George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jesse Root, 7 August 1776

To Jesse Root

New York Head Qrs Aug. 7. 1776


I have the most authentick intelligence that Genl Clinton with his whole Southern Army—1000 Hessians & a number of Highlanders have within these few days joined General Howe—that 11,000 more foreign Troops are hourly expected having been left on the Banks of Newfoundland a few days ago—An attack is now therefore to be expected which will Probably decide the Fate of America—The Levies from New Jersey, New York, & Connecticut are not compleated within one half of their Establishment and my whole Army much short of its Complement.

Under these circumstances Sir, I must desire you to apply to the several Committees or other authority of Connecticut to hasten down as fast as possible the Militia, and I cannot doubt but a sense of publick Duty & the imminent Dangers to which every thing that is dear to us is exposed, will induce every true friend & Lover of his Country to exert his utmost Powers for its Salvation and Defence. I am Sir Your Obed. Hble Servt


LB, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Jesse Root (1736–1822), a prominent lawyer and public official in Coventry, Conn., was authorized by the Connecticut council of safety on 12 Aug. to receive £3,600 “as Paymaster of the advance wages of the Officers and Men of the Second, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Regiments of Militia, in this Colony, now ordered on duty to New-York, to be by him paid out at the rate of 20s. per man, into the hands of the Commanding Officers of each Regiment” (Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:1006). Root at this time was also chairman of the Connecticut committee on prisoners of war, and in December 1776 the general assembly named him lieutenant colonel of a regiment of volunteers raised for the relief of GW’s army (Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Royal R. Hinman, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, during the War of the Revolution. Hartford, 1842. description ends , 257–58). Root was a member of the council of safety from May 1778 through 1780 and a delegate to the Continental Congress from December 1778 until the summer of 1782. He became an assistant judge of the Connecticut superior court in 1785 and its chief justice in 1798.

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