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 [incomplete]

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 order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00496.075.07 Author/Creator: Parsons, Samuel Holden (1737-1789) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 14 April 1780 Pagination: 2 p. ; 32 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Parsons as a Major General in the Continental Army to Thomas Mumford, a merchant from Groton, Connecticut. Mumford was also the brother-in-law of Parsons's staff officer Silas Deane. Tells Mumford that he asked Mr. Lawrence (possibly John Lawrence, Treasurer of Connecticut) to go to the British lines to inquire about his captured son. Because of Lawrence's efforts, Joseph Chew, a loyalist from New London, Connecticut, will bring Parsons's son on a ship he is taking from New York to New London, where he will be exchanged for a British prisoner. Asks Mumford if he can give an appointment to his son in one of his ships. Tells Mumford that Lawrence tried to go to Long Island to see his mother and friends, but was politely denied passage by the British. Believes the British are planning a naval attack, perhaps at New London. Asks Mumford to pass this information on to Colonel William Ledyard. Also suggests that the ship that Chew arrives on should be detained a few days in case the New London naval attack materializes. Postscript is partially missing. It states that Colonel John Mead of the 9th Regiment of the Connecticut militia was made a paroled prisoner in his own house by Colonel James Delancey.

Full Transcript: … from all Circumstances he concludes some Movement is on Foot; if his Conjecture is just, which seems not improbable, I cannot devise an Object of more Importance than New London ...if they are about an Embarkation, it is probable the Troops on Long Island are designed to be imployd. [struck: as] that the Fleet were in the East River, which would have [inserted: been] discovered by him had they permitted to pass over to Flushing, it could not arise from their Fears of his discovering their Embarkation for the Southward as that Fleet had Saild before Mr. Lawrence arriv'd there and why the Genl. should incourage him he might [2] be indulgd in a short Time and that he could not at present be permitted, unless some Movements were about taking place I cannot be satisfied about - I wish you to inform Colo. Ledyard of this Matter & he will pay such Regard to it as the thinks proper should Mr. Chives arrive would it not be best to detain the Flagg a few Days as within that Time their Fleet must be in the Sound if they design …
… P.S. Col. Delancey sent work to Col. John Mead that he designed to send up & make him prisoner very soon; [illegible strike out] and as he was a very corpulent Man if he chose it he would sned his Parole to prevent the necessity of making a Long March in the Night; Col. Mead sent him Answer that it would be impossible for him to march to Kingsbridge in One Night & if he did send after him he should be much obliged to him to send his parole wrote - Accordingly Delancey sent off three Men & last Sunday Night they made Mead a Prisoner in his own House took his parole & retired safe[.]
See More

People: Parsons, Samuel Holden, 1737-1789
Mumford, Thomas, 1728-1799

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyPrisoner of WarChildren and FamilyLoyalistOffice SeekerNavyLoyalistMaritime

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources