|King's College (Columbia) circa 1770|
Given the news about Bunker Hill that Washington received on Sunday, it would seem that he would be anxious to proceed on his journey and assume command of the Continental Army located outside of Boston. In the Monday morning of June 26th, he drafted instructions to Schuyler, who was to take command of New York's defenses and the Continental troops in the state, to consult with the Continental Congress as to what action he should take concerning Governor Tryon. Interestingly, Washington authorized Schuyler to report directly to Congress. The chain of command would not flow through Cambridge on to Philadelphia on subjects that required a prompt decision. Schuyler, thus, could operate independently of Washington when, in Schuyler's judgement, that was expedient.
While Washington was occupied drafting Schuyler's instructions, he sent his aide, Lt Col Mifflin out shopping for some wine, some stationary, and a trunk. Two representatives of the New York Provincial Congress arrived wishing to present an address to Washington and inquired as to what time would be convenient for him to receive it. As anxious as he was to depart, Washington could not refuse this request and set 2:30 as the time of the meeting. After receiving the address, Washington responded as follows:
Gentlemen, at the same time that with you I deplore the unhappy necessity of such an appointment as that with which I am honored, I cannot but feel sentiments of the highest gratitude for this affecting instance of distinction and regard. May your every wish be realized in the success of America at this important and interesting period; and be assured that every exertion of my worthy colleagues and myself will be equally extended to the reestablishment of Peace and Harmony between the Mother Country and the Colonies. As to the fatal, but Necessary, Operations of War. When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen, & new shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour, when the establishment of American Liberty on the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful, & happy country.As incongruous this may sound to our ears 240 years later, Washington summarized the feelings of the overwhelming majority of Patriots and how they would express what they were fighting for in June 1775.
Finally, Washington, accompanied by the two Major Generals, aides, and the Light Troop of Philadelphia cavalry, as well as by a contingent of New York militia and civilian New Yorkers set out once again for Cambridge.
|Macomb Mansion, circa 1880|
Loosing Field Book of the Revolution
On Tuesday, June 27th 1775, Washington headed for New Haven, Connecticut, crossing Dyckman's Bridge taking the "road to Connecticut." MGen Schuyler accompanied him as far as New Rochelle, New York where he and Washington conferred with David Wooster, head of the Connecticut militia whose units were incorporated into the Continental Army in mid-June 1775. Wooster was given a commission as a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. At the request of the New York Provincial Congress, the sixty-five year old Wooster had marched Colonel David Waterbury's 5th Connecticut Regiment south into New York to protect it from any British expedition. Schuler left the conference at about 10 AM to return to assume his duties defending New York.
The Light Cavalry Troop of Philadelphia went no further than New Rochelle where they turned back for New York City.
|Thaddeus Burr by John Singleton Copley,|
Unfortunately, Burr's home was later burned by the British. On July 7, 1779, British troops, under the command of the previously mentioned Governor Tryon of New York, landed at Fairfield and burned the town to the ground. 97 homes, to include the Burr estate, were burned. The devastation was so great that a decade later, Washington, when visiting the town, noted that the devastation could still be seen and the chimneys of burned houses were still standing. A few weeks after the burning, Hancock visited his old friend and, according to local legend, advised him that he would provide all of the glass for the building of a new home if Burr would build an exact replica of Hancock's mansion on Beacon Hill in Boston. The house, built in 1790, is still standing and is now a museum owned by the town of Fairfield. I doubt this Georgian style home resembles John Hancock's Beacon Hill mansion .
|Thaddeus/Eunice Burr House, Fairfield, CT (1790)|
On June 28th, 1775, Washington and his party reached New Haven, only 30 miles from Fairfield. Washington's approach was known in advance and some Yale students who had formed a volunteer
|Issac Beers Tavern|
Washington was reportedly chafing at the slow progress he was now making but felt that he could not ignore theses requests on his time. At this point Washington could take one of three routes to Cambridge. All were titled the King's Highway. We know it as the Boston Post Road and parts of it are still labeled such today.( I take a part of the Upper Boston Post Road when I visit my sister in Western Massachusetts.)
|The King's Highway (Boston Post Road)|
|Elizabeth Deane, 1760|
By Joseph Trumbull
Philadelphia Jun22,1775. This will be handed to you by his Excellency, General Washington in company with General Lee, and retinue. Should they lodge a night in Wethersfield, you will accommodate their horses, servants, &c, in the best manner at the tavern, and their retinue will likely go on to Hartford.
|Silas Deane House|
|Jeremiah Wadsworth and son, 1780|
The next morning, Friday, Jun 30, 1775, Washington set out for Springfield where he was to meet up with the delegation sent to meet him by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Washington's party traveled up the west side of the Connecticut River entering Massachusetts at Agawam, crossed the Westfield River into West Springfield and took the lower ferry across the Connecticut River into Springfield.
To Be Continued