Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Parsons, Samuel Holden (1737-1789) to Thomas Mumford

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00496.075.01 Author/Creator: Parsons, Samuel Holden (1737-1789) Place Written: Peekskill, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 July 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 20.5 x 16.1 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Major General Parsons to Mumford, a Groton, Connecticut merchant. Says recent events are moving so fast that it they are the product of "a more prolific Brain than I find myself possesd of." Says while the nation is full of news he has little of it to share. Says it is not news that the British have left New Jersey and are concentrating at Staten Island and that it is anyone's guess what their destination will be. But he will conjecture that since no news has arrived of the enemy moving from Crown Point that the operations between Fort Ticonderoga and Skeensborough are a feint. Believes Howe and Burgoyne are trying to make a junction in New England. Says they can expect an attack from Burgoyne near the Hudson River soon. Says a respectable force exists to maintain the status quo, but that offensive possibilities are limited. Desertions from British lines continue and says "our Affairs wear a more promising Countenance in my Opinion, than they have since the Commencement of the War." Mumford's son Giles is with Colonel Return Meigs at Fort Lee. Says he was very well the last time he saw him and that his good conduct will merit the esteem of his country.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: [draft]
Peekskill 7th July 1777

Dear Sir,
I am sure I can give you very little News, as the Strange Events & Surprizing maneuver of the Enemy by which the Fate of ...Kingdoms & Empires are speedily to be determined are generally the Production of a more prolific Brain than I find myself possesd. of - in Short when the Country is full of news we have a great Scarcity & can hardly make enough to animate us to Duty - to tell you the Enemy have left New Jersey will be no news & to conjecture where they are bound is equally your right as mine - at present they are at or near Staten Island. The Certainty of the movements of the Northern Army will have great Influence in forming a probable Conjecture of the Plan of Operations this Campaign. However I will venture a Conjecture that as no news has arrivd. of the Enemy's moving from Crown Point nor a certainty of any Considerable Party between Ti, & Skeensborough; this is a mere Feint to draw our attention to that Quarter, & that they have not come in Force to attack our Posts there; but a Junction is designd. to be formd. between How & Burgoine in New England. But if Burgoine is really at Crown Point with a respectable Force, the Campaign will be at or near the North River & we may soon expect an attack; we have now a Force respectable, I hope sufficient to maintain our Posts in case of attack, tho' not such as will admit us to pursue Offensive Measures. Desertions from the Enemy Continue & our Affairs wear a more promising Countenance in my Opinion, than they have since the Commencement of the War. Your Son is now gone on a Command with Col. Meigs to Fort Lee, he was very well last Fryday when I parted with him at Kakiat, his good Conduct I think will justly merit him the Esteem of his Country. My Comps. to yr. Family & all Friends; please to accept the best Wishes for yr. Welfare of yr. Friend
& hl. Servt.
Saml. H. Parsons

Thos. Mumford Esqr.
See More

People: Parsons, Samuel Holden, 1737-1789
Mumford, Thomas, 1728-1799
Burgoyne, John, 1722-1792
Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814
Mumford, Giles, 1759-1795

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryNavyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFort TiconderogaDesertionContinental Army

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources