George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major William Goodrich, 19 June 1779

To Major William Goodrich

[West Point, 19 June 1779]


You are hereby authorized & required to engage as many of the Stockbridge & Scatacoke1 tribes of Indians as you can; and with a few good woodsmen if to be had join the Army under the command of Majr General Sullivan.

These men are to have not more than private Soldiers pay2 unless you should find it necessary to distinguish the chief of each tribe by some little pecuniary, or other encouragement.

You will be allowed Captains pay & Rations, and may, if you shd obtain & march forty Men, or upwds appoint a lieutenant (who will be allowed pay and Rations as such) to aid and assist you in this command.

These instructions will authorise you to draw public provisions where they are to be had, & to pass certificates3 where there are no Commissary’s stores for such as you obtain from the Inhabitants.

I cannot give you a precise rout because I do not know the time you will be ready to move with this party from Stockbridge nor the Situation Genl Sullivan may be in when you commence your March but at Esopus you will be able to learn where the Army is and can shape your course accordingly.4 Given at West point this 19th of June 1779.5

ADf, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

William Goodrich (born c.1738) of Stockbridge, Mass., was a captain in the Lexington Alarm of April 1775 and joined Col. John Paterson’s Massachusetts regiment at the same rank that May. Captured at Quebec on 31 Dec., Goodrich was exchanged shortly after Christmas 1776 and raised a volunteer company (see William Heath to GW, 3 Feb. 1777, and n.1 to that document). He served without a commission as brigade major in Paterson’s brigade from March to June 1777 and during that year apparently returned to Stockbridge to work as a recruiting officer (see Egleston, John Paterson, description begins Thomas Egleston. The Life of John Paterson: Major-General in the Revolutionary Army. New York, 1894. description ends 74, and Jones, Stockbridge, description begins Electa F. Jones. Stockbridge, Past and Present; or, Records of an Old Mission Station. Springfield, Mass., 1854. description ends 176). Goodrich served as a major in the Massachusetts militia during 1780 and was active in Vermont affairs during 1781.

1GW is referring to the Scaticook Indians that resided at a village of the same name on the Housatonic River in Litchfield County, Conn. (see Hodge, Handbook, description begins Frederick Webb Hodge, ed. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. 2 vols. Washington, D.C., 1907-10. description ends 2:485–86).

2At this place on his draft manuscript, GW initially inserted above the line “a bounty of fifty dollars each,” but he struck out those words in favor of “not more than private Soldiers pay.”

3At this place on the draft manuscript, GW initially wrote “receipts.” That word then was struck out, and GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote “certificates” above the line.

4For Goodrich’s inability to raise his party, see GW’s letter to him of 4 July; see also GW to Hendrick Aupaumut, same date.

5This sentence on the draft manuscript is in Hamilton’s writing with the exception that GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote “June” above the line to replace “May” after that word had been struck out.

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