By Reed Tremblay, State President
Rhode Island Children of the American Revolution
The Rhode Island State Society Children of the American Revolution and the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum partnered to research and transcribe a letter from General George Washington to General James Mitchell Varnum in October of 1777.
General Varnum was a prominent East Greenwich, Rhode Island resident at the time, a graduate of Brown University, a legislator and lawyer, an early pioneer to the Ohio country, and of course, a key contributor to America’s fight for independence during the Revolutionary War. General Varnum will be remembered for advocating for allowing freed African American slaves to enlist in the Continental Army, which resulted in the reorganization of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment as a racially integrated unit in 1778.
The letter has been preserved and is on display at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. The letter transcription is below:
I this evening received your favour of this date. The Regiments under Cols. Greene & Angell are to proceed to Red Bank according to orders. I desire to be informed of their precise arrival by this express at daylight tomorrow, and that you and Gen’l Huntington will join me with the remainder as early as you can.
I am sir
Your most obedient servant
Head Q’rs at Fred’k Wamboldt G. Washington
October 8, 1777
Visit the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum to see the letter and to read the history associated with it. For more information on the Rhode Island Children of the American Revolution, visit www.risscar.org.