George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Jacob Bayley, 21 September 1778

From Brigadier General Jacob Bayley

Newbury [Vt.] 21st Septr 1778


I arrived at this Place the 18th Inst. and find that Provisions can be made nearly Equal to what I represented to your Excellency,1 altho’ I found some Gentlemen were Endeavouring to purchase for Private Use I have not as yet had any advice from Mr Cuyler Commissary for the Northern Department for which reason I send Capt. Young to him that the Purchase might not be delayed2 Inclosed Your Excellency receives the Journal of Capt. Benja. Sawyer and Capt. Traversie who were sent by Colo: Bedel into Canada since I set out on my Journey to white Plains, which I doubt not the Truth off,3 I also Inform that about the 6th of this month a Party of about 400 Tories and Indians under the Comand of Colo: Peters (who deserted from this Place) landed at or near Colchester Bay and proceeded about half way to this place from said Bay but by their Spies finding Colo: Bedles Scouts had discovered them, and that our People were prepared for them Retreated Back by Onion River, where they Burnt all the Houses & Embarked4 It seems the Enemy have it in view to destroy what is on this River but if Colo. Bedels Regt is Continued and a quantity of Powder and Lead is sent to them there will be but little Danger. I am your Excellency’s most Obedient Humble Servant

Jacob Bayley


1See the report on the best ways and means for invading Canada that a board of officers—consisting of Bayley, Horatio Gates, and Moses Hazen—wrote to GW on 10 September.

2Capt. Samuel Young (1747–1805) of Col. Timothy Bedel’s New Hampshire regiment delivered this letter to GW (see GW to Bayley, 3 Oct.).

3Benjamin Sawyer, who served as a first lieutenant in Bedel’s regiment from December 1777 to April 1779, gives a brief account in the enclosed journal of the trip that he made beginning on 10 Aug. 1778 to the vicinity of St. François, Canada, with Joseph Traversie, a native of that town who served the Americans as a scout and courier for several years. Arriving at their destination on 23 Aug., Sawyer and Traversie talked to several French Canadian inhabitants who offered to provide money, provisions, clothing, blankets, and some troops to assist the Americans if they invaded the area. They told Sawyer and Traversie that “we might Rely on it that the Country of Canada are chiefly on our Side (the Priests divided)” (DLC:GW).

4Before the war John Peters had lived at Moretown, Vt., about sixty miles northwest of Newbury, and had been a judge and militia officer for Gloucester County, N.Y., which covered northeastern Vermont, part of the Hampshire Grants area then in dispute between New York and New Hampshire. In 1776 Peters went to Canada and accepted a commission as lieutenant colonel of the Queen’s Loyal Rangers, a Loyalist corps with which he participated in the Burgoyne campaign of 1777. After Burgoyne’s surrender, Peters returned to Canada, where he organized a party of Loyalists and Indians to raid the American frontier. At the end of the war Peters settled in the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia. Colchester Bay apparently is a reference to Malletts Bay, on the west side of Lake Champlain adjoining the town of Colchester, Vt., and near the mouth of the Onion (now Winooski) River.

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