George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons, 5 June 1779

From Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons

West point 5th of June [1779]

Dr Genl

In Answer to your Question by Cpt. Christie of 3d Pensylvania Regt1 I have deliver’d him a general Information of the State of this Garrison which will be explaind by the Proper Key The Garrison is in high Spirits and are very desirous to receive the Enemys Attack. I cannot promise the Post will be defended, but I am certain every Exertion will be made by the Troops to secure the Possession of that Honor to themselves & their Country which they so frequently anticipate in Reflection.2 I am with The highest Esteem yr Excellencys Obedt Servt

Saml H. Parsons

3 o’Clock P.M.


I have this Moment Inteligence that about a Dozen of the largest Ships are fallen down to Haverstraw Bay, the remaing Part of them viz: about 56 smaler Vessells remain at or rather below King’s Ferry. if any more Troops Should be orderd here, and should I continue in the command of this Post for any Length of Time, I would beg your Excellency to order my Brigade to compose part of the Garrison, Two Regiments of that Brigade, are perfectly acquainted with this Country & in that Respect are better able to answer all Purposes expected from the Garrison.3

S. H. Parsons


2For Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall’s order placing Parsons in command at West Point, see his letter to GW, 4 June.

3For the arrival of Parsons’s brigade on the east side of the Hudson River opposite West Point, see McDougall to GW, 4 June, n.4. The brigade consisted of the 3d, 4th, 6th, and 8th Connecticut regiments.

The garrison at West Point apparently then consisted of Brig. Gen. John Paterson’s brigade,”late Learned’s” brigade (8th and 9th Massachusetts regiments), the North Carolina brigade, and Ulster County, N.Y., militia (see McDougall to GW, 25 May and 1 June [first and second letters], and William Malcom to GW, 5 June; see also Parsons to George Clinton, 7 June, in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 5:46–47).

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