George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel David Waterbury, 20 April 1776

From Colonel David Waterbury

Hartford, 20 April 1776. “I Recd your Excellency favour of the 13 Inst.1 & Can anser the Request, that is I Shold take it as an Honor Don to me to Be an offeser under your Command—But ... your Excellency must Know that I Eant had Justice Don me. I Never had a Continental Commission offered me altho it is Sed Sin[ce] I Returned hom that I Refused one While in Canady: I Never had the offer alltho I took Such an active part in the Northen Expidition Last fall.... Never man Laboured more thru an Expidition With more fetage and hardship than I Did and Now to take Rank under those that Warr But Lt Collns. at that time & others that Warr Collnels that Ranked under me: I Shold think it Wold Look as tho I had Don Somthing that Was Not to my honor in Being Set Back.” If the Continental Congress gives him a “proper Rank,” Waterbury will accept GW’s offer, “& If Not and your Excellency is atacted I Shall Com to your assistance as a Volunter apon the Shortest Notis.”2


1This letter has not been found.

2In response to Waterbury’s complaint, Congress began an investigation on 29 April to determine whether or not the Continental commissions that it had approved the previous summer had been offered to the Connecticut officers (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:317; see also Roger Sherman to Waterbury, 30 April, and Hancock to Schuyler, 4 May 1776, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 3:609–11, 620–21). On 29 April 1776 Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., wrote to GW recommending Waterbury for a Continental commission “when you have a vacancy in the Army answerable to his rank” (DLC:GW). Although Trumbull did not suggest any particular vacancy in his letter, he had one in mind which he may have discussed with GW when they met at Norwich on 8 or 9 April. “Governor Trumbull has been pleased,” Washington wrote to Waterbury on 13 May 1776, “to mention you to me as a proper person to Succeed to the Command of the Regiment, lately General Arnolds—If you Incline to engage in the service again, I shou’d be Obliged to you for signifying as much in order that I may lay the matter before Congress for their approbation” (DLC:GW). Waterbury was not named colonel of Arnold’s 20th Continental Regiment nor given any other Continental commission. On 3 June 1776 he became a brigadier general of the Connecticut militia.

Index Entries