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Samuel Barrett to Maryland Council of Safety



Fredericktown, February 10, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I had the honour to receive from the Delegates of the freemen of this Province, a commission as Captain of one of the Independent Companies in the regular service. No one would be more happy than myself in the acceptance of it, had the gentlemen who were appointed Lieutenants been known to the men I would wish to carry into action.

It is twenty years since I first had the honour to command a company in defence of my country. Since that time I have commanded many. And being apprehensive at the beginning of this unhappy, cruel, and unnatural contest between the mother country and her Colonies, that I might be once more called on to stand forth in defence of our liberties, I had frequently conversed with and informed my Militia company, and many others of my neighbourhood and acquaintances, that it was highly probable I might again solicit them to follow me to the field of battle. They, in the general, most cheerfully agreed to march whenever I should call on them; but, as it was possible I might fall if we went into action, they desired that two gentlemen, which they had agreed on, might be appointed Lieutenants; and, as it had been customary with me to nominate the subalterns, I promised that those gentlemen (did I accept of a commission) should be my Lieutenants, and had wrote to Mr˙ Johnson, while at the Convention, mentioning the names of the gentlemen, and informing him of my promises; but, unfortunately, my letter miscarried.

One of those gentlemen was a Lieutenant of mine in a late expedition against the Indians, who behaved himself much to the satisfaction of my company, as well as to myself.

I have come this far in consequence of a letter from Mr˙ Johnson, who enclosed my commission, with an intent to accept it, and to return and inlist a company of riflemen, which I flatter myself I could have done, at farthest, in a


week, not knowing but my letter had got safe to hand, and the Lieutenants (if appointed at all by the Convention) were the gentlemen I had mentioned. From this disappointment, after my engagements, I am reduced to a disagreeable necessity of betraying the confidence of my company and friends, or to reject the acceptance of my commission. To do either is highly distressing; but, as one must be done, and it is too probable I may be much wanting in our own part of the country, upon a similar occasion, I must beg you will appoint some gentleman to command in my stead.

My resignation, I hope, will by no one be imputed to a thirst after a more honourable appointment than my present. I am ready and willing, whenever my country' s cause demands it, to march with my rifle in the ranks, whenever I am commanded. I am actuated solely by the reasons above assigned, nor could any thing but a breach of confidence with my friends prevent my acceptance of the appointment with which I have been honoured.

I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,


To the Council of Safety of Maryland.