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22nd instant, at Wethersfield or Middletown, as shall be most agreeable to you and the Gentlemen Eastward of the Center.
I am with great Esteem, Gentlemen,
PHILADELPHIA, April 17, 1778. DEAR COL.:-I hope to see you in a few days; I shall therefore say only that I propose to set out for Camp next Tuesday at the farthest, but if you arrive there, pay no regard to this, but come on as fast as possible to Philadelphia, for if you meet me on the road, it will be as well, perhaps better. I shall go by Trenton, Princeton and so on the common Road direct to Basken Ridge, where if you arrive before me, come on to meet me. Whatever you may obtain of intelligence I wish to learn of you personally, for the practice of intercepting letters prevails, and there are those who are base enough to intercept, and wicked enough to put the worst construction on everything. Wishing you success,
I am, my Dear Col.,
From Mrs. Lamb's History of the City of New York, p. 70.
“A secret Congressional Committee, of whom John Jay and Franklin were conspicuous members, despatched Silas Deane, of Connecticut, to France, on a mission of the utmost delicacy,—that of learning how far assistance might be expected from that Nation, in case the Colonies should form themselves into an independent State.
“Deane was an accomplished, college-bred man, of elegant manners and striking appearance, accustomed to a showy style of living, equipage and appointment, and a natural diplomat. He was Chairman of the Committee of Safety in Connecticut, and his residence was the rendezvous of nearly all the public characters of the period. William Livingston speaks of it as · Hospitality Hall,' and Lossing describes it as the ‘Webb House.'
“Silas Deane married the widowed mother of Samuel B. Webb, in 1764. The Webb House,' in Wethersfield, was where Washington and Rochambeau met in 1881, and arranged the campaign against Cornwallis in Virginia. The suites of the two commanders, consisting of forty-five persons each, were distributed among the people of Wethersfield. Only Washington and Rochambeau slept in the great double house, with its hall in the centre, and rooms on each side, with wall decorations of rich, crimson velvet paper.
“ Samuel B. Webb, afterwards General, was descended in the direct line from Richard Webb, who came to Boston from Glouces. tershire, England, in 1632, and in connection with Hooker, Hopkins and Willys, settled Hartford in 1635. He was wounded in the battle of Bunker Hill, immediately after which, at the age of twenty-one, he was appointed Aid-de-Camp to Putnam; and in June, 1776, was made private Secretary and Aid-de-Camp to Washington, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was the father of General J. Watson Webb, and the grandfather of General Alexander S. Webb, President of the New York City College.”
The Historical Magazine for June, 1880, published by Barnes & Co., 111 William Street, and edited by John Austin Stevens, Esq., contained the following biographical sketch by Mr. Stevens, well known as one of the most accomplished historians of our country, in everything relating to Revolutionary affairs.
I should have mentioned sooner that while Washington wonld not consent to my father's exchange out of turn, he appointed him Commissary General for the exchange of prisoners, the duties of which station he performed until he himself was exchanged.
[From the Historical Magazine of June, 1880.] GENERAL SAMUEL BLATCHLEY WEBB,
COLONEL IN THE CONNECTICUT LINE AND BREVET BRIGADIER
GENERAL IN THE CONTINENTAL ARMY.
The family of Webb, of Connecticut, of whom Colonel Samuel Blatchley Webb, of the Connecticut line of the Continental Army was one, was a branch of that of the Webbs of Molcomb, County Dorset, England, to which arms were granted on the 17th June, 1577.
Richard, the first emigrant, appears in the old New England records as one of the settlers of Cambridge in 1632. This body of men composed the Braintree Company, known as Mr. Hooker's company, which in 1634 sent out messengers “to discover Connecticut river, intending to remove their town thither ; and in the summer of 1630 one hundred strong men, women and children traveled over a hundred miles through a hideous and trackless wilderness and sat down at Hartford. Richard Webb was no doubt one of this adventurous party.
His name appears as one of the original proprietors of Hartford in 1639, and in many positions of trust. A few years later he removed to Stamford, of which he was also one of the first settlers. Here he died in 1676, 'a gentleman of standing in the colony.'” With regard to his descendants, genealogists differ ; but superior credence must be given to the record of Hinman in his catalogue of names of the first Puritan settlers of Connecticut, which agrees in the main with the traditions and records of the family.
Samuel Blatchley Webb, the subject of the present memoir, the sixth in descent (all of his immediate ancestors being of the name of Joseph), from Richard, the first settler, was born at Wethersfield December 3d, 1753. He was the son of Joseph Webb and Mehetabel Nott his wife, who, after her husband's death in 1762, was married on the 2d November, 1763, to Silas Deane of Wethersfield.
Although young Webb was never graduated from any college, his correspondence shows that he received a thorough education and a literary training uncommon to the period. This no doubt he owed to the care of his step-father, Mr. Deane, who was himself graduated from Yale in 1758. At the outbreak of the Revolution, Silas Deane was a leading spirit in the Connecticut Colony. He represented it in the first Continental Congress in 1774, of which he was one of the early promoters. Later he was entrusted with many important commissions. Part of his extensive correspondence is preserved in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. His letters to his wife are full of minute detail, relating to persons and events, charming in their natural and picturesque style.
Young Samuel Webb appears to have been high in the favor of Mr. Deane, and to have visited him in Philadelphia while Congress was in session. In a letter to his brother Joseph, 7th April, 1774, he speaks of dining with the Congress to the number of 400 the day preceding. On his return home he was requested by Mr. Deane to address him on all matters of importance. One of his letters presents an interesting picture of the spirit of the youth of the day, and shows the consequence in which the writer was already held among them. It is dated October 10, 1774.
The sisters of young Webb were then in Boston, which he describes as the “present seat of noise and confusion.” General Gage, the military governor, had already commenced to treat the town as under martial law, and was erecting fortifications and mounting cannon to command the harbor and enforce the Port Act. Webb was alarmed for the safety of his sisters, and was about setting off to bring them to a place of safety. The spirit of Connecticut was thoroughly aroused. “On the first hostility, such as bloodshed by the troops in Boston, this colony (writes Webb) will most undoubtedly be immediately under arms and march for Boston." The same letter supplies some interesting details of his own connection with military affairs. “The Light Infantry of Middletown, to which I two years belonged, have now a fine stand of arms, which I purchased for them in New York on my return home from Philadelphia. They have given me an invitation to make one of the number, should any emergency call their appearance in the field, which with my whole heart I shall readily accept if occasion [demand). But Heaven forbid we may ever arrive at this unhappy crisis! But all have drawn their arms, and myself among the rest ;” and he continues with an account of his personally visiting the different towns in the neighborhood, where he was rejoiced to find that the “ thirst of liberty, which had so long been buried in silence, seemed again to rear its head.” At this time young Webb had not yet reached his majority. But character matures rapidly in time of trouble.
The hour of trial was close at hand. The guns of Lexington aroused the Continent, and their echoes had hardly died away before the tramp of hardy yeomanry was heard on every road leading to Boston, the beleaguered city. Connecticut was early in the field. Putnam, who left his plough in the furrow, was in Concord the second day after the battle. The military organizations were not far behind. The First Connecticut Regiment, under command of General Joseph Spencer, was on the ground by the first day of May. Connecticut at this period named generals to the command of her regiments, which were not yet arranged in any Continental system. Spencer's regiment was attached to the right wing, which General John Thomas commanded, and was stationed at Roxbury and Dorchester, and in their neighborhood. In General Spencer's regiment marched Major John Chester, of Wethersfield, who commanded a company, and in the same command young Webb held a Lieutenant's commission. The Middletown troops did not march till later. A letter from Titus Hosmer to Silas Deane (May 28, 1775) says that “ Mr. Samuel Webb marched on Thursday;" this was the 25th of the month. There still remains in the possession of the family a neat little manuscript volume in the handwriting of Webb, entitled, “Regimental Orders Review of the Sixth Regiment of Militia, in the Colony of Connecticut, on the 9th day of May, 1775.” It is minute in instructions for the movements of the regiment, and contains a plan of formation with the names of the officers.
When, on the advice of the Committee of Safety, the com