Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
New York, 18 August, 1776.
I have been duly honored with your favor of the 13th instant; and, at the same time that I think you and your honorable Council of Safety highly deserving of the thanks of the States, for the measures you have adopted in order to give the most early and speedy succor to this army, give me leave to return you mine in a particular manner. When the whole of the reinforcements arrive, I flatter myself we shall be competent to every exigency, and, with the smiles of Providence upon our arms and vigorous exertions, we shall baffle the designs of our inveterate foes, formidable as they are. Our situation was truly alarming a little while since; but, by the kind interposition and aid of our friends, it is now much better.
You may rest assured, Sir, that due consideration shall be had to the several militia regiments that have come, and are marching to our assistance, and that they shall be dismissed as soon as circumstances will admit of it. I trust, so long as there is occasion for their services, that the same spirit and commendable zeal, which induced them to come, will induce their continuance. I sincerely wish it were in my power to ascertain the particular period when they would be needed, that they may not be detained one unnecessary moment from their homes and common pursuits. But, as this cannot be done, as the approaching contest and trial between the two armies will, most unquestionably, produce events of the utmost importance to the States, as the issue, if favorable, will put us on such a footing, as to bid defiance to the utmost malice of the British nation, and those in alliance with her, I have not a doubt but they will most readily consent to stay, and cheerfully undergo every present and temporary inconvenience, so long as they are necessary.
I am happy Captain Van Buren has succeeded so well in the business he was upon, it being of great consequence for us to fit out and maintain our vessels on the Lakes.1 On the night of the 16th, two of our fire-vessels attempted to burn the ships of war up the river. One of them boarded the Phœnix of forty-four guns, and was grappled with her for some minutes, but unluckily she cleared herself. The only damage the enemy sustained was the destruction of one tender. It is agreed on all hands, that our people, engaged in this affair, behaved with great resolution and intrepidity. One of the captains, Thomas, it is to be feared, perished in the attempt or in making his escape by swimming, as he has not been heard of. His bravery entitled him to a better fate. Though this enterprise did not succeed to our wishes, I incline to think it alarmed the enemy greatly; for this morning the Phœnix and Rose, with their two remaining tenders, taking advantage of a brisk and prosperous gale, with a favorable tide, quitted their stations, and have returned and joined the rest of the fleet. As they passed our several batteries, they were fired upon, but without any damage that I could perceive.1 The whole of the British forces in America, except those employed in Canada, are now here, Clinton’s arrival being followed the last week by that of Lord Dunmore, who now forms a part of the army we are to oppose. His coming has added but little to their strength. I have the honor to be, &c.2
[1 ]Captain Van Buren had been sent down to Connecticut and Rhode Island to obtain sail-cloth, cordage, and other articles for the flotilla on Lake Champlain.
[1 ]It appeared afterwards, that the ships sustained a good deal of injury in passing the upper batteries, near Fort Washington and the Haerlem River. General Heath was on the spot, and reported, that the Phœnix was three times hulled by the shot from Mount Washington, and one of the tenders once; and that the Rose was hulled once by a shot from Burdett’s Ferry on the opposite side of the river. Riflemen were posted along the banks of the river, but the men on board were kept so close, that it was not known that any damage was done by the rifles. Grape-shot were fired from the vessels as they passed, but without injury except to a tent. The Phœnix and Rose had been five weeks in the river, and, by the aid of their tenders and small boats, soundings had been taken in every part as far up as the entrance of the Highlands. The tender, which had been burnt by one of the fire-ships, was towed on shore the next day, although under the fire of the enemy’s cannon. This was effected by a lieutenant and two men, in a manner that reflected great credit upon their enterprise and courage. A six-pound cannon, three smaller ones, and ten swivels were taken out of the tender.
[2 ]“As nothing contributes so much to the good order and government of troops, as an exactness in discipline, and a strict observance of orders; and as the Army is now arranged into different divisions, those divisions formed into brigades, and brigades composed of regiments; the General hopes and expects that the several duties of the Army, will go on with regularity, cheerfulness and alacrity; As one means of accomplishing this, he desires, that no regiment, brigade, or division, will interfere with the duties of another, but walk in their own proper line; the Colonels taking care not to contravene the orders of their Brigadiers; the Brigadiers of their Major Generals; and that the whole, pay due attention to the General Orders, which can only be set aside, or be dispensed with by orders of equal dignity.