George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Catherine Jandine Lamb, June 1776

From Catherine Jandine Lamb

[New York, June 1776]. States that her husband, Maj. John Lamb, commander of the Continental artillery in the northern department, was wounded and captured in the attack on Quebec and has remained a prisoner “near half a Year, waiting for that Freedom, which it is fervently wished the success of your Arms may obtain, both for him and his Country.

“Your Memorialist labouring under many Difficulties which arise from her Husband’s Situation, is under the Necessity of applying to your Excellency for the Monthly Payment of seven Pounds New York Currency, which her Husband before his Departure has allowed her out of his Pay, but which Colonel McDougall thinks himself no longer authorised to deliver to her.1

“Having likewise been informed, that her said Husband, tho’ a Prisoner, is entitled to receive a pecuniary Equivalent for his Rations, she entreats your Excellency to direct, that she may receive that Equivalent, as an Addition to her Support, which is now become very precarious, her Husband being unable to remedy in this Respect a Defeciency of the Power of Attorney which he invested her with, a Defeciency, which brave Men disdain to foresee.”

DS, DLC:GW. Although this document has no dateline, it is docketed in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing: “Memorial of Mrs wife of Majr Lamb: prisoner in Quebec—N. Yk June 1776.”

Catherine Jandine (c.1733–1807) married John Lamb in 1755. Major Lamb was paroled at Quebec on 2 Aug. 1776 and arrived at New York on 23 September. After reporting to GW at his headquarters, Lamb joined his wife and their three children at Stratford, Conn., where they had gone when New York City was evacuated. He was exchanged in January 1777 and promptly resumed his service in the Continental army.

1The New York provincial congress authorized Col. Alexander McDougall on 19 Mar. 1776 “to advance to Mrs. Lamb, the wife of Major John Lamb, such sums per month as she is by a power of attorney from her said husband empowered to receive as part of his pay” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:373).

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