George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 12 January 1777

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Middletown [Conn.] Jany 12th 1777.


This will be delivered you by Lt Fellows who comes to Obtain the Release of his Brother Capt. Amos Fellows now held in Close Prison in New York upon Suspicion of being concern’d in the burning of that City—he is a Militia Captain in Col. Chapmans Regiment & taken in the Retreat out of New York, & has suffered much during his Confinment.1 I could wish every reasonable consistent measure might be taken for his Releif, he is Man of Interest & Int[e]grity, has a Family, & do not think him Culpable in the matter laid to his Charge, or deserving the Treatment he has rec’d—at least I think he Ought to be heard—am extremely Sorry to find our Freinds in Captivity meet with so much Severity, we will not retaliate in that way, but Shew to the World, that American humanity rises Superior to that of our Enemys, which does not deserve even the Name—I am preparing Answers to your several Last favours, & shall only now add—that I am, most respectfully Sir Your most Obedient humble Servant

Jonth; Trumbull

P.S. As it appears by Col. Moulton who is just got from New York that Capt. Fellows is under particular Circumstances, & treated with uncommon Severity, whereby his Life is in Danger, must be of Opinion & wish for these reasons he might be prefered in point of Exchange to any other of his Rank, not under similar Situation.2

P.S. The Prisoners from this State went from hence last Friday for Rhode Island,3 expect to send the list soon—Our four Battalions and Volunteers are going on, many must be arrived before this; Save one of the four—was ordered to Providence—how Genl Spencer will forward them back, to any advantage I am at a loss—they are much wanted there—more Volunteers go on to your Aid than was expected—Wish General Spencer might receive Orders to retain that Battalion, if so it will be needful An Express may be sent to him immediately. I am—ut intra

J. T—l

LS, DLC:GW. The second postscript is in Trumbull’s writing.

1Amos Fellows (1729–1777) of Tolland, Conn., a captain in Col. Samuel Chapman’s 22d Connecticut militia regiment, was captured in New York on 15 Sept. 1776. GW attempted to intervene on his behalf with Joshua Loring and General Howe, but Fellows died in captivity (see GW to Loring, 20 Jan., and GW to Trumbull, 24 January). Amos Fellows’s elder brother, Isaac Fellows (1719–1806), a veteran of the French and Indian War who had turned out for the Lexington alarm, was a lieutenant in the same regiment and apparently served also in Maj. Ebenezer Backus’s regiment of Connecticut light horse.

2Stephen Moulton, Sr. (1735–1818), of Stafford, Conn., a lieutenant colonel in the Connecticut militia who was present at the siege of Boston, was captured during the retreat from New York on 15 Sept. 1776 and confined to the old Sugar House Prison in New York City (see Joshua Loring’s undated Return of American Prisoners taken at New York on 15 and 16 Sept. 1776, in DNA:PCC, item 152). The British paroled Moulton in early January 1777, but he apparently was not exchanged until the spring of 1778 (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 , 279, and Elias Boudinot to GW, 22 April 1778, in DNA:PCC, item 152).

3The previous Friday was 10 Jan. 1777.

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