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GEN’L SAMUEL B. WEBB, :.
Wounded at Bunker Hill. A. D. C. to General Putnam, 1775.
of the Society of Cincinnati, etc., etc.
HIS SON, J. WATSON WEBB.
Published exclusively for Family Circulation.
89 LIBERTY STREET.
1 8 8 2.
GEN. SAMUEL B. WEBB.
NEW YORK, 6 West 38th Street,
JULY 4th, 1876. To my dear wife LAURA VIRGINIA ; and to my dear children, Rob
ERT STEWART WEBB, HELEN MATILDA MORGAN, CATHARINE
I am now in my seventy-fifth year; and after suffering from hereditary gout more than half a century, the wonder is, not that I am exceedingly feeble, but that I should still be here—with all my mental faculties unimpaired either by time or disease. I do not conceal from myself, however, that my departure is necessarily near at hand ; and I am admonished by the recent deaths in our family to be ready for thesummons. When my mother died, in 1805, we were seven in number; and the first death among us, was in 1868; when my oldest sister, Maria, died in the seventy-sixth year of her age. Since then, my brothers Henry, Stephen and Walter, and my sister Jane, have all been taken away; and it has occurred to me, that on this, the first Centennial Anniversary of the Independence of the United States, I cannot tender you a more appropriate offering, than a collection of some of the letters and correspondence of my father, Gen. Samuel B. Webb, and of my step-grandfather, Silas Deane ; who, more than any one individual in the then American Colonies, fostered, consolidated and gave direction to that public sentiment, which ultimately led to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and our final triumph as a free and Independent Nation.
It was Silas Dzane, who, as Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety for the Colony of Connecticut, insisted upon and caused the assembling of the Congress of 1774 ; in which he exercised a controlling influence, and by which he was sent as sole Representative of the Colonies, to negotiate the recognition by France, of our separation from Great Britain, as early as March, 1776—four months previous to our Declaration of Independence. Franklin and Lee, were sent subsequently.
In preparing for my family, this little Centennial offering, my first duty is, to recognize the fact, that, under Providence, we owe our independence as a People, and our existence as a Nation, to him who was—“first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” The civilized world recognizes his great ability, his exalted character, and the absolute purity of his private life ; but in nothing did he so greatly astonish mankind, as in the invariable justice which constituted the basis of all his public and private acts. The testimony, in this regard, is ample, and admits of no question ; and yet I desire to commence this little family sketch with an anecdote unknown, and of little interest to the public; but which will constitute another contribution to that mighty monument, which a grateful people have in their hearts, consecrated to his memory-based upon the public and private acts of a life dedicated to justice and to his country.
My father, born on the 15th December, 1753, was only twentyone when he was wounded in the head and won his first laurels at the Battle of Bunker Hill; and only a little over twenty-two, when promoted from the staff of Gen. Putnam to be Aid-de-Camp to Gen. Washington, on the 21st April, 1776. He raised his regiment, the Third Connecticut, in 1777; and was taken prisoner as second in command to Gen. Parsons in his unfortunate expedition to Long Island, when crossing the Sound, on the morning of the 10th December, 1777.
Washington, with whom my father was a favorite, was in the habit of saying, that his Aid-de-Camp, Col. Cary, was “the handsomest, and his Aid-de-Camp and private secretary, Col. Webb, was the most accomplished gentleman in the army.” My father having inherited a fortune, was furloughed by his chief, in 1777, after the successes in New Jersey, in order that he might raise the Third Connecticut Regiment,—which he did chiefly with his own mcans. That is, he made all the necessary advances, and