George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Fellows, 6 August 1780

From Brigadier General John Fellows

Sheffield [Mass.] 6. August 1780.


I have recd your Excellency’s Letter of the 31. ult., imediately I dispatched Major Root to Claverack,1 with Orders to direct such of the detached Militia as he should find there to repair to Tryon County, I have now recd a Letter from him in which I am informed there are no more than 35 Men at that Place these together with those of this County amounting to 300 are all the Men I have it in my Power to send to the Assistance of Genl Van Ransalear.2

I have no authentic Inteligence but I presume part of the Detachment of Militia are ordered to the Reinforcement of the french garrison at Newport.3 these having no Men for some days past, (except small stragling Parties,) passed thru’ this County on their way to Claverack. I have the Honor to be Sir, your Excellency’s most Obedt & very huml. Sert

John Fellows


GW replied to Fellows from headquarters at Orangetown, N.Y., on 9 Aug.: “Your Letter of the 6th Inst was duly received by Express the last Evening.

“The 335 Men which you Mention I suppose from your Letter, were immediately sent to reinforce Genl Van Ransalear, which was all that could have been done circumstanced as you were; as part of the Detachment of Militia had been ordered to the aid of our Allies at Rhode Island according to your conjecture” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

1Oliver Root (1741–1826) served as a lieutenant and captain in the Massachusetts militia in 1776 before being named a major of the Berkshire County militia in March 1780. The following July he received an appointment as major of one of the regiments raised to reinforce the army for three months.

2Root’s letter to Fellows has not been identified.

3For the diversion to Rhode Island of most of the Massachusetts militia designated to reinforce the army for three months, see William Heath to GW, 25 (second letter) and 26 July.

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