George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Lincoln, 6 August 1781

6 August 1781


On perceiving that I should be under the necessity of drawing down the Continental troops from the State of New York, I wrote upon the 25th of June to General Fellows desiring that 600 Militia (part of the quota required from the State of Massachusetts) might be marched from the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire and those contiguous to them to Albany and take their orders from the Officer commanding in that district. I wrote at the same time to His Excellency Governor Hancock informing him of the steps I had taken this liberty without consulting him, merely to save time. I, in due time, received an answer from General Fellows acquainting me that he was out of Office, and informing me that no orders had been then received to embody the Militia, tho’ my requisitions to the State had been as early as the 24th of May from Weathersfield.

Colonel Willet who is now upon the Frontier, being very anxious to know in what forwardness the Militia from the Western Counties of Massachusetts were and when they might be expected, sent an Express to General Fellows to make the enquiry—He received for answer on the 23d of July that the Men from the County of Berkshire were raising with spirit, but that no orders had yet been sent by the Governor to direct the place to which they were to march, altho’ I so long ago as the 15th of June in a circular letter to the Governors of the different States desired that all the Militia required of them might join the Army by the 15th of July. Having never had the honor of an answer to the several letters which I have written to Governor Hancock since the 24th of May, I cannot undertake to say whether the necessary orders have been given in consequence of them—I am therefore under the necessity of requesting you to repair to the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire and those most contiguous to them, and if you should find upon your arrival that the 600 Militia before mentioned have not marched to Albany to take measures for putting them in motion as expeditiously as possible. Given at Head Quarters at Dobbs’s Ferry the 6th day of August 1781.

Go: Washington

P.S. You will endeavour to inform yourself in what forwardness the Militia from the other Counties within your reach are—and if you find occasion for it, you will use any means which you may think most proper to hasten their movements to the Army.


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