From Major General John Sullivan
Head Quarters Providence Septr 29th 78
I have the hono’r to acknowledge your Excellencys Favor’s of the 20th and 22d Instants, and previous to their reception, had design’d to request your Excellency, to relax the order, which directed me to write you by express once a day, as the nature of the Intilligence which I have had lately the hono’r to communicate, was not sufficiently interesting, to demand so frequent and expensive a Conveyance.1 I shall still continue to write your Excellency twice a week. oftner, if any thing extraordinary takes place. At present I have not any thing of publick Consequence to transmit your Excellency; but beg leave to request your Excellency’s attention to the enclos’d Papers; They respect a Captn Allen of Colo. Levingstones Regiment, who has been accus’d of, and condemn’d for being accessory to theft. In addition to his Letter of Justification which I now send you, he has desir’d me to speak as favorably of him as possible to your Excellency. In compliance with this request, I can only say, that he was formerly a brave Soldier, but with regard to his Conduct of late, have had no further evidence, than the Assurances of Innocence his Letter contains, which recieve no great share of Credebility from the Testimonies your Excellency will find in the Proceedings of the Court-Martial.2 Shoud be glad to know your Excellency’s pleasure with respect to him, and have the hono’r to remain with great official Respect & personal Regard Yr Excellency<’s> most obedt and very humble Servt
A postscript, for which no manuscript source has been found, is included at the end of this letter in Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 2:372–73. It reads: “N B I am Informed by Colo Green that here is a number of Continental Horses that are very Poor & of Little or no Value—he thinks it would be well Enough to send them to Prudence Island where they may be Kept at no Expence to the Continent & should the Enemy get them [remainder missing.]”
2. Jean-Baptiste Allin (Allen), a native of Canada who served as a captain in Col. James Livingston’s 1st Canadian Regiment, had been found guilty by a Rhode Island court-martial on 12 Sept. of “purchasing a Goose of Serjt [Zachariah] Holsapple, when it appeared, he much have known, or suspected the said goose was stolen,” and he had been sentenced on that same date to “be cashiered with infamy” (court-martial proceedings, 12 Sept., DLC:GW). In the enclosed letter that Allin wrote to Sullivan on 26 Sept. at Providence, he says: “I was Condamn’d without having the opportunity of producing what Evidances I had in my favour. Since the Sentence of the Court I have Colicted the Certificates which Justify me” (DLC:GW; see also Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 3:273–74). Neither GW nor Congress, to whom Allin also appealed his conviction in the spring of 1779, found his evidence sufficient to overturn the verdict and sentence of the court-martial (see GW to Sullivan, 1 Oct., 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 , 14:584). Allin was no stranger to controversy. Having been appointed a captain in Livingston’s regiment in November 1775, Allin had been left out of the regiment when it was reorganized a year later, on grounds that he allegedly had drunk with enlisted men and had been inebriated while on duty. Allin had been reinstated in his rank only after going into Canada to gather intelligence for General Gates in the spring of 1777. In March 1778 Allin had been tried and acquitted of charges of drunkenness and neglect of duty in the Mohawk Valley, because he claimed not to have understood the orders given him (see John Welles’s certifications on Allin, 10 Oct. 1778 and 29 Mar. 1779, DNA:PCC, item 147). Allin had accompanied the 1st Canadian Regiment when it was sent to Rhode Island in July 1778.