George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Field Officers of the Connecticut Light Horse, 16 July 1776

From Field Officers of the Connecticut Light Horse

City of Newyork
July 16th 1776

May it Please your Excellency

By the positive Laws of the Colony of Connecticut establishing the Troops of Light Horse, they are expressly exempted from Staying in Garrison, or doing Duty on Foot, apart from their Horses; this being the Case, of which the Regiments under our Command, in this place, are fully sensible, find it impossible for us to detain them any longer under that Idea; they moreover remonstrate against it, alledging, that they came out without the least expectation or preparation for such Service—as your Excellency thot it inconsistent to distinguish these, from the other Troops on the Ground; and as it will be impossible for them much longer to Sustain their Horses here, they humbly ask your Excellencys Dismission in form, Major Starr waits upon yr Excellency for this purpose, & any Commands for his Honor Govr Trumbull—We are, with Every Sentiment of Respect—yr Excellencys most Obt hble Servts

Thos Seymour

Wm Hart

Elisha Sheldon

Daniel Starr

LS, in Thomas Seymour’s writing, DLC:GW.

On 14 June 1776 the Connecticut general assembly appointed William Hart (1746–1817) of Saybrook major of the state’s 1st Regiment of Light Horse and Elisha Sheldon (1740–1805) of Salisbury major of its 5th Regiment of Light Horse. Sheldon served with the Continental army during the summer and fall of 1776 as commander of a corps of Connecticut volunteer horse, and on 12 Dec. 1776 Congress named him “lieutenant colonel commandant of a regiment of cavalry on the continental establishment, with the rank and pay of a colonel of foot” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 6:1025). Sheldon’s regiment was designated the 2d Continental Dragoons, and in 1780 it was reorganized as a legionary corps. The Board of War gave Sheldon a commission as colonel of horse in November 1777, and he served in that capacity until the end of the war.

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