George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Jacob Bayley, 28 October 1780

From Brigadier General Jacob Bayley

Newbury [Vt.] 28th October 1780


I thought it my Duty to Inform your Excellency of the Ravages made and intended to be made in this Quarter by the Enemy,1 the last of September I had Accounts from Canada of the Preparation at Saint Johns which I immediately sent forward to your Excellency the Express was left at West Point I had a Return from Genl Green about the Eighth of October2 Two Men we sent to Onion River was taken or Killed, two days after Two others Discovered the Enemy advancing but our Commander took no Notice of it for three days, when the People were so Urgent he sent five Men who were lost in the Woods—and gave no Intelligence,3 but as I could not be satisfied with their Ability, I sent Three of the Inhabitants who Returned and gave Intelligence that the Enemy were advancing in a large Body towards this Place and another smaller Party towards this River forty miles below,4 the former had passed about one day, the latter about Two before I could give the Alarm, Royalton was laid in Ashes the 16th—Consisting of about Thirty Families 27 taken Prisoners, Four Killed, the Women and Children unhurt, the Town lay about Thirty Miles South West from hence 12 Miles from the Colledge,5 the Malitia turned out with the greatest Alertness overtook the Party and recovered all the Baggage but no more; the Main Body lay Six days about 25 Miles from this Place but as the Malitia came in so fast they returned without attempting any thing against this Place, but they are not returned to Canada but are waiting for a more favourable Opportunity; but as about one third of the People here keep their Arms in their Hands—and they are now at Arms length, we mean to keep them so, as this place is of great Importance, Every Nerve of the Friends of America will be Exerted for its Defence, and I hope in God to Accomplish it6 I am your Excelencys Most Humble Servant

Jacob Bayley

LS, DLC:GW. For the presumable forwarding of this letter, see William Heath to GW, 10 November.

1For recent British incursions from Canada, see William Malcom to GW, 12 Oct., and n.4 to that document.

2Bayley refers to intelligence provided when he wrote GW on 3 Oct. (see Nathanael Greene to GW, 15 Oct., n.2).

3Bayley lacked confidence in Vermont militia major general Ethan Allen, who soon came under treason accusations (see James Clinton to GW, 12 Nov.; see also Philip Schuyler to GW, 31 Oct.–1 Nov., notes 4 and 7).

4The Connecticut River flowed south from Newbury.

5Bayley refers to Dartmouth College.

6The Connecticut Journal (New Haven) for 30 Nov. printed an undated “letter from a gentleman, who was near Royalton,” Vt., when “a party of Indians and Tories, consisting of about 300,” attacked on 16 Oct. and destroyed “a flourishing town, consisting of between 40 and 50 families, and a number of valuable buildings.” The party “murdered several of the inhabitants, and made prisoners of near all the rest.” Pursued by militia, the attackers threatened to “kill all their prisoners” if the pursuit continued. Following this directive resulted in the release of “all the women, both young and old, and all the children.” Fear persisted among area residents, and there were “frequent false alarms.” For more on the raid, see The Providence Gazette and Country Journal for 29 Nov. under the heading “NEW-LONDON, November 14,” and Aldrich and Holmes, Windsor County description begins Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes, eds. History of Windsor County, Vermont, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, N.Y., 1891. description ends , 765–72.

Bayley apparently enclosed an undated “Return of Prisoners taken, by the Enemy, on White River, on the 16th of October, 1780, and carried to Canada” that lists twenty-four people. (DLC:GW).

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