George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 8 December 1780

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 8th 1780

Dear Sir

On my arrival at this place, I met with your Excellency’s favor of the 27th November, and immediately gave Orders for the Returns which you request therein. They shall be transmitted to you, as soon as they are brought in. I have given directions to Colonel Sheldon to make the Return of his Regiment immediately to you1—I very much regret that the requisition of Congress, for your quota of men, had not reached you in time, to have determined your Legislature upon fixing the period of service for the War.2 We are deceiving ourselves, and keeping alive the hopes of our Enemy while we levy an Army for a day short of the period of the dispute. I did not expect that the Recruits would be got into service, at least in any considerable numbers, by the 1st of January—And rather than enter again into the fatal error of short inlistments, I would prefer putting matters to some hazard during the Winter, to calling upon the States for a body of men to serve between the 1st of January & the probable time of bringing the Levies into the field; because I am certain it would operate against more permanent engagements.

What your Excellency proposes respecting the French Troops cannot be accomplished, (In confidence I say it)3 They are thought by the French General & Admiral4 necessary; circumstanced as Matters are, to the security of their Navy.

As soon as the new Arrangement of the Army is compleated—Your Excellency shall be furnished with a list of the Officers. I have the honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedient Hble Servant

Go: Washington

P.S. I recd Yours ⅌r Mr Buel and gave the necessary Orders upon the occasion.5

LS, in David Humphreys’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. A note on the cover reads: “Wethersfield Decr 14th 1780 Recd from Capt Riley & forwarded by … Jas Webb.”

2GW again wrote Trumbull from headquarters at New Windsor on 20 Dec.: “Inclosed are the Returns called for in your Excellency’s letter of the 27th ulto. Colo. Sheldon is directed to make that of his Regiment immediately to you—That, with those now transmitted, will, I believe, include all the Men belonging to the State of Connecticut, who are serving in any department of the Continental Army” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; the LS is docketed: “recd 1st Jany 1781”). The enclosed returns have not been identified.

3GW inserted the parenthetical phrase above the line on the draft, which his aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman penned.

4GW interlineated the previous five words on the draft.

5GW had written Brig. Gen. Henry Knox from Morristown, N.J., on 30 Nov.: “The Bearer Mr Buel, who is recommended to me by Governer Trumbull, will undertake to stock a number of the Gun Barrels at Springfield, and repair the old Arms—He has a set of Workmen of his own and will go on with the Business upon Credit, which is a very material consideration: But to prevent the matter being made a job—I think it will be best for you to give orders to the Officer superintending the Elaboratory to have the Barrels sufficiently proved before they are delivered to Mr Buel, as I suspect that they are most of them of the trash kind which Mr Lee charges Mr Deanes Agent with purchasing” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Trumbull to GW, 21 Nov., and n.4 to that document).

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