George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Elisha Sheldon, 27 November 1780

To Colonel Elisha Sheldon

[Preakness, 27 Nov. 1780]

You will immediately march to Colchester in the State of Connecticut with your Regiment and enter into Winter Quarters.1 You will deliver over to the Qr Mr at Hartford all the horses that you are of opinion will not be fit for dragoon service the next campaign; the remainder you will do every thing in your power to put into the most perfect order during the Winter—You will particularly attend to that part of your former instructions, pointing out the number of horses to be kept by each officer according to his rank and see that the number is not on any account exceeded—You will have all your old accoutrements repaired as soon as the men are fixed in quarters.

As I presume the State of Connecticut will complete your regiment to the establishment of the 3 & 21st of October (which you have seen published in general orders of the 1st instant) I would recommend it to you to wait upon the Governor yourself, with an exact state of the Regiment, as to men and horses, and the difeciences of both, noting such men, if there are any whose times of service expire in the course of the Winter, that in making provision for completing the corps that may not be counted upon.2 I know not the mode that will be adopted to procure the men and horses; you will therefore govern yourself according to the plan you may concert with the Governor. Neither do I know whether the State or Continent are to provide your accoutrements. You will acquaint yourself with that circumstance and apply in time to one or the other for those necessary for a full corps.3 Given at Head Quarters Prackness Nov. 27. 1780.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. For a similar letter, see GW to Stephen Moylan, this date.

GW also wrote Maj. Gen. William Heath from headquarters on this date: “I inclose you a letter to Col. Sheldon ordering him into Winter Quarters—You will be pleased to forward it and make any arrangements that may be necessary in consequence of his removal. … P.S. The Rhode Island Regiment may go to the position by Robinson’s Mills instead of a detachmt from New Hampshire &ca.” (LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; GW wrote the postscript; see also Heath to GW, 29 Nov.).

Heath wrote Sheldon from headquarters at West Point on Wednesday, 29 Nov.: “The enclosed Letter from His Excellency General Washington will relax your hard Duty on the Lines, A Detachment to do duty on the Lines will march from here to morrow, probably they will not reach the Lines before Fryday Evening. …

“Wishing you agreable Winter Quarters” (MHi: Heath Papers).

1For the movement of GW’s army to winter quarters, see his letter to Samuel Huntington, 28 Nov., and n.12.

3Hamilton struck out a continuation of this sentence on the draft: “as it is to be hoped the state will comply with the requisition of Congress.”

Sheldon replied to GW from North Castle, N.Y., on 2 Dec.: “I have had the Honor to recive your Excellencys orders of the 27th Ulto agreeable to which the Regimint will march as soon as the Horses are shod (which will be in a day or two) for Colchester. I trust your Excellency has been informed that there is a magazine of forage prepared at that place, tho’ I fear we shall be disappointed in our expectations.

“As I am directed to march my Regt to winter Quarters I should naturally conclude all Detached Commands would be called in. I have however omited to call off the Stages of Expresses, whose Horses are much worn down, untill I hear further from Your Excellency on that head” (ALS, DLC:GW; see also GW to Rochambeau, 27 Nov., and n.10). GW replied to Sheldon on 8 December.

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