George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 28 August 1780

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters near the Liberty Pole Bergen County
28th Augt 1780.

Dear Sir

I was a few days ago honored with yours of the 9th: since the receipt of it, I have seen Commissary Cheever, and have had an opportunity of making particular enquiry into the state of the Arms at Springfield. He tells me, that the repair, of such of the old Muskets as are worth the trouble and expence, is going on as fast as the circumstances of want of hands and want of money will admit. The greater part of the Gun Barrels, he says, are absolutely unfit for use, having been taken out of old stocks at different times, and not imported in their present state from Europe. I will direct Genl Knox to make enquiry after the 100 Barrels of Powder at Farmington, and if they belong to the Continent, to have them removed to one of the public Magazines.1

From the accounts brought by the Alliance Frigate, I think the prospects of operating, at least during the time for which the Militia were drawn out, are so very precarious, that circumstanced as we are in regard to provision (as my Circular letter of this date particularly points out)2 it will be more advisable to discharge them immediately than to keep them up. You will therefore be pleased to give order for the dismission of all those who were raised in consequence of the requisition of the Committee of Cooperation. I should hope that if such a reinforcement should unexpectedly arrive to our Allies, as would enable us to carry on operations against the enemy, that the Militia might be shortly reassembled:3 But I wish that this suspension of a part of our preparations may not have any influence upon procuring the number of Men necessary to compleat the Continental Battalions. For want of them, I am still obliged, much against my inclination, to keep the Militia of some of the states in the feild; and this consideration should ever be kept in view, that should we operate—the fuller the Continental Battalions—the smaller will be the demand for Militia.4 I have the honor to be with very great Respect & Esteem Dear Sir Yr most obt and humble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS, which was addressed to Trumbull at Lebanon, Connecticut.

3Trumbull and the Connecticut Council of Safety discussed GW’s letter on 6 Sept. and resolved that the 1,500 “three months’ Militia be immediately dismissed” (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 , 3:158; see also Circular to the States, 2 June, n.1, and GW to William Greene, this date, n.2). GW postponed an anticipated attack on New York City (see GW to James Bowdoin, this date).

4Trumbull acknowledged this letter when he wrote GW on 16 September.

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