George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel William Shepard, 4 March 1781

From Colonel William Shepard

Springfield [Mass.] March 4th 1781


Your Excellencies favor of the 22d ulto came safe to Hand, Rd on the 1st Instant; duly observd the contence,1 immedeately sent off an express to Majr Ashley who has charge of the Recruits at Great Barrington, to git them in redyness to March, and with orders to him to take Command of the whole those Rendezvousing at Great Barrington with those I shall send from this Post under the Comd of an officer who will Join him at G. Barrington and for Majr Ashley to March them to West Point without loss of Time with a descriptive List with them.

I shall enclose to your Excellency a Return of the Number of Men sent on, but am much concernd that the Returns are so small, can account for it only in this way, that the Towns who are exerting themselves to compleet their Quota of Men retain those engagd to influance those wanting and send them on together—am asured many Towns have got the most of their Men in the prospect in future are more promising.2

But am exceeding sorry to inform your Excellency that I have ben much mortifyed to see so many embares to impeed the Recruiting; and many of the recruits at present sent on are by no meens aduquate to the Service—out of Forty I have Receivd Seven have Deserted, and Two others found to be old Soldiers who had inlisted for the War, and had deserted those I shall send on Confind with their Crimes.

no Clothing have ben provided by the State as yet, part of the Recruits I have sent on to Camp are badly cloth’d; have Armd the few sent from here.

I shall write to the Several superintendance to forward the Recruits immedeately as I am informd many of the Towns have compleeted their Quota—and shall send them on to Camp with all posible dispatch unless I shall receive counterorders.

It is impossible to assertain the Number that may soon be expected. I am with every Sentiment of esteem your Excellencies obediante Humbe Servt

Wm Shepard


2The enclosure is undated, filed with this letter, and signed by Shepard. Presented in tabular form and titled “The Number of Recruits Sent on to West Point With a Descreptive List,” the enclosure lists twenty-three from Springfield, forty from Great Barrington, Mass., and five “Deserters under Confinement with their Crimes,” for a total of sixty-eight (DLC:GW).

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