Letter from Timothy Bigelow to Stephen Salisbury, October 7 and 14, 1777
Throughout the Revolution, war news was conveyed through personal letters, as is evident by these two letters written by Timothy Bigelow (1739-90) to Stephen Salisbury (1746-1829). At this time Bigelow was a colonel in command of the Fifteenth Massachusetts and was engaged in the Battle of Saratoga in the autumn of 1777. In the first letter, dated October 7, he describes the high morale and comradery of the American forces. In the second he describes the death of the British general Simon Fraser (1729-77), and how this loss of a key commander resulted in American forces taking the field that day. Bigelow further accurately speculates that the Saratoga campaign will likely soon end with a British defeat.
Stephen Salisbury was a wealthy merchant in the central Massachusetts community of Worcester, which was also the hometown of Bigelow. The two men were friends, having served together on the town’s Committee of Correspondence before war broke out. As a storekeeper, Salisbury would have been in possession of plenty of sugar and capable of sending it to Bigelow as he requests in the first letter.
A transcription of the letters can be found here.