George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 1 January 1776

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Lebanon [Conn.] 1st January 1776


I received the 20th of last month your Excellency’s Favour of the 15th enclosing a list of the Officers & Companies under the New Arrangment with the No. of men inlisted—and at the same time another of the 17th with the information from several persons, who then had lately came out of Boston—I return my thanks for both—by Accounts received from the various parts of the Colony, the recruiting Officers for the Continental Service have good Success in inlisting men.

The Assembly have granted Chaplains the same pay given last Campaign, with the Addition of 40s/per Mo. Each to enable them to supply their Pulpits1—Brigadier Genl Prescot is not arrived—shall give particular directions to prevent his Escape if he comes into this Colony.2

The 23d yours of the 14th of Decemr came to hand per monsieurs Penet and Depliarne—every necessary Assistance for Expaditing their Journey was afforded without Delay—they set out the Next morning—You shall be made acquainted with the Expence incurrd on their Account—when the same is known.3

The 28th instant at Evening Our General Assembly adjourned4 there is great Unaninity in our Common Cause, Among others they passed an Act for raising & equipping, one fourth part of the militia of this Colony, to be forthwith selected by Voluntary inlistment with as many other able bodied effective men, not included in any militia Roll, as are inclined to inlist, to stand in readiness as minute men for the Defence of this and the rest of the United Colonies—with proper Encouragements—another Act for restraining & punishing persons who are inimical to the liberties of this and the rest of the United Colonies, and for directing proceedings therein.

No Person to Supply the ministerial Army or Navy—to give intelligence, to inlist or procure others to inlist in their Service to undertake to pilot any of their Vessels, or any other ways to aid or Assist them—On the penalty of forfeiting all his Estate and imprisonment in any of the Goals in this Colony, not exceeding three Years—no one to Speak, write &c. against the Doings of the Honble General Congress, or Acts of our Assembly, On the penalty of being disarmed—and rendered incapable to hold or serve in any Office Civil or military—and be further punished either by fine Imprisonment, Disfranchisement or to find Surety of the Peace and good Behaviour.5

Any Person or Persons who put or shall continue to hold or screen themselves under the protection of the ministerial Army or Navy or aid or Assist in carrying into Execution the present ministerial measures agt America their Estates to be Seized for the use of ⟨the⟩ Colony—A Resolve to provide so that we shall have two Armed Vessels—One of 16 Carriage Guns, the other 14—with a Schooner called the Spy of 4 carriage Guns—and four Row Galleys.6

An Act to Exempt the Polls of Soldiers from Taxes for the last and Ensuing Campaigns.7

Another Act for incouraging the manufacturies of Salt Petre & Gun Powder—Hope to collect Salt Petre, & manufacture a considerable quantity of Gun Powder—Early in the Spring.8

The Furnace at middletown is smelting Lead, & likely to turn out 20 or 30 Tons; Ore is plenty—please to favour me with an Account of the quantity of Lead, received from Crown Point—from thence I received 180 old Gun barrels—which are fitting up here, & will make, 150 Stands of Good Arms. we are put to difficulty for Gun Locks, hearing that those Stands taken in the Ordnance store Ship, had each a Spare Lock thought proper to mention to you, that if it be so, whether it may not be well to furnish a number for the Arms fitting here?9

On the 29th at Evening I met at Hartford on my returning from the General Assembly—yours of the 23d December10 and immediately sent to Capt. Wadsworth a person employed by the Commissary General, and much acquainted, to see if any Blankets could be purchased—and found there are none— many of our New inlisted men I am told will bring Blankets with them which they get from private Families—those lost at the Bunker Hill Fight were furnished in that manner—and our Minute men will supply themselves in that way, that I am very doubtfull of success if attempted—Lieut. Colo. Durkee this Day mentioned to me, your direction to him on this Head11—shall lay the same before the Comtee at our next meeting.

Inclosed is Copy of an Act impowering the Commander in Chief &c. to Administer an Oath—Also minutes of th⟨e⟩ Ordnance taken from the Ministerial Troops at the Severa⟨l⟩ Northern Posts from the 1st of may to the 13th Novr 1775.12 I remain with Great Truth and Regard, and with the proper Salutations of this day Your Excellency’s Most Obedient humble Servant

Jonth. Trumbull

P.S. enclosed is a Copy of a Letter from President Wheelock at Dartmo. College.13

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

1During its December session the Connecticut general assembly authorized the governor to appoint a chaplain to each of the colony’s Continental regiments and granted the additional 40s. to enable the chaplains “to supply their respective pulpits with preaching in their absence.” The monthly pay for Connecticut chaplains established in April 1775 was £6 (Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Royal R. Hinman, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, during the War of the Revolution. Hartford, 1842. description ends , 165, 199).

2For the capture of the British general Richard Prescott in Canada, see Schuyler to GW, 28 Nov. 1775, n.2. Schuyler sent Prescott to Connecticut, but Congress soon ordered him to Philadelphia (see Hancock to GW, 29 Jan. 1776).

3Trumbull enclosed the account with his letter to GW of 5 February.

4The general assembly began a special session at New Haven on 14 December. For the acts passed, see Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Royal R. Hinman, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, during the War of the Revolution. Hartford, 1842. description ends , 193–200.

5The act reads: “and be further punished, either by fine, imprisonment, or disfranchisement, and find surety of the peace, as the court should order, and pay the cost of prosecution” (ibid., 195).

6Col. David Waterbury was directed to purchase a brigantine for use as an armed vessel, and he with Capt. Isaac Sears was to purchase or lease a second vessel for that purpose. Later in the session the general assembly added the third armed vessel and the row galleys which were to be obtained by the governor and his council (ibid., 197–98).

7This act applied only to noncommissioned officers and soldiers. They were also exempted from arrest for debt while serving with the army (ibid., 197).

8The general assembly authorized a bounty of £10 for every 100 pounds of saltpeter made in Connecticut between 1 June 1776 and 1 Jan. 1777 and bounties of £30 to each of the first two persons who built powder mills in the colony and produced 500 pounds of gunpowder (ibid., 194–95).

9For GW’s reply to these requests, see his letter to Trumbull of 7 January. For the capture of the British ordnance vessel Nancy, see GW to Schuyler, 28–30 Nov. 1775, n.3.

11John Durkee commanded the 20th Continental Regiment in the absence of its colonel Benedict Arnold.

12The copy of the general assembly’s act of 14 Dec. and the undated list of captured ordnance are in DLC:GW. For the act, see also Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Royal R. Hinman, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, during the War of the Revolution. Hartford, 1842. description ends , 197.

13Trumbull enclosed the copy of Eleazar Wheelock’s letter to him of 1 Dec. 1775 that is in DLC:GW. It contains a report on Robert Rogers’s activities nearly identical to that in Wheelock’s letter to GW of 2 Dec., but omits any reference to Rogers’s failure to pay his bill at the local tavern and adds that when Rogers “took up his hatt (which was but an ordinary one) to leave me he observed that his Cocade was lost off by some accident.”

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