George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Nathanael Greene, 21 February 1776

From Brigadier General Nathanael Greene

Prospect Hill, 21 February 1776. Mr Davids has been chosen chaplain for Varnum’s and Bond’s regiments, and Mr Noble chosen chaplain for Hitchcock’s and Little’s regiments.1


1Ebenezer David (c.1752–1778), who was ordained by the Sabbatarian Church of Newport on 31 May 1775, began serving as a chaplain in January 1776. It is said that he returned his commission to GW and acted as a volunteer because he disliked anything that savored of officialdom. David’s two regiments were separated after the army moved to New York this spring. David remained with Varnum’s regiment at New York until August 1776 when he joined Bond’s regiment in the Hudson Highlands. At the end of 1776 David left the army to study medicine. He became chaplain of the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in May 1777 and the following winter was appointed to the staff of the army hospital at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He died there on 19 Mar. 1778. For David’s accounts of his military service, see Jeannette D. Black and William Greene Roelker, eds., A Rhode Island Chaplain in the Revolution: Letters of Ebenezer David to Nicholas Brown, 1775–1778 (Providence, 1949). Oliver Noble (1734–1792), who was pastor of the Fifth Congregationalist Church in Newbury, Mass., from 1762 to 1784, took a leave of absence from his congregation to become chaplain of Col. Moses Little’s regiment in 1775. Noble may have accompanied Little’s and Hitchcock’s regiments to New York this spring. He did not serve in the army after 1776.

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