George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Israel Angell, 8 April 1780

From Colonel Israel Angell

Morris Town 8th April 1780

Dear Genl

Am Sorry to have Occasion to trouble your Excellency Upon So disagreable a matter, Lieutenant John Hubbart of my Regt who will present you these Lines, had a Furlough Granted him the 2nd of January Last for Eighty Days, which Expierd the 21st of march past, the 3rd Instant the Regt was Mustered and Inspected. Lt Hubbart was not return’d at this time, but Capt. Tew1 who had ben at Morris Town that morning Return’d while the Regt was on the Parade, and Inform’d me that Lt Hubbart had arriv’d in Town the Evening before, and would be in Camp before the Regt was Dismist, upon which I altered the muster Rolls and Returnd him present; Lut Hubbart not Returning this day, the 4th I Sent a Serjant to him with a Billet in the following words; or words to that purport, Viz.,

Sir I am much Suppris’d at your Absence from the Regt, as you must be Sensible you have allready overstaid your furlough a Number of days, yesterday the Regt was Mustered and Inspected, and upon Capt. Tews Informing me that you was in Morris Town and would be in Camp before the troops was dismist the parade, I Returnd you present, and upon receipt of this Shall Expect you will Imeaditly Join the Regt. Otherwise I Shall be under the Disagreable Necessity of Returning you absent without Leave.

The Serjt Returnd and brought me the inclos’d billet from Mr Hubbart,2 Hear the Matter rested this Day, the 5th. The Officers were Call’d upon to bring in their Rolls and Sware to them, which obliged us to alter the Inspection Return and Rolls once more, and return him absent without leave; between the Hours of Eleven and Twelve A.M. Lt Hubbart arriv’d in Camp: I Thought it my duty as he had Conducted to Order him in Arrest; which was Imeaditly done; But from Lt Hubbarts former Conduct, and his being So Sensible of his Errow now; am Induced to beleave that the fault he has now Committed, arose from Inadvertence, and not from a willfull breach of Orders, Therefore having given a Narrative of the Affair, and Admitted him bearer of the Same, If it be your Excellenceys pleasure to overlook the matter, will withdraw the Arrest, but Submit it wholely to your Better Judgment.3 I am your Excellenceys most Obedt And very Humble Servt

Israel Angell


1William Tew (1745–1808) was captain in the 3d Rhode Island Regiment from May to December 1775 and held the same rank in the 11th Continental Infantry for 1776. He then became captain in the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in January 1777 and remained in that unit until his retirement in May 1781. Tew acted as brigade quartermaster during March and April 1780. After the war, he served as town council president in Newport, R.I., and also represented that town in the state’s legislature (see Newport Mercury, 5 Nov. 1808).

2The enclosure was a letter from Lt. John Hubbart to Angell written at Morristown on 4 April: “I recd yours Serjt [James] Hopkins & am sensible of your gratitude, & indulgence, at the same time beg leave to inform you I should have return’d yesterday, but on receiving a billet from His Excellency to dine to day, thought it as well to be here, As at Camp, (I confess my fault in not writing to you on my return) when Capt. Tew was here yesterday I expected to have seen him again & intended to returnd to Camp in Company with him, but after receiving the invitation I wrote you a billet on the subject, but no oppertunity offer’d to send it, give me leave to assure you I shall return as soon as possible after dinner” (DLC:GW).

John Hubbart (Hubbard) served as ensign in the 1st Canadian Regiment from December 1776 until he transferred to the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in February 1779. Promoted to lieutenant that May, Hubbart joined the consolidated Rhode Island Regiment after its formation in January 1781 and spent the remainder of the war in that unit (see also Angell to GW, 2 June 1780, DLC:GW).

3GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison answered Angell from Morristown on 10 April: “I am directed by His Excellency, the Commander in Chief to inform You, that having considered your representation with respect to the arrest of Lt Hubbart and all the circumstances prior & posterior to it, He is willing that he should be released from it” (DLC:GW).

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