George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 21 February 1781

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters New Windsor 21st February 1781.

Dear sir

Having been obliged to make a very considerable temporary detachment from the Army, I am under the necessity of immediately calling in what Recruits may be raised in the neighbouring States to replace it1—I have directed the superintending Officers at the different places of rendezvous to do this,2 but I must request your Excellency, if it possibly can be done, to furnish them in whole or in part with Cloathing, as I do not believe our whole stock on hand consists of more than Waistcoats and Breeches for 2000 Men. If the Recruits could be made tolerably comfortable they might do Garrison duty, which is what they will be employed in, untill the spring.

I cannot avoid mentioning a matter to Your Excellency which is well worth your attention and that of the Legislature—It is the shamefull neglect, not to call it worse, of those persons appointed by law to muster and pass the Recruits—General Parsons informs that the first which came from Your state, seven in number, were all totally unfit for service, he has sent them to Hartford that the Legislature may themselves be witnesses of the imposition which has been put upon the public, and which will be practiced in numberless instances, while any but Military Men, interested in having healthy sound soldiers, are to be judges of the sufficiency of the Recruit3—To endeavour to remedy this evil, I have ordered a good Feild Officer to be stationed at each place of rendezvous, and if any man is brought in, not qualified for the service, he is to refuse recieving him and to send him immediately back to the Town which furnished him.4

I had the honor of recieving Your Excellency’s favor of the 5th by the Duke de Lauzun5—The Corps of invalids are stationed, by order of Congress, at Philadelphia and Boston, and it is not therefore in my power to send the invalids of the Army to any other places except by the Authority of Congress.6 I have the honor to be with great respect and esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt and Hble servant.

Go: Washington

LS, in William Colfax’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For this detachment, see GW to Lafayette, 20 Feb. (both letters [1 and 2]).

3For Maj. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons’s letter informing of these recruiting difficulties, see Heath to GW, 18 Feb., n.3.

4GW gave these instructions in his letter to Heath of 19 February.

5See Trumbull to GW, 5 February. For the presence of Brigadier General Lauzun at New Windsor, see GW’s first letter to Timothy Pickering of 14 Feb. and the source note to that document.

Index Entries