George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Samuel Holden Parsons, 24 February 1781

From Major General Samuel Holden Parsons

Connectt Hutts [near West Point] 24th Feby 1781

Dear General

I left my Hutt last Tuesday to visit the Rhode Island Troops, with General Heath’s Permission to make a Small Excursion to see my Family which was Twenty five Miles East of that Line of Troops on Condition I was to be again at my Quarters to Day1—I understand, on my Return, that Capt. Walker has gone Eastward, with your Excellency’s Commands for me;2 I have not seen him, if any Thing of Importance to be immeditaely executed is containd in those Instructions I shall be much obligd by receiving a Duplicate of them by the Bearer, and I hope your Excellency will not think me criminal in going two Days only to visit my Family with General’s Heath’s Consent & returning precisely at the Hour appointed. I am Sr with the greatest Respect Yr obedt Servt

Saml H. Parsons


GW replied to Parsons from headquarters at New Windsor on 27 Feb.: “I have recd your favr of the 24th. Inclosed is a Copy of my letter of the 22d by Capt. Walker. Should you not have seen him, you will be pleased to proceed after him, that no time may be lost in the investigation of the important matter he will communicate to you, and in which I hope you may have the fullest success” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

Parsons wrote GW from camp on the same date at 6:00 P.M.: “I this moment received your favor of this date. Capt. Walker has not returned, nor have I heard from him. I shall go eastward at gun-firing in the morning. I think it a probable measure to effect the proposed discovery, to send a person of address and good sense as well as art, to New York, to propose some way by which friends to government (as they call the Tories) may register their names without exposing themselves to danger on leaving their estates. It may be best he should take a list of names who would wish to be reconciled to their government. This may be going on whilst I am pursuing other measures for detecting them. At present I believe I shall try this measure unless I am forbid by your Excellency” (Hall, Life and Letters of General Parsons description begins Charles S. Hall. Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons: Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory, 1737-1789. Binghamton, N.Y., 1905. description ends , 341).

1The previous Tuesday was 20 February. Parsons’s family included his wife, Mehetable, and seven children who survived infancy. Parsons had requested leave from Maj. Gen. William Heath on 18 Feb. and received approval in a reply on the same date (see MHi: Heath Papers).

Index Entries