George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Benjamin Lincoln, 1 March 1781

From Major General Benjamin Lincoln

Boston March 1 1781

My dear General

I was this morning honored with your Excellencys favors of the 10 & 21 Ultmo Orders will be immediately issued for collecting the recruits and I hope they will in a few days come on cloathed.1 It will be difficult to send them on without, as they have been promised cloathing and are not therefore prepared to march without them—They will be armed here.

The fifteen hundred coats for the troops in camp will be ready as I am informed by the Committee the next week No time will be lost in compleating the recruits.2

This State are called upon to send twelve hundred men to Rhode Island and have voted the men. Count Rochambeau requested his Excellency the Governor to send me with them.3 I have been invited to take the command and have accepted it, believing that your Excellency will not disapprove this measure for I shall in that situation be so near this State as to be able to give the necessary orders for forwarding the troops, procuring cloathing, stores &c. More I could not do were I at the Assembly which will be up in a day or two and will not meet again untill April next.4

The Mars arrived here yesterday from France but has been out eleven weeks; therefore has brought nothing new—She brings for the Continent Gun Barrels and Locks.5 If arms will soon be wanted people had better be employed here to stock them. I have the honor to be my dear General with every sentiment of esteem your Excellencys most Obedient & most humble servant

B. Lincoln

ALS, DLC:GW; Df, MHi: Benjamin Lincoln Papers.

1See GW to Lincoln, 10 and 21 February.

2For the Massachusetts legislature’s order to procure these uniform coats, see Henry Knox to GW, 7 Feb., n.6; see also Lincoln to GW, 17 January.

3For the call for militia, see Rochambeau to GW, 25 Feb., n.7. On 28 Feb., the Massachusetts legislature passed a resolve requesting the governor, with the advice of the council, to detach 1,200 men from the militia for the defense of Rhode Island; provide provisions; and ask Lincoln to command the detachment (see Mass. Acts and Laws, 1780–81 description begins Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 1781. Reprint. [Boston] 1890. description ends , 324–25).

4A copy of Lincoln’s letter to Lieutenant General Rochambeau, dated 1 March, indicating his acceptance of the command is in MHi: Lincoln Papers.

5The 1 March edition of The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser (Boston) noted: “Yesterday arrived here the ship Mars, Captain Sampson, in 11 weeks from Nantz.

“Capt. Sampson, on his homeward bound passage, took a brig from London, bound to New-York, laden with English goods, said to be worth £.11,000 sterl. which has safe arrived.”

Index Entries