George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Frederick Frelinghuysen, 21 January 1781

To Frederick Frelinghuysen

New Windsor Jany 21. 1781


I am extremely chagrined at the disagreeable intelligence you communicate in your letter of the 20th.1 This dangerous spirit wi⟨ll⟩ subvert the whole army, if not quelled by a decisive effort of authority—I have ordered a large detachment to march from West Point to compel the mutineers to submissio⟨n⟩2 and I must entreat you to employ all your influence to inspire the militia with a disposition to cooperate with us—by representing the fatal consequences of the present temper of the soldiery not only to military subordination but to civil liberty—In reality both are fundamentaley struck at by their undertaking in arms to dictate terms to their country. You will shortly hear further from me.3 With great esteem &.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See Frelinghuysen to GW, 20 Jan.; see also Israel Shreve to GW, same date, and the source note to that document.

2On this date, GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys wrote Maj. Gen. William Heath at 10:00 P.M. from headquarters at New Windsor: “His Excellency has just heard of the revolt of the Jersey Troops, & directs me to inform you that he is determined at all hazards to put a stop to such proceedings, which must otherwise prove the inevitable disolution of the Army. He requests therefore you will be pleased to order a Detachment to be Made out from the Garrison & other Troops under your command, of five or six hundred of the most robust & best Cloathed Men properly officered & provided for the purpose. The General expects the Detachment will be immediately compleated & equipped. And altho it should leave the Posts very weak, he thinks there will be no risque, as the Command of Major General Parsons will be returned, before the Enemy can take any advantage of the Movement.

“His Excellency will be at the Point in the Morning” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also General Orders, 22 Jan., source note). For GW’s orders to the commander of the detachment, see his letter to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe of 22 January. Maj. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons commanded the troops designated for a raid (see GW to William Heath, 19 Jan., notes 3 and 4).

3No further communication from GW has been found prior to Frelinghuysen again writing GW on 23 January.

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