George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Gold Selleck Silliman, 14 September 1778

From Brigadier General Gold Selleck Silliman

Fairfield [Conn.] Septemr 14th 1778


Your Favour of the 27th Ult. respecting a Guard at the Commissary’s Stores at the Landing in this Town I received the 2d Instant, inclosed in One from Mr Squier.1 He desires me to have the Guard constantly kept up through the Summer. Whereupon I immediately gave Orders to an Ensign to inlist the Number of Men requested with One Serjeant, and One Corporal, to mount a Guard at the Store and to remain on

Duty untill the first of January unless sooner discharged; and directed him to apply to Mr Squier for Provisions Cookeing Utensills &c. The Ensign had very good Success in inlisting his Men, and has had a Guard mounted for some time past tho his Number is not yet compleated. Our present Circumstances are such that to have ordered a Detachment to have been made would not have answered the End. But the Ensign was with me on Saturday last and told me that Mr Squier had refused to furnish his Men with Provisions &c. I prevailed with him to keep his Men on Duty, till I could write Your Excellency on the Subject and have Your Answer. I first wrote Mr Squier on the Subject, but he has not thought proper to give me any Answer at all. I have therefore to desire Your Excellency to give the Necessary Orders respecting Provisions for the Men, for I have none for them, and they cant be expected to remain on Duty without. This Store stands in a Place that is very much exposed to the Enemy. A 20 Gun Ship may Anchor within a Mile of it, & her Boats may come directly to the Store & destroy it notwithstanding such a small Guard as this is. I am of Opinion that there ought to be at that Place a Captain’s Command at least. But this in our exhausted State it would be extreamly difficult to raise here. Might not the Continental Troops at Norwalk be posted in this Town with equal Advantage and save the Trouble & Expence of a Guard from the Militia?2 I am Your Excellency’s Most Obedient & Most Humble Servant

G. Selleck Silliman


1Neither letter has been found. Samuel Squire (1715–1801), who represented Fairfield in the Connecticut general assembly, 1774–80, was appointed a state commissary at Fairfield in 1775.

2GW replied to Silliman on 22 Sept.: “I yesterday recd yours of the 14th. Inclosed you have an order to Mr Squires the Commissary to supply the Guard with provision. The Guard at Norwalk answers a particular purpose and cannot therefore be removed at present to Fairfeild” (Df, DLC:GW).

Index Entries