George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 10 March 1777

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Lebanon [Conn.] 10th March 1777


I acknowlege the Receipt of your Favr of the 3d inst. & obse[r]ve the Contents. I have wrote the Cloathr Genll by this Express & have stated what I understand to be our Condition relative to the Cloaths for our Nine & a Part of Battalions raising in this State & shall wait his Approbation & further Orders as mentioned in mine to him. The Stopping the Prize Cloathg passing thro this State, was done by Colo. Webb—as I was told agreable to your Orders—I have not interposed in the Matter.

Our new Inlisted Soldiers are under Inoculation—have heard of nothing unsuccessfull among them1—I hope our Quota will be in a good Measure raised answerable to your Expectations—the Openings of the Spring & Beginning the necessary Business of it, will bring Them to a Choice—& I believe the old Soldiers will enter the Service with Alacrity.

I have this Day wrote to Genll Schuyler on the Paragraph relative to old Arms in the Stores abt Albany2—hope some Relief from him on that Score—Have instructed a person in the Commissary General’s Employ now in Massachusetts State to purchase a Supply for Four Regts, if to be had—shall send out others in this State to purchase whatever Number can be Obtained—Indeed great Attention hath been had to that Article in this State, & no endeavours are wanting on our part.

Expect to give the necessary Orders to morrow to send in Capt. Luke and the Officers with him—and ’tis with pleasure I can inform major Wyllys, that his Parole will be released on the going in of Capt. Luke—I think it may be Best to send those Officers to New York—and shall send you the Captains Receipt when Obtained.3

Enclosed are extracts from two Letters very surprisingly bro’t to Light—One from Govr Wentworth to his Sister Fisher the other from Jno. Cockran to his wife.

The Originals with Several Others I sent last week to the President of the Council at New Hampshire the Eight other Letters mentioned are not come to hand.4

Eleven Ships lately appeared off the Harbour of New-London it was at first tho’t their intention was to pass up the Sound—Yesterday they hauled in between Fishers Island and the Main, are landing some Troops, and sitting up the Tents on the Island—One of the Ships is a large man of Warr & two Others Smaller—It may be their Design to take hold of New London & Secure to themselves that Harbour—Or else to get Wood & fresh provisions, possibly from the Main, hope they will be prevented.5

Brigr Genl Knox’s Receipt for twenty thousand Dollars sent & paid to him agreable to your Request of the 11th Feby last—is inclosed—& youll replace the same in the Way which suits best.6 I am with Esteem And Regard sir Your most Obedient humble Servant

Jonth; Trumbull

LS, DLC:GW; LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers.

1The Connecticut council of safety had ordered the inoculation of all its “new raised troops” at its session on 21 Feb. 1777 (see 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 , 416).

2“You will please,” writes Trumbull to Schuyler on this date, “if the arms are not otherwise disposed of, to send me four hundred stands to the nearest place in this State to me that they can be sent by any return teams of this or Massachusetts State, of which I suppose there are numbers daily passing. You will be so good as to inform me whatever orders you give respecting them that I may take the further necessary measures” (Trumbull Papers, 2:32–33). Schuyler replied to Trumbull on 16 Mar. that the arms are “still here, and still unrepaired. Colo Baldwin who went down last fall had orders to raise a company of armourers, who were to have been here on the first of February at farthest. He has long since informed me that they were on the march, but I have not yet seen one, and I begin to apprehend they will not come. Although I am very confident that more arms will be wanted in this department than we have in store, yet, as it is my duty to obey his Excellency’s orders, I have directed the store-keeper to put up one hundred stand, and to forward them to you without delay” (ibid., 33–35).

3Maj. John Plasgrave Wyllys of the Connecticut levies reported to the Connecticut council of safety on 24 Feb. 1777 that he “had been to solicit an exchange of himself, and was not able to effect it, but had liberty to do so, if he could send Capt. [John] Luke, a prisoner, into this State” (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 , 417). Trumbull’s order releasing Luke has not been identified, nor has the receipt he refers to.

4From his exile at Flatbush on Long Island, N.Y., the royal governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth, wrote his sister Anna Wentworth Fisher on 17 Jan. 1777 that “from dispositions and intelligence from Pennsylvania and Southward, it is more than probable that the present unnatural war is almost at an end—Many important Prizes with cloathing, ammunition &c. have been bro’t in to us this week—Great numbers of principal Men have embrac’d the Proclamation—I wish to God my Countrymen would be as wise” (Bouton, N.H. Provincial Papers, 7:394–95). Anna Wentworth Fisher (1746–1813) and her husband John Fisher (d. 1805), the former collector of the customs at Salem, Mass., who were now living at Fisherville, N.H., fled America for England with Governor Wentworth in 1778. John Cochran’s letter to his wife, Sarah Foss Cochran, has not been identified, but it may be the same one that Israel Putnam wrote to GW about on 8 Feb. 1777. On this date Trumbull also sent extracts of the two letters to the Continental Congress, which referred them to the committee of intelligence on 20 Mar. (see Trumbull to Hancock, 10 Mar., in DNA:PCC, item 66, and 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 , 7:187).

5According to a report printed in the Connecticut Gazette (New London) on 14 Mar. 1777, three British warships and several transports from the British fleet at Rhode Island appeared in the Long Island Sound on Saturday 8 Mar. 1777 “just without the West End of Fisher’s-Island [Conn.], standing to the Westward, but the Wind being small and Tide unfavourable, they drifted back of the Point and came to Anchor. On Sunday they made Sail, and about Noon anchored North Side of the Island, where they continued till Tuesday Morning, when the Whole came to Sail and stood to the Eastward.” Some of the British troops went ashore to procure livestock and other goods for rations before the Norwich militia under Col. Christopher Leffingwell could march to stop them.

6For GW’s request that Brig. Gen. Henry Knox be given a portion of the enlistment bounty money that was sent to Connecticut on 10 Feb. 1777, see GW’s letters to Trumbull and to Knox of 11 Feb. 1777. Knox’s receipt has not been identified.

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