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Governour Trumbull to Continental Congress



[Read before Congress, June 26, 1775.]

Lebanon June 20, 1775.

SIR: This acknowledges the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, and enclosed resolves. Am happy in being able to inform, you, that by advice of my Council, appointed to act in the recess of the Assembly, convened on the 7th instant, I had ordered fifty barrels of powder from this Colony, containing one hundred and ten pounds each, to be sent with all despatch and secrecy to the American Army before Boston, which reached them about Friday last; and since the receipt of yours have ordered ten barrels more, of the same quantity each, which moved the 19th, and to proceed night and day; and wish it was in our power to supply much more for the necessity of the Army, and in compliance with the request of your wise, firm and patriotick assembly, on whom, under God, the salvation of America greatly depends. It is an unhappy truth, that no supplies of that article arc to be obtained in this Colony. We have taken all care in our power to procure much larger quantities than we have yet received, but daily hope to expect the arrival of some, yet fear it may be intercepted by the vigilant malice of our enemies.

The New-York Congress informs us they have sent six hundred and fifty-five pounds for the same purpose, which I find has been detained at Stamford, for General Wooster' s Regiment, but the same quantity is to be immediately furnished from the eastern part of the Colony, in addition to what is already sent. Only eight hundred and forty pounds have been imported into this Colony since our Delegates left it.

I am not at present able to procure any accurate estimate of powder, arms and ammunition. By the standing law, every Town ought to have fifty pounds to every sixty militia men, four pounds of bullets, and twelve flints; and by an act of last October, a double quantity of powder is ordered; but, I suppose, take one with another, we are more than half deficient of a single supply. If they were full, it would be about forty-four thousand seven hundred pound. As to lead and flints, perhaps we have a tolerable supply.


Have not yet been able to carry into execution your resolve of collecting saltpetre and brimstone, and forwarding to the Provincial Congress of New-York, but shall pay the greatest attention to it as fast as possible, but expect no great quantity can be obtained.

The General Assembly of this Colony, at their last session, offered very large premiums on saltpetre manufactured in and of materials found within the same, for one year; and on sulphur manufactured in this Colony from materials found in any of them, viz: twenty pounds per hundred weight of the first, and five for the second. Proposals have been made to me by Mr˙ De Witt of Norwich, with two of his friends near New-York, for speedily making very large quantities of the saltpetre, if they could be assisted with the loan of a sum sufficient to erect necessary buildings, &c˙, for which they will give ample security. This Colony having given such bounty, and the Assembly not sitting, nothing can be done here in that way. Your wisdom will direct what might be proper for you to do, if application should be made; and your patriotism will certainly incline you to every thing your wisdom sliall dictate for the common good. If it is possible for Philadelphia or any Southern Colony to spare any manufactured, or other powder, to the Cambridge Army, it is and would be a most necessary and acceptable thing. I fear for their supply, where there is most important occasion.

You are doubtless possessed of every intelligence that is attainable, and can better judge whether, notwithstanding every shew and appearance to the contrary, the whole force of the enemy will not be collected, and their utmost exertions made to cut off the head of the snake; if so, although our men are ever so resolute or numerous, they can do nothing without powder; and there must be a vast consumption of it. A very great proportion must have been expended in the several engagements which have already happened, and we have just received the important (but very imperfect) news of a vigorous attack on our Army, on Friday night or Saturday morning last, in consequence of their attempting to take possession of the important posts at Bunker' s Hill in Charlestown. Our forces have been obliged to retreat, but on the whole suppose they have suffered far less than their enemies.

I am, with great truth and regard, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Honourable President of the Continental Congress.