George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Israel Putnam, 1 December 1775

From Major General Israel Putnam

Camp in Cambridge December 1st 1775


I shall esteem it as a particular Favour if your Excellency will be so obliging as to recommend my Worthy friend Collo. Henry Babcock to the Honorable Continental Congress to be appointed to the Rank of Brigadier Generall in the Continental Army.

I have been upon Service with him several Campaigns the last War and have seen him in Action behave with great Spirit and Fortitude when he had the command of a Regiment, he has this day been very Serviceable in assisting Me in quelling a Mutiny and bringing back a number of Deserters.1

Your Excellency well knows I am in great want of a Brigr Genll in my Division,2 and such a One as I can put Confidence in, and rely upon, I know of no Man who will fill the Vacancy with more Honor, than the Gentleman above named. I have the Honor to be with Great Truth & Regard Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Most Hume Servt

Israel Putnam M.G.

LS, DNA:PCC, item 152. GW enclosed this letter in his letter to Hancock of 4 December.

1Henry Babcock (1736-1800) became colonel of a regiment raised for the defense of Rhode Island in January 1776, but in May the general assembly dismissed him when it “incontestibly appeared” to the assembly that Babcock was “at times deprived of the perfect use of his reason, and thereby rendered unfit to command” (Bartlett, R.I. Records description begins John Russell Bartlett, ed. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. 10 vols. Providence, 1856–65. description ends , 7:537; see also Nicholas Cooke to GW, 23 April 1776). For the mutiny of the Connecticut troops, see GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 2 Dec. 1775.

2For a discussion of the long delay in filling this position, see GW to Hancock, 31 Aug. 1775, n.2.

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