George Washington Papers

Circular to Militia Colonels in Western Connecticut, 7 August 1776

Circular to Militia Colonels in Western Connecticut

New York Head Quarters Augt 7. 1776


The Spirit & Zeal which the Colony of Conecticut have ever shewn in the Cause of America makes it only necessary to acquaint you with our Situation in order to ensure your assistance: Genl Clinton has Brought his whole Body of Troops from South Carolina1—The foreign2 Troops are every day arriving and we have the most authentic account that in a little time our Enemys Army will amount to 30,000 Men—with these a decissive Attack will be made upon the Army which in its present Situation from Sickness, the Deficiency of Regiments & other Causes is far short of its intended Compliments, Under these Circumstances I am persuaded I need only remind you of the power given by the Laws of the Colony to the Colonels of Regiments upon an Alarm Invasion or Appearance of an3 Enemy by Sea or Land to call out their respective Regiments into Service—Since the Settlement of these Colonies their has never been such just Occasion of Alarm or such an Appearance of an Enemy both by Sea and Land[.] I am therefore to request4 you to call forth your Regiment without Delay & have them equipped with Blankets Arms & Ammunition if possible & march them immediatly to this Place agreable to the Power given by your Constitution as explained by His Honor Governor Trumbull in his Letter to the Honourable Continental Congress dated the 6th July last5—I can only add that the greater the expedition used the more essential & honourable the Service will probably be. I am &c.


LB, in George Lewis’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LB is addressed in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing to: “Col. [Jonathan] Fitch, New Haven[;] Col. Ichabod Sears, Stratford[;] John Mead, Greenwich[;] [Benjamin] Hinman of Woodbury[;] Joseph Platt Cooke, Danbury.” The name of the officer at Stratford should be Ichabod Lewis (see Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to GW, 6 July, n.2). The Varick transcript erroneously identifies Colonel Hinman as Edward Hinman.

1For the recent return to New York of Sir Henry Clinton’s force which had been repulsed at Charleston in June, see Nathanael Greene’s first letter to GW of 1 Aug., n. 1, and GW’s second letter to Hancock of this date.

2Lewis inadvertently wrote “foreingn” in the manuscript. This is a reference to the Hessians.

3Lewis inadvertently wrote “and” in the manuscript.

4At this place in the manuscript Lewis first wrote the word “acquaint” and then struck it out.

5For this letter, see Trumbull to GW, 6 July, and note 1.

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