George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 6 September 1778

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters [White Plains] 6th Septemr—1778

Dear Sir

I had the satisfaction of your two favors, both of the 27th ulto.

The Battalions of Colo. Enos [&] McClellan, I am informed by Colonel Malcom,1 who commands where they were stationed, were to be discharged, and I suppose they are now on their way home.

The violent gale which dissipated the two Fleets when on the point of engaging, and the withdrawing of the Count D’Estaing to Boston, may appear to us as real misfortunes—but with you I consider storms and victory under the direction of a wise providence, who, no doubt, directs them for the best of purposes, and to bring round the greatest degree of happiness to the greatest number of his people.

I feel with you for the unfortunate Frontiers exposed to all the inroads of an Enemy, whose natural barbarity in War, has been encreased by the Arts & influence of a civilized nation. I had early ordered for the defence of the Inhabitants Colonel Hartley’s Regiment—Colo. Butler’s—Colo. Olden’s, with the remains of Morgan’s Rifle Corps2—These, I believe, have been of considerable service—but I am unhappy in not having it in my power to afford them at present, a more compleat and sufficient security, from this Army, for the purpose you mention of carrying the War into the Enemy’s Country—It is of the utmost importance to maintain the force now in the Field, and even to encrease it as far as possible. However, as soon as circumstances will admit of putting a more comprehensive plan into execution, I shall be ready to give it all kind of furtherance in my power. I am, Dear Sir your most Obedient Servant

G. Washington

LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW may be referring to Col. William Malcom’s letter to him of 30 August. On the draft, James McHenry finished this sentence with the words “who commands at West pt were in readiness to return before the receipt of your letter; and I suppose they are now on their way home.”

2For GW’s orders to Lt. Col. William Butler’s 4th Pennsylvania Regiment and Morgan’s Rifle Corps, see GW to Brig. Gen. John Stark, 18 July, and note 1. Also in July, Col. Thomas Hartley’s Additional Continental Regiment had been ordered to the frontier by the Board of War (see Benedict Arnold to GW, 30 July, and note 1). Col. Ichabod Alden’s 7th Massachusetts Regiment had been ordered to the frontier by Stark earlier in July (see Horatio Gates to GW, 13 July, and note 3).

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