Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 9 January 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 9 January 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dear Dedham January 9. 1777

The irresistable Hospitality of Dr. Sprague and his Lady has prevailed upon me, and my worthy Fellow Traveller, to put up at his 144happy Seat.—We had an agreable Ride to this Place, and tomorrow Morning We sett off, for Providence, or some other Rout.1

Present my affection, in the tenderest Manner to my little deserving Daughter and my amiable sons.

It was cruel Parting this Morning. My Heart was most deeply affected, altho, I had the Presence of Mind, to appear composed.

May God almightys Providence protect you, my dear, and all our little ones. My good Genius, my Guardian Angell whispers me, that We shall see happier Days, and that I shall live to enjoy the Felicities of domestic Life, with her whom my Heart esteems above all earthly Blessings.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA: “Jan 9.” (These penciled docketings continue on JA's letters through February and were probably made late in March when AA inventoried the letters she had so far received from him; see AA to JA, 26 March, below.)


JA's host was Dr. John Sprague, a well-to-do physician and warm patriot who has been mentioned earlier in these letters; on Sprague's house in Dedham see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 10:241. Accompanying JA were his servant (John Turner) and one of the two recently elected additional Massachusetts delegates, James Lovell. JA's somewhat imperfect account with Massachusetts for his expenses on this journey is printed from the Adams Papers in his Diary and Autobiography , 2:252–253, and his experiences on the way are rather fully described in his letters to AA that follow here. Under the threat of Howe's army in the Jerseys, Congress had adjourned from Philadelphia on 12 Dec. 1776 and reassembled at Baltimore on the 20th ( JCC , 6:1027–1028). The travelers took a wide arc around the opposing armies, and their precise itinerary is given in a paper docketed by JA “Mr. Lovells Account,” which is receipted by Lovell to JA and is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date 1776–1777 (but should be Jan. 1777). The itinerary and payments for food, lodgings, &c. (for the whole party of men and horses), are given by Lovell as follows:

Dedham 6:
Medfield 4: 6
Medway 7:
Mendon 1: 1:
Duglass 2:
Killingly 4:
Thompson 9: 4
Pomfrett 4:
Kenneday 5:
Windham 15: 6
Coventry 6: 8
East Hartford 10: 6
Hartford 1: 6: 6
Farmington 6:
Southington 15: 6
Waterbury 5:
Woodbury 15: 2
New Milford 7:
New Fairfield 14:
Beekman's Precinct 6:
Fish Kills 16:
Hackinsac 11: 3
Pokeepsie 1: 2:
River North 3: 7
New Marlbro' 1: 6
New Windsor 9:
Bethlehem 13: 10
Goshen 5: 8
Warwick 7: 4
Hardystown 14:
Sussex Court House 10: 6
Log Jail 1: 4
Oxford Township 9: 4
Oxford 8:
Greenwich 4:
Delaware River 1: 10
East Town 1: 18: 8
Bethlehem 2: 16: 11
Ferry 1: 3
Chester 1: 3
Wilmington 8:
Newark 14: 6
Notingham 19: 9
Susquehannah 12: 10
Hartford 1: 2: 6
Godsgraces 18: 7
27: 12: 1

JA's two-thirds share is indicated as £18 8s.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 January 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 January 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Hartford Jan. 13. 1777

The Riding has been so hard and rough, and the Weather so cold that We have not been able to push farther than this Place. My little Colt has performed very well hitherto, and I think will carry me through the Journey, very pleasantly.

Our Spirits have been cheered, by two or three Pieces of good News, which Commissary Trumble1 who is now with me, tells us, he saw Yesterday in a Letter from General Washington, who has gained another considerable Advantage of the Enemy at Stonny Brook in the Jersies, as General Putnam has gained another at Burlington, and the Jersy Militia a third.2 The Particulars, you will have before this reaches you in the public Prints.

The Communication of Intelligence begins to be more open, and We have no Apprehensions of Danger in the Rout We shall take.

How Howe has Reason to repent of his Rashness, and will have more.

My Love to my dear little ones. They are all very good Children and I have no doubt will continue so. I will drop a Line as often as I can. Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; franked: “Free John Adams”; docketed in pencil by AA.


Joseph Trumbull (1737–1778), Harvard 1756 ( DAB ).


These were actions in Washington's daring and highly successful winter campaign to drive in the British and Hessian advanced posts in New Jersey, resulting in American victories at Trenton and Princeton. See his letters to Pres. Hancock, 27 Dec. 1776 and 5 Jan. 1777 (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 6:441–444, 467–471).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 January 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 January 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Hartford Jany. 14. 1777

It is now generally believed here that G. Washington has killed and taken at least two Thousands of Mr. Howes Army since Christmas. Indeed the Evidence of it is from the Generals own Letters. You know I ever thought Mr. Hows march through the Jerseys a rash Step. It has proved so—but how much more so would it have been 146thought if the Americans could all have viewed it in that light and exerted themselves as they might and ought. The whole Flock would infallibly have been taken in the Net.

The little Nest of Hornets in Rhode Island—is it to remain unmolested this Winter? The Honour of New England is concerned—if they are not crushed I will never again glory in being a N.E. man. There are now N.E. Generals, Officers and soldiers and if something is not done, any Man may after that call New England men Poltroons with all my Heart.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.