George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 2 December 1775

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Cambridge Decemr 2d 1775


The reason of my giving you the trouble of this, is the late extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of some of the Connecticut Troops—Some time ago, apprehending that they, or part of them might be inclined to go home when the time of their inlistment should be up, I applied to the Officers of the several Regiments, to know whether it would be agreeable to the men to continue till the first of January, or till a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place, who informed me, that they believed the whole of them would readily stay till that could be effected.1 To my great surprise, last week I discovered their great uneasiness at the Service, and determination to leave it, and thinking it expedient that suitable measures should be adopted for the defence and support of our Lands,2 I summoned the General Officers to Head Quarters, and was favored with a Delegation of three Members from the General Court of this Province, for that purpose—The result was, that the Minute Men and Militia, and Two thousand men from New-Hampshire should be called in by the 10th inst. for that purpose3—With this determination the Connecticut Troops were made acquainted, and ordered and requested, as the time of most of them could not be out before then, to remain here, when they would be relieved—Notwithstanding this, yesterday morning several of them resolved to leave the Camp; and tho the greatest vigilence and industry were used, made their escape—Many were taken and brought back. I have enclosed you a list of those that got off from General Putnam’s Regiment only with their Arms and Ammunition, and who have thus basely deserted the cause of their Country at this critical juncture; and submit it to your judgment, whether some example should not be made of them.4

I have the pleasure to inform you, that Capt. Manly of the Lee, has had the good fortune to take and bring in safe a Store Ship bound to Boston.5 I am Sir your most obedient Servant.

Go. Washington

LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; copy, CtHi: Trumbull Papers; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2All of the other copies read “lines.”

3The letter-book copy and the Varick transcript read “Three thousand of the minute men & militia of this province and Two thousand men from New Hampshire.” No record of this conference has been found. For the appointment of the delegation from the General Court and its subsequent actions regarding militia reinforcements, see GW to the Massachusetts General Court, 29 Nov. 1775, n.1, and the Massachusetts General Court to GW, 7 Dec. 1775, n.1. For the reinforcements from New Hampshire, see John Sullivan to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 30 Nov. 1775, in Bouton, N.H. Provincial Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. Provincial Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New-Hampshire, from 1764 to 1776 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 7. 1873. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 7:676–77.

4The enclosure has not been identified. GW informed Hancock on 4 Dec. that about eighty soldiers were missing. John Sullivan on this date wrote to the New Hampshire committee of safety “that the Connecticut Forces not only Determine to quit our Lines at the expiration of their term, but to their eternal Infamy Endeavoured to leave us yesterday, which was five days before their time expired. We can therefore have no hope of their Tarrying after the 6th. Half General Putnam’s Regiment is now under Guard. . . . For Heaven’s sake Dispatch your Forces as soon as possible” (ibid., 678).

5For the capture of the Nancy, see GW to Schuyler, 28–30 Nov. 1775, n.3.

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