George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Elisha Sheldon, 13 December 1780

From Colonel Elisha Sheldon

Hartford Decr 13th 1780


Agreable to your Excellency’s orders of the 27th ulto I marched my Regt on the way to Colchester for winter Quarters. When we had arived at Danbury, I rode forward to Hartford to wait on His Excellency the Governor and the Assembly.1 I soon found that there was no Forage provided for the Public at Colchester, & that even some of the public Stables had been removed to Lebanon for the Accommodation of the French Horse at that place.2 These Circumstances, added to a Resolve of the Legislature of the State to Quarter my Regt in different Towns, has induced me to halt the Regt for the present at Waterbury and in its Vicinity ’till your Excellency’s further pleasure can be known. I am well convinced that the Troops cannot be well Accommodated in the Towns which have been pointed out by the Assembly for which reason I have recommended to them the Towns of N. Hampton Hatfield3 & Hadley in the state of Massachusetts, lying on Connecticut River about 18 mil[e]s above Springfield; in those Towns we shall be more Compact, have a much better prospect of obtaining supplies of forage, and be near the Magazines and Artificers at Springfield—The Governor seems to be anxious for such a movement, for which reason the Regt will not be Cantoned as directed by the Assembly untill we hear further from your Excellency.4

I am Anxious to have your Excellencys orders Respecting the Stages of Expresses from my Regiment, as some more effectual steps must be taken to supply them with Forage &c. if they are Continued.5 I have the Honor to be with the greatest Regard your Excellencys Most obt & very Humble servt

Elisha Sheldon Col. 2d L.D.

ALS, DLC:GW. Sheldon wrote “⅌ Express” on the cover.

3Sheldon wrote “Hatfied” for this town.

4Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., also wrote GW from Hartford on this date: “Persuant to a resolve of the Assembly of this State herewith inclosed, I have to request of your Excellency that Colo. Sheldons Regiment of Dragoons sent into this State, to be quartered at Colchester, may be removed and cantoned out in the Counties of Hampshire or Berkshire in the State of Massachusetts. The French Horse had previously taken quarters at Colchester and other Towns adjacent, and will want all the forage that can be spared on the east side of the river; nor can there be more conveniently spared on the west side than will be necessary to accom[m]odate the publick transportation. The Counties abovementioned abound in forage; and it is Colo. Sheldons opinion and mine that the town of Hadley in particular might well provide for the waggon Horses and the adjoining towns of Northampton and Hatfield for the men and the rest of the Horses. The publick service, it is hoped would not be injured, but promoted by the Regiments being immediately removed and cantoned out in that State. I hope to receive your Excellency’s Orders by the returning Express” (LS, DLC:GW). The enclosure was a resolution that the Connecticut legislature adopted at a special session on 29 Nov. that “requested” Trumbull “to Write to His Excellency General Washington, desiring that Colo. Sheldons Regiment of Dragoons, be Cantonned out in some proper place in the Western part of the State of Massachusetts” (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 , 3:250–51). GW replied to Trumbull on 17 December.

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