George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 18 January 1781

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters New Windsor Jany [18] 1781


Under the circumstances, Your Excellency states in your letter of the 12th, there is to me no doubt that Wilson may be detained and punished, notwithstanding the sanction of a flag.1 But there is a fact alleged by the enemy, which would intirely change the nature of the case. They pretend, that Wilson came out under a passport or permit from Col. Wells of your Militia, while Commanding Officer at Horseneck or in that vicinity. If this is true, however censurable Col. Wells might be, in giving the permit, I should advise to respect it and release Wilson. This is a point, if possible, necessary to be ascertained, previous to an application to General Clinton. If upon investigation, Your Excellency finds the pretended passport to be false, I will make a demand as you request of Capt. Marsh; unless Your Excellency should prefer doing it yourself as the whole affair has been hitherto without my participation.2

I am happy to be able to inform your Excellency agreeable to the resolve of Congress, that a detachment of the Jersey troops has been already marched to Wyoming.3 With the warmest sentiments of respect and esteem, I have the honor to be Yr Excellency’s Most Obedient and humble servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The date in January is blank on the LS, but the draft and the Varick transcript are both dated 18 January.

2On 24 Jan., the Connecticut Council of Safety decided that if the British agreed to release Daniel Marsh, it would order the release and return of James Wilson as soon as the latter recovered from “a wound received by the accidental discharge of a gun since in our custody” (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 , 3:295–96).

3See GW to Samuel Huntington, 2 Jan., postscript, and n.5; see also Trumbull to GW, 13 January.

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