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Letter from Governour Trumbull to General Washington



Lebanon, March 18, 1776.

SIR: I received your favour of the 14th instant, in which you inform roe the enemy have embarked their troops on board a number of transports, and are now making a shameful retreat from Boston; and that their destination is conjectured to be either for Halifax or New-York — the latter place most probable. I should, on my part, rather conjecture that their women and children, with the Tory families, (if any on board,) are for Halifax, and the troops for New-York, &c˙, if they mean to evacuate that town. But may it not be probable, notwithstanding all appearances, that the enemy, expecting an attack on Boston, are only clearing off all incumbrances, and sending off their (at present) useless baggage, in order to be better able to withstand your attack, and to give you a more warm reception, and, if possible, a fatal repulse? A hint of this I dare say you will not take amiss, though I entertain not the least doubt of your greatest attention and utmost precaution to guard yourself against the subtle wiles and artful intrigues of an artful enemy, as well as their open force and violence. But appearances, I fully agree, most probably point at New-York; and as a request from you, on all these publick occasions, comes with the greatest force, (notwithstanding we have great drafts of men from this Colony to various quarters, and have now at New-York, in consequence of your late requisition by General Lee, two regiments, amounting to fifteen hundred men, which, just as I received yours, had despatched orders to them to continue in service till further directions; and, in consequence of your last request, and in consideration of the importance of securing New-York, and the advantage of a prior possession,) have given orders to the Field-Officers of several regiments in this Colony nearest New-York, and where they may arrive at that place with the greatest expedition, immediately, by detachments, to draft out and forward, by land or water to New-York, twenty companies, consisting of ninety men each, including officers, (to admit of no delay,) and there to put themselves under the commanding officer at that place, and remain till relieved by such part of your Army as you think proper to send there; at the same time, as a very busy season for farmers is soon approaching, am obliged to let them know that it is most probable they will soon be released and discharged,


unless such as may choose to inlist themselves for further service.

On occasions like the present, the Field-Officers of the Militia are sent to command their regiments, according to a former law of this Colony, in case of alarm; and I have ordered their proper Field-Officers to take command accordingly.

As we are obliged now to drain off our Militia, so as to leave our sea-coasts bare of men, and as an attack may very suddenly be made upon some posts thereof, even in the present movements from Boston, I cannot but request that, in the march of your troops to New-York, they may be directed to take their route on or near the sea-coast, which will be nearer than through Hartford, and a much drier road at this season, as thereby they will be a guard, and ready to oppose the enemy, if any such attempts should be made; at the same time making their approach to New-York as expeditiously as any other way, unless delayed by opposing the enemy, which I am in hopes there may be no occasion for.

I have ordered Captain Niles to keep a good look-out for the enemy, as far as Block-Island and Montauk Point; and if any intelligence from him of consequence, shall immediately acquaint you therewith.

And am, sir, with great esteem and regard, your most obedient humble servant,


To His Excellency General Washington.