George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Loammi Baldwin, 18 August 1775

From Lieutenant Colonel Loammi Baldwin

Chelsea [Mass.] Augt 18 1775

May it please your Excellency

I receeved your Excellenies message of this morning to wait on you at the Ferry, and should have complied therewith instantly, had not bodily Indisposition prevented1—I have been followed very hard with a Dysentry yesterday & today—must beg leave to ask your permition to go to my Family a few days till I can in some measure recover my health—I have but very poor accomodations here, there being several people now sick in this House.2

An Express is just arrived from Shirley Point with the enclosed information, & that the people residing there are under fearfull apprehentions of the Enemies landing there, as they are frequently firing on them from the Boats.3 Your Excellency will be pleased to give such order in this affair as you in your wisdom shall think proper.

Enclosed are the Observations of the Day4—I have nothing else Material to Write, but beg leave to subscribe my self your Excellencies most Obedient & very Humbe Sert

Loammi Baldwin Lieut. Col.

ALS, DLC:GW. The addressed cover includes the notation “pr Favour Doctor Jones.” David Jones was the surgeon for Col. Samuel Gerrish’s regiment, to which Baldwin belonged.

1No letter to Baldwin from GW or any of his staff has been found for this date. The ferry to which Baldwin refers is probably Winnisimmet ferry.

2Baldwin apparently returned to duty at the end of August (Baldwin to GW, 1 Sept. 1775). In the meantime, Capt. Richard Dodge sent reports to GW from Chelsea.

3Baldwin enclosed two letters, both of which are in DLC:GW. In one dated 18 Aug. 1775, Daniel Sigourney of Point Shirley informs Baldwin “that there Are . . . About thirty men Well Armed Now Reaping the Rie & the barley on Dear Island.” The other letter is an erroneously dated copy in Baldwin’s writing of one from Abijah Willard (Willant), commander of the British foraging party that raided Gardiners Island between 8 and 11 Aug. 1775, to Benjamin Miller, overseer on the island. The copy bears the date “Augt 17th 1775 12 oClock at Night,” but the letter as printed in the New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser, 17 Aug. 1775, is correctly dated “Aug. 11th, 1775, 12 o’Clock at Night.” Willard informed Miller: “As we have got loaded all the Vessels I cant come to your house according to promise I send you Account of what I have got off your Island—Sheep 823—Fat Cattle 59 Cows 3 Calves 3, One of the Calves got away[.] The Cheese I will take Account of. Send me some pigs, fowls and Potatoes and Ducks and some bread, when you come to Boston I will secure your Interest to you if in my power, I am sorry it is not in my Power to come to your house but so good a wind we cant stay, the hay you must send an Account of by Capt. Lawrance” (DLC:GW). The letter, according to the New-York Journal, “gives Reason to suspect that the Expedition (as to Gardiner’s Island) was preconcerted with the Proprietor, or Manager.” The copy that Baldwin sent to GW includes the following statement at the bottom: “Mr Miller says this is all he got for the Cattle &c. he neither got money nor any thing else, except one half Guinea and a pistereen an Officer left for the Victuals they Eat.”

4“A Return of the Observations of the Day august 18” in Joseph Leach’s writing is in DLC:GW.

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