George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Samuel Holden Parsons, 11 November 1780

From Major General Samuel Holden Parsons

Reading [Redding, Conn.] 11th Novr 1780

Dear General

I have this Day receivd Notice of my promotion;1 and am also favor’d with the present Establishment of the Army.2

when I left Camp I had no Intention of joining the Army again unless the restoration of my Health should enable me to reassume a Command for the present Campaign; I had therefore turnd my Attention to resuming some Station in civil Life, and joining my pursuits With those of my fellow Citizens—but Congress having remov’d those Objections which would necessarily exclude me from Service, and having examind the present Establishment I feel myself greatly inclind to join the Army again—but the present Establishment being not only sufficiently honorable but afording prospects adequate to the reasonable Wishes of the Officers, I cannot consider it just or honorable to accept of my present Appointment unless I can so provide for my numerous dependant Family as not to be under that Necessity of paying a personal Attention to their Education & Support which has hitherto so distracted My Mind from the immediate Duties of my military Command.

I shall endeavor as soon as possible to place my Family in Circumstances that I can leave them with Satisfaction, and for that purpose I must go to Hartford & Middletown next Monday,3 if I succeed I shall join the Army as soon as possible, if not I shall forward my Resignation to Congress and wait on your Excellency to take my Leave of your Excellency, my Brethren in the Army and all military Ideas4—In the mean Time I will write to General Huntington and endeavor to arrange Matters with him in a Manner most convenient to him & to me and so that the Connecticutt Line shall not be without One General Officer present during the Winter.5 I have inclosd the Act of this State for filling the Army which, if executed with Spirit, I hope will have the design’d Success.6 I am Dr General with Sentiments of Respect & Esteem Yr Obedt Servt

Saml H. Parsons


1For the dissatisfaction Parsons felt prior to Congress promoting him to major general, see his letter to GW, 4 Oct.; see also General Orders, 29 Oct., and n.2 to that document.

2For the new arrangement of the Continental army, see General Orders, 1 November.

3The following Monday was 13 November.

4GW subsequently wrote Parsons from headquarters near Passaic Falls on 16 Nov.: “Since your promotion to the rank of a Major General, the objections you before had to serve with the Main Army are obviated; you will therefore be pleased to join it as soon as may be.

“I hope your health is so far confirmed, as to enable you to do it without loss of time” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

Parsons replied to GW from Redding on 20 Nov.: “your Favor of the 16th I receiv’d yesterday and should have returnd to the Army very soon, but I have a return of the Ague & Fever to Day too violently to admit my entertaining any Thoughts of doing Duty in my present State—I Shall as soon as my Health is confirmd immediately return to Camp” (ALS, DLC:GW; the name of French officer Captain Damas is written on the cover, which may indicate that he carried this letter to GW). Damas visited GW (see Rochambeau to GW, 14 Nov., and GW to Huntington, 27 Nov., source note). Parsons returned to duty later that fall (see Jedediah Huntington to GW, 2 Dec., and General Orders, 16 Dec.).

5No correspondence between Parsons and Brig. Gen. Jedediah Huntington from this period has been identified, but see Hall, Life and Letters of General Parsons description begins Charles S. Hall. Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons: Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory, 1737-1789. Binghamton, N.Y., 1905. description ends , 318–20.

6Parsons enclosed a printed sheet with “An Act for filling up and compleating this State’s Quota of the Continental Army” and a related printed directive for “the several Towns” to “proceed immediately to fill up and recruit their several Quotas of the Continental Army, according to the Directions and Provisions of an Act passed by this Assembly, in their present Session” (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 3:174–76). This session of the Connecticut legislature began on 12 October.

Index Entries