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Letter from General Sullivan to the New-Hampshire Committee of, Safety



Winter-Hill, November 30, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: I have, by command of his Excellency General Washington, to inform you, that the Connecticut forces (deaf to the entreaties of their own as well as all other officers, and regardless of the contempt with which their own Government threatens to treat them upon their return) have absolutely refused to tarry till the 1st day of January, but will quit the lines on the 6th of December. They have deceived us and their officers, by pretending there would be no difficulty with them, till they have got so near the close of their term, and now, to their eternal infamy, demand a bounty to induce them to tarry only the three weeks. This is such an insult to every American, that we are determined to release them, at the expiration of their term, at all hazards, and find ourselves obliged immediately to supply their place with troops from New-Hampshire and Massachusetts-Bay. The number required from you is thirty-one companies of sixty-four men in a company, including a captain, two subalterns, three sergeants, and three corporals, which makes fifty-five privates each. The whole number, officers and men, amounts to one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four. The terms of their enlistment are as follows: Each company to march as soon as full; they are to be provided with arms, ammunition, and each a good blanket. To prevent any difficulty in passing muster here, if they are mustered by such person or persons as you may appoint there will be no necessity of their being mustered here, nor will it be done.


Their pay is to commence on the day they march, and from that time they are to receive the price of their rations in cash. They are therefore to take provisions to last them on the road. In case any or the whole of them could not do this, if the Province or the several towns will supply them, the accounts, together with what you may be at in raising them, will be instantly paid. They are to serve to the 15th of January, if required. Their pay to be as other Continental troops. No field-officers to be sent. The captains and subalterns to be appointed and commissioned by you for the Continental service, and the soldiers to engage in the Continental service, under the command of General Washington, for the term aforesaid, if required. None to be admitted, unless on the spot by the 10th of December, and will be joyfully received as much sooner as possible. They will also be paid for their return home.

The above are the terms, and I earnestly entreat you, for the honour of New-Hampshire, to show the world your attachment to the noble cause. Let the worthless sons of Connecticut know that the other Colonies will not suffer our lines to be given up, or our country destroyed, nor the sons of New-Hampshire (like those parsimonious wretches) want to be bribed into the preservation of their liberties. I hope the eager speed with which the New-Hampshire forces will march to take possession of and defend our lines, will evince to the world their love of liberty and regard to their country. As you find the business requires much infinite haste, I must entreat you not to give sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids, till the troops are on their march. I have sent Mr˙ Sherburn, who will wait your commands, and forward such orders as you may think proper to give. In case ammunition cannot be had for all, we must contrive to supply those who are destitute here.

Gentlemen, I am your humble servant,


Honourable Committee of Safety.

P˙ S˙ The troops you send are to be under my immediate command, and joined to my brigade. I mentioned to the General the encouragement you gave upon the questions I proposed to you by his order, and informed him that you offered to send those men already raised, in case they were needed, which gave him great pleasure. And as there is no preparation making to attack you, and the season is so far advanced, I can see no difficulty in dismissing them. I should have been much rejoiced to have had Colonels Wingate, Burnham, and Hackett at their head, as field-officers, but the Committee from the Massachusetts General Court and the Council of General Officers have determined the contrary. It would, however, give me the greatest pleasure to see those gentlemen preferring the interests of their country to the title or rank of office, and each of them lead a company on to the lines. This would so much add to the exalted opinion I already have of them, that I should, during their stay here, treat and respect them as officers of the highest rank.

I recommend that all the arms in the store at Portsmouth be delivered out, and if Captain Turner inclines to come, that his company be augmented to the number proposed, and they be furnished with them. As this is merely a Continental matter, you need not wait for a full committee; the voice of two or three will be sufficient, though the assistance of the whole may possibly be necessary. I promise, in behalf of General Washington, that the act of any number will be deemed valid, and the officers and soldiers received and paid accordingly.

N˙ B˙ The soldiers are to be paid off the moment they are discharged, before they quit the ground. J˙ S.

Copy of Enlistment recommended.

"We hereby enlist ourselves as soldiers to serve in the Continental Army, under the command of his Excellency General Washington, until the 15th day of January next, unless sooner discharged, with Captain — being the captain appointed over us. We promise obedience to all our superior officers, and to be subject to the rules and regulations of the Continental Army, until the time above-mentioned, and to be paid at the rate of forty shillings per month from the time of our march to the time of our return."