Other Six—You will soon have the pleasure to See those Two Gentlemen at Camp.2 I am, with great Truth and Regard Sir Your most Obedient very humble Servant

Jonth. Trumbull

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

1Henry Middleton (1717–1784) and Edward Rutledge (1749–1800), South Carolina delegates to the Continental Congress, took advantage of Congress’s late summer recess to visit Cambridge. Middleton was president of the First Continental Congress for a time and attended the Second Continental Congress from May to November 1775. He subsequently became president of the South Carolina provincial congress and a leading member of the colony’s council of safety. Although Middleton took an oath of allegiance to the crown in 1780 when the British invaded South Carolina, he was later forgiven by the Patriots and did not forfeit any of his extensive lands. Edward Rutledge, a young Charleston lawyer and Middleton’s son-in-law, served in the First Continental Congress and remained in the Second Continental Congress until November 1776. He was a member of the committee that drafted GW’s commission and instructions in June 1775, and in June 1776 he was named to the Board of War. As an officer in the Charleston artillery, Rutledge fought at Beaufort in 1779, and the following year he was captured at the siege of Charleston. For discussions of the gunpowder at Hartford, see Richard Henry Lee to GW, 1 Aug. 1775, n.3, and Trumbull to GW, 8 Aug. 1775, n.3.

2The letter-book copy reads “By this Express shall expect your Direction—Those two Gentlemen Named are going onto your Camp.”

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