George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Glover, 15 July 1779

From Brigadier General John Glover

Ridgefield [Conn.] 15th July 1779

Sir

At Govr Trumbull’s request I came on to Stamford, (myself, leaveing the Troops to follow) to assist Genl Walcott in a⟨rr⟩anging & posting the Militia for the Defence of that place1—When I had the Honor of receiving your Excellency’s Letter of the 9th with a Duplicate of the same, inclos’d in one from Govr Trumbull a Copy of which I herewith af Transmit.2

I immediately sent of an Express to Col: Shepard, order’d him to halt the Brigade at New Haven,3 till I could Consult Genl Parsons (at which time did not know Genl Heath was on the Ground) who approv’d of the Orders I had given, but told me it would be best to see Genl Heath who was at Salem Church,4 who also approv’d of their halting till your Excellency’s pleasure should be known.5 Your Excellency’s Letter (I have forgot the date, my papers being back with my Baggage) inclosing the Arrangments of the Regiments of my Brigade, has been duly Receiv’d—I have not been able to Compleat the Arrangements, owing to a difficulty in Col. Bigelows Regt which hope to settle soon;6 when done shall immediately Transmit to your Excellency.7

I take this Opportunity to return your Excellency my sincere thanks for the Attention paid to my Commission, which was forwarded by my good Friend Col. Harrison, inclos’d in his favour of the 10th Inst.8 I have the Honor to be, Your Excellencys, most Obed. sert

John Glover B. General

ALS, DLC:GW.

1Glover likely is referring to a letter from Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to him, written at Lebanon on 11 July: “As we have repeated accounts and Confirmation of the Enemy’s advancing in large Force, from Kingsbridge into this State, & by Orders given, & accounts receiv’d, we suppose very considerable Numbers of our Militia are collected & on their March to, or in the Vicinity of Norwalk. We are very sensible that a deficiency of the Operations of our Militia, to the best effect & purpose, on sudden calls & Emergencies is the Want of forming them into good Order and Regularity, & properly planning their Operations which requires an Officer of superior skill and Experience—General Spencer, who is lately appointed one of our Major Generals of the Militia is absent at Congress—Major General Oliver Wolcott, a Gentleman of good sense, understanding & Judgment, has the Command with B. General Hart [Selah Heart] who is also gone forward—We could wish, if not inconsistent with your particular Command of your Brigade, you could go forward to Norwalk or in the Vicinity, where you shall find our Militia collected, & give every personal Aid & Assistance in your power to, & with our General Officers; to regulate, plan & direct in the operations of our Forces, leaving your Brigade to Follow on as you shall direct. The present appearances of the Enemy require Expedition—We are in hopes that General Washington before this, has sent forward some Detachments of the Continental Army in that quarter.

“We desire you would call on B. General [Andrew] Ward at Guilford in your way, who is order’d to proceed with you. . . . P.S. my Letter to M. Genl Wolcott is inclos’d for your Observation, please to seal & deliver—Also Orders to B. Genl Ward to go on” (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ; see also Conn. Public Records, description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894—. description ends 2:359). Connecticut officials read a letter from Glover on 12 July, and it stated “that he had receiv’d the letters of yesterday and sho’d be on his march this morning by 9 o’clock &c. &c.” (Conn. Public Records, description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894—. description ends 2:360; see also n.5 below).

2The enclosure is a copy of a letter from Trumbull to Glover, written at Lebanon on 13 July (Tuesday): “Last evining my express returned from General Washington with the enclos’d Letter to you, in a Letter of the 9th Inst. to me, wherein he says, as the present season is particularly Interesting, it will be agreable to me, that Glover’s Brigade Should Halt for a Little time in your state, at such place as may be thought best calculated, to give cover to the part of the Country most expos’d.

“My Information given Lords day evining was follow’d yesterday with Major Genl Woolcots orders to Brigdr Genl Hart of the 10th Inst., which you have Rece’d Before this, it appears to me now, that it will be best calculated, for you to Halt at such place, as will serve for protection, of our post at N. London; whether it is best for you to return to that post, or halt at Lyme or Saybrook, is left to your Good discretion, I fancy if you halt where you may be a day or two, if you observe the approach of the enemy, you will immediately Return. The thames Frigate Lying at the entrance of the Harbor at N. London, and the Renown & Otter Sloop Hovering near, Indicate the Designs of the enemy to Make a De[s]cent on that Town and Port.

“Please by this returning express to give me Inteligence of your Resolution” (DLC:GW; see also GW to Trumbull, 9 July, n.4). Trumbull and the Connecticut Council of Safety on 12 July received a copy of the orders from Maj. Gen. Oliver Wolcott, Sr., to Brig. Gen. Selah Heart, “counting that he had ordered him to detatch half his brigade and march &c., but apprehends so large a force unnecessary, and therefore directing him to detatch only one quarter, and that he had sent similar orders to Colo. [Elisha] Sheldon, and requesting that if any be in motion from the first brigade that they be informed that he apprehends it unnecesary” (Conn. Public Records, description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894—. description ends 2:359).

3For the movements of Col. William Shepard, who commanded Glover’s brigade then on the march in Connecticut, see Trumbull to GW, 7 July, n.3.

4Salem Church apparently was another name for Salem, Westchester County, New York.

5Glover reported his movements to Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates while at New Haven, Conn., on Sunday, 18 July. His letter reads: “At the request of Govr Trumbull I have been on to Stamford, to embody & post the Militia for His defence of the Seaport Towns on the Sound thro’ this State; leaving the Brigade to come on. I have been as far as Salem Church in the State of New York. where I found Genl Heath with the two Connecticut Brigades, Col. Moyland & Sheldon’s Regts of Horse. I returned here last Night 10. ô Clock.

“Friday Morning 2 oclock (while I was with Genl Heath) began a heavy Cannonade on the North River, which continued till 5, when it ceas’d. We suppos’d it to be an attack on Stony point, which was in Contemplation before General Heath left head Quarters, which was the 13th—Two heavy 12 pounders for battering Cannon with four Grasshoppers were sent down thro’ the Clove the day before, & the whole of the Infantry commanded by general Wayne, was detached for the purpose.

“I left Genl Heath at Salem Friday 4 o’Clock >P.M.

“General Heaths Division marched for peeks Kill, to cut of[f] the retreat of the Enemy from the Fort at Verplank’s point: which was supposed would be evacuated, as Genl Wayne had began a Canonade from Stony point. In my route to the Westward I pass’d thro’ Fairfield where the Enemy have burnt two Houses of public Worship, 80 dwelling Houses, some of them very elegant, 80 or 90 Barns, & Stores. In a small Village call’d Green’s farms, about 30 dwelling houses, one House of public Worship. At Norwalk about 70 dwelling houses, 2 houses of public Worship: & the greatest part of the Town of Bedford in the State of New York. The Barbarities perpetrated by the Enemy upon the Inhabitants is without a parralel, & is shocking to humane Nature: particularly so against the female sex without distinction of Age or Character: Modesty forbids my mentioning the particulars.

“It will suffice to say the Country is in most distressed Circumstances; Towns burn’t, property desolated, & such Scenes of Cruelty exhibited as would disgrace the Annals of the Savages of the Wilderness. particulars I have not time to mention. . . . P.S. My Brigade is now on their March to New-haven. I mount this Moment & follow them” (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ; see also Heath to GW, 14 July, and n.1 to that document).

6See GW to Glover, 29 May. Glover’s brigade then consisted of the 1st, 4th, 13th, and 15th Massachusetts regiments. Col. Timothy Bigelow commanded the 15th Massachusetts Regiment.

8The letter of 10 July from GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison to Glover has not been identified, but see Glover to GW, 28 Jan., and GW to Glover, 4 May, and n.3 to that document.

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