George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith, 10 November 1780

From Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith

[Light Camp, Passaic, N.J., 10 Nov. 1780]. Smith begins a long letter focused on his actions and those of Col. Israel Shreve during the period from the Battle of Connecticut Farms, 7–8 June, to the Battle of Springfield, 23–24 June: “I do not know how I can answer your Excellency’s letter of the 9th1 better than by a detail of the facts to which Colo. [Matthias] Ogden alludes.” Smith tells how Shreve turned over command of his regiment to him just before the fighting began at Springfield because “he was a heavy man and should the regiment be press’d he should be obliged to leave it.” Shreve participated in the battle in a hesitant manner that suggested cowardice, but Smith concludes that he heard of Shreve being “with the Brigade” and “exposed to the fire of the Enemy.”

ALS, DLC:GW, misfiled under 1781.

For the two battles mentioned in Smith’s letter, see The Battle of Connecticut Farms, 7–8 June, and The Battle of Springfield, 23–24 June, editorial notes.

1GW’s letter to Smith on 9 Nov. has not been found.

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