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1775. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
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ANSWER TO AN ADDRESS OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS.1
4 July, 1775.
Your kind congratulations on my appointment and arrival, demand my warmest acknowledgments, and will ever be retained in grateful remembrance.
In exchanging the enjoyments of domestic life for the duties of my present honorable but arduous station, I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of the Massachusetts Bay, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example in modern history, have sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life, in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country. My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating those rights, and to see this devoted province again restored to peace, liberty, and safety.
The short space of time, which has elapsed since my arrival, does not permit me to decide upon the state of the army. The course of human affairs forbids an expectation that troops formed under such circumstances should at once possess the order, regularity, and discipline of veterans. Whatever deficiencies there may be, will, I doubt not, soon be made up by the activity and zeal of the officers, and the docility and obedience of the men. These qualities, united with their native bravery and spirit, will afford a happy presage of success, and put a final period to those distresses, which now overwhelm this once happy country.1
I most sincerely thank you, Gentlemen, for your declaration of readiness at all times to assist me in the discharge of the duties of my station. They are so complicated and extended, that I shall need the assistance of every good man, and lover of his country. I therefore repose the utmost confidence in your aid.
In return for your affectionate wishes to myself, permit me to say, that I earnestly implore that divine Being, in whose hands are all human events, to make you and your constituents as distinguished in private and public happiness, as you have been by ministerial oppression, and private and public distress.1
TO JAMES WARREN, PRESIDENT OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 10 July, 1775.
After much difficulty and delay, I have procured such returns of the state of the army, as will enable us to form a judgment of its strength. It is with great concern I find it inadequate to our general expectations, and the duties that may be required of it. The number of men fit for duty in the forces raised in this province, including all the outposts and artillery, does not amount to nine thousand. The troops raised in the other colonies are more complete, but yet fall short of their establishment; so that, upon the whole, I cannot estimate the present army at more than fourteen thousand five hundred men capable of duty. I have the satisfaction to find the troops, both in camp and quarters, very healthy; so that the deficiency must arise from the regiments never having been filled up to the establishment, and the number of men on furlough; but the former cause is by much the most considerable. Under all these circumstances, I yesterday called a council of war, and enclosed I send you an extract of our determinations, so far as they respect the province of Massachusetts Bay.1 Your own prudence will suggest the necessity of secrecy on this subject, as we have the utmost reason to believe, that the enemy suppose our numbers much greater than they are, an error which it is not our interest to remove.
The great extent of our lines, and the uncertainty where may be the point of attack, added to the necessity of immediate support, have induced me to order that horses ready saddled should be kept at several posts, in order to bring the most early intelligence of any movement of the enemy. For this purpose, I should be glad that ten horses may be provided as soon as possible. I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
P. S. As I am informed, that the Congress proposes to rise immediately, I should be glad to know what committees are left, or upon whom the executive business devolves.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1
Camp atCambridge July 10, 1775.
I arrived safe at this Place on the 3d inst., after a Journey attended with a good deal of Fatigue, and retarded by necessary Attentions to the successive Civilities which accompanied me in my whole Rout. Upon my arrival, I immediately visited the several Posts occupied by our Troops, and as soon as the Weather permitted, reconnoitred those of the Enemy. I found the latter strongly entrench’d on Bunker’s Hill about a Mile from Charlestown, and advanced about half a Mile from the Place of the last Action, with their Centries extended about 150 Yards on this side of the narrowest Part of the Neck leading from this Place to Charlestown; 3 floating Batteries lay in Mystick River, near their camp; and one 20 Gun Ship below the Ferry Place between Boston and Charlestown. They have also a Battery on Copse Hill, on the Boston side, which much annoyed our Troops in the late attack. Upon the Neck, they are also deeply entrenched and strongly fortified. Their advanced Guards ’till last Saturday morning, occupied Brown’s Houses, about a mile from Roxbury Meeting House and 20 roods from their Lines: But at that Time a Party from General Thomas’s Camp surprized the Guard, drove them in and burnt the houses.2 The Bulk of their Army commanded by Genl. Howe, lays on Bunker’s Hill, and the Remainder on Roxbury Neck, except the Light Horse, and a few Men in the Town of Boston. On our side we have thrown up Intrenchments on Winter and Prospect Hills, the Enemies camp in full View at the Distance of little more than a Mile.1 Such intermediate Points, as would admit a Landing, I have since my arrival taken care to strengthen, down to Sewall’s Farm, where a strong Entrenchment has been thrown up. At Roxbury General Thomas has thrown up a strong Work on the Hill, about 200 Yards above the Meeting House which with the Broken-ness of the Ground and great Number of Rocks has made that Pass very secure.2 The Troops raised in New Hampshire, with a Regiment from Rhode Island occupy Winter Hill. A Part of those from Connecticut under General Puttnam are on Prospect Hill. The Troops in this Town are intirely of the Massachusetts: The Remainder of the Rhode Island Men, are at Sewall’s Farm: Two Regiments of Connecticut and 9 of the Massachusetts are at Roxbury. The Residue of the Army, to the Number of about 700, are posted in several small Towns along the Coast, to prevent the Depredations of the Enemy: Upon the whole, I think myself authorized to say, that considering the great Extent of Line, and the nature of the Ground we are as well secured as could be expected in so short a Time and under the Disadvantages we labour. These consist in a Want of Engineers to construct proper Works and direct the men, a Want of Tools, and a sufficient Number of Men to man the Works in Case of an attack. You will observe by the Proceedings of the Council of War, which I have the Honor to enclose, that it is our unanimous Opinion to hold and defend these Works as long as possible. The Discouragement it would give the Men and its contrary Effects on the ministerial Troops, thus to abandon our Incampment in their Face, form’d with so much Labor, added to the certain Destruction of a considerable and valuable Extent of Country, and our Uncertainty of finding a Place in all Respects so capable of making a stand, are leading Reasons for this Determination: at the same Time we are very sensible of the Difficulties which attend the Defence of Lines of so great extent, and the Dangers which may ensue from such a Division of the Army.
My earnest Wishes to comply with the Instructions of the Congress in making an early and complete Return of the State of the Army, has led into an involuntary Delay in addressing you, which has given me much Concern. Having given orders for this Purpose immediately on my Arrival, and unapprized of the imperfect Obedience which had been paid to those of the like Nature from General Ward, I was led from Day to Day to expect they would come in, and therefore detained the Messenger. They are not now so complete as I could wish, but much Allowance is to be made for Inexperience in Forms, and a Liberty which has been taken (not given) on this subject. These Reasons I flatter myself will no longer exist, and of Consequence more Regularity and exactness in future prevail. This, with a necessary attention to the Lines, the Movements of the Ministerial Troops, and our immediate Security, must be my Apology, which I beg you lay before the Congress with the utmost Duty and Respect.
We labor under great Disadvantages for Want of Tents, for tho’ they have been help’d out by a Collection of now useless sails from the Sea Port Towns, the Number is yet far short of our Necessities. The Colleges and Houses of this Town are necessarily occupied by the Troops which affords another Reason for keeping our present Situation: But I most sincerely wish the whole Army was properly provided to take the Field, as I am well assured, that besides greater Expedition and Activity in case of Alarm, it would highly conduce to Health and discipline. As Materials are not to be had here, I would beg leave to recommend the procuring a farther supply from Philadelphia as soon as possible.1
I should be extremely deficient in Gratitude, as well as Justice, if I did not take the first opportuny to acknowledge the Readiness and Attention which the provincial Congress and different Committees have shewn to make every Thing as convenient and agreeable as possible: but there is a vital and inherent Principle of Delay incompatible with military service in transacting Business thro’ such numerous and different Channels. I esteem it therefore my Duty to represent the Inconvenience that must unavoidably ensue from a dependence on a Number of Persons for supplies, and submit it to the Consideration of the Congress whether the publick Service will not be best promoted by appointing a Commissary General for these purposes. We have a striking Instance of the Preference of such a Mode in the Establishment of Connecticut, as their Troops are extremely well provided under the Direction of Mr. Trumbull, and he has at different Times assisted others with various Articles. Should my Sentiments happily coincide with those of your Honors, on this subject, I beg leave to recommend Mr. Trumbull as a very proper Person for this Department. In the Arrangement of Troops collected under such Circumstances, and upon the Spur of immediate Necessity several Appointments are omitted, which appear to be indispensably necessary for the good Government of the Army, particularly a Quartermaster General, a Commissary of Musters and a Commissary of Artillery. These I must Earnestly recommend to the Notice and Provision of the Congress.1
I find myself already much embarrassed for Want of a Military Chest; these embarrassments will increase every day: I must therefore request that Money may be forwarded as soon as Possible. The want of this most necessary Article, will I fear produce great Inconveniences if not prevented by an early Attention. I find the Army in general, and the Troops raised in Massachusetts in particular, very deficient in necessary Cloathing.2 Upon Inquiry there appears no Probability of obtaining any supplies in this Quarter. And the best Consideration of this Matter I am able to form, I am of Opinion that a Number of hunting Shirts not less than 10,000, would in a great Degree remove this Difficulty in the cheapest and quickest manner. I know nothing in a speculative View more trivial, yet if put in Practice would have a happier Tendency to unite the Men, and abolish those Provincial Distinctions which lead to Jealousy and Dissatisfaction. In a former part of this Letter I mentioned the want of Engineers; I can hardly express the Disappointment I have experienced on this Subject. The Skill of those we have, being very imperfect and confined to the mere manual Exercise of Cannon: Whereas—the War in which we are engaged requires a Knowledge comprehending the Duties of the Field and Fortifications.1 If any Persons thus qualified are to be found in the Southern Colonies, it would be of great publick Service to forward them with all expedition. Upon the Article of Ammunition I must re-echo the former Complaints on this Subject: We are so exceedingly destitute, that our Artillery will be of little Use without a supply both large and seasonable: What we have must be reserved for the small Arms, and that managed with the utmost Frugality.
I am sorry to observe that the Appointments of the General Officers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay have by no Means corresponded with the Judgement and Wishes of either the civil or Military. The great Dissatisfaction expressed on this Subject and the apparent Danger of throwing the Army into the utmost Disorder, together with the strong Representations of the Provincial Congress, have induced me to retain the Commissions in my Hands untill the Pleasure of the Congress should be farther known, (except General Puttnam’s which was given the Day I came into Camp and before I was apprized of these Uneasinesses.)1 In such a Step I must beg the Congress will do me the Justice I believe, that I have been actuated solely by a Regard to the publick Good. I have not, nor could have any private Attachments; every Gentleman in Appointment, was an intire Stranger to me but from Character. I must therefore rely upon the Candor of the Congress for their favorable Construction of my Conduct in this Particular. General Spencer was so much disgusted at the preference given to General Puttnam that he left the Army without visiting me, or making known his Intentions in any respect.2 General Pomroy had also retired before my Arrival, occasioned (as is said) by some Disappointment from the Provincial Congress.3 General Thomas is much esteemed and earnestly desired to continue in the service: and as far as my Opportunities have enabled me to judge I must join in the general opinion that he is an able good Officer and his Resignation would be a publick Loss. The postponing him to Pomroy and Heath whom he has commanded would make his Continuance very difficult, and probably operate on his Mind, as the like Circumstance has done on that of Spencer.1
The State of the Army you will find ascertained with tolerable Precision in the Returns which accompany this Letter.2 Upon finding the Number of men to fall so far short of the Establishment, and below all Expectation, I immediately called a Council of the general Officers, whose opinion as to the mode of filling up the Regiments, and providing for the present Exigency, I have the Honor of inclosing together with the best Judgment we are able to form of the ministerial Troops. From the Number of Boys, Deserters, and Negroes which have been inlisted in the troops of this Province, I entertain some doubts whether the number required can be raised here; and all the General Officers agree that no Dependance can be put on the militia for a Continuance in Camp, or Regularity and Discipline during the short Time they may stay.1 This unhappy and devoted Province has been so long in a State of Anarchy, and the Yoke of ministerial Oppression been laid so heavily on it that great Allowances are to be made for Troops raised under such Circumstances: The Deficiency of Numbers, Discipline and Stores can only lead to this Conclusion, that their Spirit has exceeded their Strength. But at the same Time I would humbly submit to the consideration of the Congress, the Propriety of making some farther Provision of Men from the other Colonies. If these Regiments should be completed to their Establishment, the Dismission of those unfit for Duty on account of their Age and Character would occasion a considerable Reduction, and at all events they have been inlisted upon such Terms, that they may be disbanded when other Troops arrive: But should my apprehensions be realized, and the Regiments here not filled up, the publick Cause would suffer by an absolute Dependance upon so doubtful an Event, unless some Provision is made against such a Disappointment.1
It requires no military Skill to judge of the Difficulty of introducing proper Discipline and Subordination into an Army while we have the Enemy in View, and are in daily Expectation of an Attack, but it is of so much Importance that every Effort will be made which Time and Circumstance will admit. In the mean Time I have a sincere Pleasure in observing that there are Materials for a good Army, a great number of able bodied Men, active zealous in the Cause and of unquestionable courage.2
I am now Sir, to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 28th Inst. inclosing the Resolutions of the Congress of the 27th ult. and a Copy of a Letter from the Committee of Albany, to all which I shall pay due Attention.
General Gates and Sullivan have both arrived in good Health. My best Abilities are at all Times devoted to the Service of my Country, but I feel the Weight Importance and variety of my present Duties too sensibly, not to wish a more immediate and frequent Communication with the Congress. I fear it may often happen in the Course of our present Operations, that I shall need that Assistance and Direction from them which Time and Distance will not allow me to receive.1
Since writing the above, I have also to acknowledge your Favour of the 4th Inst. by Fessenden, and the Receipt of the Commission and Articles of War. The Former are yet 800 short of the number required, this deficiency you will please supply as soon as you conveniently can. Among the other Returns, I have also sent one of our killed, wounded and missing in the late Action, but have been able to procure no certain Account of the Loss of the ministerial Troops, my best Intelligence fixes it at about 500 killed and 6 or 700 wounded; but it is no more than Conjecture, the utmost Pains being taken on their side to conceal it.1
P. S. Having ordered the commanding Officer to give me the earliest Intelligence of every Motion of the Enemy, by Land or Water, discoverable from the Heighths of his Camp, I this inst., as I was closing my Letter received the enclosed from the Brigade Major. The Design of this Manuœvre I know not, perhaps it may be to make a Descent some where along the Coast; it may be for New York, or it may be practised as a Deception on Us. I thought it not improper however to mention the matter to you. I have done the same to the commanding Officer at New York, and I shall let it be known to the Committee of Safety here, so that the Intelligence may be communicated as they shall think best along the Sea Coast of this Government.
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE, IN CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 10 July, 1775.
I was exceeding glad to receive a letter from you, as I always shall be whenever it is convenient; though perhaps my hurry, till such time as matters are drawn a little out of the chaos they appear in at present, will not suffer me to write you such full and satisfactory answers, or give such clear and precise accounts of our situation and views, as I could wish, or you might expect. After a journey, a good deal retarded, principally by the desire of the different townships through which I travelled of showing respect to the general of your armies, I arrived here on this day week; since which I have been laboring with as much assiduity by fair and threatening means, to obtain returns of our strength in this camp and Roxbury and their dependencies, as a man could do, and never have been able to accomplish the matter till this day; and now, I will not answer for the correctness of them, although I have sent several of the regimental returns back more than once to have mistakes rectified.
I do not doubt but the Congress will think me very remiss in not writing to them sooner; but you may rely on it yourself, and I beg you to assure them, that it has never been in my power till this day to comply with their orders. Could I have conceived, that what ought, and, in a regular army, would have been done in an hour, would employ eight days, I should have sent an express on the second morning after I arrived, with a general account of things; but expecting in the morning to receive the returns in the evening, and in the evening surely to find them in the morning, and at last getting them full of imperfections, I have been drilled on from day to day, till I am ashamed to look back at the time, which has elapsed since my arrival here. You will perceive by the returns, that we have but about sixteen thousand effective men in all this department, whereas, by the accounts which I received from even the first officers in command, I had no doubt of finding between eighteen and twenty thousand; out of these there are only fourteen thousand fit for duty. So soon as I was able to get this state of the army, and came to the knowledge of our weakness, I immediately summoned a council of war, the result of which you will see, as it is enclosed to the Congress. Between you and me, I think we are in an exceedingly dangerous situation, as our numbers are not much larger than we suppose those of the enemy to be, from the best accounts we are able to get. They are situated in such a manner, as to be drawn to any point of attack, without our having an hour’s previous notice of it, if the General will keep his own counsel; whereas we are obliged to be guarded at all points, and know not where, with precision to look for them.
I should not, I think, have made choice of the present posts, in the first instance, although I believe the communication between the town and country could not have been so well cut off without them; and, as much labor has been bestowed in throwing up lines, and making redoubts; as Cambridge, Roxbury, and Watertown must be immediately exposed to the mercy of the enemy, were we to retreat a little further into the country; as it would give a general dissatisfaction to this colony, dispirit our own people, and encourage the enemy, to remove at this time to another place; we have for these reasons resolved in council to maintain our ground if we can. Our lines on Winter and Prospect Hills, and those of the enemy on Bunker’s Hill, are in full view of each other, a mile distant, our advance guards much nearer, and the sentries almost near enough to converse; at Roxbury and Boston Neck it is the same. Between these, we are obliged to guard several of the places at which the enemy may land. They have strongly fortified, or will fortify in a few days, their camps and Bunker’s Hill; after which, and when their newly landed troops have got a little refreshed, we shall look for a visit, if they mean, as we are told they do, to come out of their lines. Their great command of artillery, and adequate stores of powder, give them advantages, which we have only to lament the want of.
The abuses in this army, I fear, are considerable, and the new modelling of it, in the face of an enemy, from whom we every hour expect an attack, is exceedingly difficult and dangerous. If things therefore should not turn out as the Congress would wish, I hope they will make proper allowances. I can only promise and assure them, that my whole time is devoted to their service, and that as far as my judgment goes, they shall have no cause to complain.1 I need not tell you, that this letter is written in much haste; the fact will sufficiently appear from the face of it. I thought a hasty letter would please you better than no letter, and, therefore, I shall offer no further apology, but assure you, that, with sincere regard for my fellow laborers with you, and Dr. Shippen’s family, I am, dear Sir, your most affectionate servant.
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.1
Cambridge, 18 July, 1775.
It is with no small concern, that I find the arrangement of general officers, made by the honorable Continental Congress, has produced much dissatisfaction. As the army is upon a general establishment, their right, to supersede and control a Provincial one, must be unquestionable; and, in such a cause, I should hope every post would be deemed honorable, which gave a man opportunity to serve his country.
A representation from the Congress of this province, with such remarks as occurred to me on this subject, is now before the Continental Congress.1 In the mean time, I beg leave to assure you, that, unbiassed by any private attachments, I shall studiously endeavor to reconcile their pretensions to their duty, and so dispose them, as to prevent, as far as possible, any inconvenience to the public service from this competition. I have the honor to be, &c.2
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 21 July, 1775.
Since I did myself the Honor of addressing you the 14th instt I have received Advice from Govr Trumbull, that the Assembly of Connecticut had voted, and that they are now raising two Regiments of 700 Men each, in Consequence of an Application from the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts Bay. The Rhode Island Assembly has also made an Augmentation for this purpose1 ; these Reinforcements with the Riffle Men who are daily expected, and such Recruits as may come in, to fill up the Regiments here, will I apprehend compose an Army sufficiently strong, to oppose any force which may be brought against us at present. I am very sensible, that the heavy expence necessarily attendant upon this Campaign, will call for the utmost Frugality and Care, and would therefore if possible avoid inlisting one unnecessary Man. As this is the first certain Account of the Destination of these new raised Troops, I thought proper to communicate my Sentiments as early as possible; least the Congress should act upon my Letter of the 10th, and raise Troops in the Southern Colonies, which in my present Judgment may be dispens’d with.
In these 8 Days past there have been no movements in either Camp of any consequence. On our side, we have continued the Works without any Intermission, and they are now so far advanced, as to leave us little to apprehend on that Score. On the side of the Enemy, they have also been very industrious in finishing their Lines both on Bunker’s Hill, and Roxbury Neck. In this Interval also their Transports have arrived from New York, and they have been employed in landing and stationing their Men. I have been able to collect no certain Account of the Numbers arrived, but the inclosed Letter, wrote (tho’ not signed) by Mr. Sheriff Lee, and delivered me by Capt Darby, (who went Express with an Account of the Lexington Battle,) will enable us to form a pretty accurate Judgment. The Increase of Tents and Men in the Town of Boston, is very obvious, but all my Accounts from thence agree, that there is a great Mortality occasioned by the Want of Vegetables and fresh Meat: and that their Loss in the late Battle at Charles Town (from the few Recoveries of their Wounded) is greater than at first supposed. The Condition of the Inhabitants detained in Boston is very distressing, they are equally destitute of the Comfort of fresh Provisions, and many of them are so reduced in their Circumstances, as to be unable to supply themselves with salt: Such Fish as the Soldiery leave, is their principal support. Added to all this, such Suspicion and Jealousy prevails, that they can scarcely speak, or even look, without exposing themselves to some Species of military Execution.
I have not been able from any Intelligence I have received, to form any certain Judgment of the future Operations of the Enemy. Some Times I have suspected an intention of detaching a part of their Army to some Part of the Coast; as they have been building a number of flat bottom’d Boats capable of holding 200 Men each. But from their Works, and the Language held at Boston, there is Reason to think, they expect the Attack from us, and are principally engaged in preparing themselves against it. I have ordered all the Whale Boats along the Coast to be collected, and some of them are employed every Night to watch the Motions of the Enemy by Water, so as to guard as much as possible against any surprize.
Upon my arrival and since, some Complaints have been preferr’d against Officers for Cowardice in the late Action on Bunkers Hill. Though there were several strong Circumstances and a very general Opinion against them, none have been condemned, except a Captn Callender of the Artillery, who was immediately cashier’d.1 I have been sorry to find it an uncontradicted Fact, that the principal failure of Duty that day was in the Officers, tho’ many of them distinguish’d themselves by their gallant Behavior. The Soldiers generally shew’d great Spirit and Resolution.
Next to the more immediate and pressing Duties of putting our Lines in as secure a State as possible, attending to the Movements of the Enemy, and gaining Intelligence, my great Concern is to establish Order, Regularity and Discipline: without which, our numbers would embarass us, and in case of Action general Confusion must infallibly ensue. In order to this, I propose to divide the Army into three Divisions at the Head of each will be a General Officer—these Divisions to be again subdivided into Brigades, under their respective Brigadiers1 ; but the Difficulty arising from the Arrangement of the General Officers, and waiting the farther Proceedings of the Congress on this Subject, has much retarded my Progress in this most necessary Work. I should be very happy to receive their final Commands, as any Determination would enable me to proceed in my Plan.2
General Spencer returned to the Camp two Days ago, and has consented to serve under Puttnam, rather than leave the Army intirely. I have heard nothing from General Pomroy, should he wholly retire, I apprehend it will be necessary to supply his Place as soon as possible. General Folsom proposes also to retire. In addition to the Officers mentioned in mine of the 10. Instt, I would humbly propose that some Provision should be made for a Judge Advocate, and Provost Marshal—the Necessity of the first appointment was so great, that I was obliged to nominate a Mr Tudor, who was well recommended to me, and now executes the Office, under an Expectation of receiving a Captain’s pay; an Allowance, in my Opinion, scarcely adequate to the Service in new raised Troops, when there are Court Martials every Day. However as that is the Proportion in the regular Army, and he is contented, there will be no Necessity of an Addition.
I must also renew my Request as to Money, and the Appointment of a Paymaster: I have forbore urging Matters of this Nature from my Knowledge of the many important Concerns which engage the Attention of the Congress; but as I find my Difficulties thicken every Day, I make no Doubt suitable Regard will be paid to a Necessity of this Kind. The Inconvenience of borrowing such Sums as are constantly requisite must be too plain for me to enlarge upon, and is a Situation, from which I should be very happy to be relieved.
Upon the Experience I have had, and the best Consideration of the Appointment of the several Offices of Commissary Genl, Muster master Genl, Quarter Master Genl, Paymaster Genl and Commissary of Artillery, I am clearly of Opinion that they not only conduce to Order, Despatch and Discipline, but that it is a Measure of Oeconomy. The Delay, the Waste, and unpunishable Neglect of Duty arising from these Offices being in Commission, in several Hands, evidently show that the publick Expence must be finally enhanced. I have experienced the Want of these Officers, in completing the Returns of Men, Ammunition, and Stores, the latter are yet imperfect, from the Number of Hands in which they are dispers’d. I have inclosed the last weekly Return which is more accurate than the former, and hope in a little Time we shall be perfectly regular in this, as well as several other necessary Branches of Duty.
I have made Inquiry into the Establishment of the Hospital, and find it in a very unsettled Condition. There is no principal Director, or any Subordination among the Surgeons, of Consequence, Disputes and Contention have arisen, and must continue, untill it is reduced to some system. I could wish it was immediately taken into Consideration, as the Lives and Health of both Officers and Men, so much depend upon a due Regulation of this Department.1 I have been particularly attentive to the least Symptoms of the small Pox and hitherto we have been so fortunate, as to have every person removed so soon, as not only to prevent any Communication, but any Alarm or Apprehension it might give in the Camp. We shall continue the utmost Vigilance against this most dangerous Enemy.
In an Army properly organized, there are sundry Offices of an Inferior kind, such as Waggon Master, Master Carpenter, &c, but I doubt whether my Powers are sufficiently extensive for such Appointments: If it is thought proper to repose such a Trust in me, I shall be governed in the Discharge of it, by a strict Regard to Oeconomy, and the publick Interest.
My Instructions from the Hon Congress direct that no Troops are to be disbanded without their express Direction, nor to be recruited to more than double the Number of the Enemy. Upon this Subject, I beg Leave to represent, that unless the Regiments in this Province, are more successful in recruiting than I have Reason to expect, a Reduction of some of them, will be highly necessary; as the Publick is put to the whole Expense of an Establishment of Officers, while the real Strength of the Regiment, which consists in the Rank and file, is defective. In Case of such a Reduction doubtless some of the Privates, and all the Officers would return Home; but many of the former, would go into the remaining Regiments, and having had some Experience would fill them up with useful Men. I so plainly perceive the Expence of this Campaign, will exceed any Calculation hitherto made, that I am particularly anxious to strike off every unnecessary Charge. You will therefore, Sir, be pleased to favor me with explicit Directions from the Congress on the Mode of this Reduction, if it shall appear necessary, that no Time may be lost when such Necessity appears.
Yesterday we had an Account that the Light House was on Fire—by whom, and under what Orders, I have not yet learned. But we have Reason to believe, it has been done by some of our Irregulars.
You will please to present me to the Congress with the utmost Duty, and Respect.
P. S. Capt. Darby’s Stay in England was so short, that he brings no other Information than what the inclosed Letter, and the News Papers which will accompany this, contain1 —General Gage’s Dispatches had not arrived, and the Ministry affected to disbelieve the whole Account—treating it as a Fiction or at most an Affair of little Consequence. The Fall of Stocks was very inconsiderable.1
21 July, 1775, Five o’Clock P. M.
Since closing the Letters which accompany this I have received an Account of the Destruction of the Light House, a Copy of which I have the Honor to inclose.1
P. S. I have also received a more authentick Account of the Loss of the Enemy in the late Battle than any yet received. Dr. Winship who lodged in the same House with an Officer of the Marines assures me they had exactly 1043 killed and wounded, of whom 300 fell on the Field or died within a few Hours. Many of the wounded are since dead.1
TO GENERAL THOMAS.2
23 July, 1775.
The retirement of a General Officer possessing the confidence of his country and the army at so critical a period, appears to me to be big with fatal consequences both to the public cause and his own reputation. While it is unexecuted I think it my duty to use this last effort to prevent it, and your own virtue and good sense must decide upon it. In the usual contests of empire and ambition, the conscience of a soldier has so little share, that he may very properly insist upon his claims of rank, and extend his pretensions even to punctilio;—but in such a cause as this, when the object is neither glory nor extent of territory, but a defence of all that is dear and valuable in private and public life, surely every post ought to be deemed honorable in which a man can serve his country. What matter of triumph will it afford our enemies, that in less than one month, a spirit of discord should show itself in the highest ranks of the army, not to be extinguished by any thing less than a total desertion of duty. How little reason shall we have to boast of American union and patriotism, if at such a time and in such a cause smaller and partial considerations cannot give way to the great and general interest. These remarks not only affect you as a member of the great American body, but as an inhabitant of Massachusetts Bay. Your own Province and the other Colonies have a peculiar and unquestionable claim to your services, and in my opinion you cannot refuse without relinquishing in some degree that character of public virtue and honor which you have hitherto supported. If our cause is just, it ought to be supported; but when shall it find support if gentlemen of merit and experience, unable to conquer the prejudices of a competition, withdraw themselves in the hour of danger? I admit, Sir, that your just claims and services have not had due respect,—it is by no means a singular case,—worthy men of all nations and countries have had reasons to make the same complaint, but they did not for this abandon the public cause,—they nobly stifled the dictates of resentment, and made their enemies ashamed of their injustice. And can America afford no such instances of magnanimity? For the sake of your bleeding country,—your devoted Province,—your charter rights,—and by the memories of those brave men who have already fallen in this great cause, I conjure you to banish from your mind every suggestion of anger and disappointment; your country will do ample justice to your merits,—they already do it by the regret and sorrow expressed on this occasion; and the sacrifice you are called to make, will in the judgment of every good man and lover of his country, do you more real honor than the most distinguished victory. You possess the confidence and affection of the troops of this Province particularly;—many of them are not capable of judging the propriety and reasons of your conduct,—should they esteem themselves authorized by your example to leave the service, the consequences may be fatal and irretrievable. There is reason to fear it from the personal attachment of the officers and men, and the obligations that are supposed to arise from these attachments.
But, sir, the other Colonies have also their claims upon you, not only as a native of America, but an inhabitant of this Province. They have made common cause with it, they have sacrificed their trade, loaded themselves with taxes, and are ready to spill their blood, in vindication of the rights of Massachusetts Bay, while all the security and profit of a neutrality have been offered them. But no acts or temptations could seduce them from your side, and leave you a prey to a cruel and perfidious ministry. Sure these reflections must have some weight with a mind as generous and considerate as yours. How will you be able to answer it to your country and to your own conscience, if such a step should lead to a division of the army or the loss and ruin of America be ascribed to measures which your counsels and conduct would have prevented! Before it is too late, I entreat, sir, you would weigh well the greatness of the stake, and upon how much smaller circumstances the fate of empires has depended. Of your own honor and reputation you are the best and only judge; but allow me to say, that a people contending for life and liberty, are seldom disposed to look with a favorable eye upon either men or measures, whose passions, interests or consequences will clash with those inestimable objects. As to myself, Sir, be assured, that I shall with pleasure do all in my power to make your situation both easy and honorable, and that the sentiments I have here expressed flow from a clear opinion that your duty to your country, your posterity, and yourself, most explicitly require your continuance in the service. The order and rank of the commissions is under the consideration of the Continental Congress, whose determination will be received in a few days. It may argue a want of respect to that august body not to wait that decision. But at all events, I shall flatter myself, that these reasons, with others which your own good judgment will suggest, will strengthen your mind against those impressions which are incident to humanity, and laudable to a certain degree, and that the result will be your resolution to assist your country and friends in this day of distress. That you may reap the full reward of honor and public esteem which such a conduct deserves, is the sincere wish of, Sir, Yours, &c—1
TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Camp atCambridge, about 5 miles from Boston, 27 July, 1775.
On the 2nd instant I arrived at this place, after passing through a great deal of delightful country, covered with grass, (although the season has been dry) in a very different manner to what our lands in Virginia are.
I found a mixed multitude of people here, under very little discipline, order, or government; I found the enemy in possession of a place called Bunker’s Hill, on Charles Town Neck, strongly intrenched, and fortifying themselves. I found part of our army on two hills, (called Winter and Prospect Hills) about a mile and a quarter from the enemy on Bunker’s Hill, in a very insecure state; I found another part of the army at this village; and a third part at Roxbury, guarding the entrance in and out of Boston. My whole time, since I came here, has been employed in throwing up lines of defence at these three several places, to secure, in the first instance, our own troops from any attempts of the enemy; and, in the next place, to cut off all communication between their troops and the country. To do this, and to prevent them from penetrating into the country with fire and sword, and to harass them if they do, is all that is expected of me; and if effected, must totally overthrow the designs of administration, as the whole force of Great Britain in the town and harbor of Boston can answer no other end, than to sink her under the disgrace and weight of the expense. Their force, including marines, Tories, &c., are computed, from the best accounts I can get, at about twelve thousand men1 ; ours, including sick absent, &c., at about sixteen thousand; but then we have a semicircle of eight or nine miles, to guard to every part of which we are obliged to be equally attentive; whilst they, situated as it were in the center of the semicircle, can bend their whole force (having the entire command of the water), against any one part of it with equal facility. This renders our situation not very agreeable, though necessary. However, by incessant labor (Sundays not excepted), we are in a much better posture of defence now, than when I first came. The enclosed, though rough, will give you some small idea of the situation of Boston and Bay on this side, as also of the post they have taken on Charles Town Neck, Bunker’s Hill, and our posts.
By very authentic intelligence lately received out of Boston (from a person who saw the returns), the number of regulars (including I presume the marines) the morning of the action on Bunker’s Hill amounted to 7533 men. Their killed and wounded on that occasion amounted to 1043, whereof 92 were officers. Our loss was 138 killed, 38 missing, and 276 wounded.
The enemy are sickly, and scarce of fresh provisions. Beef, which is chiefly got by slaughtering their milch cows in Boston, sells from one shilling to eighteen pence sterling per pound2 ; and that it may not get cheaper, or more plenty, I have drove all the stock, within a considerable distance of this place, back into the country, out of the way of the men-of-war’s boats. In short, I have [done,] and shall continue to do, every thing in my power to distress them. The transports are all arrived, and their whole reinforcement is landed, so that I can see no reason why they should not, if they ever attempt it, come boldly out, and put the matter to issue at once. If they think themselves not strong enough to do this, they surely will carry their arms (having ships of war and transports ready) to some other part of the continent, or relinquish the dispute; the last of which the ministry, unless compelled, will never agree to do.1 Our works, and those of the enemy are so near and quite open between that we see every thing that each other is doing. I recollect nothing more worth mentioning. I shall therefore conclude, with my best wishes and love to my sister and family, and compliments to any inquiring friend, your most affectionate brother.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 28 July, 1775.
I wrote you yesterday by way of New York, and in two hours afterwards was favored with yours of the 15th and 18th instant, with their respective enclosures. I was extremely glad to find your first apprehensions of an incursion by the Indians in some degree removed by the later advices. At the same time, I think it is evident from the spirit and tenor of Colonel Johnson’s letter, that no art or influence will be left untried by him to engage them in such an enterprise. Should he once prevail upon them to dip their hands in blood, mutual hostilities will most probably ensue, and they may be led to take a more decisive part. All accounts I think agree, that the Canadians are very averse to engage in this unnatural contest; but I am persuaded you will not abate in the least your vigilance to expedite every movement in that quarter, notwithstanding their present pacific appearances.1
I am much easier with respect to the public interest since your arrival at Ticonderoga, as I am persuaded those abilities and that zeal for the common welfare, which have led your country to repose such confidence in you, will be fully exerted. From my own experience I can easily judge of your difficulties to introduce order and discipline into troops, who have from their infancy imbibed ideas of the most contrary kind. It would be far beyond the compass of a letter, for me to describe the situation of things here on my arrival. Perhaps you will only be able to judge of it from my assuring you, that mine must be a portrait at full length of what you have had a miniature. Confusion and disorder reigned in every department, which, in a little time, must have ended either in the separation of the army, or fatal contests with one another. The better genius of America has prevailed, and most happily the ministerial troops have not availed themselves of their advantages, till I trust the opportunity is in a great measure past over. The arrangement of the general officers in Massachusetts and Connecticut has been very unpopular, indeed I may say injudicious. It is returned to the Congress for further consideration, and has much retarded my plan of discipline. However, we mend every day, and I flatter myself that in a little time we shall work up these raw materials into a good manufacture. I must recommend to you, what I endeavor to practise myself, patience and perseverance. As to your operations, my dear Sir, I can suggest nothing, which your own good judgment will not either anticipate, or control, from your immediate view of things, and the instructions of the Continental Congress.1
The express from hence to England, with the account of the commencement of hostilities at Lexington, has returned. It was far from making the impression generally expected here. Stocks fell but one and a half per cent. General Gage’s account had not arrived, and the ministry affected to treat it as a fiction. Parliament had been prorogued two days, but it was reported that it would be immediately recalled. Our enemy continues strongly posted about a mile from us, both at Bunker’s Hill and Roxbury, but we are not able to get any information of their future intentions. Part of the riflemen are come in, and the rest daily expected.
I did not expect your returns would be very complete at first; but I must beg your attention to reforming them as soon as possible; and I beg leave to add, that I would have you scrutinize with exactness into the application of provisions and stores. I have the utmost reason to suspect irregularities and impositions here. You will be fortunate if the contagion does not reach you. General Lee has removed about four miles from me, but I will take the first opportunity to make your kind wishes known to him. Col. R [eed] and Major M [ifflin] join me in the best wishes for your health and success. I am, &c.1
TO GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
Camp atCambridge, 31 July, 1775.
I have Considerd the Application2 made me yesterday, from the General Court, with all the attention due to the situation of the People in whose Behalf it is made, & the Respect due to such a Recommendation.
Upon referring to my Instructions and Consulting with those Members of Congress who are present as well as the General Officers; they all agree that it would not be consistent with my duty to detach any Part of the Army now here on any Particular Provincial Service. It has been debated in Congress and Settled that the Militia or other Internal Strength of each Province is to be applied for Defence against those Small and Particular Depredations which were to be expected, & to which they were supposed to be Competent. This will appear the more proper, when it is Consider’d that every Town & indeed every Part of our Sea Coast which is exposed to these Depredations would have an equal Claim upon this Army: It is the misfortune of our situation which exposes us to these Ravages, against which in my Judgment no such Temporary relief would possibly secure us. The great Advantage the Enemy has of Transporting Troops by being Masters of the Sea will enable them to harrass us by Diversions of this kind; and should we be tempted to pursue them upon every Alarm, The Army must either be so weaken’d as to Expose it to Destruction or a great Part of the Coast be still left unprotected:
Nor indeed does it appear to me that such a Pursuit would be attended with the least Effect: The first notice of such an Incursion would be its actual Execution; and long before any Troops could reach the Scene of Action, the Enemy would have an Opportunity to Accomplish their Purpose & retire. It would give me great Pleasure to have it in my Power to extend Protection and Safety to every Individual, but the Wisdom of the General Court will Anticipate me in the Necessity of Conducting our Operations on a General and Impartial Scale, so as to exclude any first Cause of Complaint and Jealousy.1
I beg Sir you will do me the Honor to Communicate these Sentiments to the General Court and to Apologize for my Involuntary Delay: As we were alarm’d this Morning by the Enemy & my Time taken up with giving the Necessary Directions.
I shall be happy in every Opportunity of shewing my very great Respect and Regard for the General Court of Massachusetts Bay.2
TO DEPUTY GOVERNOR COOKE, OF RHODE ISLAND.
Camp atCambridge, 4 August, 1775.
I was yesterday favored with yours of the 31st July. We have yet no certain account of the fleet, which sailed out of Boston on the 25th; but if our conjectures and information are just, we may expect to hear of it every hour.
I am now, Sir, in strict confidence, to acquaint you, that our necessities in the articles of powder and lead are so great, as to require an immediate supply. I must earnestly entreat, you will fall upon some measures to forward every pound of each in the colony, which can possibly be spared. It is not within the propriety or safety of such a correspondence to say what I might upon this subject. It is sufficient, that the case calls loudly for the most strenuous exertions of every friend of his country, and does not admit of the least delay. No quantity, however small, is beneath notice, and, should any arrive, I beg it may be forwarded as soon as possible.1
But a supply of this kind is so precarious, not only from the danger of the enemy, but the opportunity of purchasing, that I have revolved in my mind every other possible chance, and listened to every proposition on the subject, which could give the smallest hope. Among others, I have had one mentioned, which has some weight with me, as well as the general officers to whom I have proposed it. One Harris is lately come from Bermuda, where there is a very considerable magazine of powder in a remote part of the island; and the inhabitants well disposed not only to our cause in general, but to assist in this enterprise in particular. We understand there are two armed vessels in your province, commanded by men of known activity and spirit; one of which, it is proposed to despatch on this errand with such assistance as may be requisite. Harris is to go along, as the conductor of the enterprise, and to avail ourselves of his knowledge of the island; but without any command. I am very sensible, that at first view the project may appear hazardous; and its success must depend on the concurrence of many circumstances; but we are in a situation, which requires us to run all risks. No danger is to be considered, when put in competition with the magnitude of the cause, and the absolute necessity we are under of increasing our stock. Enterprises, which appear chimerical, often prove successful from that very circumstance. Common sense and prudence will suggest vigilance and care, where the danger is plain and obvious; but, where little danger is apprehended, the more the enemy will be unprepared, and consequently there is the fairest prospect of success.1
Mr. Brown2 has been mentioned to me as a very proper person to be consulted upon this occasion. You will judge of the propriety of communicating it to him in part or the whole, and as soon as possible favor me with your sentiments, and the steps you may have taken to forward it. If no immediate and safe opportunity offers, you will please to do it by express. Should it be inconvenient to part with one of the armed vessels, perhaps some other might be fitted out, or you could devise some other mode of executing this plan; so that, in case of a disappointment, the vessel might proceed to some other island to purchase.
My last letter from the honorable Continental Congress recommends my procuring, from the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, a quantity of tow cloth, for the purpose of making Indian or hunting-shirts for the men, many of whom are very destitute of clothing. A pattern will be sent you; and I must request you to give the necessary directions throughout your government, that all the cloth of the above kind may be bought up for this use, and suitable persons set to work to make it up. As soon as any number is made, worth the conveyance, you will please to direct them to be forwarded. It is designed as a species of uniform, both cheap and convenient.
We have had no transactions in either camp since my last, but what are in the public papers, and related with tolerable accuracy. The enemy still continue to strengthen their lines, and we have reason to believe, intend to bombard ours, with the hopes of forcing us out of them. Our poverty in ammunition prevents our making a suitable return.
Since writing the above, Colonel Porter has undertaken to assist in the matter, or to provide some suitable person to accompany Harris to you, who will communicate all the circumstances. I am, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 4 August, 1775.
I am to acknowledge the receipt of your Favor of the 24th July accompanied by 284 Commissions, which are yet much short of the necessary Number. I am much honored by the Confidence reposing in me of appointing the several Officers recommended in mine of the 10th ult.; and shall endeavor to select such Persons, as are best qualified to fill those important Posts.
General Thomas has accepted his Commission and I have heard nothing of his Retirement since, so that I suppose he is satisfied.
In the Renewal of those Commissions some Difficulties occur, in which I should be glad to know the Pleasure of the honbl Congress. The General Officers of the Massachusetts, have Regiments, those of Connecticut, have both Regiments, and Companies, and the other Field Officers have Companies each. From Rhode Island, the General Officer has no Regimt, but the Field Officers have Companies. But I do not find they have, or expect Pay under more than one Commission. Should the Commission now to be delivered supercede these different Establishments, there will be a Distinction between General and Field Officers of the same Rank. In Order to put New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island upon a Line with Connecticut, it would be necessary to dismiss a Number of Officers in Possession of Commissions, without any Fault of theirs; on the other Hand, to bring the Connecticut Generals, and Field Officers to the same Scale with the others, will add to the Number of Officers, and may be deemed inconsistent with the Terms on which they entered into the Service, altho you add nothing to the Expence, except in the Article of Provisions. Upon the whole, it is a Case, which I would wish the Honbl Congress to consider and determine.
Col. Gridley of this Province, who is at the Head of the Artillery has the Rank of Major Genl from the Provincial Congress. Will it be proper to renew his Commission here in the same Manner? It is proper here to remark, that in this Case he will take Rank of all the Brigadiers General, and even the Majors General, whose Commissions are subsequent in Date, and can answer no good Purpose, but may be productive of many bad Consequences.1
These are Matters of some Importance, but I am embarrassed with a Difficulty of a superior kind. The Estimate made in Congress, supposed all the Regiments to be formed upon one Establishment, but they are different in different Provinces; and even vary in the same Province, in some Particulars. In Massachusetts, some Regiments have Ten Companies, others Eleven; The Establishment of the former is 590 Men Officers included, of the latter 649. The Establishment of Rhode Island, and New Hampshire is 590 to a Regiment, Officers included. Connecticut has 1000 Men to a Regiment. Should the Massachusetts Regiments be completed; with the new Levies from Rhode Island and Connecticut and the Riffle Men, the Number will exceed 22,000. If they should not be completed, as each Regiment is fully officer’d, there will be a heavy Expense to the Publick without an adequate Service. The Reduction of some of them seems to be necessary and yet is a Matter of much Delicacy, as we are situated. I most earnestly request it may be taken into immediate Consideration, and the Time and Mode of doing it, pointed out by the Honbl Congress. By an Estimate I have made, from the General Return, when the new Levies arrive, and the Regiments are completed there will be 24,450 Men on the Pay and Provision of the united Colonies. Some of the recruiting Officers who have been out on that Service, have returned with very little Success, so that we may safely conclude, the Number of 2064 now wanting to complete will rather increase than diminish. There are the Regiment of Artillery consisting of 493 Men, and one under Col. Sergeant who has not received any commission, altho he had Orders to raise a Regiment from the Provincial Congress here, which are not included in the above Estimate. This last Regiment consists of 234 Men by the last Return, but a Company has since joined.
By adverting to the General Return, which I have the Honor of inclosing (No. 11 ) it will be seen what Regiments are most deficient.
If the Congress does not chuse to point out the particular Regiments, but the Provinces in which the Reduction is to be made, the several Congresses and Assemblies may be the proper Channell to conduct this Business: which I should also conceive the most adviseable, from their better Acquaintance with the Merits, Terms, and Time of Service of the respective Officers. Reducing some Regiments, and with the Privates thereof, filling up others would certainly be the best Method of accomplishing this Work, if it were practicable; but the Experiment is dangerous, as the Massachusetts Men under the Priviledge of chusing their own Officers, do not conceive themselves bound if those Officers are disbanded.
As General Gage is making Preparations for Winter, by contracting for Quantities of Coal; it will suggest to us the Propriety of extending our Views to that Season. I have directed that such Huts as have been lately made of Boards, should be done in such a Manner, that if necessary they may serve for covering during the Winter; but I need not enlarge upon the Variety of Necessities such as Clothing, Fuel, &c.—both exceedingly scarce and difficult to be procured, which that season must bring with it; if the Army, or any considerable Part of it is to remain embodied. From the Inactivity of the Enemy since the Arrival of their whole Reinforcement, their continual Addition to their lines, and many other Circumstances, I am inclined to think that finding us so well prepared to receive them, the Plan of Operations is varied, and they mean by regular Approaches to bombard us out of our present Line of Defence, or are waiting in Expectation that the Colonies must sink under the Weight of the Expence; or the Prospect of a Winters Campaign, so discourage the Troops as to break up our Army. If they have not some such Expectations the Issue of which they are determined to wait; I cannot account for the Delay, when their Strength is lessened every Day by Sickness, Desertions, and little Skirmishes.
Of these last we have had only two worthy of Notice: Having some Reason to suspect they were extending their Lines at Charles Town, I last Saturday Evening, ordered some of the Riffle Men down to make a Discovery, or bring off a Prisoner. They were accidentally discovered sooner than they expected; by the Guard coming to relieve, and obliged to fire upon them; We have Reason to believe they killed several. They brought in two Prisoners whose Acct confirmed by some other Circumstances removed my Suspicions in part. Since that Time we have on each Side drawn in our Centries, and there have been scattering Fires along the Line. This Evening we have heard of three Captains who have been taken off by the Riffle Men and one killed by a Cannon Shot from Roxbury besides several Privates; but as the Intelligence is not direct, I only mention it as a Report which deserves Credit. The other happened at the Light House. A Number of Workmen have been sent down to repair it with a Guard of 22 Marines and a Subaltern, Major Tupper last Monday Morning about 2 ’Clock landed there with about 300 Men, attack’d them killed the Officer, and 4 Privates; but being detained by the Tide, in his Return he was attack’d by several Boats, but he happily got through with the Loss of one Man killed and another wounded. The Remainder of the ministerial Troops, three of which are badly wounded, he brought off Prisoners, with 10 Tories, all of whom are on their Way to Springfield Gaol. The Riffle Men in this Skirmish lost one Man who we hear is a Prisoner in Boston Gaol. The Enemy in Return endeavored to surprise our Guard at Roxbury, but they being apprized of it by a Deserter, had Time to prepare for it; but by some Negligence or Misconduct in the Officer of the Guard, they burnt the George Tavern on the Neck; and have every day since been cannonading us from their Lines both at Roxbury and Charles Town, but with no other Effect than the Loss of two Men. On our Part except straggling Fires from the small Arms about the Lines which we endeavor to restrain, we have made little or no Return. Our Situation in the Article of Powder is much more alarming than I had the most distant Idea of. Having desired a Return to be made out on my Arrival, of the Ammunition, I found 303½ Bbbl’s of Powder mentioned as in the Store: But on ordering a new Supply of Cartridges yesterday, I was informed to my very great Astonishment that there was no more than 36 Bbbls of the Massachusetts Store, which with the Stock of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut makes 9937 lb—not more than 9 Rounds a Man: As there had been no Consumption of Powder since, that could in any Degree account for such a Deficiency, I was very particular in my Inquiries, and found that the Committee of Supplies, not being sufficiently acquainted with the Nature of a Return, or misapprehending my Request, sent in an Account of all the Ammunition, which had been collected by the Provinces so that the Report included not only what was in Hand, but what had been spent. Upon discovering this Mistake, I immediately went up to confer with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, upon some Measures to obtain a Supply from the neighboring Townships, in such a Manner, as might prevent our Poverty being known, as it is a Secret of too great Consequence to be divulged in the general Court, some Individual of which might perhaps indiscreetly suffer it to escape him, so as to find its Way to the Enemy, the Consequences of which, are terrible even in Idea. I shall also write to the Governors of Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the Committee of Safety in New Hampshire on this Subject, urging in the most forcible Terms, the Necessity of an immediate Supply if in their Power. I need not enlarge on our melancholy Situation; it is sufficient that the Existence of the Army, and the Salvation of the Country, depends upon something being done for our Relief both speedy and effectual, and that our Situation be kept a profound secret.
In the Inclosures (No 2 and 3) I send the Allowance of Provisions &c, made by the Provinces of Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Mode and Quantity are different from what has fallen within my Experience, and I am confident must prove very wasteful, and expensive. If any alteration can be safely made, (which I much doubt) there might be a great Saving to the publick.
A Gentleman of my Family,1 assisted by a Deserter who has some Skill in Fortification, has by my Direction sketchd out two Draughts of our respective Lines, at Charles Town and Roxbury, which with the Explanation will convey some Idea of our Situation, and I hope prove acceptable to the Members of the honorable Congress. They are the Inclosures (No 4 and 5).
Since I had the Honor of addressing you last, I have been applied to, by a Committee of the General Court for a Detachment of the Army, to protect the Inhabitants of the Eastern Parts of this Province, from some apprehended Depredations on their Coasts. I could have wish’d to have complied with their Request; but after due Consideration, and consulting the General Officers, together with those Members of Congress, who are here, I thought it my Duty to excuse myself. The Application, and my Answer are the Inclosures No. 6 and 7, which I hope will be approved by the honorable Congress.
Since I began this Letter, the Original of which the Inclosure No. 8 is a Copy, fell into my Hands; as the Writer is a Person of some Note in Boston, and it contains some Advices of Importance not mentioned by others, I thought proper to forward it as I received it. By comparing the Handwriting with another Letter, it appears the Writer is one Belcher Noyes, a Person probably known to some of the Gentlemen Delegates from this Province; who can determine from his Principles and Character what Credit is due to him.
The Army is now formed into three grand Divisions, under the Command of the Generals Ward, Lee and Puttnam. Each Division into two Brigades, consisting of about 6 Regiments each, commanded by Generals Thomas, and Spencer at Roxbury; Heath at Cambridge, Sullivan and Greene at Winter Hill. By this you will please to observe, there is a Deficiency of one Brigadier General, occasioned by Mr Pomroy’s not acting under his Commission, which I beg may be filled up as soon as possible. I observe the Honbl Congress have also favored me with the Appointment of three Brigade Majors; I presume they have, or intend to appoint the rest soon, as they cannot be unacquainted that one is necessary to each Brigade, and in a new raised Army it will be an Office of great Duty and Service.
General Gage has at length liberated the People of Boston, who land in Numbers at Chelsea every Day, the Terms on which the Passes are granted as to Money Effects and Provisions correspond with Mr Noyes’s Letter.
We have several Reports that General Gage is dismantling Castle William and bringing all the Cannon up to Town, but upon a very particular Inquiry, Accounts are so various that I cannot ascertain the Truth of it.
I am sorry to be under a Necessity of making such frequent Examples among the Officers when a Sense of Honor, and the Interest of their Country might be expected to make Punishment unnecessary. Since my last, Capt. Parker of Massachusetts for Frauds both in Pay, and Provisions, and Capt. Gardiner of Rhode Island for Cowardice in running away from his Guard on an Alarm, have been broke. As nothing can be more fatal to an Army, than Crimes of this kind, I am determined by every Motive of Reward and Punishment to prevent them in future.
On the first Instt a Chief of the Cagnewaga Tribe,1 who lives about 6 Miles from Montreal, came in here, accompanied by a Col: Bayley of Cohoss.1 His Accounts of the Temper and Disposition of the Indians, are very favorable. He says they have been strongly sollicited by Gov. Carleton, to engage against us, but his Nation is totally averse: Threats, as well as Intreaties have been used without Effect.2 That the Canadians are well disposed to the English Colonies, and if any Expedition is meditated against Canada the Indians in that Quarter will give all their Assistance. I have endeavored to cherish these favorable Dispositions, and have recommended to him to cultivate them on his Return. What I have said, I enforced with a Present which I understood would be agreeable to him, and as he is represented to be a Man of Weight, and Consequence in his own Tribe, I flatter myself his Visit will have a good Effect. His Accounts of Gov. Carleton’s Force and Situation at St Johns correspond with what we have already had from that Quarter.
The Accession of Georgia to the Measures of the Congress is a happy Event and must give a sincere Pleasure to every Friend of America.
We have Accounts this Morning of two Explosions at the Castle, so that its Destruction may now be supposed certain.
I have this Morning been alarmed with an Information that two Gentlemen from Philada (Mr Hitchbourn and Capt. White) with Letters for General Lee and myself have been taken by Capt. Ayscough at Rhode Island, the Letters intercepted and sent forward to Boston with the Bearers as Prisoners. That the Captain exulted much in the Discoveries he had made and my Informer who was also in the Boat but released understood them to be the Letters of Consequence. I have therefore dispatch’d the Express immediately back, tho’ I had before resolved to detain him till Fessenden’s Return. I shall be anxious till I am relieved from the Suspence I am in as to the Contents of those Letters.
It is exceedingly unfortunate that Gentlemen should chuse to travel the only Road on which there is Danger. Let the Event of this be what it will I hope it will serve as a general Caution against trusting any Letter that Way in future.
Nothing of Consequence has occurr’d in the Camp these two Days. The Inhabitants of Boston continue coming out at Chelsea, but under a new Restriction that no Men shall come out without special Licence—which is refused to all Mechanicks since the Tory Laborers were taken at the Light House.1
TO LEWIS MORRIS.1
Camp atCambridge, 4 August, 1775.
I have been favored with your letter of the 18th ulto. by Messrs. Ogden and Burr, and wish it was in my power to do that justice to the merits of those gentlemen which you think them entitled to. Whenever it is, I shall not be unmindful of your recommendations. The two or three appointments with which I have been honored by Congress were partly engaged, before I received your letter, and you will please recollect that the ultimate appointment of all other officers is vested in the governments in which the regiments were originally raised. I can venture to pronounce, therefore, that few commissions in this army will be disposed of out of the four New England governments; the good policy and justice of which, you may judge of as well as I can: as Volunteers from any other colonies, however deserving they may be of notice, or to be considered on account of the expence which they are run to, will stand little chance whilst there is an application from any person of the government from whence the Regiment came.
Admitting this to be the case and I believe hardly any one will doubt it, had not the Congress better reserve these appointments in their own hands? It will be putting the matter upon a much larger bottom and giving merit a better chance; nor do I see any inconvenience arising from it, as it is highly presumable that during the continuance of these disturbances, the Congress will be chiefly sitting, or acting by a Committee from whence commissions might be as easily obtained as from a Provincial Assembly or Congress. I have taken the liberty of suggesting this matter, as I conceive the service will be infinitely promoted thereby; as merit only, without a regard to Country will entitle a man to preferment, when, and so often as vacancys may happen—Having wrote fully to the Congress respecting the state of publick affairs, I shall refer you to that, and am, &c.
TO J. PALMER.
Cambridge, 7 August, 1775.
Your favor of yesterday came duely to my hands. As I did not consider local appointments, as having any operation upon the general one, I had partly engaged (at least in my own mind) the office of Quartermaster-Genl. before your favor was presented to me.
In truth Sir, I think it sound policy to bestow Officers indiscriminately among the Gentlemen of the different Governmts.; for as all bear a proportionable part toward the expence of this war, if no Gentlemen out of these four Governments come in for any share of the appointments, it may be apt to create jealousies which will, in the end, give disgust; for this reason, I would earnestly recommend to your Board to provide for some of the Volunteers who are come from Philadelphia with very warm Recommendations, tho’ strangers to me.—
In respect to the Boats &c. from Salem, I doubt, in the first place, whether they can be brought over by Land—in the Second, I am sure nothing could ever be executed here by Surprize; as I am well convinced that nothing is transacted in our Camp, or Lines, but what is known in Boston in less than 24 hours,—indeed, Circumstanced as we are it is scarce possible to do otherwise, unless we were to stop the Communication between the Country & our Camp & Lines; in which case, we shd. render our Supplies of Milk, Vegetables &c. difficult & precarious.—We are now building a kind of Floating Battery, when that is done & the utility of it discovered, I may possibly apply for Timber to build more, as Circumstances shall require. I remain with great esteem Sir, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
Head-Quarters, 7 August, 1775.
By the general return made to me for last week, I find there are great numbers of soldiers and non-commissioned officers, who absent themselves from duty, the greater part of whom, I have reason to believe, are at their respective homes in different parts of the country; some employed by their officers on their farms, and others drawing pay from the public, while they are working on their own plantations or for hire. My utmost exertions have not been able to prevent this base and pernicious conduct. I must, therefore, beg the assistance of the General Court to coöperate with me in such measures as may remedy this mischief. I am of opinion it might be done, either wholly or in part, by the committees in your several towns making strict and impartial inquiry of such as are found absent from the army, upon whose account they have left it, by whose leave, and for what time; requiring such, as have no impediment of sickness or other good reason, to return to their duty immediately, or, in case of failure sending an account of their names, and the company and regiment to which they belong, that I may be able to make examples of such delinquents.1
I need not enlarge upon the ruinous consequences of suffering such infamous deserters and defrauders of the public to go unnoticed or unpunished, nor use any arguments to induce the General Court to give it immediate attention. The necessity of the case does not permit me to doubt the continued exertions of that zeal, which has distinguished the General Court upon less important occasions. I have the honor to be, &c.
TO THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF NEW YORK.
Camp atCambridge, 8 August, 1775.
It must give great concern to any considerate mind, that, when this whole continent, at a vast expense of blood and treasure, is endeavoring to establish its liberties on the most secure and solid foundations, not only by a laudable opposition of force to force, but denying itself the usual advantages of trade, there are men among us so basely sordid, as to counteract all our exertions, for the sake of a little gain. You cannot but have heard, that the distresses of the ministerial troops for fresh provisions and many other necessaries at Boston were very great. It is a policy, justifiable by all the laws of war, to endeavor to increase them. Desertions, discouragement, and a dissatisfaction with the service, besides weakening their strength, are some of the natural consequences of such a situation; and, if continued, might afford the fairest hope of success, without further effusion of human blood.
A vessel, cleared lately out of New York for St. Croix, with fresh provisions and other articles, has just gone into Boston, instead of pursuing her voyage to the West Indies. I have endeavored to discover the name of the captain, or owner, but as yet without success. The owner it is said, went to St. Croix before the vessel; from which, and her late arrival, I make no doubt you will be able to discover and expose the villain. And, if you could fall upon some effectual measures, to prevent the like in future, it would be doing a signal service to our common country.1
I have been endeavoring, by every means in my power, to discover the future intentions of our enemy here. I find a general idea prevailing, throughout the army and in the town of Boston, that the troops are soon to leave the town and go to some other part of the continent. New York is generally mentioned, as the place of their destination. I should think a rumor or suggestion of this kind worthy of very little notice, if it were not confirmed by some corresponding circumstances. But four weeks of total inactivity, with all their reinforcements arrived and recruited, the daily diminution by desertion, sickness, and small skirmishes, induce an opinion, that any effort they propose to make will be directed elsewhere.2
I thought it proper just to hint to you what is probably intended, and you will then consider what regard is to be paid to it, and what steps it will be expedient for you to take, if any. I am, with great respect and regard, Gentlemen, &c.1
TO A COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
Camp atCambridge, 11 August, 1775.
I have considered the papers you left with me yesterday.2
As to the expedition proposed against Nova Scotia, by the inhabitants of Machias, I cannot but applaud their spirit and zeal; but, after considering the reasons offered for it, several objections occur, which seem to me unanswerable. I apprehend such an enterprise to be inconsistent with the general principle upon which the colonies have proceeded. That province has not acceded, it is true, to the measures of Congress; and, therefore, it has been excluded from all commercial intercourse with the other colonies; but it has not commenced hostilities against them, nor are any to be apprehended. To attack it, therefore, is a measure of conquest, rather than defence, and may be attended with very dangerous consequences. It might, perhaps, be easy, with the force proposed to make an incursion, into the province and overawe those of the inhabitants, who are inimical to our cause, and, for a short time, prevent their supplying the enemy with provisions; but, to produce any lasting effects, the same force must continue.
As to the furnishing vessels of force, you, Gentlemen, will anticipate me, in pointing out our weakness and the enemy’s strength at sea. There would be great danger, that, with the best preparations we could make, they would fall an easy prey, either to the men-of-war on that station, or to some which would be detached from Boston. I have been thus particular, to satisfy any gentleman of the Court, who should incline to adopt the measure. I could offer many other reasons against it, some of which, I doubt not, will suggest themselves to the honorable Board. But it is unnecessary to enumerate them, when our situation as to ammunition absolutely forbids our sending a single ounce of it out of the camp at present. I am, Gentlemen, &c.1
TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 11 August, 1775.
I understand that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have been thrown indiscriminately into a common gaol appropriated for felons; that no consideration has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness; that some have been even amputated in this unworthy situation.
Let your opinion, Sir, of the principle which actuates them be what it may, they suppose they act from the noblest of all principles, a love of freedom and their country. But political principles, I conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and extensive, (except in case of retaliation.) These, I should have hoped, would have dictated a more tender treatment of those individuals, whom chance or war had put in your power. Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to widen that unhappy breach, which you, and those ministers under whom you act, have repeatedly declared you wished to see for ever closed.
My duty now makes it necessary to apprize you, that, for the future, I shall regulate my conduct towards those gentlemen, who are or may be in our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe towards those of ours now in your custody.
If severity and hardship mark the line of your conduct, (painful as it may be to me,) your prisoners will feel its effects. But if kindness and humanity are shown to ours, I shall with pleasure consider those in our hands only as unfortunate, and they shall receive from me that treatment to which the unfortunate are ever entitled.
I beg to be favored with an answer as soon as possible, and am, Sir, your very humble servant.1
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
Camp atCambridge, 14 August, 1775.
Your favors of the 7th 8th and 12th Inst. are all received. The detention of the new raised levies has happily coincided with my Intentions respecting them. In the present uncertainty I think it best they should continue where they are and I hope their officers will be assiduous in disciplining and improving them in the use of their arms.
Upon the subject of powder I am at a loss what to say—Our necessities are so great and it is of such importance that this army should have a full supply that nothing but the most urgent and pressing exigence would make it proper to detain any on its way—I have been informed that 15 Hhds were lately landed at New York and that farther supplies were daily expected both there and at Connecticut: Should there be any arrivals, I beg no time may be lost in forwarding this from Hartford and what can be spared from the necessary Colony stock—Indeed at present I should chuse you to forward one of these waggons and the other may remain where it is till we see the issue of our expectations on this head. The removal from Boston I consider as very precarious, by no means deserving to have so much stress laid on it. We begin to feel a scarcity of Lead, and as I do not learn that we are to expect any from the southward—I have concluded that a part of the stock found at Ticonderoga should be brought down and for this purpose have wrote to Genl. Schuyler. I am not sufficiently Master of the geography of the Country to know the easiest Mode of Conveyance—but from the Time in which Letters have come thro’ your Hands I apprehend thro Connecticut must be the best & most expeditious. You will therefore be pleased to give us your Assistance and take the Direction of this Matter into your own Hands, to which I have not the least Doubt you will attend as well to the Expence as other Circumstances conducive to the publick Service.
Nothing new in the Camp for several Days past.—Three Deserters have come in within these 48 Hours but they bring no Intelligence of any Consequence. I am, sir, &c.
Since writing the above I have been informed there is a Lead Mine in your Colony which may be work’d to Advantage. Cut off from all foreign supplies every internal resource is worthy of attention & I make no Doubt if my Information is just some proper Steps may be taken to turn this to the publick advantage.
TO DEPUTY-GOVERNOR COOKE.
14 August, 1775.
Your Favors of the 8 and 11th Instt. are duly received. The former I laid before the General Court of this Province but one of the Delegates having communicated to them what Mr. Ward did to you of the Proceedings of the Continental Congress touching this Powder, nothing was done towards the providing of specie that the Vessel might proceed to other Places in Case of a Disappointment at the first. I am of opinion that the Collection of any considerable sum here would be difficult in the Time proposed: and I think there is the less Necessity for it, as there are few Colonies who have not some Vessel out on this Errand and will probably bring all that is at Market—Having conversed with Col. Porter and farther considered the Matter, I am of Opinion it ought to be prosecuted on the single Footing of procuring what is in the Magazine. The Voyage is short, our Necessity is great; the Expectation of being supplied by the Inhabitants of the Island under such hazards as they must run is slender, so that the only Chance of Success is by a sudden Strike. There is a great Difference between acquiescing in the Measure and becoming Principals, the former we have great Reason to expect, the latter is doubtful. The Powder by all our Information is publick Property so that as you observe it may be settled with our other Accounts. The draughting of Men from hence would be very difficult and endanger a Discovery of the Scheme. I am not clear that I have Power to send them off the Continent and to engage them as Volunteers it would be necessary to make their Destination known; I should suppose the Captain who is to have the Direction of this Enterprize would rather chuse to have Men whom he knew and in whom he could confide, in Preference to strangers. From what Col. Parks informs me I do not see that Harris’s Presence is absolutely necessary, and as his Terms would add considerably to the Expence after obtaining from him all the Intelligence he could give his Attendance might be dispensed with—The Vessel lately sent out to cruise for Powder seems to me the properest for this Voyage, and as the ten Days will soon be out, if no objection occurs to you she might be dispatched.
I have given Directions respecting the Lead at Ticonderoga which I am of Opinion with you is the surest Mode of Supply in that Article.
I have sent by this Opp’y a hunting-Shirt as a Pattern. I should be glad you would inform me of the Number you think I may expect.
I have flattered myself that the Vigilance of the Inhabitants on the Islands and Coasts would have disappointed the Enemy in their late Expedition after live Stock. I hope nothing will be omitted by the several Committees and other Persons to guard against any future Attempts by removing all the Stock from those Places where their Shipping can protect them in plundering. I do assure you Sir that it would be rendering a most essential Service to the publick Interest. Their Distresses before were very great and if renewed after their present supply is exhausted must be productive of very great Advantage.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 15 August, 1775.
I received your favor of the 31st of July,1 informing me of your preparations to cross the Lake, and enclosing the affidavits of John Shatforth, and John Duguid.2 Several Indians of the tribe of St. Francis came in here yesterday, and confirm the former accounts of the good dispositions of the Indian nations and Canadians to the interests of America; a most happy event, on which I sincerely congratulate you.3
I am glad to relieve you from your anxiety, respecting troops being sent from Boston to Quebec. These reports, I apprehend, took their rise from a fleet being fitted out about fourteen days ago to plunder the islands in the Sound of their live stock; an expedition, which they have executed with some success, and are just returning; but you may depend on it no troops have been detached from Boston for Canada or elsewhere.
Among other wants, of which I find you have your proportion, we feel that of lead most sensibly; and as we have no expectation of a supply from the southward, I have concluded to draw upon the stock found at Ticonderoga when it fell into our hands. I am informed, that it is considerable, and that a part of it may be spared, without exposing you to any inconvenience. In consequence of this I have wrote to Governor Trumbull to take the direction of the transportation of it, supposing the conveyance through Connecticut the most safe and expeditious. I expect he will write you on this subject by this opportunity.
I have nothing new, my dear Sir, to write you. We are precisely in the same situation, as to the enemy, as when I wrote last, nor can I gain any certain intelligence of their future intentions. The troops from the southward are come in very healthy and in good order.1 To-morrow I expect a supply of powder from Philadelphia, which will be a most seasonable relief in our present necessity.
God grant you health and success, equal to your merit and wishes. Favor me with intelligence as often as you can, and believe me with very sincere regard, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 20 August, 1775.
Since my last of the 15th instant I have been favored with yours of the 6th. I am much concerned to find, that the supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this time I hope Colonel McDougall, whose zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every thing necessary for prosecuting your plan.
Several of the delegates from Philadelphia, who have visited our camp, assure me that powder is forwarded to you; and the daily arrivals of that article give us reason to hope, that we shall soon have a very ample supply.2 Animated with the goodness of our cause, and the best wishes of your countrymen, I am sure you will not let any difficulties, not insuperable, damp your ardor. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.1
In my last, a copy of which is enclosed, I sent you an account of the arrival of several St. Francis Indians in our camp, and their friendly dispositions. You have also a copy of the resolution of Congress, by which you will find it is their intention to seek only a neutrality of the Indian nations, unless the ministerial agents should engage them in hostilities, or enter into an offensive alliance with them.2 I have been, therefore, embarrassed in giving them an answer, when they have tendered their services and assistance. As your situation enables you best to know the notions of the Governor3 and the agents, I proposed to him [the chief] to go home by way of Ticonderoga, referring him to you for an answer, which you would give according to the intelligence you have had, and the judgment you have formed of the transactions among the Indians; but as he does not seem in any hurry to leave our camp, your answer by the return of this express may possibly reach me, before he returns, and alter his route. Four of his company still remain in our camp, and propose to stay some time with us.1
The design of this express is to communicate to you a plan of an expedition, which has engaged my thoughts for several days. It is to penetrate into Canada, by way of Kennebec River, and so to Quebec by a route ninety miles below Montreal. I can very well spare a detachment for this purpose of one thousand, or twelve hundred men, and the land-carriage by the route proposed is too inconsiderable to make an objection. If you are resolved to proceed, which I gather from your last letter is your intention, it would make a diversion, that would distract Carleton, and facilitate your views. He must either break up and follow this party to Quebec, by which he will leave you a free passage, or he must suffer that important place to fall into our hands; an event that would have a decisive effect and influence on the public interests. There may be some danger, that such a sudden incursion might alarm the Canadians, and detach them from that neutrality which they have hitherto observed; but I should hope, that, with suitable precautions, and a strict discipline preserved, any apprehensions and jealousies might be removed. The few, whom I have consulted upon it, approve it much; but the final determination is deferred until I hear from you. You will, therefore, by the return of this messenger, inform me of your ultimate resolution. If you mean to proceed, acquaint me as particularly as you can with the time and force, what late accounts you have had from Canada, and your opinion as to the sentiments of the inhabitants, as well as those of the Indians upon a penetration into their country; what number of troops are at Quebec, and whether any men-of-war; with all other circumstances, which may be material in the consideration of a step of such importance. Not a moment’s time is to be lost in the preparation for this enterprise, if the advices received from you favor it. With the utmost expedition, the season will be considerably advanced, so that you will dismiss the express as soon as possible.
While the three New Hampshire companies remain in their present station, they will not be considered as composing a part of the Continental army, but as a militia under the direction and pay of the colony, whose inhabitants they are, or for whose defence they are stationed; so that it will not be proper for me to give any orders respecting them.
We still continue in the same situation, as to the enemy, as when I wrote you last; but we have had six tons and a half of powder from the southward, which is a very seasonable supply. We are not able to learn any thing further of the intentions of the enemy, and they are too strongly posted for us to attempt any thing upon them at present.
My best wishes attend you; and believe me, with much truth and regard, my dear Sir, your very obedient humble servant.
TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 20 August, 1775.
I addressed you, on the 11th instant, in terms which gave the fairest scope for that humanity and politeness, which were supposed to form a part of your character. I remonstrated with you on the unworthy treatment shown to the officers and citizens of America, whom the fortune of war, chance, or a mistaken confidence had thrown into your hands.
Whether British or American mercy, fortitude, and patience are most pre-eminent; whether our virtuous citizens, whom the hand of tyranny has forced into arms to defend their wives, their children, and their property, or the mercenary instruments of lawless domination, avarice, and revenge, best deserve the appellation of rebels, and the punishment of that cord, which your affected clemency has forborne to inflict; whether the authority under which I act is usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles of liberty, were altogether foreign to the subject. I purposely avoided all political disquisition; nor shall I now avail myself of those advantages, which the sacred cause of my country, of liberty, and of human nature, give me over you; much less shall I stoop to retort and invective; but the intelligence you say you have received from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, Sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers have been treated with a tenderness due to fellow citizens and brethren, but even those execrable parricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their country with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly enraged people. Far from compelling or permitting their assistance, I am embarrassed with the numbers, who crowd to our camp, animated with the purest principles of virtue and love to their country. You advise me to give free operation to truth, to punish misrepresentation and falsehood. If experience stamps value upon counsel, yours must have a weight, which few can claim. You best can tell how far the convulsion, which has brought such ruin on both countries, and shaken the mighty empire of Britain to its foundation, may be traced to these malignant causes.
You affect, Sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and respect it.
What may have been the ministerial views, which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to whom you then appealed, judge between America and you. Under his providence, those who influence the councils of America, and all the other inhabitants of the United Colonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges, which they received from their ancestors.
I shall now, Sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps for ever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treatment from me different from that, which I wished to show them, they and you will remember the occasion of it. I am Sir, your very humble servant.1
TO J. PALMER.
Cambridge, 22 Augst., 1775.
In answer to your favor of yesterday I must inform you, that I have often been told of the advantages of Point Alderton with respect to its command of the shipping going in and out of Boston Harbor; and that it has, before now, been the object of my particular enquiries,—That I find the Accts. differ, exceedingly, in regard to the distance of the Ship Channel,—and that, there is a passage on the outer side of the light House Island for all Vessels except Ships of the first Rate.
My knowledge of this matter would not have rested upon enquires only, if I had found myself at any time since I came to this place, in a condition to have taken such a post. But it becomes my duty to consider, not only what place is advantageous, but what number of Men are necessary to defend it; how they can be supported in case of an attack; how they may retreat if they cannot be supported; and what stock of Ammunition we are provided with for the purpose of self defence, or annoyance of the enemy. In respect to the first, I conceive our defence must be proportioned to the attack of Genl. Gage’s whole force (leaving him just enough to Man his Lines on Charles Town Neck & Roxbury); and with regard to the Second, and most important object, we have only 184 Barrls. of Powder in all, which is not sufficient to give 30 Musket Cartridges a Man, & scarce enough to serve the Artillery in any brisk action a single day.1
Would it be prudent then in me, under these Circumstances, to take a Post 30 Miles distant from this place when we already have a Line of Circumvaleation at least Ten Miles in extent, any part of which may be attacked (if the Enemy will keep their own Council) without our having one hours previous notice of it?—Or is it prudent to attempt a Measure which necessarily would bring on a consumption of all the Ammunition we have, thereby leaving the Army at the Mercy of the Enemy, or to disperse; & the Country to be ravaged, and laid waste at discretion?—To you Sir who is a well wisher to the cause, and can reason upon the effects of such a Conduct, I may open myself with freedom, because no improper discoveries will be made of our Situation: but I cannot expose my weakness to the Enemy (tho’ I believe they are pretty well informed of every thing that passes) by telling this, and that man who are daily pointing out this—that—and t’other place, of all the motives that govern my actions, Notwithstanding, I know what will be the consequence of not doing it—Namely, that I shall be accused of inattention to the publick Service—& perhaps with want of spirit to prosecute it—but this shall have no effect upon my mind, and I will steadily (as far as my judgment will assist me) pursue such measures as I think most conducive to the Interest of the cause, & rest satisfied of any obloquy that shall be thrown conscious of having discharged my duty to the best of my abilities.
I am much obliged to you, however, as I shall be to every Gentleman, for pointing out any measure which is thought conducive to the publick good, and chearfully follow any advice which is not inconsistent with, but corrispondant to, the general Plan in view, & practicable under such particular circumstances as govern in cases of the like kind.
In respect to point Alderton, I was no longer ago than Monday last, talking to Genl. Thomas on this head & proposing to send Colo. Putnam down to take the distances &c, but considered it could answer no end but to alarm, & make the Enemy more vigilant, unless we were in condition to possess the Post to effect, I thought it as well to postpone the matter a while. I am, Sir, &c.1
TO SIR WILLIAM HOWE.2
Camp atCambridge, 23 August, 1775.
I flatter myself you have been misinformed, as to the conduct of the men under my command, complained of in yours of yesterday. It is what I should highly disapprove and condemn.
I have not the least objection to put a stop to the intercourse between the two camps, either totally or partially. It obtained through the pressing solicitations of persons cruelly separated from their friends and connexions, and I understood was mutually convenient.
I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
Camp atCambridge, 29 August, 1775.
Your favor of the first Inst. by Mr. Randolph1 came safe to hand—the merits of this young Gentleman added to your recommendation, and my own knowledge of his character induced me to take him into my Family as an aid de camp in the room of Mr. Mifflin, whom I have appointed Quarter Master Genel. from a thorough perswasion of his Integrity—my own experience of his activity—and finally, because he stands unconnected with either of these Governments; or with this that, or t’other man; for between you and I there is more in this than you can easily immagine.
As we have now nearly compleated our Lines of Defence, we have nothing more, in my opinion to fear from the Enemy, provided we can keep our men to their duty and make them watchful and vigilant; but it is among the most difficult tasks I ever undertook in my life to induce these people to believe that there is, or can be, danger till the Bayonet is pushed at their Breasts; not that it proceeds from any uncommon prowess, but rather from an unaccountable kind of stupidity in the lower class of these people which, believe me, prevails but too generally among the officers of the Massachusets part of the Army who are nearly of the same kidney with the Privates, and adds not a little to my difficulties; as there is no such thing as getting of officers of this stamp to exert themselves in carrying orders into execution—to curry favor with the men (by whom they were chosen, & on whose smiles possibly they may think they may again rely) seems to be one of the principal objects of their attention.
I submit it therefore to your consideration whether there is, or is not, a propriety in that Resolution of the Congress, which leaves the ultimate appointment of all officers below the Rank of Generals to the Governments where the Regiments originated, now the Army is become Continental?—To me it appears improper in two points of view; first, it is giving that power and weight to an Individual Colony, which ought, of right, to belong only to the whole, and next it damps the spirit and ardor of volunteers from all but the four New England Governments as none but their people have the least chance of getting into office.—Would it not be better therefore to have the warrants which the Commander-in-Chief is authorized to give Pro-tempore, approved or disapproved, by the Continental Congress, or a Committee of their body, which I should suppose in any long recess must always sit? In this case every Gentleman will stand an equal chance of being promoted according to his merits; in the other all officers will be confined to the Inhabitants of the 4 New England Governments which in my opinion is impolitick to a degree. I have made a pretty good slam among such kind of officers as the Massachusets Government abound in since I came to this Camp having Broke one Colo. and two Captains for cowardly behavior in the action on Bunkers Hill,—two Captains for drawing more provisions and pay than they had men in their Company—and one for being absent from his Post when the Enemy appeared there and burnt a House just by it. Besides these, I have at this time—one Colo., one Major, one Captn., & two subalterns under arrest for tryal—In short I spare none yet fear it will not all do as these People seem to be too inattentive to every thing but their Interest.1
I have not been unmindful of that part of your Letter respecting Point Alderton—before the receipt of it, it had become an object of my particular enquiry, but the Accts. of its situation differ exceedingly in respect to the command it has of the ship channel but my knowledge of this matter would not have been confined to enquiries only if I had ever been in a condition, since my arrival here, to have taken possession of such a Post; but you well know, my good Sir, that it becomes the duty of an Officer to consider some other matters, as well as a situation,—namely, What number of men are necessary to defend a place—how it can be supported—& how furnished with ammunition.—
In respect to the first I conceive our defence of this place (point alderton) must be proportioned to the attack of Genl. Gage’s whole force, leaving him just enough to man his Lines on Boston & Charles-Town Necks—& with regard to the second, and most important, as well as alarming object we have only 184 Barls. of Powder in all (including the late supply from Philadelphia) wch is not sufficient to give 25 muskets cartridges to each man, and scarcely to serve the artillery in any brisk action one single day—Under these circumstances I dare say you will agree with me, that it would not be very eligible to take a post 30 miles distant (by Land) from this place, when we have already a line of circumvallation round Boston of at least 10 miles in extant to defend any part of which may be attacked without our having (if the Enemy will keep their own Council) an hours previous notice of it; and that, it would not be prudent in me, to attempt a measure which would necessarily bring on a consumption of all the ammunition we have, thereby leaving the Army at the mercy of the Enemy, or to disperse; and the Country to be ravaged and laid waste at discretion—to you, Sir, I may Account for my conduct, but I cannot declare the motives of it to every one, notwithstanding I know by not doing it, that I shall stand in a very unfavorable light in the opinion of those who expect much, and will find little done, without understanding or perhaps giving themselves the trouble of enquiring into the cause.—Such however is the fate of all those who are obliged to act the part I do, I must therefore submit to it, under a consciousness of having done my duty to the best of my abilities.
On Saturday night last we took possession of a Hill advanced of our Lines, & within point blank shot of the Enemy on Charles Town neck.—We worked incessantly the whole night with 1200 men, & before morning got an Intrenchment in such forwardness as to bid defiance to their Cannon; about nine o’clock on Sunday they began a heavy cannonade which continued through the day without any injury to our work, and with the loss of four men only two of which were killed through their own folly—The Insult of the cannonade however we were obliged to submit to with impunity, not daring to make use of artillery on acct. of the consumption of powder, except with one nine pounder placed on a point, with which we silenced, & indeed sunk, one of their Floating Batteries—
This move of ours was made to prevent the Enemy from gaining this Hill, and we thought was giving them a fair challenge to dispute it as we had been told by various people who had just left Boston, that they were preparing to come out, but instead of accepting of it, we learn that it has thrown them into great consternation which might be improved if we had the means of doing it—Yesterday afternoon they began a Bombardment without any effect, as yet.—
There has been so many great, and capital errors, & abuses to rectify—so many examples to make—& so little Inclination in the officers of inferior Rank to contribute their aid to accomplish this work, that my life has been nothing else (since I came here) but one continued round of annoyance & fatigue; in short no pecuniary recompense could induce me to undergo what I have especially as I expect, by shewing so little countenance to irregularities & publick abuses to render myself very obnoxious to a greater part of these People.—But as I have already greatly exceeded the bounds of a Letter I will not trouble you with matters relative to my own feelings.1
As I expect this Letter will meet you in Philadelphia I must request the favor of you to present my affecte. & respectful compliments to Doctr. Shippen, his Lady and Family, my Brothers of the Delegation, and any other enquiring friends—& at the same time do me the justice to believe that I am with a sincere regard.
TO CAESAR RODNEY AND THOMAS McKEAN.1
Camp atCambridge, 30 August, 1775.
I have endeavored to pay the best attention in my power to your recommendation of Mr. Parke2 by making him an assistant Quartermaster-General, an office indispensably necessary in discharge of that important and troublesome business. I wish it was in my power to provide for more of the young gentlemen who, at their own expence have travelled and now continue here, from Pennsylvania and elsewhere; but the Congress seems to have put it out of their own power to do this, leaving by their instructions to me the ultimate appointment of all officers as high as a colonel to the government in which the regiments originated, the obvious consequence of which is that every commission will be monopolized by these four New England governments; the good policy and justice of which I submit to your better judgment, but should give it as my own opinion that as the whole troops are now taken into the pay of the United Colonies, the Congress (which I presume will either by themselves, or a Committee of their own body always be sitting) ought to reserve the filling up of all vacancies themselves, in order that volunteers from every government may have an equal chance of preferment, instead of confining all offices to a few governments to the total exclusion of the rest. I have dropt these thoughts by way of hints which you may improve or reject as they shall appear to have or want weight.1 For the occurrences of the camp, the state of the army, &c., I refer to my publick letters addressed to Mr. Hancock, and with great respect and gratitude for your good wishes contained in your letter, I remain &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 31 August, 1775.
The enclosed letter came under such a direction and circumstances as led me to suppose it contained some interesting advices, either respecting a supply of powder, or the clothing lately taking at Philadelphia. I therefore took the liberty of breaking the seal, for which I hope the service and my motives will apologize.
As the filling up the place of vacant brigadier-general will probably be of the first business of the honorable Congress, I flatter myself it will not be deemed assuming, to mention the names of two gentlemen, whose former services, rank, and age, may be thought worthy of attention on this occasion. Of the one I can speak from my own knowledge, of the other only from character. The former is Colonel John Armstrong, of Pennsylvania; he served during the last war, in most of the campaigns to the southward, was honored with the command of the Pennsylvania forces, and his general military conduct and spirit much approved by all who served with him; besides which, his character was distinguished by an enterprise against the Indians, which he planned with great judgment, and executed with equal courage and success.1 It was not till lately that I had reason to believe he would enter again on public service; and it is now wholly unsolicited and unknown on his part. The other gentleman is Colonel Frye of Massachusetts Bay. He entered into the service as early as 1745, and rose through the different military ranks in succeeding wars, to that of colonel, until last June, when he was appointed a major-general by the Congress of this province.2 From these circumstances, together with the favorable report made to me of him, I presume he sustained the character of a good officer, though I do not find it distinguished by any peculiar service.
Either of these gentlemen, or any other whom the honorable Congress shall please to favor with this appointment, will be received by me with the utmost deference and respect.3
The late adjournment having made it impracticable to know the pleasure of the Congress as to the appointment of brigade majors beyond the number of three, which they were pleased to leave to me, and the service not admitting of further delay, I have continued the other three, which I hope their honors will not disapprove. These latter were recommended by the respective corps to which they belong, as the properest persons for these offices until further direction, and have discharged the duty ever since. They are the majors Box, Scammell, and Samuel Brewer.
Last Saturday night we took possession of a hill considerably advanced beyond our former lines;1 which brought on a very heavy cannonade from Bunker’s Hill, and afterwards a bombardment, which has been since kept up with little spirit on their part, or damage on ours. The work, having been continued ever since, is now so advanced, and the men so well covered as [to] leave us under no apprehenions of much farther loss. In this affair we had killed one adjutant, one volunteer,2 and two privates. The scarcity of ammunition does not admit of our availing ourselves of the situation, as we otherwise might do; but this evil, I hope, will soon be remedied, as I have been informed of the arrival of a large quantity at New York, some at New London, and more hourly expected at different places. I need not add to what I have already said on this subject. Our late supply was very seasonable, but far short of our necessities. * * * The treatment of our officers, prisoners in Boston, induced me to write to General Gage on that subject. His answer and my reply I have the honor to lay before the Congress; since which I have heard nothing from him. I remain, with the greatest respect and regard, &c.1
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL WOOSTER.2
Camp atCambridge, 2 September, 1775.
I have just received your favor of the 29th ultimo by express. I am very sensible, that the situation of the inhabitants of Long Island, as well as of all those on the coast, exposes them greatly to the ravages of the enemy, and it is to be wished that general protection could be extended to them, consistent with the prosecution of those great plans, which have been adopted for the common safety. This was early foreseen, and the danger provided for by a resolution of Congress, that each province should depend on its own internal strength against these incursions, the prejudice arising from them, even if successful, not being equal to that of separating the army into a number of small detachments, which would be harassed in fruitless marches and countermarches after an enemy, whose convayance by shipping is so advantageous, that they might keep the whole coast in constant alarm, without our being able, perhaps, at any time to give them vigorous opposition. Upon this principle I have invariably rejected every application made to me here, to keep any detachments on the coast for these purposes.
I should, therefore, most probably have thought it my duty to order the three companies, mentioned in your letter as having joined your army, to aid in the general service, had they not been under command from General Schuyler to join him; but as it is, I can by no means interfere. He is engaged in a service of the greatest importance to the whole continent, his strength and appointments being far short of his expectations, and to give any counter orders may not only defeat his whole plan, but must make me responsible to the public for the failure. Instead, therefore, of their further stay, I would have them march immediately. I fear the delay of the ten days may have very bad effects, as, by my last advice from Ticonderoga, General Schuyler was to march in a few days for Canada; and it is highly probable he may depend upon these companies to occupy the posts of communication, which otherwise he must weaken his army to do. No Provincial Congress can, with any propriety, interfere with the disposition of troops on the Continental establishment, much less control the orders of any general officer; so that in this instance the Congress at New York have judged properly, in declining to counteract General Schuyler’s orders. I wish I could extend my approbation equally to the whole line of their conduct. Before you receive this letter, you will most probably be able to judge how far your continuance on Long Island will be farther necessary. If the fleet, which last sailed, was destined for those coasts, it must be arrived. If it is not, it is certainly gone to the eastward, and your present station is no longer necessary. The importance of preserving the communication of the North River, and many other reasons, induce me to wish you were returned to your former post. The late transactions at New York furnish additional reasons for your being as near that city, as is consistent with the discipline and convenience of your troops. Your next, therefore, I flatter myself, will inform me of your having resumed your former station. I am, Sir, with much regard and esteem, &c.1
TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE ISLAND OF BERMUDA.2
Camp atCambridge, 3 miles from Boston, 6 September, 1775.
In the great conflict, which agitates this continent, I cannot doubt but the assertors of freedom and the right of the constitution are possessed of your most favorable regards and wishes for success. As descendants of freemen, and heirs with us of the same glorious inheritance, we flatter ourselves that, though divided by our situation, we are firmly united in sentiment. The cause of virtue and liberty is confined to no continent or climate. It comprehends, within its capacious limits, the wise and good, however dispersed and separated in space or distance.
You need not be informed, that the violence and rapacity of a tyrannic ministry have forced the citizens of America, your brother colonists, into arms. We equally detest and lament the prevalence of those counsels, which have led to the effusion of so much human blood, and left us no alternative but a civil war, or a base submission. The wise Disposer of all events has hitherto smiled upon our virtuous efforts. Those mercenary troops, a few of whom lately boasted of subjugating this vast continent, have been checked in their earliest ravages, and are now actually encircled in a small space, their arms disgraced, and suffering all the calamities of a siege. The virtue, spirit, and union of the provinces leave them nothing to fear, but the want of ammunition. The applications of our enemies to foreign states, and their vigilance upon our coasts, are the only efforts they have made against us with success. Under these circumstances, and with these sentiments, we have turned our eyes to you, Gentlemen, for relief. We are informed, there is a very large magazine on your island under a very feeble guard. We would not wish to involve you in an opposition, in which, from your situation, we should be unable to support you; we know not, therefore, to what extent to solicit your assistance in availing ourselves of this supply; but, if your favor and friendship to North America and its liberties have not been misrepresented, I persuade myself you may, consistently with your own safety, promote and further this scheme, so as to give it the fairest prospect of success. Be assured, that, in this case, the whole power and exertion of my influence will be made with the honorable Continental Congress, that your island may not only be supplied with provisions, but experience every mark of affection and friendship, which the grateful citizens of a free country can bestow on its brethren and benefactors. I am, &c.1
TO THE MAJOR AND BRIGADIER GENERALS.
Camp atCambridge, 8 September, 1775.
As I mean to call upon you in a day or two for your opinions upon a point of very great importance to the welfare of this continent in general, and this colony in particular, I think it proper, indeed, an incumbent duty on me, previous to this meeting to intimate to you the end and design of it, that you may have time to consider the matter with that deliberation and attention, which the importance of it requires.
It is to know, whether, in your judgment, we cannot make a successful attack upon the troops at Boston by means of boats, coöperated by an attempt upon their lines at Roxbury. The successs of such an enterprise depends, I well know, upon the All-wise Disposer of events, and it is not within the reach of human wisdom to foretell the issue; but if the prospect is fair, the undertaking is justifiable under the following, among other reasons, which might be assigned.
The season is now fast approaching, when warm and comfortable barracks must be erected for the security of the troops against the inclemency of winter. Large and costly provision must be made in the article of wood for the supply of the army; and after all that can be done in this way, it is but too probable that fences, woods, orchards, and even houses themselves will fall a sacrifice to the want of fuel before the end of winter. A very considerable difficulty, if not expense, must accrue on account of clothing for the men now engaged in the service; and if they do not enlist again, this difficulty will be increased to an almost insurmountable degree. Blankets, I am informed, are now much wanted, and not to be got. How then shall we be able to keep soldiers to their duty, already impatient to get home, when they come to feel the severity of winter without proper covering? If this army should not incline to engage for a longer time than the 1st of January, what consequences more certainly can follow, than that you must either be obliged to levy new troops and thereby have two sets, or partly so, in pay at the same time, or by disbanding one before you get the other, expose the country to desolation and the cause perhaps to irretrievable ruin. These things are not unknown to the enemy; perhaps it is the very ground they are building on, if they are not waiting for a large reinforcement; and if they are waiting for succorers, ought it not to give a spur to the attempt? Our powder, not much of which will be consumed in such an enterprise, without any certainty of a supply, is daily wasting; and, to sum up the whole, in spite of every saving that can be made, the expense of supporting this army will so far exceed any idea, that was formed in Congress of it, that I do not know what will be the consequences.
These, among many other reasons, which might be assigned, induce me to wish a speedy finish of the dispute; but to avoid these evils we are not to lose sight of the difficulties, the hazard, and the loss, that may accompany the attempt, nor what will be the probable consequences of a failure.
That every circumstance for and against this measure may be duly weighed, that there may be time for doing it, and nothing of this importance resolved on, but after mature deliberation, I give this previous notice of the intention of calling you together on Monday next at nine o’clock, at which time you are requested to attend at head-quarters. It is not necessary, I am persuaded, to recommend secrecy. The success of the enterprise, (if undertaken,) must depend in a great measure upon the suddenness of the stroke. I am with great esteem, etc.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 8 September, 1775.
I have received your favor of the 31st of August. I am much engaged in sending off the detachment under Colonel Arnold, upon the plan contained in mine of the 20th ultimo. A variety of obstacles has retarded us, since the the express returned with yours of the 27th August from Albany; but we are now in such forwardness, that I expect they will set out by Sunday next at farthest. I shall take care in my instructions to Colonel Arnold, that, in case there should be a junction of the detachment with your army, you shall have no difficulty in adjusting the scale of command.
You seem so sensible of the absolute necessity of preserving the friendship of the Canadians, that I need say nothing on that subject; but that a strict discipline, and punctual payment for all necessaries brought to your camp, will be the most certain means of attaining so valuable and important an end. I shall inculcate the same principle most strongly on our troops, who go from hence, as that on which their safety, success, and honor entirely depend.
I am truly concerned, that your supplies and appointments are so far short of your expectations; but trust you will have a feeble enemy to contend with, and a whole province on your side, two circumstances of great weight in the scale. Your situation for some time must be so critical and interesting, that I hope you will not fail giving me constant information of your motions and success.1
Believe me, with much truth and regard, dear Sir, your obedient and humble servant.
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
Camp atCambridge, 8 September, 1775.
Upon the receipt of this you will please to give directions, that all the new levies march immediately to this camp. By a resolution of Congress, the troops on the Continental establishment were not to be employed for the defence of the coasts, or of any particular province, the militia being deemed competent to that service.1 When I directed these troops to remain in their own province, I had some reason to expect a remove from Boston to New York, in which case they would have been able to give them a more speedy opposition; but as that suspicion now appears groundless, there will be an impropriety in continuing them where they now are, considering the above resolve.
The detachment, which I mentioned in my last, will march in two days, and I shall have occasion for the troops from you to fill their places. The ministerial expedition must, I apprehend, by this time have come to some issue; they are either returned with disappointment, or have succeeded in their errand; in either case the men can be spared without danger to the country. But should this not be the case, and they are still hovering on the coast, it is to make no difference in their march; so that I shall at all events expect them here next week, for which you will please to give the necessary orders. I am, &c.
TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Camp atCambridge, 10 September, 1775.
So little has happened since the date of my last, that I should scarce have given you the trouble of reading this letter, did I not imagine that it might be some satisfaction to you to know, that we are well, and in no fear or dread of the enemy; being in our own opinion at least, very securely intrenched, and wishing for nothing more than to see the enemy out of their strong-holds, that the dispute may come to an issue. The inactive state we lie in is exceedingly disagreeable, especially as we can see no end to it, having had no advices lately from Great Britain to form a judgment upon.
In taking possession, about a fortnight ago, of a hill within point-blank (cannon-)shot of the enemy’s lines on Charles Town Neck, we expected to bring on a general action, especially as we had been threatened by reports from Boston several days before, that they (that is the enemy) intended an attack upon our intrenchments. Nothing, however, followed but a severe cannonade for a day or two, and a bombardment afterwards for the like time; which, however, did us no other damage, than to kill two or three men, and to wound as many more. Both are now at an end, as they found that we disregarded their fire, and continued our works till we had got them completed.
Unless the ministerial troops in Boston are waiting for reinforcements, I cannot devise what they are staying there for, nor why (as they affect to despise the Americans,) they do not come forth, and put an end to the contest at once. They suffer greatly for want of fresh provisions, notwithstanding they have pillaged several islands of a good many sheep and cattle. They are also scarce of fuel, unless, (according to the account of one of their deserters,) they mean to pull down houses for firing. In short, they are, from all accounts, suffering all the inconveniences of a siege. It is true, by having the entire command of the sea, and a powerful navy, and, moreover, as they are now beginning to take all vessels indiscriminately, we cannot stop their supplies through that channel; but their succors in this way hath not been so powerful, as to enable them to give the common soldiers much fresh meat as yet. By an account from Boston, of the 4th instant, the cattle lately brought in there sold at public auction from fifteen to thirty-four pounds ten shillings sterling apiece; and the sheep from thirty to thirty-six shillings each; and that fowls and every other species of fresh provisions went in proportion. The expense of this, one would think, must soon tire them, were it not, that they intend to fix all the expense of this war upon the colonies,—if they can, I suppose we shall add.
I am just sending off a detachment of one thousand men to Quebec, by the way of Kennebec River, to coöperate with General Schuyler, who by this is, I expect, at or near St. John’s, on the north end of Lake Champlain; and may, for aught I know, have determined the fate of his army and that of Canada, as he left Crown Point the 31st of last month for the Isleaux-Noix, (within twelve miles of St. John’s, where Governor Carleton’s principal force lay.) If he should succeed there, he will soon after be in Montreal without opposition; and if the detachment I am sending from hence, (though late in the season,) should be able to get posession of Quebec, the ministry’s plan, in respect to that government, will turn out finely.1
I have only to add my love to my sister and the little ones, and that I am, with the greatest truth, your most affectionate brother.
TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.
1. You are immediately on their march from Cambridge to take the command of the detachment from the Continental army against Quebec, and use all possible expedition, as the winter season is now advancing, and the success of this enterprise, under God, depends wholly upon the spirit with which it is pushed, and the favorable dispositions of the Canadians and Indians.
2. When you come to Newburyport you are to make all possible inquiry, what men-of-war or cruisers there may be on the coast, to which this detachment may be exposed on their voyage to Kennebec River; and, if you should find that there is danger of your being intercepted, you are not to proceed by water, but by land, taking care on the one hand not to be diverted by light and vague reports, and on the other not to expose the troops rashly to a danger, which by many judicious persons has been deemed very considerable.
3. You are, by every means in your power, to endeavor to discover the real sentiments of the Canadians towards our cause, and particularly as to this expedition, bearing in mind, that if they are averse to it and will not coöperate, or at least willingly acquiesce, it must fail of success. In this case you are by no means to prosecute the attempt; the expense of the expedition, and the disappointment, are not to be put in competition with the dangerous consequences, which may ensue from irritating them against us, and detaching them from that neutrality, which they have adopted.
4. In order to cherish those favorable sentiments to the American cause, that they have manifested, you are, as soon as you arrive in their country, to disperse a number of the addresses you will have with you, particularly in those parts, where your route shall lie; and observe the strictest discipline and good order, by no means suffering any inhabitant to be abused, or in any manner injured, either in his person or property, punishing with exemplary severity every person, who shall transgress, and making ample compensation to the party injured.
5. You are to endeavor, on the other hand, to conciliate the affections of those people, and such Indians as you may meet with, by every means in your power; convincing them, that we come, at the request of many of their principal people, not as robbers or to make war upon them, but as the friends and supporters of their liberties as well as ours. And to give efficacy to these sentiments, you must carefully inculcate upon the officers and soldiers under your command, that, not only the good of their country and their honor, but their safety, depend upon the treatment of these people.
6. Check every idea and crush in its earliest stage every attempt to plunder even those, who are known to be enemies to our cause. It will create dreadful apprehensions in our friends, and, when it is once begun, no one can tell where it will stop. I therefore again most expressly order, that it be discouraged and punished in every instance without distinction.
7. Any King’s stores, which you shall be so fortunate as to possess yourself of, are to be secured for the Continental use, agreeably to the rules and regulations of war published by the honorable Congress. The officers and men may be assured, that any extraordinary services performed by them will be suitably rewarded.
8. Spare neither pains nor expense to gain all possible intelligence on your march, to prevent surprises and accidents of every kind, and endeavor if possible to correspond with General Schuyler, so that you may act in concert with him. This, I think, may be done by means of the St. Francis Indians.
9. In case of a union with General Schuyler, or if he should be in Canada upon your arrival there, you are by no means to consider yourself as upon a separate and independent command, but are to put yourself under him and follow his directions. Upon this occasion, and all others, I recommend most earnestly to avoid all contention about rank. In such a cause every post is honorable, in which a man can serve his country.
10. If Lord Chatham’s son should be in Canada, and in any way should fall into your power, you are enjoined to treat him with all possible deference and respect. You cannot err in paying too much honor to the son of so illustrious a character, and so true a friend to America. Any other prisoners, who may fall into your hands, you will treat with as much humanity and kindness, as may be consistent with your own safety and the public interest. Be very particular in restraining, not only your own troops, but the Indians, from all acts of cruelty and insult, which will disgrace the American arms, and irritate our fellow subjects against us.
11. You will be particularly careful to pay the full value for all provisions, or other accommodations, which the Canadians may provide for you on your march. By no means press them or any of their cattle into your service, but amply compensate those, who voluntarily assist you. For this purpose you are provided with a sum of money in specie, which you will use with as much frugality and economy, as your necessities and good policy will admit, keeping as exact an account as possible of your disbursements.
12. You are by every opportunity to inform me of your progress, your prospects, and intelligence, and upon any important occurrence to send an express.
13. As the season is now far advanced, you are to make all possible despatch; but if unforeseen difficulties should arise, or if the weather should become so severe, as to render it hazardous to proceed, in your own judgment and that of your principal officers, whom you are to consult,—in that case you are to return, giving me as early notice as possible, that I may render you such assistance as may be necessary.
14. As the contempt of the religion of a country by ridiculing any of its ceremonies, or affronting its ministers or votaries, has ever been deeply resented, you are to be particularly careful to restrain every officer and soldier from such imprudence and folly, and to punish every instance of it. On the other hand, as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion of the country, and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority.
Given under my hand, at head-quarters, Cambridge, this 14th day of September, 1775.
TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.
Camp atCambridge, 14 September, 1775.
You are entrusted with a command of the utmost consequence to the interest and liberties of America. Upon your conduct and courage, and that of the officers and soldiers detached on this expedition, not only the success of the present enterprise, and your own honor, but the safety and welfare of the whole continent may depend. I charge you, therefore, and the officers and soldiers under your command, as you value your own safety and honor, and the favor and esteem of your country, that you consider yourselves, as marching not through the country of an enemy, but of our friends and brethren, for such the inhabitants of Canada, and the Indian nations, have approved themselves in this unhappy contest between Great Britain and America; and that you check, by every motive of duty and fear of punishment, every attempt to plunder or insult the inhabitants of Canada. Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian, in his person or property, I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment, as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportioned to its guilt, at such a time and in such a cause.
But I hope and trust, that the brave men, who have voluntarily engaged in this expedition, will be governed by far different views; and that order, discipline, and regularity of behavior, will be as conspicuous as their valor. I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect of the religion of the country, and its ceremonies. Prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors without insulting them. While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.
Upon the whole, Sir, I beg you to inculcate upon the officers and soldiers the necessity of preserving the strictest order during the march through Canada; to represent to them the shame, disgrace, and ruin to themselves and their country, if they should by their conduct turn the hearts of our brethren in Canada against us; and, on the other hand, the honors and rewards, which await them if by their prudence and good behavior they conciliate the affections of the Canadians and Indians to the great interests of America, and convert those favorable dispositions they have shown into a lasting union and affection. Thus wishing you, and the officers and soldiers under your command, all honor, safety, and success, I remain, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO THE INHABITANTS OF CANADA.1
Friends and Brethren,
The unnatural contest between the English colonies and Great Britain has now risen to such a height, that arms alone must decide it. The colonies, confiding in the justice of their cause, and the purity of their intention, have reluctantly appealed to that Being, in whose hands are all human events. He has hitherto smiled upon their virtuous efforts, the hand of tyranny has been arrested in its ravages, and the British arms, which have shone with so much splendor in every part of the globe, are now tarnished with disgrace and disappointment. Generals of approved experience, who boasted of subduing this great continent, find themselves circumscribed within the limits of a single city and its suburbs, suffering all the shame and distress of a siege, while the free-born sons of America, animated by the genuine principles of liberty and love of their country, with increasing union, firmness, and discipline, repel every attack, and despise every danger.
Above all we rejoice, that our enemies have been deceived with regard to you. They have persuaded themselves, they have even dared to say, that the Canadians were not capable of distinguishing between the blessings of liberty, and the wretchedness of slavery; that gratifying the vanity of a little circle of nobility would blind the people of Canada. By such artifices they hoped to bend you to their views, but they have been deceived; instead of finding in you a poverty of soul and baseness of spirit, they see with a chagrin, equal to our joy, that you are enlightened, generous, and virtuous; that you will not renounce your own rights, or serve as instruments to deprive your fellow subjects of theirs. Come then, my brethren, unite with us in an indissoluble union, let us run together to the same goal. We have taken up arms in defence of our liberty, our property, our wives, and our children; we are determined to preserve them, or die. We look forward with pleasure to that day, not far remote, we hope, when the inhabitants of America shall have one sentiment, and the full enjoyment of the blessings of a free government.
Incited by these motives, and encouraged by the advice of many friends of liberty among you, the grand American Congress have sent an army into your province, under the command of General Schuyler, not to plunder, but to protect you; to animate, and bring into action those sentiments of freedom you have disclosed, and which the tools of despotism would extinguish through the whole creation. To coöperate with this design, and to frustrate those cruel and perfidious schemes, which would deluge our frontiers with the blood of women and children, I have detached Colonel Arnold into your country, with a part of the army under my command. I have enjoined it upon him, and I am certain that he will consider himself, and act, as in the country of his patrons and best friends. Necessaries and accommodations of every kind, which you may furnish, he will thankfully receive and render the full value. I invite you therefore as friends and bretheren, to provide him with such supplies as your country affords; and I pledge myself, not only for your safety and security, but for an ample compensation. Let no man desert his habitation; let no one flee as before an enemy.
The cause of America, and of liberty, is the cause of every virtuous American citizen; whatever may be his religion or descent, the United Colonies know no distinction but such as slavery, corruption, and arbitrary dominion may create. Come, then, ye generous citizens, range yourselves under the standard of general liberty, against which all the force and artifices of tyranny will never be able to prevail.
TO THOMAS EVERHARD, VIRGINIA.
Camp atCambridge, 17 September, 1775.
As I believe it will be three years next December since some of my Ohio lands (under the proclamation of 1754) were patented; and as they are not yet improved agreeably to the express letter of the law, it behoves me to have recourse, in time, to the common expedient of saving them by means of a friendly petition. My distance from Williamsburg, and my ignorance of the mode of doing this, lays me under the necessity of calling upon some friend for assistance. Will you, then, my good Sir, aid me in this work? I shall acknowledge it as a singular favor if you will, and, unless you discourage me, I shall rely on it.
I have already been at as much expense in attempting to seat and improve these lands, as would nearly if not quite have saved them, agreeable to our act of Assembly, had it been laid out thereon. In March, 1774, I sent out more than twenty odd servants and hirelings, with a great number of tools, nails, and necessaries for this purpose; but, hostilities commencing with the Indians, they got no further than the Red-stone settlement, where the people dispersed, my goods got seized and lost, and the whole expedition, (which I suppose stood me in at least three hundred pounds,) came to nothing.1 In March last, I again purchased a parcel of servants, hired men at considerable wages, and sent out a second time; but what they have done, I neither know nor have heard, further than that, after buying tools and provisions at most exorbitant prices, and not being able (for money) to procure a sufficiency of the latter, my servants, for the most part, had run away, and the manager with a few negroes and hirelings left in an almost starving condition.1 This, Sir, is my situation; and to avoid a total loss of the land (as I conceive there are some peculiar circumstances attending the matter, on account of other claims), and to prevent involving myself in any disagreeable controversy in defence of my property, having already had a great deal of trouble about it, I am desirous of adopting in time the method of petitioning.
The enemy and we are very near neighbors. Our advanced works are not more than five or six hundred yards from theirs, and the main bodies of the two armies scarce a mile. We see every thing that passes, and that is all we can do, as they keep close on the two peninsulas of Boston and Charlestown, both of which are surrounded by ships of war, floating batteries, &c.; and the narrow necks of land leading into them fortified in such a manner as not to be forced, without a very considerable slaughter, if practicable at all. I am, &c.
TO DEPUTY GOVERNOR COOKE.
18 September, 1775.
Your Favors of the 9th, 14th and 15 Instant have been duly received. The readiness of the committee to cooperate with me in procuring the most authentick intelligence and dispatching Captain Whipple for this purpose, is peculiarly satisfactory, and I flatter myself will be attended not only with Success, but the happiest consequences to the publick cause. I should immediately have sent you notice of the paragraph in the Philadelphia papers which is all the Account I have of the taking the powder at Bermudas; but I supposed it must have come to your hands before it reached ours. I am inclined to think it sufficient to suspend Captain Whipple’s voyage at least till farther intelligence is procured from Philadelphia, as it is scarce supposable these vessels would leave any quantity behind worth the risque and expence of such a voyage. As this enterprize will therefore most probably be laid aside for the present it may be proper for Captain Whipple to keep his station a few days longer for the packet. It must be remembered they generally have long passages, and we are very sure she has not yet arrived at Boston, nor do I find she is expected there. The voyage to Bayonne is what I should approve and recommend. The person sent to Governor Trumbull has not yet called upon me, but the scheme appears so feasible that I should be glad to see it executed. At the same time I must add that I am in some doubt as to the extent of my powers to appropriate the publick Moneys here to this purpose. I could wish you would communicate it to the Congress for which you will have sufficient time and I make no doubt of their concurrence. In fact the state of our treasury here at present is so low that it would be impracticable to be of any service to the expedition if all other objections were obviated. We have no news either in the Camp or from Boston, except a piece of intelligence from the latter, that the Enemy are pulling down the South end of the town in order to continue a work across from River to River.
Your chearful Concurrence with me in publick Measures and Zeal for the service calls for my best Thanks.—You will please to accept them and believe me to be with much Truth and Esteem, etc.
P. S.—No Southern Mail arriving last Saturday we are apprehensive it has again fallen into the Enemy’s Hands. If it was not attended with too much Trouble should be glad you would cause Inquiry to be made, if by any Accident the Letters are at Providence you will please to forward them by Express—1
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
Cambridge, 21 September, 1775.1
It gives me real concern to observe by yours of the 15th instant, that you should think it necessary to distinguish between my personal and public character, and confine your esteem to the former. Upon a reperusal of mine of the 8th instant, I cannot think the construction you have made one; and, unless it was I should have hoped that the respect I really have, and which I flattered myself I had manifested to you, would have called for the most favorable. In the disposition of the Continental troops, I have long been sensible that it would be impossible to please, not individuals merely, but particular provinces, whose partial necessities would occasionally call for assistance. I therefore thought myself happy, that the Congress had settled the point, and apprehended I should stand excused to all, for acting in the line, which not only appeared to me to be that of policy and propriety, but of express and positive duty. If, to the other fatigues and cares of my station, that is to be added of giving reasons for all orders, and explaining the grounds and principles on which they are formed, my personal trouble will perhaps be of the least concern. The public would be most affected. You may be assured, Sir, nothing was intended that might be construed into disrespect; and, at so interesting [a] period, nothing less ought to disturb the harmony so necessary for the happy success of our public operations.
The omission of acknowledging, in precise terms, the receipt of your favor of the 5th instant was purely accidental. The subject was not so new to me as to require long consideration. I had had occasion fully to deliberate upon it, in consequence of applications for troops from Cape Ann, Machias, New Hampshire, and Long Island, where the same necessity was as strongly pleaded, and, in the two last instances, the most peremptory orders were necessary to prevent the troops from being detained. I foresaw the same difficulty here. I am by no means insensible to the situation of the people on the coast. I wish I could extend protection to all; but the numerous detachments, necessary to remedy the evil, would amount to a dissolution of the army, or make the most important operations of the campaign depend upon the piratical expeditions of two or three men-of-war and transports.
The spirit and zeal of the colony of Connecticut are unquestionable; and whatever may be the hostile intentions of the men-of-war, I hope their utmost efforts can do little more than alarm the coast.
I am, with great esteem and regard for both your personal and public character, Sir, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp at Cambridge, 21 September, 1775.2
I have been in daily expectation of being favored with the commands of the honorable Congress on the subject of my two last letters. The season now advances so fast, that I cannot any longer defer laying before them such further measures as require their immediate attention, and in which I wait their direction.
The mode in which the present army has been collected has occasioned some difficulty, in procuring the subscription of both officers and soldiers to the Continental articles of war. Their principal objection has been, that it might subject them to a longer service, than that for which they engaged under their several provincial establishments. It is in vain to attempt to reason away the prejudices of a whole army, often instilled, and in this instance at least encouraged, by their officers from private and narrow views. I have therefore forbore pressing them, as I did not experience any such inconvenience from their adherence to their former rules, as would warrant the risk of entering into a contest upon it; more especially as the restraints, necessary for the establishment of essential discipline and subordination, indisposed their minds to every change, and made it both duty and policy to introduce as little novelty as possible. With the present army, I fear, such a subscription is impracticable; but the difficulty will cease with this army.1
The Connecticut and Rhode Island troops stand engaged to the 1st of December only; and none longer than the 1st of January. A dissolution of the present army therefore will take place, unless some early provision is made against such an event. Most of the general officers are of opinion, that the greater part of them may be reënlisted for the winter, or another campaign, with the indulgence of a furlough to visit their friends, which may be regulated so as not to endanger the service. How far it may be proper to form the new army entirely out of the old, for another campaign, rather than from the contingents of the several provinces, is a question which involves in it too many considerations of policy and prudence, for me to undertake to decide. It appears to be impossible to draw it from any other source than the old army, for this winter; and, as the pay is ample, I hope a sufficient number will engage in the service for that time at least. But there are various opinions of the temper of the men on the subject; and there may be great hazard in deferring the trial too long.
In the Continental establishment no provision has been made for the pay of artificers, distinct from that of the common soldiers; whereas, under the provincial such as found their own tools were allowed one shilling per diem advance, and particular artisans more. The pay of the artillery, also, now differs from that of the province; the men have less, the officers more; and, for some ranks, no provision is made, as the Congress will please to observe by this list, which I have the honor to enclose. These particulars, though seemingly inconsiderable, are the source of much complaint and dissatisfaction, which I endeavor to compose in the best manner I am able.
By the returns of the rifle companies, and that battalion, they appear to exceed their establishment very considerably. I doubt my authority to pay these extra men without the direction of the Congress; but it would be deemed a great hardship wholly to refuse them, as they have been encouraged to come.1
The necessities of the troops having required pay, I directed that those of the Massachusetts should receive for one month, upon their being mustered, and returning a proper roll; but a claim was immediately made for pay by lunar months; and several regiments have declined taking up their warrants on this account. As this practice was entirely new to me, though said to be warranted by former usage here, the matter now waits the determination of the honorable Congress.1 I find, in Connecticut and Rhode Island, this point was settled by calendar months; in Massachusetts, though mentioned in the Congress, it was left undetermined, which is also the case of New Hampshire.2
The enclosure No. 2 is a petition from the subalterns, respecting their pay. Where there are only two of these in a company, I have considered one as an ensign, and ordered him pay as such, as in the Connecticut forces. I must beg leave to recommend this petition to the favor of the Congress, as I am of opinion the allowance is inadequate to their rank and service, and is one great source of that familiarity between the officers and men, which is so incompatible with subordination and discipline.3 Many valuable officers of those ranks, finding themselves unable to support the character and appearance of officers, I am informed, will retire as soon as the term of service is expired, if there is no alteration.1
For the better regulation of duty, I found it necessary to settle the rank of the officers, and to number the regiments; and, as I had not received the commands of the Congress on the subject, and the exigence of the service forbade any further delay, the general officers were considered as having no regiments; an alteration, which, I understand, is not pleasing to some of them, but appeared to me and others to be proper, when it was considered, that, by this means, the whole army is put upon one footing, and all particular attachments are dissolved.2
Among many other considerations which the approach of winter will demand, that of clothing appears to be one of the most important. So far as regards the preservation of the army from cold, they may be deemed in a state of nakedness. Many of the men have been without blankets the whole campaign, and those which have been in use during the summer are so much worn as to be of little service. In order to make a suitable provision in these articles, and at the same time to guard the public against imposition and expense, it seems necessary to determine the mode of continuing the army; for should these troops be cloathed under their present engagement, and at the expiration of the term of service decline renewing it, a set of unprovided men may be sent to supply their places.
I cannot suppose it to be unknown to the honorable Congress, that in all armies it is an established practise to make an allowance to officers of provisions and forage proportionate to their rank. As such an allowance formed no part of the continental establishment, I have hitherto forbore to issue the orders for that purpose: but as it is a received opinion of such members of the Congress, as I have had an opportunity of consulting, as well as throughout the army, that it must be deemed a matter of course, and implied in the establishment of the army, I have directed the following proportion of rations, being the same allowance in the American armies last war:—
If these should not be approved by the honorable Congress, they will please to signify their pleasure as to the alterations they would have made, in the whole or in part.
I am now to inform the honorable Congress, that, encouraged by the repeated declarations of the Canadians and Indians, and urged by their requests, I have detached Colonel Arnold with a thousand men, to penetrate into Canada by way of Kennebec River, and, if possible, to make himself master of Quebec. By this manœuvre, I proposed either to divert Carleton from St. John’s, which would leave a free passage to General Schuyler; or, if this did not take effect, Quebec, in its present defenceless state, must fall into his hands an easy prey. I made all possible inquiry, as to the distance, the safety of the route, and the danger of the season being too far advanced; but found nothing in either to deter me from proceeding, more especially as it met with very general approbation from all whom I consulted upon it. But, that nothing might be omitted, to enable me to judge of its propriety and probable consequences, I communicated it by express to General Schuyler, who approved of it in such terms, that I resolved to put it in immediate execution. They have now left this place seven days; and, if favored with a good wind, I hope soon to hear of their being safe in Kennebec River. For the satisfaction of the Congress, I here enclose a copy of the proposed route. I also do myself the honor of enclosing a manifesto, which I caused to be printed here, and of which Colonel Arnold has taken a suitable number with him. I have also forwarded a copy of his instructions. From all which, I hope the Congress will have a clear view of the motives, plan, and intended execution of this enterprise, and that I shall be so happy as to meet with their approbation in it.
I was the more induced to make this detachment, as it is my clear opinion, from a careful observation of the movements of the enemy, corroborated by all the intelligence we receive by deserters and others of the former of whom we have some every day, that the enemy have no intention to come out, until they are reinforced. They have been wholly employed for some time past in procuring materials for barracks, fuel, and making other preparations for winter. These circumstances, with the constant additions to their works, which are apparently defensive, have led to the above conclusion, and enabled me to spare this body of men where I hope they will be usefully and successfully employed.
The state of inactivity, in which this army has lain for some time, by no means corresponds with my wishes by some decisive stroke, to relieve my country, from the heavy expense its subsistence must create. After frequently reconnoitring the situation of the enemy in the town of Boston, collecting all possible intelligence, and digesting the whole, a surprise did not appear to me wholly impracticable, though hazardous. I communicated it to the general officers some days before I called them to a council, that they might be prepared with their opinions. The result I have the honor of sending in the inclosure No 6. I cannot say that I have wholly laid it aside; but new events may occasion new measures. Of this I hope the honorable Congress can need no assurance, that there is not a man in America, who more earnestly wishes such a termination of the campaign, as to make the army no longer necessary.
The season advances so fast, that I have given orders to prepare barracks and other accommodations for the winter. The great scarcity of tow cloth in this country, I fear, will totally disappoint us in our expectations of procuring hunting shirts. Gov. Cooke informs me, few or none are to be had in Rhode Island, and Gov. Trumbull gives me little encouragement to expect many from Connecticut.
I have filled up the office of quartermaster-general, which the Congress was pleased to leave to me, by the appointment of Major Mifflin, which I hope and believe will be universally acceptable.
It gives me great pain to be obliged to solicit the attention of the honorable Congress to the state of this army, in terms which imply the slightest apprehension of being neglected. But my situation is inexpressibly distressing, to see the winter fast approaching upon a naked army, the time of their service within a few weeks of expiring, and no provision yet made for such important events. Added to these, the military chest is totally exhausted; the paymaster has not a single dollar in hand; the commissary-general assures me he has strained his credit, for the subsistence of the army, to the utmost. The quartermaster-general is precisely in the same situation; and the greater part of the troops are in a state not far from mutiny, upon the deduction from their stated allowance.1 I know not to whom I am to impute this failure; but I am of opinion, if the evil is not immediately remedied, and more punctually observed in future, the army must absolutely break up. I hoped I had expressed myself so fully on this subject, both by letter, and to those members of the Congress, who honored the camp with a visit, that no disappointment could possibly happen. I therefore hourly expected advice from the paymaster, that he had received a fresh supply, in addition to the hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars delivered him in August; and thought myself warranted to assure the public creditors, that in a few days they should be satisfied. But the delay has brought matters to such a crisis, as admits of no farther uncertain expectations. I have therefore sent off this express with orders to make all possible despatch. It is my most earnest request, that he may be returned with all possible expedition, unless the honorable Congress have already forwarded what is so indispensably necessary. I have the honor to be, &c.2
TO MAJOR CHRISTOPHER FRENCH.1
Camp atCambridge, 26 September, 1775.
Your favor of the 18th instant is now before me, as well as that from the Committee of Hartford on the same subject. When I compare the treatment you have received with that, which has been shown to those brave American officers, who were taken fighting gallantly in defence of the liberties of their country, I cannot help expressing some surprise, that you should thus earnestly contest points of mere punctilio. The appellation of Rebel has been deemed sufficient to sanctify every species of cruelty to them; while the ministerial officers, the voluntary instruments of an avaricious and vindictive ministry, claim, upon all occasions, the benefit of those military rules, which can only be binding where they are mutual. We have shown, on our part, the strongest disposition to observe them, during the present contest; but I should ill support my country’s honor, and my own character, if I did not show a proper sense of their sufferings, by making the condition of the ministerial officers in some degree dependent upon theirs.
My disposition does not allow me to follow the unworthy example set me by General Gage to its fullest extent. You possess all the essential comforts of life; why should you press for indulgences of a ceremonious kind, which give general offence?
I have looked over all the papers sent me from Philadelphia. I find nothing in them upon the present subject, nor do I know whether the liberty of wearing your sword was given or taken. But I flatter myself, that, when you come to consider all circumstances, you will save me the trouble of giving any positive directions. You will easily conceive how much more grateful a compliance with the wishes of the people, among whom your residence may be longer than you expect, will appear, when it is the result of your prudence and good sense, rather than a determination from me. I therefore should be unwilling to deprive you of an opportunity of cultivating their esteem by so small a concession as this must be.
As I suppose your several letters to me have been communicated to others, I cannot forbear considering your conduct in “declaring, in a high tone, that, had you joined your regiment, you would have acted vigorously against this country, and done all in your power to reduce it,”1 as a deviation from the line of propriety and prudence, which I should have expected to distinguish the conduct of so old and experienced an officer. Your being so entirely in our power may extinguish the resentment, which a generous and enlightend mind would otherwise feel; but I cannot commend the conduct, which puts such a mind to the trial.2
I am Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOSEPH SPENCER.
Head-Quarters, 26 September, 1775.
I have perused and considered a petition, or rather a remonstrance, directed to you and signed by several captains and subalterns, on the appointment of Mr. Huntington to the lieutenancy of Captain Chester’s company.
The decent representation of officers, or even of common soldiers, through the channel of their Colonel, or other superior officers, I shall always encourage and attend to; but I must declare my disapprobation of this mode of associating and combining, as subversive of all subordination, discipline, and order.
Should the proper officers refuse or neglect to receive their complaints, an immediate application to their general officer would be proper. Much as I disapprove the mode of opposition to this gentleman, I disapprove the opposition itself still more. To yield to it would be in effect to surrender the command of the army to those, whose duty it is, and whose honor it ought to be, to obey. Commission should be ever the reward of merit, not of age, and I am determined never to put it out of the proper power to reward a deserving, active officer, whatsoever may be his standing in the army, or the pretensions of those, who have no other merit than that of having been born or enlisted before him.
In an army so young as ours, the claims arising from real service are very few, and the accidental circumstance of obtaining a commission a month or two sooner can with no reasonable person claim any superior regard, or make such a scrutiny of any consequence. This army is supported by the whole continent; the establishment is entirely new. All provincial customs, therefore, which are different in different provinces, must be laid out of the question. The power, which has established and which pays this army, has alone the right to judge, who shall command in it, from the general to the ensign. To put it into any other hands would be a high breach of my trust, and would give birth to such factions and cabals, as must soon end in the dissolution of the army, and the ruin of our country.
As no objections are made to Mr. Huntington’s character, nor any other reason assigned, than his not rising by gradation, I can make no alteration in his appointment. At the same time I declare, that I shall upon all occasions pay a proper respect to long service, and as far as lies in my power give it all the preference, which is consistent with the welfare of the army and the duties of my station. I make no doubt, therefore, when these and all other officers (who, in such cases, are both parties and judges) divest themselves of prejudice and partiality, they will cheerfully acquiesce in such appointments as are made, and manifest their sincere attachment to their country, and the great cause in which we are engaged, by a ready and hearty obedience to all orders and rules judged necessary for the general interest. I am, Sir, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 30 September, 1775.
The Rev. Mr. Kirkland,1 the bearer of this, having been introduced to the honorable Congress, can need no particular recommendation from me. But as he now wishes to have the affairs of his mission and public employ put upon some suitable footing, I cannot but intimate my sense of the importance of his station, and the great advantages which have [resulted] and may result to the United Colonies, from his situation being made respectable.
All accounts agree, that much of the favorable disposition, shown by the Indians, may be ascribed to his labor and influence. He has accompanied a chief of the Oneidas to this camp, which I have endeavored to make agreeable to him, both by civility and some small presents.1 Mr. Kirkland being also in some necessity for money to bear his travelling charges and other expenses, I have supplied him with thirty-two pounds lawful money.
I cannot but congratulate the honorable Congress on the happy temper of the Canadians and Indians, our accounts of which are now fully confirmed by some intercepted letters from officers in Canada to General Gage and others in Boston, which were found on board the vessel lately taken, going into Boston with a donation of cattle and other fresh provisions for the ministerial army.1 I have the honor to be, &c.2
TO CAPTAIN DANIEL MORGAN.
Camp atCambridge, 4 October, 1775.
I write to you in consequence of information I have received, that you and the captains of the rifle companies on the detachment against Quebec, claim an exemption from the command of all the field-officers, except Colonel Arnold, I understand this claim is founded upon some expressions of mine; but, if you understood me in this way, you are much mistaken in my meaning. My intention is, and ever was, that every officer should command according to his rank. To do otherwise would subvert all military order and authority, which, I am sure, you could not wish or expect.
Now the mistake is rectified, I trust you will exert yourself to support my intentions, ever remembering that by the same rule by which you claim an independent command, and break in upon military authority, others will do the same in regard to you, and, of consequence, the expedition must terminate in shame and disgrace to yourselves, and the reproach and detriment of your country. To a man of true spirit and military character, farther argument is unnecessary. I shall, therefore, recommend to you to preserve the utmost harmony among yourselves, to which a due subordination will much contribute; and, wishing you health and success, I remain your very humble servant.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 4 October, 1775.
Your favor of the 20th ultimo came safely to hand, and I should have despatched the express much sooner, but Colonel Arnold’s expedition is so connected with your operations, that I thought it most proper to detain him, until I could give you the fullest account of his progress. This morning the express, I sent him, returned, and the enclosure No. 1 is a copy of his letter to me; No. 2 is a copy also of a paper sent me, being the report of a reconnoitring party sent out some time ago.1 You will certainly hear from him soon, as I have given him the strongest injunctions on this head.
Inclosed No. 3, I send you a copy of his instructions, and No. 4 is a Manifesto, of which I have sent a number with him to disperse throughout Canada. He is supplied with one thousand pounds lawful money in specie, to answer his contingent charges.
About eight days ago a brig from Quebec to Boston was taken and brought into Cape Ann. By some intercepted letters from Captain Gamble to General Gage and Major Sheriff, the account of the temper of the Canadians in the American cause is fully confirmed. The Captain says, that if Quebec should be attacked before Carleton can throw himself into it, there will be a surrender without firing a shot. We most anxiously hope you will find sufficient employ for Carleton at St. John’s and its neighborhood.
We at last have the echo of Bunker’s Hill from England. The number of killed and wounded by General Gage’s account nearly corresponds with what we had, vizt., 1100. There does not seem the least probability of a change of measures or of ministers.1
General Gage is recalled from Boston, and sails tomorrow; he is succeeded by General Howe.2 We have had no material occurrence since I had the pleasure of writing to you last. Our principal employ at present is preparing for the winter, as there seems to be no probability of an accommodation, or any such decision as to make the present army less necessary.1
I also send a copy of a letter given to Colonel Arnold to be communicated to the officers and men. The accounts we have of your health gives us great concern, not only on your own account, but that of the public service, which must suffer in consequence. I shall most sincerely rejoice to hear of your perfect recovery; and now, most fervently wishing you all possible success, honor, and safety, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO THE GENERAL OFFICERS.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 5 October, 1775.
In a letter from the Congress, dated September 26th, information on the following points is required:
What number of men are sufficient for a winter campaign?
Can the pay of the privates be reduced? How much?
What regulations are further necessary for the government of the forces?
To the above queries of the Congress I have to add several of my own, which I also request your opinion upon, viz.:—
For how long a time ought the men in the present army (should we set about enlisting them) be engaged?
What method would you recommend as most eligible to cloathe a new raised army with a degree of decency and regularity? Would you advise it to be done by the Continent? In that case would you lower the men’s wages, and make no deduction for cloathing, or let it stand and make stoppages? and how much a month?
As there appears to be great irregularity in the manner of paying the men, and much discontent has prevailed on this account, in what manner and at what fixed periods would you advise it to be done under a new establishment?
What sized regiments would you recommend under this establishment; that is how many men to a company? how many companies to a regiment, and how officered?
Is there any method by which the best of the present officers in this army can be chosen without impeding the inlistment of the men, by such choice and preference? Under any complete establishment, even if the privates in the army were engaged again, many of the present officers must be discharged as there is an over-proportion, of course we ought to retain the best.
Your close attention to the foregoing points against Monday, ten o’clock, at which time I shall expect to see you at this place, will much oblige, Sir, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 5 October, 1775.
I was honored with your favor of the 26th ultimo, late the night before last; and a meeting of the general officers having been called upon a business, which will make a considerable part of this letter, I took the opportunity of laying before them those parts of yours, which respect the continuance and new-modelling the army, the fuel, clothing, and other preparations for the ensuing winter. They have taken two or three days to consider; and, as soon as I am possessed of their opinions, I shall lose no time in transmitting the result, not only on the above subjects, but the number of troops necessary to be kept up. I have also directed the commissary-general and the quartermaster-general to prepare estimates of the expense of their departments for a certain given number of men, from which a judgment may be made, when the number of men to be kept in pay is determined; all which I shall do myself the honor to lay before the Congress, as soon as they are ready.
I have now a painful though a necessary duty to perform, respecting Dr. Church, director-general of the hospital. About a week ago, Mr. Secretary Ward of Providence sent up to me one Wainwood, an inhabitant of Newport, with a letter directed to Major Cane in Boston, in characters; which he said had been left with Wainwood some time ago, by a woman who was kept by Dr. Church. She had before pressed Wainwood to take her to Captain Wallace,1 Mr. Dudley the collector, or George Rome, which he declined. She then gave him a letter, with a strict charge to deliver it to either of those gentlemen. He, suspecting some improper correspondence, kept the letter, and after some time opened it; but, not being able to read it, laid it up, where in remained until he received an obscure letter from the woman, expressing an anxiety after the original letter. He then communicated the whole matter to Mr Ward, who sent him up with the papers to me. I immediately secured the woman; but for a long time she was proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the author. However, at length she was brought to a confession, and named Dr. Church. I then immediately secured him and all his papers. Upon his first examination he readily acknowledged the letter, said it was designed for his brother Fleming, and, when deciphered, would be found to contain nothing criminal. He acknowledged his never having communicated the correspondence to any person here but the girl, and made many protestations of the purity of his intentions.1 Having found a person capable of deciphering the letter, I in the mean time had all his papers searched, but found nothing criminal among them. But it appeared, on inquiry, that a confidant had been among the papers before my messenger arrived. I then called the general officers together for their advice, the result of which you will find in the enclosure No. 1. The deciphered letter is the enclosure No. 2. The army and country are exceedingly irritated; and, upon a free discussion of the nature, circumstances, and consequence of this matter, it has been unanimously agreed to lay it before the honorable Congress for their special advice and direction; at the same time suggesting to their consideration, whether an alteration of the twenty-eighth article of war may not be necessary.1
As I shall reserve all farther remarks upon the state of the army till my next, I shall now beg leave to request the determination of Congress, as to the property and disposal of such vessels and cargoes, as are designed for the supply of the enemy, and may fall into our hands. There has been an event of this kind at Portsmouth as by the enclosure No. 3,2 in which I have directed the cargo to be brought hither for the use of the army, reserving the settlement of any claims of capture to the decision of Congress.
As there are many unfortunate individuals, whose property has been confiscated by the enemy, I would humbly suggest to the consideration of Congress the humanity of applying, in part or in the whole, such captures to the relief of those sufferers, after compensating any expense of the captors, and for their activity and spirit. I am the more induced to request this determination may be speedy, as I have directed three vessels to be equipped in order to cut off the supplies; and from the number of vessels hourly arriving, it may become an object of some importance. In the disposal of these captures, for the encouragement of the officers and men, I have allowed them one third of the cargoes, except military stores, which, with the vessel, are to be reserved for the public use. I hope my plan, as well as the execution, will be favored with the approbation of Congress.
One Mr. Fisk, an intelligent person, came out of Boston on the 3d instant, and gives us the following advices; that a fleet, consisting of a sixty-four, and a twenty-gun ship, two sloops of eighteen guns, [and] two transports with six hundred men, were to sail from Boston yesterday; that they took on board two mortars, four howitzers, and other artillery calculated for the bombardment of a town; their destination was kept a profound secret;1 that an express sloop of war, which left England the 8th of August, arrived four days ago; that General Gage is recalled, and last Sunday resigned his command to General Howe; that Lord Percy, Colonel Smith, and other officers, who were at Lexington, are ordered home with Gage; that six ships of the line and two cutters were coming out under Sir Peter Dennis; that five regiments and a thousand marines are ordered out, and may be expected in three or four weeks; no prospect of an accommodation, but the ministry determined to push the war to the utmost.
I have an express from Colonel Arnold, and herewith send a copy of his letter and an enclosure No. 4; and I am happy in finding he meets with no discouragement. The claim of the rifle officers to be independent of all the superior officers, except Colonel Arnold, is without any countenance or authority from me, as I have signified in my last despatch, both to Colonel Arnold and Captain Morgan. The captain of the brig from Quebec for Boston informs me, that there is no suspicion of any such expedition; and that, if Carleton is not drove from St. John’s, so as to be obliged to throw himself into Quebec, it must fall into our hands, as it is left without a regular soldier, and many of the inhabitants are most favorably disposed to the American cause; and that there is the largest stock of ammunition ever collected in America. In the above vessel some letters were also found, from an officer at Quebec to General Gage and Major Sheriff at Boston, containing such an account of the temper of the Canadians, as cannot but afford the highest satisfaction. I have thought it best to forward them. They are enclosures No. 6 & 7.1 I am, with the greatest respect, &c.2
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 5 October, 1775.
I wrote you yesterday, of which the enclosed is a copy, since which I have been informed, that your illness has obliged you to quit the army, and General Wooster as the eldest Brigadier will take rank and command of Mr. Montgomery. General Wooster, I am informed, is not of such activity as to press through difficulties, with which that service is environed. I am therefore much alarmed for Arnold, whose expedition was built upon yours, and who will infallibly perish, if the invasion and entry into Canada are abandoned by your successor.1
I hope by this time the penetration into Canada by your army is effected; but if it is not, and there are any intentions to lay it aside, I beg it may be done in such a manner, that Arnold may be saved by giving him notice, and in the mean time your army to keep up such appearances as may fix Carleton, and prevent the force of Canada being turned wholly upon Arnold. He expected to be at Quebec in twenty days from the 26th of September, so that I hope you will have no difficulty in regulating your motions with respect to him. Should this find you at Albany, and General Wooster about taking the command, I intreat you to impress him strongly with the importance and necessity of proceeding, or so to conduct, that Arnold may have time to retreat.
Nothing new has occurred since yesterday deserving your notice. Our next accounts of your health I hope will be more favorable. Ten thousand good wishes attend you from this quarter; none more sincere and fervent than those of, dear Sir, your most obedient, &c.
TO ROBERT CARTER NICHOLAS, VIRGINIA.
Camp atCambridge, 5 October, 1775.
Your favor of the 8th ultimo came to my hands on the 2d instant by Mr. Byrd.1 I return you my sincere thanks for your kind congratulation on my appointment to the honorable and important post I now hold, by the suffrages of this great continent. My heart will ever bear testimony of my gratitude for the distinguished mark of honor, which has been conferred on me by this appointment; as it also will of my wishes, that so important a trust had been placed in the hands of a person of greater experience and abilities than mine. I feel the weight of my charge too sensibly not to make this declaration. At the same time, I must add, that I do not want to withdraw any services, within the compass of my power, from the cause we are nobly engaged in.
Mr. Byrd shall not want for his pay, whilst he is in this camp; although, as I have no cash of my own here, and charge the public with my expenses only, I shall be a little at a loss to know in what manner to advance it with propriety. Bills of exchange would answer no end here, as we have not the means of negotiating them; but, if you would place the money in the hands of Messrs. Willing and Morris of Philadelphia, (either in specie, continental, Maryland, or Pennsylvania paper,) they could easily remit or draw for it. But, at any rate, make yourself easy, as Mr. Byrd shall not want to the amount of his pay. * * *
The enemy in Boston and on the heights at Charlestown (two peninsulas surrounded in a manner by ships of war and floating batteries) are so strongly fortified, as to render it almost impossible to force their lines, which are thrown up at the head of each neck; without great slaughter on our side, or cowardice on theirs, it is absolutely so. We therefore can do no more, than keep them besieged, which they are, to all intents and purposes, as close as any troops upon earth can be, that have an opening to the sea. Our advanced works and theirs are within musket-shot. We daily undergo a cannonade, which has done no injury to our works, and very little hurt to our men. Those insults we are obliged to submit to for want of powder, being obliged, (except now and then giving them a shot,) to reserve what we have for closer work than cannon-distance.
My respectful compliments to Mrs. Nicholas and the rest of your fireside, and to any inquiring friends, conclude me, with grateful thanks for the prayers and good wishes you are pleased to offer on my account, I am, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 12 October, 1775
I am honored with your several favors of the 26th and 30th of September, and 5th of October, the contents of which I shall beg leave to notice in their respective order.
Previous to the direction of Congress to consult the general officers on the best mode of continuing and providing for the army during the winter, I had desired them to turn their thoughts upon these subjects, and to favor me with the result, by a particular day, in writing. In this interval, the appointment of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison, was communicated, an event which has given me the highest satisfaction, as the subject was too weighty and complex for a discussion by letter. This appointment made any conclusion here unnecessary, as it is not probable any such arrangement would be agreed on, as would not be altered in some respects, upon a full and free conference. This good effect will arise from the step already taken, that every officer will be prepared to give his sentiments upon these important subjects.1
The estimates of the commissary and quartermaster general I have now the honor of enclosing. * * *
With respect to the reduction of the pay of the men, which may enter into the consideration of their support, it is the unanimous opinion of the general officers, that it cannot be touched with safety at present. * * *
Upon the presumption of there being a vacancy in the direction of the hospital, Lieut. Col. Hand, formerly a surgeon in the 18th Regiment, or Royal Irish, and Dr. Foster, late of Charles Town, and one of the surgeons of the hospital under Dr. Church, are candidates for that office. I do not pretend to be acquainted with their respective merits, and therefore have given them no further expectation than that they should be mentioned as candidates for the department. I therefore need only to add upon the subject that the affairs of the hospital require that the appointment should be made as soon as possible.
Before I was honored with your favor of the 5th instant, I had given orders for the equipment of some armed vessels, to intercept the enemy’s supplies of provisions and ammunition. One of them was on a cruise between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, when the express arrived. The others will be fit for the sea in a few days, under the command of officers of the Continental army, who are well recommended, as persons acquainted with the sea, and capable of such a service. Two of these will be immediately despatched on this duty, and every particular, mentioned in your favor of the 5th instant, literally complied with.1 That the honorable Congress may have a more complete idea of the plan on which these vessels are equipped, I enclose a copy of the instructions given to the captains now out.2 These, with the additional instructions directed, will be given to the captains, who go into the mouth of St. Lawrence’s River. As both officers and men most cheerfully engage in the service, on the terms mentioned in these instructions, I fear that the proposed increase will create some difficulty, by making a difference between men engaged on similar service. I have therefore not yet communicated this part of the plan, but reserved an extra bounty as a reward for extraordinary activity. There are no armed vessels in this province; and Governor Cooke informs me, the enterprise can receive no assistance from him, as one of the armed vessels of Rhode Island is on a long cruise, and the other unfit for the service. Nothing shall be omitted to secure success. A fortunate capture of an ordnance ship would give new life to the camp, and an immediate turn to the issue of this campaign.
Our last accounts from Colonel Arnold are very favorable. He was proceeding with all expedition; and I flatter myself, making all allowances, he will be at Quebec the 20th instant, where a gentleman from Canada (Mr. Price) assures me he will meet with no resistance.1 * * * From the various accounts received from Europe, there may be reason to expect troops will be landed at New York, or some other middle colony. I should be glad to know the pleasure of the Congress, whether, upon such an event, it would be expected that a part of this army should be detached, or the internal force of such colony and its neighborhood be deemed sufficient; or whether, in such case, I am to wait the particular direction of Congress.2
The fleet, mentioned in my last, has been seen standing N. N. E.; so that we apprehend it is intended for some part of this province, or New Hampshire, or possibly Quebec.
The latest and best accounts we have from the enemy are, that they are engaged in their new work across the south end of Boston, preparing their barracks, &c. for winter; that it is proposed to keep from five hundred to a thousand men on Bunker’s Hill all winter, who are to be relieved once a week; the rest to be drawn into Boston. A person,1 who has lately been a servant to Major Connolly, a tool of Lord Dunmore’s, has given an account of a scheme to distress the southern provinces, which appeared to me of sufficient consequence to be immediately transmitted. I have therefore got it attested, and do myself the honor of enclosing it.
The new levies from Connecticut have lately marched into camp, and are a body of as good troops as any we have; so that we have now the same strength, as before the detachment made under Colonel Arnold. I am, &c.2
TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Camp atCambridge, 13 October, 1775.
Your favor of the 12th ultimo came to hand a few days ago. By it I gladly learnt, that your family were recovered of the two complaints, which had seized many of them and confined my sister. I am very glad to hear, also, that the Convention had come to resolutions of arming the people, and preparing vigorously for the defence of the colony; which, by the latest accounts from England, will prove a salutary measure.1 I am also pleased to find, that the manufactury of arms and ammunition has been attended to with so much care. A plenty of these, and unanimity and fortitude among ourselves, must defeat every attempt that a diabolical ministry can invent to enslave this great continent. In the manufacturing of arms for public use, great care should be taken to make the bores of the same size, that the same balls may answer, otherwise great disadvantages may arise from a mixture of cartridges.
The enemy, by their not coming out, are, I suppose, afraid of us; whilst their situation renders any attempts of ours upon them in a manner impracticable.2 Nothing new has happened, since my last, worth communicating. Since finishing our own lines of defence, we, as well as the enemy, have been busily employed in putting our men under proper cover for the winter. Our advanced works, and theirs, are within musket-shot of each other. We are obliged to submit to an almost daily cannonade without returning a shot, from our scarcity of powder, which we are necessitated to keep for closer work than cannon-distance, whenever the red-coat gentry please to step out of their intrenchments. Seeing no prospect of this, I sent a detachment, about a month ago, into Canada, by the way of Kennebec River, under the command of a Colonel Arnold. This detachment consisted of one thousand men, and was ordered to possess themselves of Quebec if possible; but, at any rate, to make a diversion in favor of General Schuyler, who by this is in possession, I expect, of Montreal and St. John’s, as I am not altogether without hopes that Colonel Arnold may be [possessed] of the capital. If so, what a pretty hand the ministry have made of their Canada bill, and the diabolical scheme which was constructed upon it. I have also, finding that we were in no danger of a visit from our neighbors, fitted and am fitting out several privateers with soldiers (who have been bred to the sea), and have no doubt of making captures of several of their transports, some of which have already fallen into our hands, laden with provisions.
I am obliged to you for your advice to my wife, and for your intention of visiting her. Seeing no great prospect of returning to my family and friends this winter, I have sent an invitation to Mrs. Washington to come to me, although I fear the season is too far advanced (especially if she should when my letters get home be in Kent, as I believe the case will be) to admit this with any tolerable degree of convenience. I have laid a state of difficulties, however, which must attend the journey before her, and left it to her own choice.
My love to my sister and the little ones is sincerely tendered, and I am, with true regard, your most affectionate brother.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 24 October, 1775.
My conjecture of the destination of the late squadron from Boston, in my last, has been unhappily verified by an outrage, exceeding in barbarity and cruelty every hostile act practised among civilized nations. I have enclosed the account given me by Mr. Jones,1 a gentleman of the town of Falmouth, of the destruction of that increasing and flourishing village. He is a very great sufferer, and informs me that the time allowed for the removal of effects was so small, that valuable property of all kinds, and to a great amount, has been destroyed. The orders shown by the captain for this horrid procedure, by which it appears the same desolation is meditated upon all the towns on the coast, made it my duty to communicate it as quickly and as extensively as possible. As Portsmouth was the next place to which he proposed to go, General Sullivan was permitted to go up, and give them his assistance and advice to ward off the blow. I flatter myself the like event will not happen there, as they have a fortification of some strength, and a vessel has arrived at a place called Sheepscot, with fifteen hundred pounds of powder.
The gentlemen of the Congress have nearly finished their business1 ; but, as they write by this opportunity, I must beg leave to refer you to their letter, for what concerns their commission.
We have had no occurrence of any consequence in the camp, since I had the honor of addressing you last; but expect every hour to hear that Newport has shared the fate of unhappy Falmouth.2
TO THE COMMITTEE OF FALMOUTH, CASCO BAY.
Camp atCambridge, 24 October, 1775.
The desolation and misery, which ministerial vengeance had planned, in contempt of every principle of humanity, and so lately brought on the town of Falmouth, I know not how sufficiently to commiserate. Nor can my compassion for the general suffering be conceived beyond the true measure of my feelings. But my readiness to relieve you, by complying with your request, signified in your favor of the 21st instant, is circumscribed by my inability. The immediate necessities of the army under my command require all the powder and ball, that can be collected with the utmost industry and trouble. The authority of my station does not extend so far, as to empower me to send a detachment of men down to your assistance. Thus circumstanced, I can only add my wishes and exhortations, that you may repel every future attempt to perpetrate the like savage cruelties.
I have given liberty to several officers in Colonel Phinny’s regiment to visit their connexions, who may now stand in need of their presence and assistance, by reason of this new exertion of despotic barbarity. I am, Gentlemen, &c.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Camp atCambridge, 26 October, 1775.
Your several favors of the 12th and 14th instant came safely to hand, though not in the proper order of time, with their several enclosures. You do me justice in believing, that I feel the utmost anxiety for your situation, that I sympathize with you in all your distresses, and shall most heartily share in the joy of your success.2 My anxiety extends itself to poor Arnold, whose fate depends upon the issue of your campaign. Besides your other difficulties, I fear you have those of the season added, which will increase every day. In the article of powder, we are in danger of suffering equally with you. Our distresses on this head are mutual; but we hope they are short-lived, as every measure of relief has been pursued, which human invention could suggest.
When you write to General Montgomery, be pleased to convey my best wishes and regards to him.1 It has been equally unfortunate for our country and yourself, that your ill health has deprived the active part of your army of your presence. God Almighty restore you, and crown you with happiness and success.
Colonel Allen’s misfortune will, I hope, teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to others, who may be too ambitious to outshine their general officers, and, regardless of order and duty, rush into enterprises, which have unfavorable effects to the public, and are destructive to themselves.1
Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison, delegates from the Congress, have been in the camp for several days, in order to settle the plan for continuing and supporting the army.2 This commission extended to your department; but, upon consideration, it appeared so difficult to form any rational plan, that nothing was done upon that head. If your time and health will admit, I should think it highly proper to turn your thoughts to this subject, and communicate the result to the Congress as early as possible.
We have had no event of any consequence in our camp for some time, our whole attention being taken up with preparations for the winter, and forming the new army, in which many difficulties occur. The enemy expect considerable reinforcements this winter, and from all accounts are garrisoning Gibraltar and other places with foreign troops, in order to bring their former garrison to America. The ministry have begun the destruction of our seaport towns, by burning a flourishing town of about three hundred houses to the eastward, called Falmouth. This they effected with every circumstance of cruelty and barbarity, which revenge and malice could suggest. We expect every moment to hear other places have been attempted, and have been better prepared for their reception.
The more I reflect upon the importance of your expedition, the greater is my concern, lest it should sink under insuperable difficulties. I look upon the interest and salvation of our bleeding country in a great degree to depend upon your success. I know you feel its importance, as connected not only with your own honor and happiness, but the public welfare; so that you can want no incitements to press on, if it be possible. My anxiety suggests some doubts, which your better acquaintance with the country will enable you to remove. Would it not have been practicable to pass St. John’s, leaving force enough for a blockade; or, if you could not spare the men, passing it wholly, possessing yourselves of Montreal, and the surrounding country? Would not St. John’s have fallen of course, or what would have been the probable consequence? Believe me, dear General, I do not mean to imply the smallest doubt of the propriety of your operations, or of those of Mr. Montgomery, for whom I have a great respect. I too well know the absurdity of judging upon a military operation, when you are without the knowledge of its concomitant circumstances. I only mean it as a matter of curiosity, and to suggest to you my imperfect idea on the subject. I am, with the utmost truth and regard, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.1
TO JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 30 October, 1775.
After you left this yesterday, Mr. Tudor presented me with the enclosed. As there may be some observations worthy of notice, I forward it to you, that it may be presented to Congress; but I would have his remarks upon the frequency of general courts martial considered with some degree of caution, for although the nature of his office affords him the best opportunity of discovering the imperfections of the present Rules and Regulations for the Army, yet a desire of lessening his own trouble may induce him to transfer many matters from a general court martial, where he is the principal actor, to regimental courts where he has nothing to do. I do not know that this is the case, but as it may be, I think it ought not to be lost sight of.
In your conference with Mr. Bache, be so good as to ask him whether the two posts which leave Philadelphia for the southward, both go through Alexandria, and if only one, which of them it is, the Tuesday’s or Saturday’s, that I may know how to order my letters from this place.
My letter to Colonel Harrison, on the subject we were speaking of, is inclosed, and open for your perusal; put a wafer under it and make what use you please of it. Let me know by the post or * * * what the world says of men and things. My compliments to Mrs. Reed, and with sincere regard, I remain, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 30 October, 1775.
The information, which the gentlemen who have lately gone from hence can give the Congress, of the state and situation of the army, would have made a letter unnecessary, if I did not suppose there would be some anxiety to know the intentions of the army on the subject of the reënlistment.
Agreeably to the advice of those gentlemen, and my own opinion, I immediately began by directing all such officers, as proposed to continue, to signify their intentions as soon as possible.1 A great number of the returns are come in, from which I find, that a very great proportion of the officers of the rank of captain, and under, will retire; from present appearances I may say half; but at least one third. It is with some concern also that I observe, that many of the officers, who retire, discourage the continuance of the men, and, I fear, will communicate the infection to them. Some have advised, that those officers, who decline the service, should be immediately dismissed; but this would be very dangerous and inconvenient. I confess I have great anxieties upon the subject, though I still hope the pay and terms are so advantageous, that interest, and I hope also a regard to their country, will retain a greater portion of the privates than their officers. In so important a matter, I shall esteem it my indispensable duty, not only to act with all possible prudence, but to give the most early and constant advice of my progress.1 A supply of clothing equal to our necessities would greatly contribute to the encouragement and satisfaction of the men: in every point of view it is so important that I beg leave to call the attention of the Congress to it in a particular manner.2 I have the honor to be, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 2 November, 1775.
I could not suffer Mr. Randolph1 to quit this camp, without bearing some testimony of my duty to the Congress; although his sudden departure (occasioned by the death of his worthy relative,2 whose loss, as a good citizen and valuable member of society, is much to be regretted) does not allow me time to be particular.
The enclosed return shows, at one view, what reliance we have upon the officers of this army, and how deficient we are likely to be in subaltern officers. A few days more will enable me to inform the Congress what they have to expect from the soldiery, as I shall issue recruiting-orders for this purpose, so soon as the officers are appointed, which will be done this day, I having sent for the general officers, to consult them in the choice.
I must beg leave to recall the attention of the Congress to the appointment of a brigadier-general, an officer as necessary to a brigade, as a colonel is to a regiment, and one that will be exceedingly wanted in the new arrangement.1
The proclamations and association, herewith enclosed, came to my hands on Monday last.2 I thought it my duty to send them to you. Nothing of moment has happened since my last. With respectful compliments to the members of Congress, I have the honor to be, &c.1
TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.
Cambridge, 2 November, 1775.
I promised the gentlemen who did me the honour to call upon me yesterday, by order of your House, that I would inquire of the Quartermaster-General, and let them know to-day, what quantity of wood and hay would be necessary to supply the Army through the winter. I accordingly did so, and desired General Gates this morning to inform you that it was his (the Quartermaster’s) opinion it would require ten thousand cords of the first, and two hundred tons of the latter, to answer our demands; but the hurry in which we have been all day engaged caused him to forget it, till a fresh complaint brought it again to remembrance. When the Committee were here yesterday, I told them I did not believe that we had then more than four days’ stock of wood beforehand. I little thought that we had scarce four hours’, and that different Regiments were upon the point of cutting each others’ throats for a few standing locusts near their encampments, to dress their victuals with. This, however, is the fact; and unless some expedient is adopted by your honourable body to draw more teams into the service, or the Quartermaster-General empowered to impress them, this Army, if there comes a spell of rain or cold weather must inevitably disperse; the consequence of which needs no animadversion of mine.
It has been matter of great grief to me to see so many valuable plantations of trees destroyed. I endeavored (whilst there appeared a possibility of restraining it) to prevent the practice but it is out of my power to do it. From fences to forest trees, and from forest trees to fruit trees, is a natural advance to houses, which must next follow. This is not all; the distress of the soldiers in the article of wood, will I fear, have an unhappy influence upon their enlisting again. In short, Sir, if I did not apprehend every evil that can result from the want of these two capital articles, wood especially, I should not be so importunate; my anxiety on this head must plead my excuse. At the same time, I assure you that, with great respect and esteem, I am, &c.
TO JOSIAH QUINCY.1
Cambridge, 4 November, 1775.
Your favor of the 31st ultimo was presented to me yesterday. I thank you (as I shall do every gentleman), for suggesting any measure, which you conceive to be conducive to the public service; but, in the adoption of a plan, many things are to be considered to decide upon the utility of it. In the one proposed by you, I shall not undertake to determine whether it be good, or whether it be bad; but thus much I can say, that if there is any spot upon the main, which has an equal command of the ship-channel to Boston harbor (and give me leave to add that Point Alderton is not without its advocates), in all other respects it must have infinitely the preference; because the expense of so many batteries as you propose, with the necessary defences to secure the channel, the communication, and a retreat in the dernier resort from the east end of Long Island, are capital objections. Not, I confess, of such importance as to weigh against the object in view, if the scheme is practicable. But what signifies Long Island, Point Alderton, and Dorchester, while we are in a manner destitute of cannon, and compelled to keep the little powder we have for the use of the musketry. The knowledge of this fact is an unanswerable argument against every place, and may serve to account for my not having viewed the several spots, which have been so advantageously spoken of. I am not without intentions of making them a visit, and shall assuredly do myself the honor of calling upon you. In the mean while, permit me to thank you most cordially for your polite invitation, and to assure you that I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, 5 November, 1775.
Your favor of the 26th ultimo with the enclosures, containing an account of the surrender of Fort Chamblee, was an excellent repast, but somewhat incomplete for want of Montgomery’s letter, which (a copy) you omitted to enclose. On the success of your enterprise so far, I congratulate you, as the acquisition of Canada is of immeasurable importance to the cause we are engaged in. No account of Arnold since my last. I am exceeding anxious to hear from him, but flatter myself, that all goes well with him, as he was expressly ordered, in case of any discouraging event, to advertise me of it immediately.1
I much approve your conduct in regard to Wooster. My fears are at an end, as he acts in a subordinate character. Intimate this to General Montgomery, with my congratulations on his success [and] the seasonable supply of powder, and wishes that his next letter may be dated from Montreal. We laugh at his idea of chasing (?) the Royal Fusileers with the stores. Does he consider them as inanimate, or as a treasure? If you carry your arms to Montreal, should not the garrisons of Niagara, Detroit, &c., be called upon to surrender, or threatened with the consequences of a refusal? They may indeed destroy their stores, and, if the Indians are aiding, escape to Fort Chartres, but it is not very probable.
The enclosed gazette exhibits sundry specimens of the skill of the new commander in issuing proclamations, and a proof, in the destruction of Falmouth, of barbarous designs of an infernal ministry. Nothing new hath happened in this camp. Finding the ministerial troops resolved to keep themselves close within their lines, and that it was judged impracticable to get at them, I have fitted out six armed vessels, with the design to pick up some of their store-ships and transports. The rest of our men are busily employed in erecting of barracks, &c. I hope, as you have said nothing of the state of your health, that it is much amended, and that the cold weather will restore it perfectly. That it may do so, and you enjoy the fruit of your summer’s labor and fatigue, is the sincere wish, dear Sir, of yours, &c.
Generals Lee and Mifflin are well; Colonel Reed gone to Philadelphia.1
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN.
You are to proceed immediately to Portsmouth in New Hampshire, and complete the works already begun, to secure that and the other towns, at the entrance of Piscataqua River, from any attacks by ships of war. For this purpose you are to fix fire-ships and fire-rafts in such places, as you find most convenient to prevent the enemy from passing up the river.
As great calamities and distress are brought upon our seaport towns, through the malicious endeavors and false representations of many persons, holding commissions under the crown, who, not content with bringing destruction upon some of our principal towns, are yet using every art that malice can devise to reduce others to the same unhappy state, in hopes by such cruel conduct to please an arbitrary and tyrannical ministry, and to receive from them in return a continuance of such places and pensions, as they now hold at the expense of the blood and treasure of this distressed continent; you are, therefore, immediately upon your arrival in that province, to seize such persons as hold commissions under the crown, and are acting as open and avowed enemies to their country, and hold them as hostages for the security of those towns, which our ministerial enemies threaten to invade. In case any attack should be made upon Portsmouth, or other seaports in that quarter, you are immediately to collect such force as can be raised to repel invasion, and, at all hazards, to prevent the enemy from landing and taking possession of any posts in that quarter. When you have completed the works at Portsmouth, and secured the passage of the river there, you are to return without delay to the army, unless you find the enemy are about to make an immediate attack upon that or the neighboring towns.
The above is rather to be considered as matter of advice than orders, as I do not conceive myself authorized to involve the continent in any expense for the defence of Portsmouth, or other place, out of the line of the great American defence, particular colonies being called upon by the Congress to prepare for their own internal security. Given under my hand, this 7th day of November, 1775.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 8 November, 1775.
The immediate occasion of my giving the Congress the trouble of a letter at this time is to inform them, that, in consequence of their order signified in your letter of the 20th ultimo, I laid myself under a solemn tie of secrecy to Captain Macpherson,1 and proceeded to examine his plan for the destruction of the fleet in the harbor of Boston, with all that care and attention, which the importance of it deserved, and my judgment could lead to. But not being happy enough to coincide in opinion with that gentleman, and finding that his scheme would involve greater expense, than (under my doubts of its success), I thought myself justified in giving into, I prevailed upon him to communicate his plan to three gentlemen of the artillery (in this army), well versed in the knowledge and practice of gunnery. By them he has been convinced, that, inasmuch as he set out upon wrong principles, the scheme would prove abortive. Unwilling, however, to relinquish his favorite project of reducing the naval force of Great Britain, he is very desirous of building a number of row-galleys for this purpose. But as the Congress alone are competent to the adoption of this measure, I have advised him (although he offered to go on with the building of them at his own expense, till the Congress should decide) to repair immediately to Philadelphia with his proposals; where, if they should be agreed to, or vessels of superior force, agreeable to the wishes of most others, should be resolved on, he may set instantly about them, with all the materials upon the spot; here, they are to collect. To him, therefore, I refer for further information on this head.
A vessel said to be from Philadelphia and bound to Boston with 120 pipes of wine (118 of which are secured) stranded at a place called Eastham, in a gale of wind on the 2d inst. Another from Boston to Halifax with dry goods, &c. (amounting per invoice to about 240£ lawful) got disabled in the same gale near Beverly. These cargoes, with the papers, I have ordered to this place, the vessels to be taken care of until further orders. I have also an account of the taking of a wood sloop bound to Boston, and carried into Portsmouth by one of our armed vessels—particulars not yet come to hand, and this instant of two others from Nova Scotia to Boston, with hay, wood, live stock, &c., by another of our armed schooners. These are in Plymouth.
These accidents and captures point out the necessity of establishing proper courts without loss of time for the decision of property, and the legality of seizures. Otherwise I may be involved in inextricable difficulties.1
Our prisoners, by the reduction of Fort Chamblee (on which happy event I most sincerely congratulate the Congress), being considerably augmented, and likely to be increased, I submit it to the wisdom of Congress, whether some convenient inland towns, remote from the post roads, ought not to be assigned them; the manner of their treatment, subsistence, &c., defined; and a commissary or agent appointed, to see that justice is done both to them and the public, proper accounts rendered, &c. Unless a mode of this sort is adopted, I fear there will be sad confusion hereafter, as there are great complaints at present.2
I reckoned without my host, when I informed the Congress in my last, that I should in a day or two be able to acquaint them with the disposition of the soldiery towards a new enlistment. I have been in consultation with the generals of this army ever since Thursday last, endeavoring to establish new corps of officers; but find so many doubts and difficulties to reconcile, I cannot say when they are to end, or what may be the consequences; as there appears to be such an unwillingness in the officers of one government mixing in the same regiment with those of another; and, without it, many must be dismissed, who are willing to serve, notwithstanding we are deficient on the whole. I am to have another meeting to-day upon this business, and shall inform you of the result.
The council of officers are unanimously of opinion, that the command of the artillery should no longer continue in Colonel Gridley1 ; and, knowing of no person better qualified to supply his place, or whose appointment will give more general satisfaction, I have taken the liberty of recommending Henry Knox, Esq., to the consideration of the Congress, thinking it indispensably necessary, at the same time, that this regiment should consist of two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and twelve companies, agreeable to the plan and estimate handed in;—which, differing from the last establishment, I should be glad to be instructed on.
The Commissary General not being returned, will apologize I hope for my silence, respecting a requisition of the expence of his clerks, &c., which I was to have obtained, together with others, and forward.
I have heard nothing of Colonel Arnold since the 13th ultimo. His letter of, and journal to, that date, will convey all the information I am able to give of him. I think he must be in Quebec. If any mischance had happened to him, he would, as directed, have forwarded an express. No account yet of the armed vessels sent to the St. Lawrence. I think they will meet with the stores inward or outward bound.
Captain Symons, in the Cerberus, lately sent from Boston to Falmouth, has published the enclosed declaration at that place; and, it is suspected, intends to make some kind of a lodgment there. I wrote immediately to a Colonel Phinny (of this army) who went up there upon the last alarm, to spirit up the people and oppose it at all events. Falmouth is about a hundred and thirty miles from this camp.1
I have the honor to be, &c.
P. S. I send a general return of the troops, and manifests of the cargoes and vessels, taken at Plymouth.
TO JOSEPH REED, PHILADELPHIA.
Cambridge, 8 November, 1775.
The shipwreck of a vessel, said to be from Philadelphia to Boston, near Plymouth, with one hundred and twenty pipes of wine, one hundred and eighteen of which are saved; another, from Boston to Halifax, near Beverly, with about two hundred and forty pounds’ worth of dry goods; the taking of a wood-vessel bound to Boston by Captain Adams; and the sudden departure of Mr. Randolph, (occasioned by the death of his uncle,) are all the occurrences worth noticing, which have happened since you left this.
I have ordered the wine and goods to this place for sale; as also the papers. The latter may unfold secrets, that may not be pleasing to some of your townsmen, and which, so soon as known, will be communicated.
I have been happy enough to convince Captain Macpherson, as he says, of the propriety of returning to the Congress. He sets out this day, and I am happy in his having an opportunity of laying before them a scheme for the destruction of the naval force of Great Britain. A letter and journal of Colonel Arnold’s, to the 13th ultimo, are come to hand, a copy of which I enclose to the Congress, and by application to Mr. Thomson you can see. I think he is in Quebec. If I hear nothing more of him in five days, I shall be sure of it.
I had like to have forgotten what sits heaviest upon my mind, the new arrangement of officers. Although we have not enough to constitute the new corps, it hath employed the general officers and myself ever since Thursday last, and we are nearly as we begun.
Connecticut wants no Massachusetts man in their corps; Massachusetts thinks there is no necessity for a Rhode-Islander to be introduced amongst them; and New Hampshire says, it ’s very hard, that her valuable and experienced officers (who are willing to serve) should be discarded, because her own regiments, under the new establishment, cannot provide for them. In short, after a four days’ labor, I expect that numbers of officers, who have given in their names to serve, must be discarded from Massachusetts, (where the regiments have been numerous, and the number in them small) and Connecticut, completed with a fresh recruit of officers from its own government. This will be departing, not only from the principles of common justice, but from the letter of the resolve agreed on at this place; but, at present, I see no help for it. We are to have another meeting upon the matter this day, when something must be hit upon, as time is slipping off. My compliments to Mrs. Reed and to all inquiring friends. I am, with sincerity and truth, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant.
P. S. I had just finished my letter when a blundering Lieutenant of the blundering Captain Coit, who had just blundered upon two vessels from Nova Scotia, came in with the account of it, and before I could rescue my letter, without knowing what he did, picked up a candle and sprinkled it with grease; but these are kind of blunders which one can readily excuse. The vessels contain hay, live-stock, poultry, &c., and are now safely moored in Plymouth harbour.1
TO COLONEL WILLIAM WOODFORD.2
Cambridge, 10 November, 1775.
Your favor of the 18th of September came to my hands on Wednesday last, through Boston, and open, as you may suppose. It might be well to recollect by whom you sent it, in order to discover if there has not been some treachery practised.
I do not mean to flatter, when I assure you, that I highly approve of your appointment. The inexperience you complain of is a common case, and only to be remedied by practice and close attention. The best general advice I can give, and which I am sure you stand in no need of, is to be strict in your discipline; that is, to require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men, but see that whatever is required be punctually complied with. Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without partiality or prejudice; hear his complaints; if well founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them, in order to prevent frivolous ones. Discourage vice in every shape, and impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of the cause, and what it is they are contending for. For ever keep in view the necessity of guarding against surprises. In all your marches, at times, at least, even when there is no possible danger, move with front, rear, and flank guards, that they may be familiarized to the use; and be regular in your encampments, appointing necessary guards for the security of your camp. In short, whether you expect an enemy or not, this should be practised; otherwise your attempts will be confused and awkward, when necessary. Be plain and precise in your orders, and keep copies of them to refer to, that no mistakes may happen. Be easy and condescending in your deportment to your officers, but not too familiar, lest you subject yourself to a want of that respect, which is necessary to support a proper command. These, Sir, not because I think you need the advice, but because you have been condescending enough to ask it, I have presumed to give as the great outlines of your conduct.
As to the manual exercise, the evolutions and manœuvres of a regiment, with other knowledge necessary to a soldier, you will acquire them from those authors, who have treated upon these subjects, among whom Bland (the newest edition) stands foremost; also an Essay on the Art of War; Instructions for Officers, lately published at Philadelphia; the Partisan; Young; and others.
My compliments to Mrs. Woodford; and that every success may attend you, in this glorious struggle, is the sincere and ardent wish of, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 11 November, 1775.
I had the honor to address myself to you the 8th inst. by Captain Macpherson, since which I have an account of a schooner laden chiefly with fire wood being brought into Marblehead, by the armed schooner Lee, Captain Manly. She had on board the master, a midshipman, two marines, and four sailors, from the Cerberus, man of war, who had made a prize of this schooner a few days before, and was sending her into Boston.
Enclosed you have a copy of an act passed this session, by the honorable Council and House of Representatives of this province.1 It respects such captures as may be made by vessels fitted out by the province, or by individuals thereof. As the armed vessels, fitted out at the Continental expense, do not come under this law, I would have it submitted to the consideration of Congress, to point out a more summary way of proceeding, to determine the property and mode of condemnation of such prizes, as have been or hereafter may be made, than is specified in this act.
Should not a court be established by authority of Congress, to take cognizance of prizes made by the Continental vessels? Whatever the mode is, which they are pleased to adopt, there is an absolute necessity of its being speedily determined on; for I cannot spare time from military affairs, to give proper attention to these matters.
The inhabitants of Plymouth have taken a sloop, laden with provisions, from Halifax, bound to Boston; and the inhabitants of Beverly have, under cover of one of the armed schooners, taken a vessel from Ireland, laden with beef, pork, butter, &c., for the same place. The latter brings papers and letters of a very interesting nature, which are in the hands of the honorable Council, who informed me they will transmit them to you by this conveyance. To the contents of these papers and letters I must beg leave to refer you and the honorable Congress, who will now see the absolute necessity of exerting all their wisdom, to withstand the mighty efforts of our enemies.
The trouble I have in the arrangement of the army is really inconceivable. Many of the officers sent in their names to serve, in expectation of promotion; others stood aloof to see what advantage they could make for themselves; whilst a number, who had declined, have again sent in their names to serve. So great has the confusion, arising from these and many other perplexing circumstances, been, that I found it absolutely impossible to fix this very interesting business exactly on the plan resolved on in the conference, though I have kept up to the spirit of it, as near as the nature and necessity of the case would admit of. The difficulty with the soldiers is as great, indeed more so, if possible, than with the officers. They will not enlist, until they know their colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, captain, &c.; so that it was necessary to fix the officers the first thing; which is, at last, in some manner done; and I have given out enlisting orders. You, Sir, can much easier judge, than I can express, the anxiety of mind I must labor under on this occasion, especially at this time, when we may expect the enemy will begin to act on the arrival of their reinforcement, part of which is already come, and the remainder daily dropping in.1 I have other distresses of a very alarming nature. The arms of our soldiery are so exceedingly bad, that I assure you, Sir, I cannot place a proper confidence in them. Our powder is wasting fast, notwithstanding the strictest care, economy, and attention are paid to it. The long series of wet weather, which we have had, renders the greater part of what has been served out to the men of no use. Yesterday I had a proof of it, as a party of the enemy, about four or five hundred, taking the advantage of a high tide, landed at Lechmere’s Point, which at that time was in effect an island; we were alarmed, and of course ordered every man to examine his cartouch-box, when the melancholy truth appeared; and we were obliged to furnish the greater part of them with fresh ammunition.
The damage done at the Point was the taking of a man, who watched a few horses and cows; ten of the latter they carried off. Colonel Thompson marched down with his regiment of riflemen, and was joined by Colonel Woodbridge, with a part of his and a part of Patterson’s regiment, who gallantly waded through the water, and soon obliged the enemy to embark under cover of a man-of-war, a floating battery, and the fire of a battery on Charlestown Neck. We have two of our men dangerously wounded by grape-shot from the man-of-war; and by a flag sent out this day, we are informed the enemy lost two of their men.1 I have the honor to be, &c.2
TO WILLIAM PALFREY, PORTSMOUTH.3
Cambridge, 12 November, 1775.
At a time when some of our seaport towns are cruelly and wantonly laid in ashes, and ruin and devastation denounced against others; when the arms are demanded of the inhabitants, and hostages required (in effect) to surrender of their liberties; when General Howe by proclamation, under the threat of military execution, has forbid inhabitants of Boston to leave the town without his permission first had and obtained in writing; when, by another proclamation, he strictly forbids any persons bringing out of that place more than five pounds sterling of their property in specie, because truly the ministerial army under his command may be injured by it; and when, by a third proclamation, after leaving the inhabitants no alternative, he calls upon them to take arms under officers of his appointing; it is evident, that the most tyrannical and cruel system is adopted for the destruction of the rights and liberties of this continent, that ever disgraced the most despotic ministry, and ought to be opposed by every means in our power. I therefore desire, that you will delay no time in causing the seizure of every officer of government at Portsmouth, who has given proofs of his unfriendly disposition to the cause we are engaged in; and when you have secured all such, take the opinion of the provincial Congress, or Committee of Safety, in what manner to dispose of them in that government. I do not mean that they should be kept in close confinement. If either of those bodies should incline to send them to any interior towns, upon their parole not to leave them until released, it will meet with my concurrence. For the present I shall avoid giving you the like order in respect to the Tories in Portsmouth; but the day is not far off, when they will meet with this or a worse fate, if there is not a considerable reformation in their conduct. Of this they may be assured from, Sir, your most humble servant.1
TO HENRY KNOX.
Cambridge, 16 November, 1775.
You are immediately to examine into the state of the artillery of this army, and take an account of the cannon, mortars, shells, lead, and ammunition, that are wanting. When you have done that, you are to proceed in the most expeditious manner to New York, there apply to the President of the Provincial Congress, and learn of him, whether Colonel Reed did any thing, or left any orders respecting these articles, and get him to procure such of them as can possibly be had there.
The President, if he can, will have them immediately sent hither; if he cannot, you must put them in a proper channel for being transported to this camp with despatch, before you leave New York. After you have procured as many of these necessaries as you can there, you must go to Major-General Schuyler, and get the remainder from Ticonderoga, Crown Point, or St. John’s; if it should be necessary, from Quebec, if in our hands. The want of them is so great, that no trouble or expense must be spared to obtain them. I have written to General Schuyler; he will give every necessary assistance, that they may be had and forwarded to this place with the utmost despatch. I have given you a warrant to the paymaster-general of the Continental army for a thousand dollars, to defray the expense attending your journey and procuring these articles; an account of which you are to keep and render upon your return.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL ARTEMAS WARD.
Camp atCambridge, 17 November, 1775.
As the season is fast approaching, when the bay between us and Boston will in all probability be close shut up, thereby rendering any movement upon the ice as easy as if no water was there; and as it is more than possible, that General Howe, when he gets the expected reinforcement, will endeavor to relieve himself from the disgraceful confinement in which the ministerial troops have been all the summer; common prudence dictates the necessity of guarding our camps wherever they are most assailable. For this purpose, I wish you, General Thomas, General Spencer, and Colonel Putnam, to meet me at your quarters tomorrow at 10 o’clock, that we may examine the ground between your work at the Mill and Sewall’s Point, and direct such batteries, as shall appear necessary for the security of your camp on that side, to be thrown up without loss of time.
I have long had it upon my mind, that a successful attempt might be made by way of surprise upon Castle William. From every account, there are not more than three hundred men in that place. The whale-boats, therefore, which you have, and such as could be sent you, would easily transport eight hundred or one thousand men, which, with a very moderate share of conduct and spirit, might, I should think, bring off the garrison, if not some part of the stores. I wish you to discuss this matter, (under the rose,) with officers on whose judgment and conduct you can rely. Something of this sort may show how far the men are to be depended upon. I am, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 19 November, 1775.
I received your favors of the 7th and 10th instant, with the resolves of the honorable Congress, to which I will pay all due attention. As soon as two capable persons can be found, I will despatch them to Nova Scotia, on the service resolved on by Congress. The resolve to raise two battalions of marines will, (if practicable in this army,) entirely derange what has been done. It is therein mentioned, “one colonel for the two battalions”; of course, a colonel must be dismissed. One of the many difficulties, which attended the new arrangement, was in reconciling the different interests, and judging of the merits of the different colonels. In the dismission of this one, the same difficulties will occur. The officers and men must be acquainted with maritime affairs; to comply with which, they must be picked out of the whole army, one from this corps one from another, so as to break through the whole system, which it has cost us so much time, anxiety, and pains, to bring into any tolerable form. Notwithstanding any difficulties which will arise, you may be assured, Sir, that I will use every endeavor to comply with their resolve.
I beg leave to submit it to the consideration of Congress, if those two battalions can be formed out of this army, whether this is a time to weaken our lines, by employing any of the officers appointed to defend them on any other service? The gentlemen, who were here from Congress, know their vast extent; they must know, that we shall have occason for our whole force for that purpose, more now than at any past time, as we may expect the enemy will take the advantage of the first hard weather, and attempt to make an impression somewhere. That this is the intention, we have many reasons to suspect. We have had in the last week six deserters, and took two straggling prisoners. They all agree that two companies with a train of artillery, and one of the regiments from Ireland, were arrived at Boston, that fresh ammunition and fruits have been served out, that the grenadiers and light infantry had orders to hold themselves in readiness at a moment’s warning.
As there is every appearance, that this contest will not be soon decided, and of course that there must be an augmentation of the Continental army, would it not be eligible to raise two battalions of marines in New York and Philadelphia, where there must be numbers of sailors now unemployed? This, however, is matter of opinion, which I mention with all due deference to the superior judgment of the Congress.1
Enclosed you have copies of two letters, one from Colonel Arnold, the other from Colonel Enos. I can form no judgment on the latter’s conduct until I see him.2 Nothwithstanding the great defection, I do not despair of Colonel Arnold’s success. He will have, in all probability, many more difficulties to encounter, than if he had been a fortnight sooner; as it is likely that Governor Carleton will, with what forces he can collect after the surrender of the rest of Canada, throw himself into Quebec, and there make his last effort.
There is no late account from Captains Broughton and Sellman, sent to the River St. Lawrence. The other cruisers have been chiefly confined to harbors, by the badness of the weather. The same reason has caused great delay in the building of our barracks; which, with a most mortifying scarcity of firewood, discourages the men from enlisting. The last, I am much afraid, is an insuperable obstacle. I have applied to the honorable House of Representatives of this province, who were pleased to appoint a committee to negotiate this business; and, notwithstanding all the pains they have taken, and are taking, they find it impossible to supply our necessities. The want of a sufficient number of teams I understand to be the chief impediment.
I got returns this day from eleven colonels, of the numbers enlisted in their regiments. The whole amount is nine hundred and sixty-six men. There must be some other stimulus, besides love for their country, to make men fond of the service. It would be a great encouragement, and no additional expense to the continent, were they to receive pay for the months of October and November; also a month’s pay advance. The present state of the military chest will not admit of this. The sooner it is enabled to do so the better.1
The commissary-general is daily expected in camp. I cannot send you the estimate of the clerks in his department, until he arrives.
I sincerely congratulate you upon the success of your arms, in the surrender of St. John’s, which I hope is a happy presage of the reduction of the rest of Canada. I have the honor to be, &c.2
TO JOSEPH REED.
Camp atCambridge, 20 November, 1775.
Your letters of the 4th from New York, 7th and — from Philadelphia (the last by express), are all before me, and gave me the pleasure to hear of your happy meeting with Mrs. Reed, without any other accident than that of leaving a horse by the way.
The hint contained in the last of your letters, respecting your continuance in my family, in other words, your wish that I could dispense with it, gives me pain. You already, my dear Sir, knew my sentiments on this matter; you cannot but be sensible of your importance to me; at the same time I shall again repeat, what I have observed to you before, that I can never think of promoting my convenience at the expense of your interest and inclination. That I feel the want of you, yourself can judge, when I inform you, that the peculiar situation of Mr. Randolph’s affairs obliged him to leave this soon after you did; that Mr. Baylor, contrary to my expectation, is not in the slightest degree a penman, though spirited and willing; and that Mr. Harrison, though sensible, clever, and perfectly confidential, has never yet moved upon so large a scale, as to comprehend at one view the diversity of matter, which comes before me, so as to afford that ready assistance, which every man in my situation must stand more or less in need of. Mr. Moylan, it is true, is very obliging; he gives me what assistance he can; but other business must necessarily deprive me of his aid in a very short time. This is my situation; judge you, therefore, how much I wish for your return, especially as the armed vessels, and the capital change (in the state of this army) about to take place, have added an additional weight to a burthen, before too great for me to stand under with the smallest degree of comfort to my own feelings. My mind is now fully disclosed to you, with this assurance sincerely and affectionately of accompanying it, that whilst you are disposed to continue with me, I shall think myself too fortunate and happy to wish for a change.
Dr. Morgan, (as director of the hospital,) is exceedingly wanted at this place, and ought not to delay his departure for the camp a moment, many regulations being delayed, and accounts postponed, till his arrival. I have given G. S. and Col. P. a hint of the prevailing reports in Connecticut, without intimating from what quarter they came (for indeed I received them through different channels) in order to put them upon their guard; they both deny the charge roundly, and wish for an opportunity of vindication. I thought as this information had come to my ears in different ways, it was best to speak to these gentlemen in terms expressive of my abhorrence of such conduct, and of the consequences that might flow from it, and think it will have a good effect. The method you have suggested, of the advanced pay, I very much approve of, and would adopt, but for the unfortunate cramped state of our treasury, which keeps us for ever under the hatches. Pray urge the necessity of this measure to such members as you may converse with, and the want of cash to pay the troops for the months of October and November; as also to answer the demands of the commissary, quartermaster, and for contingencies. To do all this, a considerable sum will be necessary. Do not neglect to put that wheel in motion, which is to bring us the shirts, medicines, &c. from New York; they are much wanting here, and cannot be had, I should think, upon better terms than on a loan from the best of Kings, so anxiously disposed to promote the welfare of his American subjects.
Dr. Church is gone to Governor Trumbull, to be disposed of in a Connecticut gaol, without the use of pen, ink, or paper, to be conversed with in the presence of a magistrate only, and in the English language. So much for indiscretion, the Doctor will say. Your accounts of our dependence upon the people of Great Britain, I religiously believe. It has long been my political creed, that the ministry durst not have gone on as they did, but under the firmest persuasion that the people were with them. The weather has been unfavorable, however, for the arrival of their transports; only four companies of the seventeenth regiment and two of the artillery are yet arrived, by our last advices from Boston.
Our rascally privateersmen go on at the old rate, mutinying if they cannot do as they please.1 Those at Plymouth, Beverly, and Portsmouth, have done nothing worth mentioning in the prize way, and no accounts are yet received from those farther eastward.
Arnold, by a letter which left him the 27th ultimo, had then only got to the Chaudière Pond, and was scarce of provisions. His rear division, under the command of the noble Colonel Enos, had, without his privity or consent, left him with three companies; and his expedition, (inasmuch as it is to be apprehended, that Carleton, with the remains of such force as he had been able to raise, would get into Quebec before him,) I fear, in a bad way. For further particulars I refer you to Mr. Hancock who has enclosed to him copies of Arnold’s and Enos’s letters. The last-named person is not yet arrived at this camp.
I thank you for your frequent mention of Mrs. Washington. I expect she will be in Philadelphia about the time this letter may reach you, on her way hither. As she and her conductor, (who I expect will be Mr. Custis, her son,) are perfect strangers to the road, the stages, and the proper place to cross Hudson’s River, (by all means avoiding New York,) I shall be much obliged in your particular instructions and advice to her. I do imagine, as the roads are bad and the weather cold, her stages must be short, especially as I expect her horses will be pretty much fatigued; as they will, by the time she gets to Philadelphia, have performed a journey of at least four hundred and fifty miles, my express finding of her among her friends near Williamsburg, one hundred and fifty miles below my own house.
As you have mentioned nothing in your letters of the cannon, &c., to be had from New York, Ticonderoga, &c., I have, in order to reduce the matter to a certainty, employed Mr. Knox to go to those places, complete our wants, and to provide such military stores as St. John’s can spare.
My respectful compliments to Mrs. Reed, and be assured that I am, dear Sir, with affectionate regard, &c.
Flints are greatly wanted here.1
TO AARON WILLARD.
The honorable Continental Congress having lately passed a resolve, expressed in the following words,—“That two persons be sent, at the expense of these colonies, to Nova Scotia to inquire into the state of that colony, the disposition of the inhabitants towards the American cause, the condition of the fortifications and dock-yards, the quantity of artillery and warlike stores, and the number of soldiers, sailors, and ships of war there, and transmit the earliest intelligence to General Washington”; I do hereby constitute and appoint you, the said Aaron Willard, to be one of the persons to undertake this business; and, as the season is late and this work of great importance, I entreat and request, that you will use the utmost despatch, attention, and fidelity in the execution of it. The necessity of acting with a proper degree of caution and secrecy is too apparent to need recommendation.
You will keep an account of your expenses, and, upon your return, will be rewarded in a suitable manner for the fatigue of your journey, and the services you render your country, by conducting and discharging this business with expedition and fidelity. Given under my hand, this 24th day of November, 1775.1
TO LUND WASHINGTON, MOUNT VERNON.1
Cambridge, 26 November, 1775.
What follows is part of a letter written to Mr. Lund Washington, the 26th day of November, 1775. A copy is taken to remind me of my engagements and the exact purport of them. These paragraphs follow an earnest request to employ good part of my force in clearing up swamps, h. hole, ditching, hedging, &c.
“I well know where the difficulty of accomplishing these things will lie. Overseers are already engaged (upon shares), to look after my business. Remote advantages to me, however manifest and beneficial, are nothing to them; and to engage standing wages, when I do not know that any thing that I have, or can raise, will command cash, is attended with hazard; for which reason, I hardly know what more to say, than to discover my wishes. The same reason, although it may in appearance have the same tendency in respect to you, shall not be the same in its operation; for I will engage for the year coming, and the year following, if these troubles and my absence continue, that your wages shall be standing and certain, at the highest amount, that any one year’s crop has produced to you yet. I do not offer this as any temptation to induce you to go on more cheerfully in prosecuting these schemes of mine. I should do injustice to you, were I not to acknowledge, that your conduct has ever appeared to me above every thing sordid; but I offer it in consideration of the great charge you have upon your hands, and my entire dependence upon your fidelity and industry.
“It is the greatest, indeed it is the only comfortable reflection I enjoy on this score, that my business is in the hands of a person in whose integrity I have not a doubt, and on whose care I can rely. Was it not for this, I should feel very unhappy, on account of the situation of my affairs; but I am persuaded you will do for me as you would for yourself, and more than this I cannot expect.
“Let the hospitality of the house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my money in charity, to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by having no objection is, that it is my desire that it should be done. You are to consider, that neither myself nor wife is now in the way to do these good offices. In all other respects, I recommend it to you, and have no doubt of your observing the greatest economy and frugality; as I suppose you know, that I do not get a farthing for my services here, more than my expenses. It becomes necessary, therefore, for me to be saving at home.”
The above is copied, not only to remind myself of my promises and requests, but others also, if any mischance happens to
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
Camp atCambridge, 27 November, 1775.
Your favor of the 13th, with the enclosures, for which I thank you, came to this place on Wednesday evening; part of which, that is, the night, I was engaged with a party of men throwing up a work upon a hill, called Cobble Hill, which, in case we should ever be supplied with such things as we want, may prove useful to us, and could not be delayed, as the earth here is getting as hard as a rock,1 This, and the early departure of the post, prevented my giving your letter an answer the next morning.
In answer to your inquiries respecting armed vessels, there are none of any tolerable force belonging to this government. I know of but two of any kind; those very small. At the Continental expense, I have fitted out six, as by the enclosed list, two of which are upon the cruise directed by Congress; the rest ply about Cape Cod and Cape Ann, as yet to very little purpose. These vessels are all manned by officers and soldiers, except perhaps a master and pilots; but how far, as they are upon the old establishment, which has not more than a month to exist, they can be ordered off this station, I will not undertake to say, but suppose they might be engaged anew. Belonging to Providence there are two armed vessels; and I am told Connecticut has one, which, with one of those from Providence, is, I believe, upon the cruise you have directed.
I have no idea that the troops can remove from Boston this winter to a place, where no provision is made for them; however, we shall keep the best lookout we can; and upon that, and every occasion where practicable, give them the best we have. But their situation in Boston gives them but little to apprehend from a parting blow, whilst their ships can move, and floating batteries surround the town.
Nothing of importance has happened since my last. For God’s sake hurry the signers of money, that our wants may be supplied. It is a very singular case, that their signing cannot keep pace with our demands. I heartily congratulate you and the Congress on the reduction of St. John’s. I hope all Canada is in our possession before this. No accounts from Arnold since those mentioned in my last letter to the Congress. Would it not be politic to invite them to send members to Congress? Would it not be also politic to raise a regiment or two of Canadians, and bring them out of the country? They are good troops, and this would be entering them heartily in the cause.1 My best regards to the good families you are with. I am, very affectionately, your obedient servant.
TO JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 27 November, 1775.
Your letter of the 16th by Post now lyes before me, & I thank you for the attention paid to my Memorandums; the arrival of Money will be an agreeable Circumstance.
I recollect no occurrance of moment since my last, except the taking possession of Cobble Hill on Wednesday night. This to my great surprize we did, and have worked on ever since, without receiving a single shott from Bunkers Hill,—the ship—or Floating Batteries—what all this means we know not unless some capitol strike is meditating—I have caused two half Moon Batterries to be thrown up for occasional use, between Litchmore’s Point & the mouth of Cambridge River; and another Work at the Causey going on to Litchmores point to command that pass & rake the little Rivulet which runs by it to Patterson’s Fort. Besides these I have been, & mark’d three places between Sewall’s point & our Lines on Roxbury Neck for Works to be thrown up and occasionally mann’d in case of a Sortee, when the Bay gets froze.
By order of Genl. Howe, 300 of the poor Inhabitants of Boston were landed on Saturday last at point Shirley, destitute almost of every thing; the Instant I got notice of it, I informed a Committee of Council thereof, that proper care might be taken of them—Yesterday in the evening I received information that one of them was dead, & two more expiring; and the whole in the most miserable & piteous condition.—I have order’d Provision to them till they can be remov’d, but am under dreadful apprehensions of their communicating the small Pox as it is Rief in Boston. I have forbid any of them coming to this place on that acct.
A Ship well fraught with Ordinance, Ordinance Stores, &c., is missing and gives great uneasiness in Boston, her Convoy has been in a fortnight—I have order’d our Arm’d Vessels to keep a good look out for her. The same reasons which restrained you from writing fully, also prevent me. I shall therefore only add that I am, &c.
If any waggon should be coming this way, Pray order a qty of good writing Paper to head Quarters, & Sea’g Wax.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 28 November, 1775.
I had the honor of writing to you on the 19th instant. I have now to inform you that Mr. Henry Knox, Esq. is gone to New York, with orders to forward to this place what cannon and ordnance stores can be there procured. From thence he will proceed to General Schuyler on the same business, as you will see by the enclosed copy of instructions, which I have given him. It would give me much satisfaction, that this gentleman, or any other whom you may think qualified, were appointed to the command of the artillery regiment. In my letter to you of the 8th instant, I have expressed myself fully on this subject, which I beg leave to recommend to your immediate attention; as the formation of that corps will be at a stand, until I am honored with your instructions thereon. The vessel laden with wine which I advised you was wrecked on this coast, proves to have been the property of Thomas Satler of Philadelphia. The papers relative to her and cargo were sent to Robert Morris, Esqr. who can give you every information thereon. The schooner with the dry goods from Boston to Halifax, is given up to the Committee of Safety at Beverly, who will dispose of her and cargo, agreeable to the decision of a Court of Admiralty, and the schooner, carried into Portsmouth by Captain Adams, proves to be a friend, is of course discharged.
There are two persons engaged to go to Nova Scotia, on the business recommended in your last. By the best information we have from thence, the stores have been withdrawn some time. Should this not be the case, it is next to an impossibility to attempt any thing there, in the present unsettled and precarious state of the army.
Colonel Enos is arrived, and is under arrest; he acknowledges, that he had no orders for coming away. His trial cannot come on until I hear from Colonel Arnold, from whom there is no account since I last wrote you.
From what I can collect by my inquiries amongst the officers, it will be impossible to get the men to enlist for the continuance of the war, which will be an insuperable obstruction to the formation of the two battalions of marines on the plan resolved on in Congress.1 As it can make no difference, I propose to proceed on the new arrangement of the army, and, when completed, inquire out such officers and men as are best qualified for that service, and endeavor to form these two battalions out of the whole. This appears to me the best method, and I hope it will meet the approbation of Congress.
As it will be very difficult for the men to work, when the hard frost sets in, I have thought it necessary, (though of little use at present,) to take possession of Cobble Hill, for the benefit of any future operations. It was effected, without the least opposition from the enemy, the 23d instant. Their inactivity on this occasion is what I cannot account for; it is probable they are meditating a blow somewhere.
About three hundred men, women, and children of the poor inhabitants of Boston, came out to Point Shirley last Friday. They have brought their household furniture, but unprovided of every other necessary of life. I have recommended them to the attention of the committee of the honorable Council of this province, now sitting at Watertown.
The number enlisted since my last is two thousand five hundred and forty men. I am very sorry to be necesitated to mention to you the egregious want of public spirit, which reigns here. Instead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of their country, which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, I find we are likely to be deserted, and in a most critical time. Those that have enlisted must have a furlough, which I have been obliged to grant to fifty at a time, from each regiment. The Connecticut troops, upon whom I reckoned, are as backward, indeed, if possible, more so than the people of this colony. Our situation is truly alarming; and of this General Howe is well apprized, it being the common topic of conversation, when the people left Boston last Friday. No doubt, when he is reinforced, he will avail himself of the information.1
I am making the best disposition I can for our defence, having thrown up, besides the work on Cobble Hill, several redoubts, half-moons, &c., along the bay; and I fear I shall be under the necessity of calling in the militia and minute-men of the country to my assistance. I say, I fear it, because, by what I can learn from the officers in the army belonging to this colony, it will be next to an impossibility to keep them under any degree of discipline, and it will be very difficult to prevail on them to remain a moment longer, than they choose themselves. It is a mortifying reflection, to be reduced to this dilemma. There has been nothing wanting on my part to infuse a proper spirit amongst the officers, that they may exert their influence with the soldiery. You see, by a fortnight’s recruiting amongst men with arms in their hands, how little has been the success.
As the smallpox is now in Boston, I have used the precaution of prohibiting such, as lately came out, from coming near our camp. General Burgoyne, I am informed, will soon embark for England. I think the risque too great to write you by post whilst it continues to pass thro’ New York. It is certain that a post has been intercepted the beginning of last month, as they sent out several letters from Boston with the postmark at Baltimore on them. This goes by Captain Joseph Blewer, who promises to deliver it carefully unto you.
You doubtless will have heard, before this reaches you, of General Montgomery’s having got possession of Montreal.1 I congratulate you thereon. He has troubles with his troops, as well as I have. All I can learn of Colonel Arnold is, that he is near Quebec. I hope Montgomery will be able to proceed to his assistance. I shall be very uneasy until I hear they are joined.
My best respects attend the gentlemen in Congress; and believe me, Sir, your most obedient, &c.2
TO JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 28 November, 1775.
By post I wrote you yesterday in answer to your letter of the 16th, since which your favors of the 15th and 17th are come to hand. In one of these you justly observe, that the sudden departure of Mr. Randolph must cause your absence to be the more sensibly felt. I can truly assure you, that I miss you exceedingly, and if an express declaration of this be wanting to hasten your return, I make it most heartily; and with some pleasure, as Mr. Lynch in a letter of the 13th (received with yours) gives this information. “In consequence of your letter by Colonel Reed, I applied to the chief justice, who tells me the Supreme Courts are lately held, and that it will be some time before their term will return; that he knows of no capital suit now depending, and that it is very easy for Colonel Reed to manage matters so as not to let that prevent his return to you; I am sure Mr. Chew is so heartily disposed to oblige you, and serve the cause, that nothing in his power will be wanting.” I could wish, my good friend, that these things may give a spur to your inclination to return; and that I may see you here as soon as convenient, as I feel the want of your ready pen, &c., greatly.
What an astonishing thing it is, that those who are employed to sign the Continental bills should not be able, or inclined, to do it as fast as they are wanted. They will prove the destruction of the army, if they are not more attentive and diligent. Such a dearth of public spirit, and want of virtue, such stock-jobbing, and fertility in all the low arts to obtain advantages of one kind or another, in this great change of military arrangement, I never saw before, and pray God I may never be witness to again. What will be the ultimate end of these manœuvres is beyond my scan. I tremble at the prospect. We have been till this time enlisting about three thousand five hundred men. To engage these I have been obliged to allow furloughs as far as fifty men a regiment, and the officers I am persuaded indulge as many more. The Connecticut troops will not be prevailed upon to stay longer than their term (saving those who have enlisted for the next campaign, and mostly on furlough), and such a dirty, mercenary spirit pervades the whole, that I should not be at all surprised at any disaster that may happen. In short, after the last of this month our lines will be so weakened, that the minute-men and militia must be called in for their defence; these, being under no kind of government themselves, will destroy the little subordination I have been laboring to establish, and run me into one evil whilst I am endeavoring to avoid another; but the lesser must be chosen. Could I have foreseen what I have, and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command. A regiment or any subordinate department would have been accompanied with ten times the satisfaction, and perhaps the honor.1
I think I informed you in my letter of yesterday that we had taken possession of, and had fortified Cobble Hill, and several points round the Bay, between that and Roxbury. In a night or two more, we shall begin our work on Lechmore’s Point; when doubtless we shall be honored with their notice, unless General Howe is waiting the favorable moment he has been told of, to aim a capital blow; which is my fixed opinion.
The Congress already know, from the general estimate given in (for a month), what sum it will take to supply this army; and that little less than two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars will answer the purpose.
Pray impress this upon the members, and the necessity of forwarding the last sum voted, as one hundred thousand dollars will be but a flea-bite to our demands at this time. Did I not in one of my late letters inform you that I had sent Mr. Knox through New York to General Schuyler to see what artillery I could get from those places? He has been set out upon this business about ten days, and I hope will fall in with the Committee of Congress. Powder is also so much wanted, that nothing without it can be done.
I wish that matter respecting the punctilio, hinted at by you, could come to some decision of Congress. I have done nothing yet in respect to the proposed exchange of prisoners, nor shall I now, until I hear from them or you on this subject. I am sorry Mr. White met with a disappointment in the Jerseys; as I could wish not to be under the necessity, from any former encouragement given him, of taking him into my family. I find it is absolutely necessary that the aids to the Commander-in-chief should be ready at their pen, (which I believe he is not,) to give that ready assistance, that is expected of them. I shall make a lame hand therefore to have two of this kidney. It would give me singular pleasure to provide for those two gentlemen, mentioned in your letter; but, believe me, it is beyond the powers of conception to discover the absurdities and partiality of these people, and the trouble and vexation I have had in the new arrangement of officers. After five, I think, different meetings of the general officers, I have in a manner been obliged to give in to the humor and whimsies of the people, or get no army. The officers of one government would not serve in the regiments of another, (although there was to be an entire new creation;) a captain must be in this regiment, a subaltern in that company. In short, I can scarce tell at this moment in what manner they are fixed. Some time hence strangers may be brought in; but it could not be done now, except in an instance or two, without putting too much to the hazard.1
I have this instant by express received the agreeable news of the capitulation of Montreal. The account of it, you also undoubtedly have. Poor Arnold, I wonder where he is. Enos left him with the rear division of his army, and is now here under arrest.
What can your brethren of the law mean, by saying your perquisites as secretary must be considerable? I am sure they have not amounted to one farthing. Captain Blewer waits, and therefore I shall add no more than that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.
P. S. Please to let Col. Lee know that I answered his query by last post respecting the armed vessels of this Province, and those fitted out by the Continent.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, 28 November, 1775.
You may easily conceive, that I had great pleasure in perusing your letter of the 18th instant, which, with the enclosures, I received last evening. It was much damped by my finding that General Montgomery had the same difficulties to encounter, with the troops under your command, that I have with these here.1 No troops were ever better provided, or higher paid; yet their backwardness to enlist for another year is amazing. It grieves me to see so little of that patriotic spirit, which I was taught to believe was characteristic of this people.
Colonol Enos, who had the command of Arnold’s rear division, is returned with the greater part of his men, which must weaken him so much, as to render him incapable of making a successful attack on Quebec, without assistance from General Montgomery. I hope he will be able to give it him, and, by taking that city, finish his glorious campaign. I have nothing material to communicate to you from hence. I am making every disposition for defence, by throwing up redoubts, &c., along the Bay; some of which have been constructed under the enemy’s guns, but they have not given us the least disturbance. I suppose Mr. Howe waits the arrival of his reinforcements, when probably he will attempt something. He sent out about three hundred men, women, and children last week. They give shocking accounts of the want of fuel and fresh provisions.1 General Burgoyne is gone, or going home.
November 30. Last evening I received the agreeable account of one of our armed schooners having taken a large brigantine, laden with military stores, the inventory of which I have the pleasure to enclose.2 But let not this acquisition prevent your sending what stores you can spare. We shall want them all. Adieu, my dear General. I wish you a return of your health, and am, &c.3
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
Cambridge, 2 December, 1775.
The reason of my giving you the trouble of this, is the late extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of some of the Connecticut troops. Some time ago, apprehending that some of them might incline to go home, when the time of their enlistment should be up, I applied to the officers of the several regiments, to know whether it would be agreeable to the men to continue till the 1st of January, or until a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place, who informed me, that they believed the whole of them would readily stay, till that could be effected. Having discovered last week, that they were very uneasy to leave the service, and determined upon it, I thought it expedient to summon the general officers at head-quarters, and invited a delegation of the General Court to be present,1 that suitable measures might be adopted for the defence and support of our lines. The result was that three thousand of the minute-men and militia of this province, and two thousand men from New Hampshire, should be called in, by the 10th instant, for that purpose. With this determination the Connecticut troops were made acquainted, and requested and ordered to remain here, as the time of most of them would not be out before the 10th, when they would be relieved. Notwithstanding this, yesterday morning most of them resolved to leave the camp. Many went off, and though the utmost vigilance and industry were used to apprehend them, several got away with their arms and ammunition. I have enclosed you a list of the names of some of them in General Putnam’s regiment only, who escaped, and submit to your judgment, whether some example should not be made of these men, who have basely deserted the cause of their country at this critical juncture, when the enemy are receiving reinforcements.2
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 4 December, 1775.
I had the honor of writing to you on the 30th. ult., inclosing inventory of the military stores, taken on board the brig Nancy, by Capt. Manly, of the armed schooner Lee. I have now to inform you that he has since sent into Beverley a ship named the Concord, James Lowrie, master, from Greenock in Scotland, bound to Boston. She has on board dry goods and coals to the value of £3606. 9. 7. sterling, shipped by Crawford, Anderson, & Co, and consigned to James Anderson, merchant in Boston. It is mentioned in the letters found on board, that this cargo was for the use of the army, but on a strict examination I find it is really the property of the shippers and the person to whom consigned. Pray what is to be done with this ship and cargo? And what with the brigantine which brought the military stores?
It was agreed in the conference last October, “that all vessels employed merely as transports and unarmed, with their crews, to be set at liberty upon giving security to return to Europe, but that this indulgence be not extended longer than till the first of April next.” In the shipper’s letter they mention: “that you must procure a certificate from the general and admiral of the Concord’s being in the government service, such as the Glasgow packet brought with her, which was of great service, procured a liberty to arm her which was refused us; also gave her a preference for some recruits that went out in her.” In another part of their letter they say: “Captain Lowrie will deliver you the contract for the coals. We gave it to him, as it perhaps might be of use as a certificate of his ship’s being employed in the government service.” Every letter on board breathes nothing but enmity to this country, and a vast number of them there are.1
It is some time since I recommended to the Congress, that they would institute a court for the trial of prizes made by the Continental armed vessels, which I hope they have ere now taken into their consideration; otherwise I should again take the liberty of urging it in the most pressing manner.
The scandalous conduct of a great number of the Connecticut troops has laid me under the necessity of calling in a body of the militia, much sooner than I apprehended there would be an occasion for such a step. I was afraid some time ago, that they would incline to go home when the time of their enlistment expired. I called upon the officers of the several regiments, to know whether they could prevail on the men to remain until the 1st of January, or till a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place. I suppose they were deceived themselves. I know they deceived me by assurances, that I need be under no apprehension on that score, for the men would not leave the lines. Last Friday showed how much they were mistaken, as the major part of the troops of that colony were going away with their arms and ammunition. We have, however, by threats, persuasions, and the activity of the people of the country, who sent back many of them, that had set out, prevailed upon the most part to stay. There are about eighty of them missing.1
I have called in three thousand men from this province; and General Sullivan, who lately returned from the province of New Hampshire, having informed me that a number of men were there ready at the shortest notice, I have demanded two thousand from that province. These two bodies, I expect, will be in by the tenth instant, to make up the deficiency of the Connecticut men, whom I have promised to dismiss on that day, as well as the numbers to whom I was obliged to grant furloughs before any would enlist. As the same defection is much to be apprehended, when the time of the Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island forces is expired, I beg the attention of Congress to this important affair.1
I am informed, that it has been the custom of these provinces in the last war, for the legislative power to order every town to provide a certain quota of men for the campaign. This, or some other mode, should be at present adopted, as I am satisfied the men cannot be had without. This the Congress will please to take into their immediate consideration. My suspicions on this head I shall also communicate to the Governors Trumbull and Cooke, also to the New Hampshire Convention.
The number enlisted in the last week is about thirteen hundred men. By this you see how slow this important work goes on. Enclosed is a letter written to me by General Putnam, recommending Colonel Babcock1 to the brigadier-generalship now vacant in this army. I know nothing of this gentleman, but I wish the vacancy was filled, as the want of one is attended with very great inconveniences. An express is just come in from General Schuyler, with letters from Colonel Arnold and General Montgomery, copies of which I have the honor to enclose. Upon the whole, I think affairs carry a pleasing aspect in that quarter. The reduction of Quebec is an object of such great importance, that I doubt not the Congress will give every assistance in their power for the accomplishing it this winter.2
By the last accounts from the armed schooners sent to the River St. Lawrence, I fear we have but little to expect from them. They were falling short of provision, and mentioned that they would be obliged to return; which at this time is particularly unfortunate, as, if they chose a proper station, all the vessels coming down that river must fall into their hands.1 The plague, trouble, and vexation I have had with the crews of all the armed vessels, are inexpressible. I do believe there is not on earth a more disorderly set. Every time they come into port, we hear of nothing but mutinous complaints. Manly’s success has lately, and but lately, quieted his people. The crews of the Washington and Harrison have actually deserted them; so that I have been under the necessity of ordering the agent to lay the latter up, and get hands for the other on the best terms he could.1
The House of Representatives and the honorable Board have sent me a vote of theirs relative to the harbor of Cape Cod, which you have herewith. I shall send an officer thither to examine what can be done for its defence, though I do not think I shall be able to give them such assistance as may be requisite; for I have at present neither men, powder, nor cannon to spare. The great want of powder is what the attention of Congress should be particularly applied to. I dare not attempt any thing offensive, let the temptation or advantage be ever so great, as I have not more of that most essential article, than will be absolutely necessary to defend our lines, should the enemy attempt to attack them.
By recent information from Boston, General Howe is going to send out a number of the inhabitants, in order, it is thought, to make more room for his expected reinforcements. There is one part of the information I can hardly give credit to. A sailor says, that a number of those coming out have been inoculated, with the design of spreading the smallpox through this country, and camp. I have communicated this to the General Court, and recommended their attention thereto. They are arming one of the transports in Boston, with which they mean to decoy some of our armed vessels. As we are apprized of their design, I hope they will be disappointed. My best respects wait on the gentlemen in Congress, and I am, Sir, your most humble, &c.
P. S. I was misinformed when I mentioned that one regiment had arrived at Boston. A few companies of the 17th and artillery were all that are yet come. Near 300 persons are landed on Point Shirley from Boston.1
TO GOVERNOR COOKE.
Cambridge, 5 December, 1775.
I have of late met with abundant reason to be convinced of the impracticability of recruiting this army to the new establishment, in any reasonable time by voluntary enlistments. The causes of such exceeding great lukewarmness I shall not undertake to point out; sufficient it is to know, that the fact is so. Many reasons are assigned; one only I shall mention, and that is, that the present soldiery are in expectation of drawing from the landed interest and farmers a bounty, equal to the allowance at the commencement of this army, and that therefore they play off. Be this as it may, I am satisfied that this is not a time for trifling, and that the exigency of our affairs calls aloud for vigorous exertions.
By sad experience it is found, that the Connecticut regiments have deserted, and are about to desert, the noble cause we are engaged in. Nor have I any reason to believe, that the forces of New Hampshire, this government, or Rhode Island, will give stronger proofs of their attachment to it, when the period arrives that they may claim their dismission. For after every stimulus in my power to throw in their way, and near a month’s close endeavor, we have enlisted — men, one thousand five hundred of which are to be absent at a time on furlough, until all have gone home in order to visit and provide for their families.
Five thousand militia, from this government and the colony of New Hampshire, are ordered to be at this place by the 10th instant, to relieve the Connecticut regiments and supply the deficiency, which will be occasioned by their departure and of those on furlough.1 These men, I have been told by officers, who were eyewitnesses to their behavior, are not to be depended on for more than a few days; as they soon get tired, grow impatient, ungovernable, and of course leave the service. What will be the consequence, then, if the greatest part of the army is to be composed of such men? Upon the new establishment twenty-six regiments were ordered to be raised, besides those of the artillery and riflemen; of these New Hampshire has three, Massachusetts sixteen, Rhode Island two, and Connecticut five. A mode of appointing the officers was also recommended, and as strictly adhered to as circumstances would admit of. These officers are now recruiting, with the success I have mentioned.
Thus, Sir, have I given you a true and impartial state of our situation, and submit it to the wisdom of your and the other three New England colonies, whether some vigorous measures, if the powers of government are adequate, ought not to be adopted, to facilitate the completion of this army without offering a bounty from the public, which Congress have declared against, thinking the terms, exclusive thereof, greater than ever soldiers had.1 I have, by this conveyance, laid the matter before Congress, but the critical situation of our affairs will not await their deliberation and recommendation; something must be done without further delay.
I am, Sir, &c.2
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, 5 December, 1775.
Your much esteemed favor of the 22d ultimo, covering Colonel Arnold’s letter, with a copy of one to General Montgomery and his to you, I received yesterday morning. It gave me the highest satisfaction to hear of Colonel Arnold’s being at Point Levi, with his men in great spirits, after their long, fatiguing march, attended with almost insuperable difficulties, and the discouraging circumstance of being left by near one third of the troops, that went on the expedition. The merit of this gentleman is certainly great, and I heartily wish, that fortune may distinguish him as one of her favorites. I am convinced, that he will do every thing that prudence and valor shall suggest, to add to the success of our arms and for reducing Quebec to our possession. Should he not be able to accomplish so desirable a work with the forces he has, I flatter myself, that it will be effected when General Montgomery joins him, and our conquest of Canada be complete.
I am exceeding sorry to find you so much plagued and embarrassed by the disregard of discipline, confusion, and want of order among the troops, as to have occasioned you to mention to Congress an inclination to retire. I know that your complaints are too well founded; but I would willingly hope, that nothing will induce you to quit the service, and that, in time, order and subordination will take place of confusion, and command be rendered more agreeable. I have met with difficulties of the same sort, and such as I never expected; but they must be borne with. The cause we are engaged in is so just and righteous, that we must try to rise superior to every obstacle in its support; and, therefore, I beg that you will not think of resigning, unless you have carried your application to Congress too far to recede. I am, dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, yours, &c.1
TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.
Cambridge, 5 December, 1775.
Your letter of the 8th ultimo, with a postcript of the 14th from Point Levi, I have had the pleasure to receive. It is not in the power of any man to command success, but you have done more, you have deserved it2 ; and before this I hope you will have met with the laurels, which are due to your toils, in the possession of Quebec. My thanks are due, and sincerely offered to you, for your enterprising and persevering spirit. To your brave followers I likewise present them. I was not unmindful of you, or them, in the establishment of a new army. One out of twenty-six regiments (lately General Putnam’s) you are appointed to the command of, and I have ordered all the officers with you to the one or the other of these regiments, in the rank they now bear, that in case they choose to continue in service, and no appointments take place where they now are, no disappointment may follow.
Nothing very material has happened in this camp since you left it. Finding we were not likely to do much in the land way, I fitted out several privateers, or rather armed vessels, in behalf of the continent, with which we have taken several prizes to the amount, it is supposed, of fifteen thousand pounds sterling; one of them, a valuable store-ship, (but no powder in it,) containing a fine brass mortar, thirteen-inch, two thousand stand of arms, shot, &c. &c.
I have no doubt but a juncture of your detachment with the army under General Montgomery is effected before this. If so, you will put yourself under his command, and will, I am persuaded, give him all the assistance in your power, to finish the glorious work you have begun. That the Almighty may preserve and prosper you in it, is the sincere and fervent prayer of, dear Sir, &c.
P. S. You could not be more surprised than I was, at Enos’s return with the division under his command. I immediately put him under arrest, and had him tried for quitting the detachment without your orders. He is acquitted on the score of provisions.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 11 December, 1775.
Captain Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, has taken and sent into Beverly two prizes since I wrote you last, (which was the 7th instant.) One of them is the ship Jenny, Captain Forster, who left London late in October. He has very unfortunately thrown all his papers overboard, and is not yet arrived at camp. If he does before I close this, I will let you know what information I get from him. His vessel is loaded with coal and porter; of the latter he has about one hundred butts. The other is a brigantine from Antigua, called the Little Hannah, Robert Adams, master. Her cargo consists of one hundred and thirty-nine hogsheads of rum, one hundred cases of Geneva, and some other trifling articles.1 Both cargoes were for the army and navy at Boston. I have great pleasure in congratulating you on this business.
The numbers enlisted last week are NA men. If they go on at this slow rate, it will be a long time before this army is complete. I have wrote to the Governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island, also to the Convention of New Hampshire, on this subject. A copy of my letter to them I have the honor to enclose herewith. A letter to the same purport I sent to the legislature of this province.
The militia are coming in fast. I am much pleased with the alacrity, which the good people of this province, as well [as] those of New Hampshire, have shown upon this occasion. I expect the whole will be in this day and to-morrow, when what remains of the Connecticut gentry, who have not enlisted, will have liberty to go to their firesides. The Commissary General is still (by his indisposition) detained from camp. He committed an error when making out the ration list, for he was then serving out, and has continued so to do, six ounces pr. man pr. week of butter, tho’ it is not included in the list approved of by Congress. I do not think it would be expedient to put a stop thereto, as everything that would have a tendency to give the soldiery room for complaint, must be avoided.
The information I received, that the enemy intended spreading the smallpox amongst us, I could not suppose them capable of. I now must give some credit to it, as it has made its appearance on several of those, who last came out of Boston. Every necessary precaution has been taken to prevent its being communicated to this army; and the General Court will take care, that it does not spread through the country.
I have not heard that any more troops are arrived at Boston; which is a lucky circumstance, as the Connecticut troops, I now find, are for the most part gone off.1 The houses in Boston are lessening every day; they are pulled down, either for fire-wood, or to prevent the effects of fire, should we attempt a bombardment or an attack upon the town. Cobble Hill is strongly fortified, without any interruption from the enemy.1
Colonel Enos has been tried and acquitted; upon what principle you will see by the process of his trial, which I now send you. As the time of Colonel Enos’s engagement was near expired, a doubt arose whether he could then be tried by a court-martial. This it was, which occasioned his trial to come on before Colonel Arnold’s evidence could be had.2 This is what at present occurs from, Sir, &c.
P. S. The weekly returns of inlistment not being yet received for more than ten regiments, amounting to 725 men, I cannot fill up the blank in this letter; but this added to the former makes in the whole, 5253.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1
Cambridge, 14 December, 1775.
I received your favor of the 2d instant, with the several resolves of Congress therein enclosed. The resolves relative to captures made by Continental armed vessels only want a court established for trial, to make them complete. This, I hope, will be soon done, as I have taken the liberty to urge it often to the Congress.
I am somewhat at a loss to know whether I am to raise the two battalions of marines here or not. As the delay can be attended with but little inconvenience, I will wait a further explanation from Congress, before I take any further steps thereon. I am much pleased that the money will be forwarded with all possible expedition, as it is much wanting; also that Connolly and his associates are taken. It has been a very fortunate discovery. I make no doubt, but that Congress will take every necessary measure to dispossess Lord Dunmore of his hold in Virginia. The sooner steps are taken for that purpose, the more probability there will be of their being effectual.1
Mr. William Aspinwall and Mr Lemuel Hayward were appointed surgeons at Roxbury in the first formation of the army. They were confirmed by Doctor Church, who promised them to write to the Congress in their behalf. They applied to me during his confinement here, at a time that I had notice of Doctor Morgan’s appointment. I referred them to his arrival, and inclosed you have his sentiments relative to them, also of Doctor Rand, surgeon to the smallpox hospital and his mate. I have to remark to you that when we had some time past got the better of the smallpox, Doctor Rand applied to me for a continuance of him in that department, which from a principle of not multiplying offices, I declined. He is at present wanting, and says that by only attending occasionally he loses his country practice; of course his livelihood. You will please to lay these matters before Congress for their consideration.
I was happy enough to anticipate the desire of Congress, respecting Mr. Croft and Mr. Trot. They both declined. The latter did not choose to serve, the former’s ambition was not fully gratified by the offer made to him of a majority, and higher rank must have turned out Col. Burbeck, or Major Mason, who had served in those characters in that regiment to acceptation.
I hope Colonel Knox will soon finish the business he is upon, and appear here to take the honorable command conferred on him by Congress.1
I will make application to General Howe, and propose an exchange for Ethan Allen. I am much afraid I shall have a like proposal to make for Captain Martindale and his men, of the armed brigantine Washington, which, it is reported, was taken a few days past by a man-of-war, and carried into Boston. We cannot expect to be always successful. You will doubtless hear of the barbarity of Captain Wallace on Connanicut Island, ere this reaches your hands.2
About a hundred and fifty more of the poor inhabitants are come out of Boston. The smallpox rages all over the town. Such of the military, as had it not before, are now under inoculation. This, I apprehend, is a weapon of defence they are using against us. What confirms me in this opinion, is, that I have information, that they are tearing up the pavement, to be provided against a bombardment. I wrote to you this day by Messrs. Penet and de Pliarne, who will lay before the Congress, or a committee thereof, proposals for furnishing the continent with arms and ammunition. I refer you to themselves for further particulars.3 I have the honor to be, &c.
TO JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 15 December, 1775.
Since my last, I have had the pleasure of receiving your favors of the 28th ultimo, and the 2d instant. I must again express my gratitude for the attention shown Mrs. Washington at Philadelphia. It cannot but be pleasing, although it did, in some measure, impede the progress of her journey on the road.1 I am much obliged to you for the hints contained in both of the above letters, respecting the jealousies which you say are gone abroad.1 I have studiously avoided in all letters intended for the public eye, I mean for that of the Congress, every expression that could give pain or uneasiness; and I shall observe the same rule with respect to private letters, further than appears absolutely necessary for the elucidation of facts. I cannot charge myself with incivility, or, what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility, to the gentlemen of this colony; but if such my conduct appears, I will endeavor at a reformation, as I can assure you, my dear Reed, that I wish to walk in such a line as will give most general satisfaction. You know, that it was my wish at first to invite a certain number of gentlemen of this colony every day to dinner, but unintentionally I believe by anybody we some how or other missed it. If this has given rise to the jealousy, I can only say that I am sorry for it; at the same time I add, that it was rather owing to inattention, or, more properly, too much attention to other matters, which caused me to neglect it. The extracts of letters from this camp, which so frequently appear in the Pennsylvania papers, are not only written without my knowledge, but without my approbation, as I have always thought they must have a disagreeable tendency; but there is no restraining men’s tongues, or pens, when charged with a little vanity, as in the accounts given of, or rather by, the riflemen.
With respect to what you have said of yourself, and your situation, to what I have before said on this subject I can only add, that whilst you leave the door open to my expectation of your return, I shall not think of supplying your place. If ultimately you resolve against coming, I should be glad to know it, as soon as you have determined upon it. The Congress have resolved well in respect to the pay of and advance to the men; but if they cannot get the money-signers to despatch their business, it is of very little avail; for we have not at this time money enough in camp to answer the commissary’s and quarter-master’s accounts, much more to pay the troops. Strange conduct this!
The account, which you have given of the sentiments of the people respecting my conduct, is extremely flattering. Pray God, that I may continue to deserve them, in the perplexed and intricate situation I stand in. Our enlistment goes on slowly. By the returns last Monday, only five thousand nine hundred and seventeen men are engaged for the ensuing campaign; and yet we are told, that we shall get the number wanted, as they are only playing off to see what advantages are to be made, and whether a bounty cannot be extorted from the public at large, or individuals, in case of a draft. Time only can discover this. I doubt the measure exceedingly. The fortunate capture of the store-ship has supplied us with flints, and many other articles we stood in need of; but we still have our wants. We are securing our approach to Letchmore’s Point, unable upon any principle whatever to account for their silence, unless it be to lull us into a fatal security to favor some attempt they may have in view about the time of the great change they expect will take place the last of this month. If this be the drift, they deceive themselves, for if possible, it has increased my vigilance, and induced me to fortify all the avenues to our camps, to guard against any approaches upon the ice.
If the Virginians are wise, that arch-traitor to the rights of humanity, Lord Dunmore, should be instantly crushed, if it takes the force of the whole colony to do it; otherwise, like a snow ball, in rolling, his army will get size, some through fear some through promises, and some from inclination joining his standard. But that which renders the measure indispensably necessary is the negroes. For if he gets formidable, numbers will be tempted to join, who will be afraid to do it without.1 I am exceeding happy to find that that villain Connolly is seized; I hope if there is any thing to convict him, that he will meet with the punishment due to his demerit and treachery.
We impatiently wait for accounts from Arnold. Would to God we may hear he is in Quebec, and that all Canada is in our possession. My best respects to Mrs. Reed. I am, &c.
P. S. The smallpox is in every part of Boston. The soldiers there who have never had it, are, we are told, under innoculation, and considered as a security against any attempt of ours. A third shipload of people is come out to Point Shirley. If we escape the smallpox in this camp, and the country around about, it will be miraculous. Every precaution that can be is taken, to guard against this evil, both by the General Court and myself.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL HOWE.
Camp atCambridge, 18 December, 1775.
We have just been informed of a circumstance, which, were it not so well authenticated, I should scarcely think credible. It is that Colonel Allen, who, with his small party, was defeated and taken prisoner near Montreal, has been treated without regard to decency, humanity, or the rules of war; that he has been thrown into irons, and suffers all the hardships inflicted upon common felons.
I think it my duty, Sir, to demand, and do expect from you, an eclaircissement on this subject. At the same time, I flatter myself, from the character which Mr. Howe bears, as a man of honor, gentleman, and soldier, that my demand will meet with his approbation. I must take the liberty, also, of informing you, that I shall consider your silence as a confirmation of the report; and further assuring you, that, whatever treatment Colonel Allen receives, whatever fate he undergoes, such exactly shall be the treatment and fate of Brigadier Prescott, now in our hands.1 The law of retaliation is not only justifiable in the eyes of God and man, but absolutely a duty, which, in our present circumstances, we owe to our relations, friends, and fellow-citizens.
Permit me to add, Sir, that we have all here the highest regard and reverence for your great personal qualities and attainments, and that the Americans in general esteem it as not the least of their misfortunes, that the name of Howe, a name so dear to them,1 should appear at the head of the catalogue of the instruments employed by a wicked ministry for their destruction.
With due respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.2
P. S. If an exchange of prisoners taken on each side in this unnatural contest is agreeable to General Howe, he will please to signify as much to his most obedient, &c.3
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 18 December, 1775.
Captain Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, took and sent into Beverly the sloop Betsey, A. Atkinson master. She is an armed vessel, despatched by Lord Dunmore, with Indian corn, potatoes, and oats, for the army in Boston. The packets of letters found on board, I have the honor to send you with this by Captain James Chambers, they being of so much importance, that I do not think it would be prudent to trust them by a common express. As Lord Dunmore’s schemes are fully laid open in these letters, I need not point out to the Congress the necessity there is of a vigorous exertion being adopted by them, to dispossess his Lordship of the stronghold he has got in Virginia. I do not mean to dictate, but I am sure they will pardon me for giving them freely my opinion, which is, that the fate of America a good deal depends on his being obliged to evacuate Norfolk this winter or not.
I have Kirkland1 well secured, and think I will send him to you for examination. By most of the letters relative to him, he is a dangerous fellow. John Steuart’s letters and papers are of a very interesting nature. Governor Tonyn’s and many other letters from St. Augustine show the weakness of the place; at the same time, of what vast consequence it would be for us to possess ourselves of it, and the great quantity of ammunition contained in the fort.2 Indeed these papers are of so great consequence, that I think this but little inferior to any prize our famous Manly has taken.
We now work at our ease on Lechmere’s Hill. On discovering our party there yesterday morning, the ship which lay opposite began a cannonade, to which Mount Horam1 added some shells. One of our men was wounded. We fired a few shot from two eighteen pounders, which are placed on Cobble Hill, and soon obliged the ship to shift her station. She now lies in the ferry-way; and, except a few shells from the mount in Boston, (which do no execution,) we have no interruption in prosecuting our works, which will in a very short time be completed. When that is done, when we have powder to sport with, I think, if the Congress resolves on the execution of the proposal made relative to the town of Boston, that it can be done.
I have sent a letter this day to General Howe, of which a copy goes herewith. My reason for pointing out Brigadier-General Prescott as the object, who is to suffer Mr. Allen’s fate, is, that, by letters from General Schuyler, and copies of letters from General Montgomery to Schuyler, I am given to understand that Prescott is the cause of Allen’s sufferings. I thought it best to be decisive on the occasion, as did the generals whom I consulted thereon.
The returns of men enlisted since my last amount to about eighteen hundred, making in the whole seven thousand one hundred and forty. The militia that are come in, both from this province and New Hampshire, are very fine-looking men, and go through their duty with great alacrity. The despatch made, both by the people in marching and by the legislative powers in complying with my requisition, has given me infinite satisfaction. Your letter of the 8th instant, with the explanatory resolve respecting my calling forth the militia and minute-men, is come to hand; to which I shall pay all due attention. You have removed all the difficulties, which I labored under, about the two battalions of marines. I shall obey the orders of Congress in looking out for proper officers to command that corps.1 I make no doubt but, when the money arrives to pay off the arrears and the month’s advance, that it will be a great encouragement for the men to enlist.
Enclosed is a letter I lately received from Mr. James Lovell. His case is truly pitiable. I wish some mode could be fallen upon to relieve him from the cruel situation he is now in. I am sensible of the impropriety of exchanging a soldier for a citizen; but there is something so cruelly distressing in regard to this gentleman, that I dare say you will take it under your consideration.2 I am, with great respect, &c.3
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, 18 December, 1775.
Your favors, the first of the 28th ultimo, and the two last of the 9th instant, with their enclosures, I received. I am happy to hear of your being better, and heartily wish, that you may soon be perfectly recovered from your indisposition.
I should have been very glad, if Mr. Carleton had not made his escape. I trust ere long he will be in our hands, as I think we shall get possession of Quebec,1 from whence he will not easily get away. I am much concerned for Mr. Allen, and that he should be treated with such severity. I beg that you will have the matter and manner of his treatment strictly inquired into, and transmit me an account of the same, and whether General Prescott was active and instrumental in occasioning it. From your letter, and General Montgomery’s to you, I am led to think he was. If so, he is deserving of your particular notice, and should experience some marks of our resentment for his cruelty to this gentleman, and his violation of the rights of humanity. As some of the prisoners had attempted to escape, I doubt not of your giving the necessary orders, that they may be prevented. It is a matter that should be attended to. In a letter from the Reverend Dr. Wheelock, of Dartmouth College, of the 2d instant, I had the following intelligence:—
“That the day before, two soldiers returning from Montreal informed him, that our officers were assured by a Frenchman (a captain of the artillery whom they had taken captive), that Major Rogers was second in command under General Carleton, and that he had been in Indian habit through our encampment at St. John’s, had given a plan of them to the General, and supposed that he made his escape with the Indians, which were at St. John’s.”
You will be pleased to have this report examined into, and acquaint me as to the authenticity or probability of the truth of it. If any circumstances can be discovered to induce a belief, that he was there, he should be apprehended. He is now in this government.1
The Congress have sent me several accounts against the rifle companies, one of which is against Captain Morgan, which I enclose to you, and desire it may be transmitted to Colonel Arnold, who will have proper steps taken for the payment of it, as Captain Morgan is with him.
I flatter myself that your next favor will give me an account of General Montgomery’s joining Col. Arnold, and that Quebec is, or soon will be, reduced to our possession. Should our arms be crowned with such success, to me it appears that Administration will be much embarrassed and stand in a very disagreeable predicament. I am, &c.1
TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, 24 December, 1775.
Your favor of the 15th instant came yesterday to hand, with copies and extracts of your late letters to Congress. I have with great attention perused them. I am very sorry to find by several paragraphs, that both you and General Montgomery incline to quit the service. Let me ask you, Sir, when is the time for brave men to exert themselves in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is not? Should any difficulties that they may have to encounter at this important crisis, deter them? God knows, there is not a difficulty, that you both very justly complain of, which I have not in an eminent degree experienced, that I am not every day experiencing; but we must bear up against them, and make the best of mankind as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish. Let me, therefore, conjure you and Mr. Montgomery to lay aside such thoughts,—thoughts injurious to yourselves, and excessively so to your country, which calls aloud for gentlemen of your abilities.
You mention in your letter to Congress of the 20th ultimo, that the clothing was to remain at Albany, as General Montgomery would provide the troops in Canada. I wish they could be spared for this army, for we cannot get clothing for half of our troops.1 Let me hear from you on this subject as soon as possible.
The proofs you have of the ministry’s intention to engage the savages against us are incontrovertible.1 We have other confirmations of it, by several despatches from John Stuart, the superintendent for the southern district, which luckily fell into my hands, being found on board a sloop, sent by Lord Dunmore, bound to Boston. She was taken by one of our armed vessels. These, with many letters of consequence from his Lordship, I have lately sent to the Congress.
I hope soon to hear, that Colonel Knox has made good progress in forwarding the artillery. It is much wanted for the works we have lately thrown up. I have written a letter, of the 18th instant, to General Howe respecting Mr. Allen, of which and the answer you have copies enclosed. I am, with great regard, Sir, yours, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 25 December, 1775.
I had the honor to address myself to you on the 19th instant, since which I have received undoubted information, that the genuine instructions given to Connolly have not reached your hands; that they are very artfully concealed in the tree of his saddle, and covered with canvass so nicely, that they are scarcely discernible; that those, which were found upon him, were intended to deceive, if he was caught. You will most certainly have his saddle taken to pieces, in order to discover this deep-laid plot.1
Enclosed is a copy of General Howe’s letter in an swer to the one I wrote to him on the 18th instant. The conduct I am to observe towards Brigadier Prescott, in consequence of these letters, the Congress will oblige me by determining for me. The gentlemen by whom you sent the money are arrived. The sum they brought, though large, is not sufficient to answer the demands of the army, which at this time are remarkably heavy. There is three months’ pay due, one month’s advance, two dollars for each blanket, the arms, which are left by those who are dismissed, to be paid for, besides the demands, on the commissary and quartermaster-generals. You will, therefore, see the necessity of another remittance, which I beg may be as soon as you conveniently can.2 I will take the opportunity of the return of these gentlemen, to send Colonel Kirkland to you for examination, and that you may dispose of him as to you may seem proper.
A committee from the General Court of this province called on me the other day, informing me that they were in great want of ordnance for the defence of the colony; that, if what belonged to them, now in use here, was kept for the continent, they will be under the necessity of providing themselves with other; of course, what is kept must be paid for. There are many of the cannon of very little use; such of them as are good, I cannot at present part with; perhaps when I receive the supply from New York and Canada, it may be in my power to spare them. Mr. Wadsworth1 has sent in his report respecting Cape Cod harbor, a copy of which you will receive herewith. Also a letter from a Mr. Jacob Bayley, put into my hands by Colonel Little. It contains some things that may not be unworthy the consideration of Congress.
We have made good progress in the works on Lechmere’s Point. They would have been finished ere this, but for the severity of the weather, which prevents our people from working. I received a letter from Governor Cooke, which expresses the fears of the people of Rhode Island, lest the ships, which we had information were sailed with some troops on board, were destined for Newport. I sent Major-General Lee there, to point out to them such defence as he may think the place capable of. I sincerely wish he may be able to do it with effect, as that place, in its present state, is an asylum for such as are disaffected to American liberty.2 Our returns of enlistments, to this day, amount to eight thousand five hundred men. I have the honor to be, &c.3
TO JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 25 December, 1775.
Since my last your favors of the 7th and 11th are come to hand, as also the 8th; the first last night, the second by Wednesday’s post. For the several pieces of information therein contained, I thank you.
Nothing new has happened in this quarter since my last, except the setting in of a severe spell of cold weather, and a considerable fall of snow; which together have interrupted our work on Lechmere’s Point; which otherwise, would have been compleated before this. At first we only intended a bomb battery there, but afterwards constructed two redoubts, in one of which a mortar will be placed at a proper season. A line of communication extends from the point of wood this side the causey, leading on to Lechmere’s Point, quite up to the redoubt. From Boston and Bunker’s Hill both, we have received (without injury, except from the first case shot) an irregular fire from cannon and mortars ever since the 17th, but have returned none except upon the ship; which we soon obliged to move off. At the same time that I thank you for stopping visitors in search of preferment, it will give me pleasure to show civilities to others of your recommendation. Indeed no gentleman, that is not well known, ought to come here without letters of introduction, as it puts me in an awkward situation with respect to my conduct towards them.
I do not well understand a paragraph in your letter, which seems to be taken from mine to Colonel Hancock, expressive of the unwillingness of the Connecticut troops to be deemed Continental. If you did not misconceive what Col. Hancock read, he read what I never wrote; as there is no expression in any of my letters, that I can either recollect or find, that has a tendency that way; further than their unwillingness to have officers of other governments mixed in their corps, in which they are not singular, as the same partiality runs through the whole. I have in some measure anticipated the desires of the Connecticut delegates, by a kind of representation to each of the New England governments of the impracticability (in my eye) of raising our complement of men by voluntary enlistments, and submitting it to their consideration, whether, (if the powers of government are sufficiently coercive,) each town should not be called upon for a proportionate number of recruits. What they will do in the matter remains to be known. The militia, which have supplied the places of the Connecticut regiments, behave much better than I expected under our want of wood, barracks (for they are not yet done), and blankets, &c. With these, and such men as are reënlisted, I shall hope, if they will be vigilant and spirited, to give the enemy a warm reception, if they think proper to come out. Our want of powder is inconceivable. A daily waste and no supply administers a gloomy prospect.
I fear the destination of the vessels from your port is so generally known, as to defeat the end. Two men-of-war (forty guns), it is said, put into New York the other day, and were instantly ordered out, supposed to be for Virginia.
I am so much indebted for the civilities shown to Mrs. Washington on her journey hither, that I hardly know how to go about to acknowledge them. Some of the enclosed (all of which I beg the favor of you to put into the post-office) are directed to that end, and I shall be obliged to you for presenting my thanks to the commanding officers of the two battalions of Philadelphia for the honors done to her and me, as also to any others, equally entitled. I very sincerely offer you the compliments of the season, and wish you and Mrs. Reed, and your fireside, the happy return of a great many of them, being, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
Cambridge, 26 December, 1775.
Your favor of the 6th instant did not reach this place till Saturday afternoon. The money, which accompanied it, came seasonably, but not, as it was so long delayed, quantum sufficit, our demands at this time being peculiarly great for pay and advance to the troops; pay for their arms and blanketing, independent of the demands of the commissary and quartermaster general.
Lord Dunmore’s letters to General Howe, which very fortunately fell into my hands, and were enclosed by me to Congress, will let you pretty fully into his diabolical schemes. If, my dear Sir, that man is not crushed before spring, he will become the most formidable enemy America has; his strength will increase as a snow ball by rolling; and faster, if some expedient cannot be hit upon to convince the slaves and servants of the impotency of his designs. You will see by his letters, what pains he is taking to invite a reinforcement at all events there, and to transplant the war to the southern colonies. I do not think, that forcing his Lordship on shipboard is sufficient; nothing less than depriving him of life or liberty will secure peace to Virginia, as motives of resentment actuate his conduct, to a degree equal to the total destruction of the colony. I fear the destination of the naval armament at Philadelphia is too well known to answer the design. I have heard it spoken of in common conversation, at this place, near a fortnight ago; and the other day was told, that two men-of-war, going into the harbor of New York, supposed to be those for the relief of the Asia, were ordered and accordingly sailed immediately out, as it is imagined for Virginia.
My letters to Congress will give you the occurrences of this place. I need not repeat them, but I must beg of you, my good Sir, to use your influence in having a court of admiralty, or some power appointed to hear and determine all matters relative to captures; you cannot conceive how I am plagued on this head, and how impossible it is for me to hear and determine upon matters of this sort, when the facts, perhaps, are only to be ascertained at ports, forty, fifty, or more miles distant, without bringing the parties here at great trouble and expense. At any rate, my time will not allow me to be a competent judge of this business. I must also beg the favor of you, to urge the necessity of appointing a brigadier-general to the vacant brigade in this army. The inconvenience we daily experience for want of one is very great; much more than the want of a colonel to a regiment, for then the next officer in command does the duty; in a brigade this may not with propriety happen, and seldom or never is done with any kind of regularity. Perfectly indifferent is it to me, whom the Congress shall please to appoint to these offices; I only want it done, that business may go regularly on. My best respects to the good family you are in, and to your brothers of the delegation; and be assured, that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.1
TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.
Cambridge, 29 December, 1775.
Having never considered the four Independent Companies which have been doing duty at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham, in the same point of view, as the rest of the army, although some Orders may have gone to or for them, through the hurry of business; nor Included them in my returns to Congress, according to the Brigade Major’s report from Roxbury; I do not think myself Authorized to direct pay for them; without first laying the matter before Congress, which I shall do by inclosing an exact transcript of your representation of the case, with this single remark, that is they were not regimented and were doing duty at some distance from these Camps. I did not know whether to consider them as part of the Continental Army, and therefore had not ordered them payment heretofore.1
With respect to the other requisition contained in your resolve of the 20, I do not think myself at liberty to extend the guards of this camp beyond Squantum and Chelsea, both fit places for observation.—This was my sentiment of the matter, when the Committee did me the honor to call yesterday; but, as it appeared to be of some importance to this government, I did not care to determine upon it without asking the opinion of some of the principal Officers in this Army, whose sentiments I am happy to find coincide with my own.
This might be assigned as one, among other reasons to shew, that I did not consider these four Companies as part of the Continental troops; that there were times in the course of the past summer when I should not have suffered them to have remained at the places they were posted, if I had conceived myself vested with power to have withdrawn them.
I would not have it inferred from hence that I do not think it my duty, and with the greatest chearfulness shall undertake, to march troops if these lines are not to be exposed by it, to any place in this or the neighbouring Governments, to oppose an invasion; But whilst the body of the ministerial Troops continue in Boston, and the circumstances of this army remain as they are, it must be my first object to Guard these lines. I am, &c.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 31 December, 1775.
I wrote to you on the 25th instant, since which I am not honored with any of your favors. The estimate I then enclosed to you was calculated to pay the troops up to the first of January. That cannot be done for want of funds in the paymaster-general’s hands, which causes a great murmuring amongst those who are going off. The monthly expenses of this army amount to near two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, which I take the liberty of recommending to the observation of Congress, that their future remittances may be governed thereby.
It sometimes happens that persons would wish to deposit money in the hands of the paymaster-general, for his bills on the treasury at Philadelphia. He has hitherto declined such offers, not having authority from Congress to draw. Would it not be proper to give this power? If it should be approved of, you will please to point out the mode, that the Congress would chuse to have it done in.1
The clothing sent to the Quartermaster-general is not sufficient to put half our army into regimentals, nor is there a possibility of getting any quantity here. I have wrote to Gen’l Schuyler that I wish what was lodged at Albany could be spared for these troops, as General Montgomery would clothe the men under his command at Montreal. If this can be done, it will be of infinite service, and no time should be lost in forwarding them to this camp.
In forming the regiments for the new establishment, I thought it but justice to appoint the officers detached under Colonel Arnold to Commissions in them. Their absence at present is of very great detriment to the service, especially in recruiting. I would therefore wish if the Congress intends raising troops in or for Canada, that they could be taken in there. The sooner I have their opinion of this matter the better, that if they can be commissioned in Canada, I may appoint officers here to replace them.
Enclosed you have a copy of a representation sent to me by the legislative body of this province respecting four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham. As they were never regimented, and were doing duty at a distance from the rest of the army, I did not know whether to consider them as a part of it; nor do I think myself authorized to direct payment for them without the approbation of Congress.
It has been represented to me that the free negroes, who have served in this army, are very much dissatisfied at being discarded. As it is to be apprehended, that they may seek employ in the ministerial army, I have presumed to depart from the resolution respecting them, and have given license for their being enlisted. If this is disapproved of by Congress, I will put a stop to it.1
I believe Colonel Gridley expects to be continued as chief engineer in this army. It is very certain that we have no one here better qualified. He has done very little hitherto in that department; but if the Congress choose to appoint him I will take care that he pays a proper attention to it. Before I quit this subject I must remark, that the pay of the assistant engineers is so very small, that we cannot expect men of science will engage in it. Those gentlemen, who are in that station, remained under the expectation, that an allowance would be made them by the respective provinces in which they were appointed, additional to that allowed by the Congress.1
Captain Freeman arrived this day at camp from Canada. He left Quebec the 24th ultimo, in consequence of General Carleton’s proclamation, which I have the honor to send you herewith. He saw Colonel Arnold the 26th, and says that he was joined at Point aux Trembles by General Montgomery, the 1st instant; that they were about two thousand strong, and were making every preparation for attacking Quebec; that General Carleton had with him about twelve hundred men, the majority of whom are sailors; that it was his opinion the French would give up the place, if they get the same conditions, that were granted to the inhabitants of Montreal.
Captain Adams of the Warren, armed schooner, sent into Marblehead the sloop Sally, bound from Lisbon to New York with 2 pipes and 126 quarter casks of rum. This sloop was made a prize of by the Niger man of war, somewhere near Bermudas, the captain of whom put his mate and his hands on board with orders to proceed with her to Boston. The sloop and cargo belong to Mr. Peter Barberie of Perth Amboy in New Jersey.
Captains Semple and Harbeson take under their care Mr. Kirkland, who appears to be a much more illiterate and simple man than his strong recommendations bespoke him. Captain Mathis and Mr. Robinson will accompany them. The two latter were taken prisoners by Lord Dunmore,1 who was sending them to Boston, from whence there is little doubt, but that they would be forwarded to England, to which place I am credibly informed Captain Martindale and the crew of the Washington are sent; also Colonel Allen, and the prisoners taken with him in Canada. This may account for General Howe’s silence on the subject of an exchange of prisoners mentioned in my letter to him.
General Lee is just returned from his excursion to Rhode Island. He has pointed out the best method the island would admit of for its defence. He has endeavored all in his power to make friends of those that were our enemies. You have, enclosed, a specimen of his abilities in that way, for your perusal. I am of opinion that, if the same plan was pursued through every province it would have a very good effect.1
I have long had it on my mind to mention to Congress, that frequent applications had been made to me respecting the chaplains’ pay, which is too small to encourage men of abilities. Some of them, who have left their flocks, are obliged to pay the parson acting for them more than they receive. I need not point out the great utility of gentlemen, whose lives and conversation are unexceptionable, being employed for that service in the army. There are two ways of making it worth the attention of such; one is an advancement of their pay; the other, that one chaplain be appointed to two regiments. This last, I think, may be done without inconvenience.2 I beg leave to recommend this matter to Congress, whose sentiments hereon I shall impatiently expect.
Upon a farther conversation with Captain Freeman, he is of opinion, that General Montgomery has with him near three thousand men including Colonel Arnold’s. He says that Lord Pitt had received repeated orders from his father to return home; in consequence of which, he had embarked some time in October, with a Captain Green, who was master of a vessel belonging to Philadelphia. By a number of salutes in Boston harbor yesterday, I fancy Admiral Shuldham is arrived. Two large ships were seen coming in. Our enlistments now amount to nine thousand six hundred and fifty.
Those gentlemen, who were made prisoners by Lord Dunmore, being left destitute of money and necessaries, I have advanced them a hundred pounds lawful money belonging to the public, for which I have taken Captain Matthews’s draft on the treasury of Virginia, which goes enclosed. I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]On June 24th the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts appointed a committee to consider the steps “proper to be taken for receiving General Washington with proper respect, and to provide a house for him accordingly.” The report was made on the 25th but was not perfected until the next day. “Resolved, that Doct. Benjamin Church and Mr. Moses Gill, be a committee to repair to Springfield, there to receive Generals Washington and Lee, with every mark of respect due to their exalted characters and stations; to provide proper escorts for them, from thence, to the army before Boston, and the house provided for their reception at Cambridge; and to make suitable provision for them, in manner following, viz.: by a number of gentlemen of this colony from Springfield to Brookfield; and by another company raised in that neighborhood, from there to Worcester; and by another company, there provided, from thence to Marlborough; and from thence, by the troop of horse to that place, to the army aforesaid; and [to make suitable provision for] their company at the several stages on the road, and to receive the bills of expenses at the several inns, where it may be convenient for them to stop for refreshment, to examine them, and make report of the several sums expended at each of them, for that purpose, that orders may be taken by the Congress for the payment of them; and all innkeepers are hereby directed to make provision agreeably to the requests made by the said committee: and that General Ward be notified of the appointment of General Washington, as commander in chief of the American forces, and of the expectation we have, of his speedy arrival with Major General Lee, that he, with the generals of the forces of the other colonies, may give such orders for their honorable reception, as may accord with the rules and circumstances of the army, and the respect due to their rank, without, however, any expense of powder, and without taking the troops off from the necessary attention to their duty, at this crisis of our affairs.”
[1 ]“We would not presume to prescribe to your excellency, but supposing you would choose to be informed of the general character of the soldiers who compose the army, beg leave to represent, that the greatest part of them have not before seen service; and although naturally brave and of good understanding, yet, for want of experience in military life, have but little knowledge of divers things most essential to the preservation of health and even life. The youth of the army are not possessed of the absolute necessity of cleanliness in their dress and lodging, continual exercise, and strict temperance, to preserve them from diseases frequently prevailing in camps, especially among those, who, from childhood, have been used to a laborious life.”—From the Address of the Congress. The entire address is printed in Journals of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, 438.
[1 ]“The Hon: Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam Esquires, are appointed Major Generals of the American Army, and due obedience is to be paid them as such. The Continental Congress not having compleated the appointments of the other officers in said army, nor had sufficient time to prepare and forward their Commissions; every officer is to continue to do duty in the Rank and Station he at present holds, untill further orders.
[1 ]The council of war concluded that the enemy number 11,500 men; that the present posts occupied should be defended; that the American army should be raised to 22,000 men; that the Massachusetts regiments should be recruited, and the Provincial Congress should furnish a temporary reinforcement; and that the “Welch Mountains near Cambridge and in the rear of the Roxbury lines” was a suitable place for a rendezvous in case of a dissolution of the army or the positions should become untenable.
[1 ]“Resolved, That the Committee of Safety be directed to wait on General Washington, and inform him of the powers with which the Congress have vested them; and that the Committee of Supplies remain possessed of all those powers they have heretofore had; and to confer with the General with regard to the circumstances of the army, and to desire him to call in all that are out on furlough, and direct that all recruits be ordered to the camp as soon as made; and the said committee are further directed to issue their order for calling in such a number of militia from the several parts of this colony as the General shall request, not exceeding three thousand men.” Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 11 July, 1775. Washington thought that a temporary reinforcement of one thousand men, to be stationed at Medford would be sufficient for the existing exigency, and until the new levies then raising could be completed; but some intelligence from Boston received on the evening of the 12th, induced the General to decide that the proposed reinforcement could be dispensed with. “The time of harvest, the expected troops from the southward, and the repeated calls which have been made of the like nature from this Province, are strong reasons to postpone this measure, if consistent with safety.” Reed to the Provincial Congress, 12 July, 1775.
[1 ]Read before Congress, July 19th.
[2 ]The house and barn of Mr. Brown stood on the west side of the highway [Washington Street] near the present location of Franklin Square. On the 8th of July a party of volunteers from the Rhode Island and Massachusetts forces, under the command of Majors Tupper and Crane attacked the post and drove in the guard and set fire to the buildings, but two attempts appear to have been necessary to accomplish this. Jos. Trumbull to Eliph. Dyer, 11 July, 1775. “This was the only armed conflict between the opposing armies which took place within the original limits of Boston.” Centennial Anniversary Evacuation of Boston, 12.
[1 ]The original line of American fortification crossed what is now Washington Street, on the line of division between Boston and Roxbury, near the present Clifton Place.
[2 ]“Yesterday, as I was going to Cambridge, I met the Generals [Washington and Lee], who begged me to return to Roxbury again, which I did. When they had viewed the works, they expressed the greatest pleasure and surprise at their situation and apparent utility, to say nothing of the plan, which did not escape their praise.” General Knox to his wife, 6 July, 1775. “General Washington fills his place with vast ease and dignity, and dispenses happiness around him.” 9 July. “The new generals are of infinite service to the army. They have to reduce order almost from a perfect chaos. I think they are in a fair way of doing it.” 11 July.
[1 ]“Ordered, that Mr. Wilson apply to the committee of the city and liberties of Philadelphia, and request them to make diligent enquiry what quantity of duck, Russia sheeting, tow-cloth, oznaburgs and ticklenburgs can be procured in this city, and make return as soon as possible to this Congress.” Journals, July 19th.
[1 ]Trumbull was appointed by Congress; and the naming of the other officers as well as of three brigade majors was left to Washington. Journals, July 19th.
[2 ]General Ward wrote to the Provincial Congress on the 7th, that “great numbers in the army are almost naked for want of shirts, breeches, stockings, shoes, and other clothing; and unless they can be immediately supplied, inconceivable difficulties and distrust will accrue to the army.”
[1 ]“We arrived here on Sunday before dinner. We found everything exactly the reverse of what had been represented. We were assured at Philadelphia that the army was stocked with Engineers. We found not one. We were assured that we should find an expert train of artillery. They have not a single gunner, and so on. So far from the men being prejudiced in favour of their own officers, they are extremely diffident in them, and seem much pleased that we are arrived. The men are really very fine fellows, and had they fair play would be made an invincible army.” Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 4 July, 1775. Lee Papers, i., 188.
[1 ]“At the request of General Washington, Resolved, That no more commissions for the present be delivered to any officers of the Colony Army, those employed more particularly for the protection of the seacoasts, excepted.” Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 3 July, 1775.
[2 ]A remarkable memorial in favor of General Spencer is to be found in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1585. A letter from Samuel B. Webb to Silas Deane, 11 July, 1775, throws some light on Spencer’s conduct. Collections Connecticut Historical Society, ii., 285, 288, 290.
[3 ]“As Pomroy is now Absent, and at the distance of an hundred miles from the Army, if it can be consistent with your Excellencys Trust and the Service to retain his Commission untill you shall receive Advice from the Continental Congress, and we shall be able to prevail with Heath to make a concession Honourable to himself, and advantageous to the publick. We humbly conceive the way would be open to do Justice to Thomas.” Jas. Warren and Joseph Hawley, to Washington, 4 July, 1775.
[1 ]“Resolved, That General Thomas be appointed first brigadier-general in the army of the United Colonies, in the room of General Pomeroy, who never acted under the commission sent to him, and that General Thomas’s commission bear the same date that General Pomeroy’s did.” Journals, July 19th.
[2 ]A general return of the army is printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1630.
[1 ]On 10 July General Gates issued an order to be observed by the recruiting officers, who were immediately sent upon that service:—
[1 ]“Resolved, That such a body of troops be kept up in the Massachusetts Bay, as General Washington shall think necessary, provided they do not exceed twenty-two thousand men.”—Journals, July 21st. See note on p. 6.
[2 ]“Upon my soul the materials here (I mean the private men) are [admira]ble; had they proper uniforms, arms, and proper officers, their zeal, youth, bodily strength, good humor, [and dext]erity, must make ’em an invincible army. The Rhode [Islanders] are well off in the article of officers and the young [officers of] the other Provinces are willing, and with a little time do very well. But from the old big wigs [—libera] nos Domine. The abilities of their engineers are not [transcen]dant, I really believe not a single man of them is [capable] of constructing an oven.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 20 July, 1775.
[1 ]On the 10th Washington wrote to Benjamin Harrison, but the letter is lost and its contents can only be guessed at by Harrison’s reply, printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1697. The more important matters are indicated by the following extracts: “Your fatigue and various kinds of trouble, I dare say are great; but they are not more than I expected, knowing the people you have to deal with by the sample we have here. . . . The want of engineers, I fear, is not to be supplied in America. Some folks here seemed much displeased at your report on that head. They affirm there are two very good ones with you—a Colonel Gridley, I think, is one. I took the liberty to say that they must be mistaken; they were certainly either not in camp, or could not have the skill they were pleased to say they had. This, in my soft way, put a stop to anything more on the subject. Indeed, my friend, I do not know what to think of some of these men; they seem to be exceeding hearty in the cause, but still wish to keep everything amongst themselves. . . . The Congress have given you the appointment of three brigade majors. Mr. Trumbull has the office you proposed for him. The appointments of the commissary of artillery, ditto of musters, and quartermaster-general, are also left to your disposal. . . . We have given the commission of first brigadier to Mr. Thomas. As Putnam’s commission was delivered, it would, perhaps have offended the old gentleman to have superceded him; the other I hope, will still act. The Congress have, from your account, a high opinion of him, and I dare say will grant anything in their power that he may hereafter require. Your hint for a remove of the Congress to some place nearer to you, will come on to-morrow. I think it will not answer your expectations if we should remove; you shall have the result in the close of this. The military chest, I hope, will be supplied soon; they begin to strike the bills this day, so that I hope some may be forwarded to you next week. . . . (21 July). The debate about our remove was taken yesterday, and determined in the negative. I proposed a committee, but could not carry it. I think the last method would have answered your purpose best, but the gentlemen could not think of parting with the least particle of their power.” (23 July.) This letter never reached Washington, being intercepted by the British. It is printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1775. When Washington was in Congress there appears to have been some talk of removing to Connecticut, (Silas Deane to his wife, 16 June, 1775), and again in September (Silas Deane to his wife, September 22).
[1 ]At Bunker’s Hill, on the 17th of June. According to a return published by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, the loss was one hundred and forty-five killed and missing, and three hundred and four wounded. About thirty of the first number were wounded and taken prisoners. By General Gage’s official return, the killed and missing of the British were two hundred and twenty-six, and the wounded eight hundred and twenty-eight, in all one thousand and fifty four.—Almon’s Remembrancer, vol. i., pp. 99, 179.
[1 ]“Eight transports with troops that have been at Sandy Hook since Thursday last are to sail from thence to day. Reports prevail that the men on board have mutinied, that they refused to go to Boston. Of this, however, I have not been able to get any certainty. Hand bills have been introduced amongst them to encourage them to quit on the first favorable opportunity a service which must render them odious to all honest men. Governor Tryon’s conduct has hitherto been unexceptionable, and from the information I have been able to procure, some of which I put great confidence in, I have reason to believe that the line he has chalked out for himself is such as we would wish he should hold.”—General Schuyler to Washington, 1 July, 1775.
[1 ]Governor Trumbull was one of the firmest patriots and best men, that his country has produced. He was at this time sixty-five years old, having been born in the year 1710, yet no man engaged with more zeal and activity in the common cause. So true was he to the principles of liberty, and such was the confidence of his fellow citizens in his talents and integrity, that, although first appointed Governor in 1769, several years before the breaking out of the war, he was constantly chosen with great unanimity to the same station till the end of the revolution, when, at the age of seventy-three, he declined a further election. His services were of very great importance throughout the whole war, not only in regulating the civil affairs of Connecticut, but in keeping alive a military ardor among the people, and thus promoting efficiency and promptness of action in the forces contributed from time to time by that State. Governor Trumbull had written to Washington:
[1 ]I am unable to trace this paper. Washington’s letter was intended to counteract Spencer’s effort to secure precedence over Putnam.
[2 ]“If after what has happened, the Enemy in Revenge of their late Loss, should dare to attempt forcing our Lines, The Army may be assured, that nothing but their own Indolence and Remissness, can give the least hope of success to so rash an Enterprise: It is therefore strongly recommended to the Commanding Officers of Corps, Guards and Detachments; that they be assiduously alert in parading their Men, at their several posts, half an hour before day break, and remain there, untill the Commanding Officers think proper to dismiss them:
[1 ]Two companies were added to each regiment of the colony before Boston and the army of observation was placed under the command of Washington. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, vii., 354, 355.
[1 ]“It is with inexpressible Concern that the General upon his first Arrival in the army, should find an Officer sentenced by a General Court Martial to be cashier’d for Cowardice—A Crime of all others, the most infamous in a Soldier, the most injurious to an Army, and the last to be forgiven; inasmuch as it may, and often does happen, that the Cowardice of a single Officer may prove the Distruction of the whole Army. The General therefore (tho’ with great Concern, and more especially, as the Transaction happened before he had the Command of the Troops) thinks himself obliged for the good of the service, to approve the Judgment of the Court Martial with respect to Capt: John Callender, who is hereby sentenced to be cashiered. Capt: John Callender is accordingly cashiered and dismissd: from all farther service in the Continental Army as an Officer.
[1 ]“I am informed by his Excellency that the idea of colony troops is to be abolished, and that the whole army is to be formed into brigades, and the generals to be appointed by the Congress. . . . I wish that good and able men may be the objects of the Continental choice, rather than subjects of particular interests.” General Greene. Life of Greene, i., 103, 104.
[2 ]“Regularity and due Subordination, being so essentially necessary, to the good Order and Government of an Army, and without it, the whole must soon become a Scene of disorder and confusion. The General finds it indispensibly necessary, without waiting any longer for dispatches from the General Continental Congress, immediately to form the Army into three Grand Divisions, and of dividing each of those Grand Divisions into two Brigades: He therefore orders that the following Regiments vizt—
[1 ]See Journals, July 27th.
[1 ]By a vote of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (April 26th), Mr. Richard Derby of Salem was empowered to fit out his vessel, as a packet, to carry intelligence of the Lexington battle to England, and all charges were to be paid by the colony. It was commanded by Captain John Derby, who arrived in London on the 29th of May, having taken with him several copies of the Essex Gazette, in which was contained the first published account of the affair at Lexington and Concord. This was reprinted and circulated in London the day after his arrival and gave the first notice of that event to the English public. Captain Derby was summoned before the Privy Council, the ministry having received no despatches from General Gage confirming such a report. Nor did his letters arrive till eleven days afterwards, although the vessel conveying them sailed four days previous to the departure of Captain Derby. Great excitement was produced throughout England, and the clamor grew loud against the ministers, because it was presumed that they concealed the official accounts, and wished to keep the people in ignorance. On the 10th of June, however, as soon as General Gage’s official report reached Whitehall, it was published.—Journal of Massachusetts Provincial Congress.—MS. Papers in the State Paper Office, London.
[1 ]“Captain Darby’s accounts differ very essentially from the newspapers he brought. He says the general sentiment is against us, and even the London merchants who have petitioned, are at heart our enemies, which the ministry well know. The commencement of hostilities was the wonder of a day, and then little thought of. Stocks only fell 1½ per cent., which they often do on the slightest alarm. A minister never dreads a fall till it gets to 8 per cent.”—Joseph Reed to Pettit, “Life of Reed,” i., 117, 118.
[1 ]A party of American troops, under Major Vose, set fire to the light-house, which stood on an island about nine miles from Boston. It was considered an enterprise of some merit, as a British man-of-war was stationed within a mile of the place. “Some of the brave men who effected this with their lives in their hands have just now applied to me to know whether it [what they captured at the light House] was to be considered as plunder or otherwise. I was not able to determine this matter, but told them that I would lay the matter before your excellency.”—Heath to Washington, 21 July, 1775.
[1 ]Mr. Hancock had written: “I must beg the favor, that you will reserve some berth for me, in such department as you may judge most proper; for I am determined to act under you, if it be to take the firelock and join the ranks as a volunteer.” In reply Washington wrote from Cambridge, 21 July: “I am particularly to acknowledge that part of your favor of the 10th instant, wherein you do me the honor of determining to join the army under my command. I need certainly make no professions of the pleasure I shall have in seeing you. At the same time I have to regret, that so little is in my power to offer equal to Colonel Hancock’s merits, and worthy of his acceptance. I shall be happy in every opportunity to show the regard and esteem with which I am, &c., &c.” The company of Cadets in Boston had been commanded by Mr. Hancock, with the rank of Colonel. He was dismissed from that command by General Gage. A curious correspondence on the subject is contained in the Boston Gazette, August 29th, 1774. It does not appear that he joined the army under Washington in any military capacity, as above proposed.
[2 ]Taken from Reed, Life of Reed, i, 109.
[1 ]“As the Continental Army have unfortunately no Uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise, from not being able always to distinguish the Commissioned Officers, from the non Commissioned, and the non Commissioned from the private; it is desired that some Badges of Distinction may be immediately provided, for Instance, the Field Officers may have red or pink colour’d Cockades in their Hatts: the Captains yellow or buff; and the Subalterns green. They are to furnish themselves accordingly—The Serjeants may be distinguished by an Epaulette, or stripe of red Cloth, sewed upon the right shoulder; the Corporals by one of green.”—Orderly Book, 23 July, 1777.
[1 ]Gage in July found from a census of the city population, 6,573 civilians, and an army of 13,500.
[2 ]A goldsmith, Rolston, came out from Boston and reported “that the distress of the troops increases fast, their beef is spent, their malt and cider all gone; all the fresh provisions they can procure, they are obliged to give to the sick and wounded . . . that last week a poor milch cow was killed in town and sold for a shilling sterling a pound.”—Pennsylvania Journal, 2 August, 1775.
[1 ]When Parliament assembled in November, 1774, the opposition was largely in the minority and what strength it had was much weakened by divisions. It was known that New England was in a state of rebellion, while the violent conduct of local committees in other colonies was creating a prejudice against moderate councils. As early as November 18th the King wrote to Lord North that “blows must decide whether they are to be subjects to this country or independent.” “We must either master them,” he wrote the next day, “or totally leave them to themselves and treat them as aliens.” In his address to Parliament he declared his resolution to withstand every attempt to weaken or impair the supreme authority of the legislature over all his dominions, the maintenance of which he considered essential to the dignity, safety, and welfare of the Empire.—Adolphus, History of England, ii., 158. These sentiments were adopted by the Parliament, and the Ministry could always count upon handsome majorities for their measures. On May 26th the Parliament was prorogued, the King making a temperate speech in which he expressed the most perfect satisfaction with the conduct of that body at such an important crisis.
[1 ]“But on Tuesday three men of war and six transports sailed out of Boston harbour and stood a course about E. S. E. One Grover, who came out of Boston the same evening informed the officer at one of the outposts that the transports had on board 600 men, and were bound to Block Island, Fisher Island, and Long Island, to plunder them and bring off what cattle they may find. This fellow returned again into Boston under such suspicious circumstances that it has led me to doubt the truth of his intelligence. A deserter who came in afterwards informs me that it was given out in the camp they were either gone for Indians or fresh provisions, and that each transport had but twenty men on board. Upon this intelligence I immediately wrote to Governor Cooke of Rhode Island and to General Wooster, that they might take proper precautions for removing the cattle off those islands, and to prevent any surprise. As we are confirmed by every account in the great scarcity of fresh provisions in the enemies camp, and particularly by this deserter, who says they have had none since the battle of Lexington, it is very probable this voyage may be only intended for a supply. But as it may possibly be otherwise, I thought it best to transmit the intelligence to the honorable Congress, that they may either forward it to the southward, or take any other step which they may judge proper. Since writing the above three more deserters have come out, which makes four in twenty-four hours. Their accounts correspond with those of the first who came out.”—Washington to the President of Congress, Cambridge, 27 July, 1775.
[1 ]“One striking circumstance upon the first view of it [Lee’s letter] is that the rebels are more alarmed at the report of engaging the Indians than at any other measure. And I humbly think this letter alone shows the expediency of diligently preparing and employing that engine.”—Burgoyne to Lord North, in Fonblanque’s Political and Military Episodes, p. 178.
[1 ]“The unhappy controversy which has subsisted between the officers at Ticonderoga relative to the command, has, I am informed, thrown every thing into vast confusion: troops have been dismissed, others refused to serve, if this or that man commands.; the sloop is without either captain or pilot, both of which are dismissed or come away. . . . A very considerable waste or embezzlement [of provisions] has occurred.”—Schuyler to the President of Congress, 11 July, 1775. “Unfortunately not one earthly thing has been done to enable me to move hence. I have neither boats sufficient, nor any materials prepared for building them. The stores I ordered from New York are not yet arrived: I have therefore not a nail, no pitch, no oakum, and want a variety of articles indispensably necessary . . . An almost equal scarcity of ammunition subsists, no powder having yet come to hand; not a gun carriage for the few proper guns we have, and as yet very little provision; two hundred troops less than by my last return, these badly, very badly, armed indeed, and one poor armorer to repair their guns.”—Schuyler to Congress, 21 July, 1775.
[1 ]Gage was at this time considering the expediency of removing his force to New York, regarding Boston as “the most disadvantageous place for all operations, particularly when there is no diversion of the rebel forces, but all are collected into one point. Was this army in New York, that Province might, to all appearance be more easily reduced, and the friends of government be able to raise forces to join the troops.”—Gage to Earl of Dartmouth, 24 July, 1775.
[2 ]In House of Representatives July 29, 1775—Resolved, that Doctr Church, Mr. Woodbridge and Mr. Sewall, with such as the Honble Board shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington, & inform him of the distress’d Situation of the Inhabitants of the Eastern parts of the Colony; and know of him, if he can, Consistent with his Instructions, and the General Service, order a Detachment there, to prevent the Enemy from Ravaging the Country, and plundering the Inhabitants of their Cattle, Sheep, Wood &c; to Supply—themselves.
[1 ]This letter may not have satisfied the General, Court, for the Council on August 2d, ordered Mr. Greenleaf, Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Palmer to wait upon the General, and “to request him to inform this Board of the extent of the powers delegated to him by the Honorable Continental Congress.”
[2 ]Connecticut had recently determined to send fourteen hundred additional men to the camp. These were called new levies. “As the season is now advanced and the enemy considerably reinforced, we have the utmost reason to expect any attack that may be made will not be much longer delayed. I should, therefore, think it highly necessary the new raised troops should join the army with all possible expedition.”—Washington to Governor Trumbull, July, 1775.
[1 ]“The situation of the army as to ammunition is by no means what it ought to be. We have great reason to expect the enemy very soon intends to bombard our lines, and our stock of powder is so small as in a great degree to make our heavy artillery useless.”—To the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 4 Aug., 1775. At a council held at Cambridge, August 3, 1775, the general communicated letters respecting the state of the ammunition which appears to be far short of the return made some time ago. The whole stock of the army at Roxbury and Cambridge and the adjacent posts consisting of only 90 bbls or thereabouts.
[1 ]“A committee was appointed to act during the recess of the General Assembly, with full powers; and among them they were ‘particularly empowered to employ the two armed vessels in the service of this colony, or either of them, in such a manner, and upon such voyage as they shall think conducive to the public interest.”—Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, vii., 365.
[2 ]Mr. Bancroft says John Brown.
[1 ]“When any plunder is taken from the Enemy (not excepted by the Continental Articles of war) such plunder must be all surrender’d to the Commanding Officer, and as soon as convenient after his arrival at Head Quarters, public Notice must be made, that an Auction will be held in the front of the Encampment for the sale thereof the next day at noon, and the money arising therefrom, is to be equally divided between the Officers and Men, that took it. This Order is not to be construed to extend, to permitting unlawful and irregular plundering; as any Officer, or Soldier, who shall be found guilty thereof, will be punished with the greatest severity.”—Orderly Book, 3 August, 1775.
[1 ]Congress directed that a commission as colonel should be issued to Col. Gridley.
general return of the united colonies commanded by genl washington, july 29th, 1775.
[1 ]Joseph Trumbull. The plan is reproduced in Winsor’s “History of Boston,” II., 80.
[1 ]The Indian’s name was Louis. “He has all along appeared friendly to the New England people, is very intelligent, and has the character among the Indian traders of an honest fellow, who has always stood by and made good his word.”—Col. John Hurd to the New Hampshire Congress, 27 July, 1775.
[1 ]Jacob Bayley (1728-1816), served in the French and Indian war; in 1776 commenced the military road designed to run from the Connecticut River to St. Johns (Canada), afterwards known as the Hazen road. He was commissary-general during a part of the Revolution, and held a commission from New York.
[2 ]Arnold had written to the Continental Congress on 13 June, that this tribe of Indians were determined not to assist the king’s troops, and had decreed death to any member who should violate that conclusion.
[1 ]Read before Congress, Sept. 13th. Congress had adjourned on August 1 to meet on September 5th, but from the small attendance on that day a further adjournment was made to September 13th. The many important questions raised by Washington were such as Congress did not feel competent to pass upon without more definite information. To secure this it appointed a committee, consisting of Mr. Franklin, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. Lynch, to go to the camp and consult with the General.—Journal, September 29th and 30th.
[1 ]A delegate from New York to the Continental Congress.
[1 ]The original is in the possession of Mr. George Haven Putnam, who has kindly given me a copy.
[1 ]“It has been intimated to the general, that some officers, under pretence of giving furloughs to men recovering from sickness, send them to work upon their farms for their own private emolument, at the same time that the public is taxed with their pay, if not with their provisions. These insinuations being but obliquely made, the general is unwilling to believe that any officer can be so lost to all sense of honor as to defraud the public in so scandalous a manner, and, therefore, does not at present pay any further regard to the insinuation than to declare that he will show no favor to any officer who shall be found guilty of such iniquitous practices; but will do his utmost endeavors to bring them to exemplary punishment, and the disgrace due to such mal-conduct.”—Orderly Book, August 8th.
[1 ]“It is a matter of exceeding great concern to the General to find, that at a time when the united efforts of America are exerting in defence of the common rights and liberties of mankind, that there should be in an army constituted for so noble a purpose, such repeated instances of officers, who lost to every sense of honor and virtue, are seeking by dirty and base means, the promotion of their own dishonest gain, to the eternal disgrace of themselves and dishonor of their country. Practices of this sort will never be overlooked, whenever an accusation is lodged; but the authors brought to the most exemplary punishment.”—Orderly Book, 10 August, 1775.
[2 ]“We have had no occurrence in the camp for several days worthy of notice; but by some advices from Boston, and several concurring circumstances, we have great reason to suspect a part or the whole of the ministerial troops, are about to remove. New York is the place generally talked of as their destination. I give you the intelligence as it came to me, but do not vouch for its authenticity.”—Washington to New York Provincial Congress 10 August, 1775.
[1 ]“Cambridge, August 9, 1775. We waited on General Washington, who I have the pleasure to inform you is much beloved and admired for his polite condescension and noble deportment. His appointment to the chief command has the general suffrage of all ranks of people here, which I think is no bad omen.”—Extract of a letter from a Philadelphian. Pennsylvania Gazette, August 23, 1775.
[2 ]Col. Thompson had proposed to raise a force of one thousand men, and a fleet of four armed vessels and eight transports; to proceed to Windsor, captivate the Tories, make all the proselytes possible, and then proceed to Halifax and destroy the King’s dockyard, if thought proper.
[1 ]The orders of the 12th announced the appointment of Stephen Moylan to be Muster Master General, and of the 14th, that of major Thomas Miffln, to be Quarter Master General. On the 15th, Edmund Randolph and George Baylor are named aides-de-camp to the commander-in-chief.
[1 ]“We sent in yesterday a most serious message to Gage, but I cannot give you a copy without G. Washington’s consent.”—Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 12 August, 1775. The reply was written, save the last paragraph, by General Burgoyne:—
“Boston, 13 August, 1775.
“To the glory of civilized nations, humanity and war have been compatible; and compassion to the subdued is become a general system. Britons ever preeminent in mercy, have outgone common examples, and overlooked the criminal in the captive. Upon these principles your prisoners, whose lives by the law of the land are destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and kindness, and more comfortably lodged than the King’s troops in the hospitals; indiscriminately it is true, for I acknowledge no rank, that is not derived from the King.
“My intelligence from your army would justify severe recrimination. I understand there are of the King’s faithful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, laboring, like negro slaves, to gain their daily subsistence, or reduced to the wretched alternative, to perish by famine or take arms against their King and country. Those who have made the treatment of the prisoners in my hands, or of your other friends in Boston, a pretence for such measures, found barbarity upon falsehood.
“I would willingly hope, Sir, that the sentiments of liberality, which I have always believed you to possess, will be exerted to correct these misdoings. Be temperate in political disquisition; give free operation to truth, and punish those who deceive and misrepresent; and not only the effects, but the causes, of this unhappy conflict will be removed. Should those, under whose usurped authority you act, control such a disposition, and dare to call severity retaliation, to God, who knows all hearts, be the appeal for the dreadful consequences. I trust that British soldiers, asserting the rights of the state, the laws of the land, the being of the constitution, will meet all events with becoming fortitude. They will court victory with the spirit their cause inspires; and, from the same motive, will find the patience of martyrs under misfortune.
“Till I read your insinuations in regard to ministers, I conceived that I had acted under the King, whose wishes, it is true, as well as those of his ministers, and of every honest man, have been to see this unhappy breach for ever closed; but, unfortunately for both countries, those who long since projected the present crisis, and influence the councils of America, have views very distant from accommodation. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
“George Washington, Esq.”
“On the day after General Gage’s letter was received, Mr. Reed wrote, by order of the Commander-in-Chief to the Council of Massachusetts, directing rigorous and retaliatory measures to be adopted towards the prisoners, though in a few days the order was revoked, and they were directed to show ‘every indulgence and civility to the prisoners, so long as they demean themselves with decency and good manners. As they have committed no hostility against the people of this country, they have a just claim to mild treatment; and the General does not doubt that your conduct towards them will be such as to compel their grateful acknowledgment that Americans are as merciful as they are brave.’ ”—Reed, Life of Reed, i., 115.
[1 ]General Gage wrote to the minister on August 17th that the ships had collected and brought in 1,300 sheep and 100 oxen—a very seasonable supply. “We owe it,” wrote Burgoyne to Lord George Germaine, “to the transports arrived and sent out by General Gage, and not to any assistance from the fleet.”
[1 ]In consequence of the resolve of Congress (June 27th), authorizing General Schuyler to take possession of St. John’s and Montreal, as soon as he should find it practicable, he had been making preparations for such an enterprise. He wrote to General Washington the 31st of July, from Ticonderoga:
[2 ]Printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 12.
[3 ]“We have several St. Francis Indians here, very friendly, and well disposed to our interests. They are about 45 leagues from Quebec, and are the savages we had the most reason to fear. All Carleton’s plans to stimulate them and the Canadians against us have ended in shame and disappointment.”—Reed to Bradford, 21 August, 1775.
[1 ]Morgan and his company of riflemen from Virginia arrived in camp on the 6th.
[2 ]“Upon the application of Dr. Franklin to this Board for a quantity of gunpowder for the use of the troops under the command of Col. Schuyler, Resolved, that 2,244½ lbs. of gunpowder now in magazine, under the care of Mr. Robert Towers, be immediately sent, and that a proper team be provided to take said powder, and to be attended on the road by Thomas Aply, until he receives orders from Col. Schuyler.” Towers reported that he had delivered to Aply, 382 lbs. of musket powder and 1,754 lbs. of cannon powder, which were sent forward on August 10th.—Penn. Council of Safety, 300, 301. The powder reached Albany on the 21st.
[1 ]In a letter of the 6th of August, General Schuyler complains of the tardiness of the New York Provincial Congress in raising men. He says: “Not a man from this colony has yet joined me, except those raised and paid by the Committee of Albany; nor have I yet received the necessary supplies, which I begged the New York Provincial Congress to send me, as long ago as the 3d of last month, and which the Continental Congress had desired them to do.”
[2 ]Journals of Congress, 1 July, 1775.
[3 ]General Carleton, Governor of Canada.
[1 ]Genl. Schuyler soon after met a number of the Indians of the Six Nations and opened negotiations for a treaty. The Indians held back, being apprehensive that they would be asked to take up arms in the American cause. As it was a family quarrel, they said, they would not interfere, but remain neuter. “That Governor Carleton and his agents are exerting themselves to procure savages to act against us I have reason to believe from the various accounts I have received, but I do not believe he will have any success with the Canada tribes, tho’ I make no doubt he is joined by some of the more remote Indians, who, I believe, will assist him, and who have already served him as scouts from St. Johns. I should, therefore, not hesitate one moment to employ any Indians that might be willing to join us.”—Schuyler to Washington, 27 August, 1775.
[1 ]“General Washington’s letter I think a very good one, but Gage certainly deserved a still stronger one, such as it was before it was softened.”—Charles Lee to Benja. Rush, 10 October, 1775. I am unable to trace any copy or draft other than that printed. General Washington’s first letter to General Gage (August 11th), and his answer, were published by the British government in the London Gazette, about six weeks after they were written; but the above reply was withheld.—Remembrancer, vol. i., p. 179; ii., 60. The three letters were published together by order of Congress in October.
[1 ]“The word Powder in a letter sets us all a tiptoe. We have been in a terrible situation, occasioned by a mistake in a return; we reckoned upon three hundred quarter casks and had but thirty-two barrels—not above nine cartridges to a man to the whole army, but the late supply from Philadelphia has relieved us. All our heavy artillery was useless, and even now we are compelled to a very severe economy. I suppose the Congress have directed a committee to forward any that may arrive. If they have not, those gentlemen who will do this necessary service will perform the most essential their country requires. It damps our spirits; we are just in the situation of a man with little money in his pocket, he will do twenty mean things to prevent his breaking in upon his little stock. We are obliged to bear with the rascals on Bunker’s Hill when a few shot now and then in return would keep our men attentive to their business, and give the enemy alarms.”—Reed to Bradford, 24 August, 1775.
[1 ]From the collection of Dr. John S. H. Fogg, of Boston, to whom I am indebted for a copy.
[2 ]This letter is in reply to the following. It relates merely to the camp at Charlestown, then under the command of General Howe, and not to the British lines generally.
“CharlestownCamp, 22 August, 1775.
“The men under your command, having repeatedly fired upon the officers of his Majesty’s troops, before they were returned to the outworks of this camp from parleys, that have been brought on by your desire, I am to request all further intercourse between the two camps may be at an end your own letters excepted, which will be received, if you are pleased to send them by a drummer. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
[1 ]Edmund Randolph.
[1 ]That Washington exercised this prerogative freely is shown by the record of the courts martial of the next few days. On September 2d, Captain Edward Crafts was ordered to be reprimanded for “using abusive language to his Major”; on the 5th, Captain Moses Hart was found guilty of “drawing for more provisions than he was entitled to, and for unjustly confining and abusing his men”; Captain Perry, on the 8th, was found guilty of “permitting persons to pass the lines on Boston Neck”; on the 11th, Ensign Brown was convicted of “absenting from his regiment without leave”; on the 13th, thirty-three men were tried for “disobedient and mutinous behavior” and found guilty, while on the 5th, a Col. Mansfield was convicted for “remissness and backwardness in the execution of his duty on the late engagement on Bunkers hill” and a soldier was sentenced to receive thirty lashes for “disobedience of orders and damning his officers.” On the following day Sergeant Finley was found guilty of “expressing himself disrespectfully of the Continental association, and drinking General Gage’s health,” and was to be “deprived of his arms and accoutrements, put in a horse cart, with a rope round his neck, and drummed out of army and rendered forever incapable of serving in the Continental army.”
[1 ]For a perfect copy of this interesting letter I gladly acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Joseph Packard, Jr., of Baltimore, who communicated it to me voluntarily, making the favor the more acceptable. A curious use is made of a part by Pollard in his First Year of the War, 1862, 383, 384. R. H. Lee is probably to be held accountable for the mutilated version of the letter that Sparks used, as in his life of Richard Henry Lee he omitted nearly all that Sparks did.
[1 ]In Congress.
[2 ]The appointment of John Parke was announced in the orders of August 16th. In 1786 a volume of his poems was published in Philadelphia: The Lyric Works of Horace translated into English Verse, to which are added a number of Original Poems. By a Native of America.
[1 ]“Some advantages arose to our Colony by the Congress adopting the army raised in New England the last spring; but among other circumstances attending it, this was one, namely, that it being now a Continental army, the gentlemen of all the Colonies had a right to and put in for a share in behalf of their friends in filling up the various offices. By this means, it was thought, that military knowledge and experience as well as the military spirit, would spread through the colonies; and besides, that they would all consider themselves the more interested in the success of our army, and in providing for its support. But then there was less room for persons belonging to the Colonies which had first raised the army, who were well worthy of notice. Many of our friends were discontented, who did not advert to this as the true cause why they were not promoted.”—Samuel Adams to Joseph Palmer, April, 1776. From the collection of Dr. John S. H. Fogg.
[1 ]An attack on the Indian town of Kittaning, in Pennsylvania, September 8, 1756. A silver medal and piece of plate were presented to Colonel Armstrong, by the Corporation of Philadelphia, for his bravery and good conduct on this occasion. An intimacy of many years’ standing subsisted between him and Washington.
[2 ]He had been at the siege of Louisburg, and was taken prisoner at Fort William Henry.
[3 ]Sept. 21, 1775.—The Congress proceeded to the election of a brigadier-general, and the ballots being determined, it was found that Colonel Armstrong and Colonel Fry had an equal number of votes.—MS. Journal of Congress. Col. Fry did not receive his appointment till January, 1776.
[1 ]Plowed Hill, now known as Mount Benedict.
[2 ]Simpson, of Pennsylvania. “This young man was visited and consoled during his illness, by General Washington in person, and by most of the officers of rank belonging to the army.”—Wilkinson, Memoirs, i., 17.
[1 ]On Tuesday last [i.e. from Aug. 31st] a letter from General Wooster to the New York Provincial Congress, written from Oyster Ponds on August 27th, was published and circulated as a hand bill through the city [N. Y.] In it is found the following sentence taken from a letter from Washington to Wooster, August 23d: “Yesterday I received advice from Boston, that a number of transports have sailed on a second expedition, for fresh provisions. As they may pursue the same course, only advancing farther, we think Montaug Point, or Long Island, a very probable place of their landing; I have therefore thought best to give you the earliest intelligence; but I do not mean to confine your attention or vigilance to that place; you will please to extend your views as far as the mischief may probably extend.”
[2 ]General Wooster had been stationed with a regiment of Connecticut troops at Haerlem. Recently he had gone over to Long Island, at the request of the New York Provincial Congress, with four hundred and fifty men, for the purpose of protecting the inhabitants of that quarter from the threatened depredations of the British from Boston, who were sent out to procure from the island cattle and other provisions, which were accessible to their boats. Three companies had been raised on Long Island, as a part of the regiments voted by the New York Congress, which were placed on the Continental establishment. General Schuyler had ordered these companies to the northward; and as the people were thus left exposed to the ravages of the enemy, General Wooster wrote to the Commander-in-chief:
[1 ]General Wooster replied on the 28th of September, at Haerlem.—“I returned to this place immediately upon the receipt of your favor of the 2d instant; and, in pursuance of an order from the Continental Congress, I shall this afternoon embark with all the troops under my command for Albany, there to wait the orders of General Schuyler.”
[2 ]In a letter to Governor Cooke, dated the 4th of August, it has been seen, that Washington suggested to him a plan for procuring powder from Bermuda. Two small armed vessels had already been fitted out by Rhode Island, and put under the command of Captain Abraham Whipple, with the design of protecting the bay and coast of that province from the depredations of the enemy. The plan was approved by the Governor and Committee of that province, and Captain Whipple agreed to engage in the affair, provided General Washington would give him a certificate under his own hand, that, in case the Bermudians would assist the undertaking, he would recommend to the Continental Congress to permit the exportation of provisions to those islands from the colonies; the captain pledging himself at the same time, that he would make no use of such a paper, unless he should be opposed by the inhabitants.
[1 ]“I need not mention to you the vast importance of gaining Intelligence of the Enemy’s Motives and Designs as early as possible—The great saving to the Continent both of Blood and Money. A Detection of our secret & most dangerous Enemies with innumerable other Advantages would result from the Interception of their Correspondence at this Juncture. I have therefore thought proper to propose to you the seizing the Mail by the next Packet. She is hourly expected from England—her Force of Men and Guns inconsiderable: none but swivels and only manned with 18 Men. If the Vessel proposed to go to Bermudas should cruise for a few Days off Sandy Hook—I have no doubt she would fall in with her. In which Case she might with little or no Delay land the Mail in order to be forwarded to me and proceed on her Voyage. But if there any material Objections to this Mode, I am still so anxious upon the Subject that I would have it tried with another Vessel at the continental Expense and will for that End direct that any Charge which shall accrue in this Service shall be paid by the Paymaster here upon being duly liquidated. It will be necessary that some Person well acquainted with the Packets should be on Board our Vessel or the stopping inward bound Vessels indiscriminately will give the Alarm and she may be apprized of her Danger. The Choice of a proper officer with the Care of providing a suitable Vessel &c. I must leave to you. Should it meet with the desired Success there can be no Doubt the Honble. Continental Congress will distinguish & reward the Officers & Men who shall have done so essential a Service. Nor shall I fail in making known to them how much the publick Service is indebted to you for your Zeal & Activity on all Occasions.”—Washington to Deputy-Governor Cooke, 6 September, 1775.
[1 ]The council of war met, in conformity with this notice, on the 11th of September, and after duly considering the proposition, and the reasons assigned, it was unanimously agreed, that, “considering the state of the enemy’s lines, and the expectation of soon receiving some important advices from England, it was not expedient to make the attempt.”
[1 ]“From the accounts General Schuyler gave us of the state of his army, I tremble for him in his expedition against St. Johns. He wants almost every thing necessary for the equipment of an army. He complains much of the dilatoriness of the York committee. His great dependence is upon the neutrality of the Canadians; if they do not assist Gov. Carleton, Schuyler has numbers sufficient to rout, badly disciplined and accoutred as they are.”—Journal of Tench Tilghman, 31 August, 1775. Tilghman was in Albany, acting as Secretary to the Indian Commissioners.
[1 ]See Journals of Congress, 18 July, 1775.
[1 ]General Gage writes to Governor Legge (Nova Scotia) that 1500 men had marched from Cambridge “intended for Canada.”
[1 ]Sparks said that this paper was printed in hand-bills before Arnold left Cambridge, with the view of having the copies distributed as soon as he should arrive in Canada, but it appears to have been sent after him.
[1 ]This expedition was placed in charge of Valentine Crawford. The instructions prepared by Washington are in his own writing, and are given in full, as they afford a striking example of his extreme care in matters of business. They did not fall under my notice until the earlier volume was in print, or they would have appeared in their proper position chronologically.
30 March, 1774.
“You are to proceed without loss of time to your own settlement on Youghiogany, and there, if it is not already done, provide such, and so much provision, as you shall think necessary to take down with you to my lands on the Ohio. You are also to provide canoes for transporting of these provisions, the tools, and the workmen.
“You are to engage three good hands as laborers, to be employed in this business; you are to get them upon the best terms you can, and have them bound in articles to serve till the first of December, duely and truely, at the expiration of which time they shall receive their wages. Provisions and tools will be found them, but nothing else.
“You are also to engage a good hunter upon the best terms you can, for the purpose of supplying you with provisions. Let him have the skins, as I suppose he will engage the cheaper for it. Engage him either altogether for hunting, or to hunt and work as occasion requires, that there may be no dispute about it afterwards; so in like manner let every man else know what it is he has to trust to, that no disputes may arise thereafter. And the best way to prevent this, is to let all your hirelings know that they are not to consider this or that as their particular business, but to turn their hands to every thing, as the nature of the business shall require.
“As much depends upon your getting to the land early, in order that as much ground may be cleared, and put into corn as possible before the season is too far advanced, I do most earnestly request you to delay no time in prosecuting your trip down; and that as much ground as possible may be got in order for corn, and planted therewith, I would have you delay building and fencing until the season is too late for planting, and employ your whole force for clearing.
“Begin this operation at and on the upper tract and clear five acre fields, in handsome squares upon every other lot along the river bank (leaving the trees next the river standing, as a safeguard against freshets and ice). These fields may be so near together as to answer small tenements of about 100 acres in a lot, in case you cannot get them surveyed. In short, allow each lot a breadth of about one hundred rods upon the river, running back for quantity agreeably to the plots given you.
“The same sized lots, that is lots of the same breadth upon the river, may be laid upon all the other tracts, and five acre fields cleared upon every other one, as above. But after the season has got too late for planting corn, then at each of these fields build a house, sixteen feet by 18, with an outside chimney, the lower part to be of logs (with diamond corners) and to be covered with three feet shingles. Also inclose and fence your corn at this time, or before, if necessary.
“You may then, that is after building houses to the fields already cleared, and fencing them in, carry your clearing, building and fencing, regularly on together, in the manner above described.
“After the time for planting the corn is over, in all of the bottoms you may be at work in, if there should be any grassy ponds, or places easily improved, and drained for meadow, it may be done, and inclosed, instead of preparing land for corn.
“Endeavor to get some rare-ripe corn to carry with you for your last planting and replanting. The corn which you do plant must be cultivated in any manner which may appear most advisable to you for my interest.
“If you can get, or I should send out peach stones, have them cracked and the kernals planted as soon as you get to the first land, and properly inclose them.
“It will be essentially necessary to have all the work done upon any one tract appraised before you move to the next field, if it be possible to have it done; such work, I mean, as can be injured by fire or other accidents. Otherwise I may labor in vain, as I shall have no allowance made for any thing that is not valued. In these appraisements you must let nothing go unnoticed, as it is necessary that every thing should be brought into account that will enhance the price.
“You should take care to have a pair of hand mill stones with you, as also a grindstone, for the benefit of your tools, with proper pecks.
“Keep a regular account of your tools, and call them over frequently, to see that none are missing. Make every man answerable for such as is put into his care. Keep a regular account also of the days lost by sickness, for I expect none will be lost by any other means, that an allowance may be made for it at settlement; and keep a regular and clear account of all expences, with proper vouchers, that matters may be settled without any difficulty at the end of the service.
“As I could wish to have my lands rented, if it be possible to do it, you may, if tenants should offer engage them upon the following terms, to wit: upon a rent of three pounds sterling (to be discharged in the currency of the country at the exchange prevailing at the time of payment,) for each lot which is to be laid off as described on the plot; leases to be given for three lives; four years rent free, where no improvement is made, and two only where there is a house built, and five acres of land cleared on the lot. Or, if it will be a greater inducement to tenants, I will grant leases for 21 years upon the above rent, payable in the above manner; which leases shall be renewable for ever, upon paying at the end of the first 21 years, twenty shillings per annum additional rent for the next seven years; and in like manner the increased rent of 20s. sterling per annum for every seven years afterwards. But it is to be noted that I will not give leases for lives, and leases for the above term (renewable) in the same tract of land, as it might not be so convenient to have leases of different tenures mixed.
“As I have pointed out the distance along the water for the breadth of each lot (in measuring of which go strait) and as the course and distance from the river of each lot, is also particularly set down, you cannot be at a loss if you have a compass and chain to lay them off and mark them exactly. The back lines of the lots may be marked or not, just as it suits; the dividing lines must be marked at all events, and an account taken of the corner trees, in order to insert them in the leases, if any should be given. At the corner of each lot, upon the river, blaze a tree, and with a knife or chisel number them in the following manner, viz: at the upper corner of the first lot make the figure 1; at the corner which divides lots No. one and two, make these figures ½; at the corner which divides lot No. two and three, make the figures ⅔, and so on with every lot, by which means the lots can always be distinguished the moment they are looked at, and no mistakes can happen.
“Build a house, and clear and fence five acres of land upon every other lot, in the manner described upon the plot, by which means should any one person incline to take two lots, they may be added together conveniently, and the improvements will be convenient to both.
“I have now mentioned every thing by way of instruction to you that I can at present recollect. Let me conclude then with observing that this business must even under the greatest good management and industry be attended with great expense, as it will be with equal injustice, if it is neglected; to this I am to add, that, as you are now receiving my money, your time is not your own, and that every day or hour misapplied, is a loss to me; do not, therefore, under a belief that, as a friendship has long subsisted between us, many things may be overlooked in you, that would not in another; devote any part of your time to other business, or to amusements; for be assured, that, in respect to our agreement, I shall consider you in no other light than as a man who has engaged his time and services to conduct and manage my interest on the Ohio, to the best advantage, and shall seek redress if you do not, just as soon from you as from an entire stranger.
“I wish you your health and success, and am &c.
“Note. As these instructions were begun some time ago, and at a time when I had little doubt of having my people moved over the mountains before the first of April; as also at a time when I had a scheme under contemplation of importing Palatines, in order to settle on these lands, which scheme I have now laid aside; those clauses which relate to the turning your whole force towards preparing land for corn, may be entirely, or in part laid aside, as circumstances may direct; and, if there should be any inconsistency between the first and latter clauses, pursue the directions of the last mentioned.
“If you should not receive an order of court (from Botetourt) for valuing the work done on my first tract, before you move to the second, have the work done thereon, appraised in the best manner you can by Stevens, &c., and an account thereof signed by them, in such a manner as they would swear to, if called upon.
“If it should happen that you are obliged to wait in your own neighborhood for vessels, provisions, or on any other account, let all the people which you carry out be employed in forwarding my mill work at Gilbert Simpson’s.”
[1 ]James Cleveland was to be placed in charge of this second attempt (see II., page 451), but he was unable to go and William Stevens succeeded him. His instructions are printed in II., page 459.
[1 ]“By his Excellency George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United Provinces of North America.
[1 ]The British men-of-war had been menacing the coasts of Connecticut, and Governor Trumbull, in addition to the militia near the seaboard, had ordered several companies of the new levies, raised for the Continental army, to be retained in the province, and stationed at places where the greatest danger was apprehended. Of this he had given notice to Washington in a letter of the 5th, but on the 8th the General sent an express order to have all the new levies marched to the army. The Governor complied with the order, though apparently not well pleased with the manner in which it was given. In his answer, dated the 15th, he says:—
[1 ]In reply, Governor Trumbull wrote October 9th;—“I have no disposition to increase the weight of your burdens, which, in the multiplicity of your business, must be sufficiently heavy, nor inclination to disturb the harmony so necessary to the happy success of our public operations. I am persuaded no such difficulty will any more happen. It is unhappy, that jealousies should be excited, or disputes of any sort litigated, between any of the colonies, to disunite them at a time, when our liberty, our property, our all is at stake. If our enemies prevail, which our disunion may occasion, our jealousies will then appear frivolous, and all our disputed claims of no value to either side.”
[2 ]Read in Congress September 29th.
[1 ]The Continental Articles of War, or as they were otherwise called, “Rules and Regulations for the Army,” may be seen in the Journals of Congress, 30 June, 1775.
[1 ]The Continental Congress resolved on the 14th of June, the day before the appointment of the Commander-in-chief, that six companies of expert riflemen should be raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia. On the 22d, it was again resolved, that two more companies should be raised in Pennsylvania, and that the eight together should make a battalion, to be commanded by such field-officers, captains, and lieutenants, as should be recommended by the Assembly or Convention of the colony. The above twelve companies were all filled up with surprising celerity. One company arrived in Cambridge on the 25th of July, and eight others before the 14th of August, so that within two months orders had gone out, the men had been enlisted and equipped, and the whole had marched from four to seven hundred miles to camp. Captain Daniel Morgan, so much celebrated during the war, commanded one of these companies. He marched his men from Frederic county in Virginia, a distance of six hundred miles, in three weeks.
[1 ]“Resolved, That when the word month is used, the Congress means calendar month, by which the pay of the men in the service of the Continent is to be regulated.”—Journals of Congress, 2 October, 1775.
[2 ]See Sullivan to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 23 September, 1775, and the Committee’s reply, 28 September, in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 779, 827.
[3 ]“On entering the camp near Boston, I was struck with the familiarity which prevailed among the soldiers and officers of all ranks; from the colonel to the private, I observed but little distinction; and I could not refrain from remarking to a young gentleman with whom I made acquaintance, that the military discipline of their troops was not so conspicuous as the civil subordination of the community in which I lived.”—Wilkinson, Memoirs, i, 16.
[1 ]“Congress must give better pay to their officers, for the present miserable pittance will not tempt men of liberal notions to engage in the service. It is indeed a fortune to the low wretches who live like the common soldiers and with the common soldiers; but men who chuse to preserve the decent distance of officers must have a decent subsistence, and without this distance, no authority or respect can be expected.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 10 October, 1775.
[2 ]The Continental commissions were issued on the 20th. It was published in the orders, that “no person is to presume to demand a Continental commission, who is not in actual possession of the like commission from the proper authority of the colony, which he is engaged to serve.”
[1 ]“A commissary with twenty thousand gaping mouths open full upon him, and nothing to stop them with, must depend on being devoured himself . . . now, to his surprise, finds a Paymaster, a Commissary, a Quarter-master, nominal nonentities; all of them not able to advance one shilling, . . . not one of them, the General, or any other person here, have power to draw on Philadelphia. . . . I must entreat you to exert yourself in this unhappy case, and to relieve me of the additional trouble, to the unavoidable ones of my office, of having my heart dunned out, and be for weeks unable to pay for a bushel of potatoes. I wish the accursed cause of this difficulty no worse punishment than to be put in my situation for ten days past.”—Joseph Trumbull to Col. Dyer, 23 September, 1775.
[2 ]In consequence of this letter Congress determined to send a committee to camp to confer with the General and the New England executives “touching the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army.” Lynch and Dr. Franklin were chosen members of the committee, and “two other members having an equal number” of votes, a second balloting resulted in the selection of Harrison. A second committee, composed of Rutledge, Lee, Johnson, R. Livingston and Samuel Adams, was constituted to draw up instructions for the conference. The committee arrived in camp on October 15th. Journals of Congress, 29 and 30 September, 1775.
[1 ]A British officer, who was a prisoner at Hartford, having been sent there on parole by the Committee of Safety in Philadelphia.
[1 ]That Major French was a man of spirit, and something of a Hotspur, is evident from this extract, as well as other parts of his letters. It is but fair, however, to introduce his reply (October 9th) to this paragraph.—“I was asked by Mr. Paine,” says he, “if I would not fight against the colonies if set at liberty, and I answered that I would, in which might have been included, that I would endeavour to reduce them, but I did not say so; and I must appeal to you, Sir, if the question need or should have been asked. The answer was obvious, and therefore it could only be asked with a design to have something to say. I told them, therefore, that I gloried in serving my king and country, and should always do so, and I glory even in repeating it to you. I am convinced, Sir, you will not think the worse of me for supporting my honor as a man, and a British officer, which, in all situations I am determined to do.”
[2 ]“Your favor of the 18th instant, and one from Major French on the same subject, have come safely to hand. From the general character of this gentleman, and the acknowledged politeness and attention of the Committee of Hartford to the gentlemen intrusted to their care, I flattered myself, that there would be a mutual emulation of civility, which would have resulted in the ease and convenience of both. I am extremely sorry to find it otherwise; and, upon a reperusal of former letters and papers, respecting these gentlemen, I cannot think there is any thing particular in their situation, which can challenge a distinction. If the circumstance of wearing their swords had created no dissatisfaction, I should not have interfered, considering it, in itself, as a matter of indifference; but, as it has given offence, partly, perhaps, by the inadvertent expressions, which have been dropped on this occasion, I persuade myself, that Major French, for the sake of his own convenience and ease, and to save me farther trouble, will concede what is not essential to either his comfort or happiness, farther than mere opinion makes it so.
[1 ]The Rev. Samuel Kirkland was missionary to the Oneida Indians, among whom he resided many years. See Life of Ledyard, 2d ed., p. 9.
[1 ]“The Indian who accompanies Mr. Kirkland is an Oneida chief of considerable rank in his own country. He has come on a visit to the camp, principally to satisfy his curiosity; but as his tribe has been very friendly to the United Colonies, and his report to his nation at his return will have important consequences to the public interest, I have studiously endeavored to make his visit agreeable.”—Washington to the General Court of Massachusetts, 26 September, 1775.
[1 ]Read in Congress, October 25th.
[2 ]In a letter from General Carleton to General Gage, dated at Montreal, December 16th, he gives an account of the landing of the Americans in the woods near St. John’s, and says they were driven back to their boats by a party of Indians, and adds:—
[1 ]The rifle companies were raised by an express order of the Continental Congress, and on this ground the captains had an impression that they were not to be commanded by officers in the provincial ranks.
[1 ]This party consisted of two persons, named Getchell and Berry, who set off from Fort Western, on the Kennebec, September 1st. They advanced as far as the head-waters of the Dead River, where they met several Indians, who gave them such exaggerated accounts of the enemy on the Chaudière, that they did not venture to proceed farther. Netanis, the last of the Norridgewocks, had a cabin in this quarter, and was in the interest of Governor Carleton. The intelligence brought back by these persons, in regard to the carrying-places and condition of the river, was of some service to Arnold.
[1 ]The news of Bunker’s Hill was taken to England by the Cerberus, and arrived in London on July 25th. On the following day ex-Governor Hutchinson had a talk with Lord Dartmouth. “Some addition to the land force I think is determined to be made immediately, perhaps two thousand men; but such a force as they are now convinced is necessary, and which he says will most certainly go early in the spring, it is not practicable to provide so as to arrive before winter. . . . The next summer will no doubt determine the fate of America, and it is said, the same force will be employed as if the inhabitants were French or Spanish enemies.” Hutchinson to his son, 26 July, 1775.
[2 ]Gage was recalled temporarily, as he supposed, “for consultation,” but it is probable that the frequent charges of incompetency made by Burgoyne, Howe, and Clinton, were the real cause. He embarked Oct. 10th.
[1 ]Lord Dartmouth had early suggested to General Gage the importance of taking possession of Rhode Island, as a means of keeping up a communication between Boston and New York, and as a place easy to be defended, and one from which, in any exigency, succours might be derived. He had, also, expressed an opinion, that New York should be occupied. General Gage replied:—“As the King’s forces are too weak to act in more than one point, New York is the most eligible situation to hold. The friends of government could rally there, and, from every account, numbers would join them. That city could be easily defended, and supplied by a water communication. But there is much difficulty in leaving Boston. It requires secrecy and is of great detail. It is too important a step to be put in execution without knowing his Majesty’s pleasure. Preparations will however be made for it, not knowing but instructions to this effect may be given, in consequence of intimations in a former letter from me.”—MS. Letter, August 20th.
[1 ]The conclusions of the council were: 1. Unanimously agreed that the army ought not to consist of less than 20,372 men; to be formed into twenty-six regiments (exclusive of riflemen and artillery); each regiment to consist of 728 men, officers included; each company to be officered with one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, and to contain four sergeants, four corporals, two drums, or fifes, and seventy-six privates. This army was deemed sufficient for offensive and defensive measures. 2. That the pay cannot be reduced at present, the present allowance of provisions should stand, and compensation in money should be allowed for such articles as the Commissary could not furnish. 3. The men should be engaged to December 1, 1776, but to be sooner discharged if necessary. 4. That each general officer should clothe a man according to his own fancy and judgment, and a selection to be made from these models; the clothing to be supplied by the Continent, and paid for by stoppages of 10% per month. 5. As to manner of paying the troops the council was equally divided; Washington, Greene, Sullivan, Heath, and Lee were in favor of monthly payments; and Gates, Spencer, Thomas, Putnam, and Ward, of payments every three months. On the questions of regulating the forces and the selection of officers more time was requested. An additional query was laid before the meeting that has some interest: “Whether it will be advisable to enlist any negroes in the new army? or whether there be a distinction between such as are slaves and those that are free? Agreed unanimously, to reject all slaves, and, by a great majority, to reject negroes altogether.” See note to the letter to Congress, 31 December, 1775, post. The full proceedings of the council are printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1039.
[1 ]James Wallace, Commander of his Majesty’s ship Rose, stationed at Newport.
[1 ]Having acknowledged the letter as deciphered to be correct, Dr. Church explained that the letter was intended to “impress the enemy with a strong idea of our strength and situation in order to prevent an attack at a time when the Continental army was in great want of ammunition, and in hopes of effecting some speedy accommodation of the present dispute, and made solemn asseverations of his innocence.”
[1 ]By the twenty-eighth article of war, whoever was convicted of holding correspondence with the enemy, or of giving intelligence, was to suffer such punishment as should be ordered by a general court-martial. There was no provision for referring such cases to Congress, or other civil authorities.
[2 ]The ship Prince George which sailed from Bristol July 19th, with provisions for Gage’s army.
[1 ]Washington sent word to every important town on the coast of this armament, that they might be on their guard.
[1 ]“No prospect yet of the militia being embodied here; nor do I think they will. General Carleton, I am apt to think, is afraid to give the order lest they should refuse to obey, and I believe this year will pass over without the Canadians doing anything in favor of government. . . . You must look for no diversion in favor of the army immediately under your Excellency’s command this year from Canada, the language here being only to defend the Province; and it’s generally thought here that if the rebels were to push forward a body of four or five thousand men, the Canadians would lay down their arms, and not fire a shot.”—Thomas Gamble to General Gage, Quebec, 6 September, 1775.
[2 ]Read before Congress, October 13th.
[1 ]General Wooster was now advanced in life. He had served in the two preceding wars, having been present at the capture of Louisburg in 1745, and commanded a Connecticut regiment nearly the whole of the last French war. When the Connecticut troops were raised, in 1775, he was appointed to the command of the whole. The continental appointment, therefore, by which he was placed the third on the list of brigadiers, and Putnam raised over him to the rank of major-general, was by no means satisfactory. Yet he accepted the commission in a spirit which reflected much credit upon his character.
[1 ]Probably Otway Byrd, who was appointed aid-de-camp to General Lee, on the 25th.
[1 ]“If any negro is found straggling after taptoo beating about the camp, or about any of the roads or villages near the encampments at Roxbury or Cambridge, they are to be seized and confined until sunrise in the guard, nearest to the place where such negro is taken up.” Orderly Book, October 9.
[1 ]The members of the committee, and delegates from the four colonies above mentioned, met in convention at Cambridge on the 18th of October, and continued their sittings daily till the 22d. The persons present, besides the committee, were Griswold and Wales from Connecticut; Governor Cooke from Rhode Island; Bowdoin, Otis, Sever, and Spooner from Massachusetts; Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire. General Washington was president of the board.
[1 ]Intelligence had just been received by Congress of the sailing of two brigantines from England on the 11th of August, bound for Quebec, laden with powder and other stores, without convoy and of no force, and instructions were issued to Washington, that he should with all possible despatch fit out two armed vessels, at the Continental expense, to sail for the St. Lawrence, with the view of intercepting these brigantines. He was directed to procure the vessels from the government of Massachusetts; but, as there were no armed vessels belonging to that province, and the vessels of Rhode Island were not available, he equipped and sent off two of those, which were already employed in the public service. “These vessels [the Lynch, commanded by Nicholas Broughton, and the Franklin, commanded by Captain John Selman] were ordered to the river St. Lawrence to intercept an ammunition vessel bound to Quebec, but missing her, they took ten other vessels and Gov. Wright of St. Johns, all of which were released, as we had waged a ministerial war and not one against our most gracious sovereign.” E. Gerry to John Adams, 9 February, 1813. Journals, October 5th.
[2 ]Printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1075, 1076.
[1 ]Mr. Price was a merchant of Montreal. When that place capitulated to General Montgomery, he wrote:—“I have found Mr. Price so active and intelligent, and so warm a friend to the measures adopted by Congress, that I wish to have him mentioned in the strongest terms to Congress.” He was appointed deputy commissary-general of the army in Canada the spring following.
[2 ]“Resolved, That as the new army in Massachusetts Bay is calculated to oppose the army at Boston, it is not expected that the general should detach any part of it to New York or elsewhere, unless it appear to him necessary to do so for the common safety.” Journals, 30 November, 1775.
[1 ]William Cowley.
[2 ]Read before Congress October 21st.
[1 ]An account of the Convention is given in a letter from George Mason to Washington, 14 October, 1775.
[2 ]On the 18th of October, the officers were convened a second time to hold a council respecting an attack on Boston. There was a unanimous voice against it, but there is no record of what was Washington’s opinion.
[1 ]Dr. Jeremy Belknap visited the camp in October and has left a few notes on the generals. Ward appeared a “calm, cool, thoughtful man; Putnam, a rough, fiery genius.” On the 21st October he dined with Mr. Mifflin, the Quartermaster-General. “The company present were Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison (a committee from the Congress), General Lee, etc. General Lee is a perfect original, a good scholar, and an odd genius, full of fire and passion, and but little good manners; a great sloven, wretchedly profane, and a great admirer of dogs, of which he had two at dinner with him, etc. General Washington was to have been at this dinner, but the weather prevented. He is said to be a very amiable gentleman, cool, sensible, and placid, and a resolute soldier.”
[1 ]Pearson Jones.
[1 ]“The General is so busily engaged with a Committee from ye Continental Congress and the governors of the adjacent colonies, that he cannot as he wished write to you himself.” Horatio Gates to Wentworth, Chairman of the Committee of Portsmouth, 20 October, 1775.
[2 ]Mr. Sparks exonerated the British Ministry from the charge thus seemingly laid against them, of wantonly ordering the destruction of the seaport towns. But there is no mention of the ministers in Mowat’s summons, nor does he give any source for his orders “to execute a just punishment upon the town of Falmouth.”
[1 ]There is a curious entry in Hutchinson’s Diary, i., 583: “It is generally believed that Falmouth in Casco Bay, is burnt by Capt. Mowat, and 2 or 3 more ships. The last time I saw Lord G[eorge] G[ermaine], he observed, that Adm. Graves had been put in mind of his remissness: and he imagined he would run to the other extreme.”
[2 ]General Schuyler had written (September 26th) from Ticonderoga: “The vexation of spirit under which I labor, that a barbarous complication of disorders should prevent me from reaping those laurels for which I have unweariedly wrought since I was honored with this command; the anxiety I have suffered since my arrival here, lest the army should starve, occasioned by a scandalous want of subordination and inattention to my orders in some of the officers, that I left to command at the different posts; the vast variety of vexations and disagreeable incidents, that almost every hour arise in some department or other; not only retard my cure, but have put me considerably back for some days past. If Job had been a general in my situation, his memory had not been so famous for patience. But the glorious end we have in view, and which I have a confident hope will be attained, will atone for all.”
[1 ]General Montgomery had likewise met with his full share of troubles. On the 13th of October, while investing the fort at St. John’s, he wrote to General Schuyler:—
[1 ]When a convention of the several townships of the New Hampshire grants met at Dorset, on July 26, 1775, to elect field and other officers, Ethan Allen expected to obtain the chief command, but to his great chagrin was defeated by Seth Warner, of Bennington, the vote in the convention being forty-one to five. Allen then joined General Schuyler, without holding a commission, and raising a company of Canadians, crossed the St. Lawrence with a small party below Montreal, where he was defeated and taken prisoner, after maintaining for some time, and with great courage, a very unequal conflict. He was put in irons and sent to Quebec, and thence to England where he arrived December 23d. After being a prisoner for nearly three years, transported from place to place, he was exchanged. He published, in 1779, a Narrative of the events of his capture and imprisonment.
[2 ]While Dr. Franklin was in camp, he paid over to a committee of the Massachusetts Assembly one hundred pounds sterling, which had been forwarded to him as a charitable donation from persons in England for the relief of those, who had been wounded in the battle of Lexington, and of the widows and children of those, who had been slain.—Journal of the Assembly, October 25th.
[1 ]“The continued accumulation of price and the scarcity which prevails through the camp, for the several articles of wood, hay, &c., oblige me to address your honourable Houses again upon this subject.
[1 ]“As you will be fully informed of every matter and thing relative to the army, by your own committee, I should not have given you the trouble of a letter at this time, were it not on Colonel Reed’s account. He is, as I presume you may have heard, concerned in many of the principal causes now depending in the courts of Pennsylvania; and should those causes be pressed for trial by his brethren of the profession, it will not only do him a manifest injury in his practice and future prospects, but afford room for complaint of his having neglected his business as a lawyer. This he thinks may be avoided, if some of you gentlemen of the Congress, in the course of conversation with the chief-justice and others, would represent the disadvantages, which must result to him, in case his causes should be hurried to trial.
[1 ]“The deputies from the Honorable Continental Congress having arrived in this camp, in order to confer with the General, the several Governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut, the Council of Massachusetts Bay and the President and [of] the Convention of New Hampshire, on the continuing an army for the defence and support of America and its liberties; all officers who decline the further service of their country, and intend to retire from the army at the expiration of their present term of service, are to signify their intentions in writing to their colonel, which he is to deliver with his own, to the Brigadier General, the commanding officer of his brigade. Those brave men and true patriots, who are resolved to continue to serve and defend their brethren, privileges and property, are to consider themselves engaged to the last day of December, 1776, unless sooner discharged by the Hon: the Continental Congress, and will in like manner signify their intentions.”—Orderly Book, 22 October. “The times and the importance of the great cause we are engaged in, allow no room for hesitation or delay [in declaring intention to serve]. When life, liberty and property are at stake, when our country is in danger of being a melancholy scene of bloodshed and desolation, when our towns are laid in ashes, and innocent women and children driven from their peaceful habitations, exposed to the rigor of an inclement season, and to the hands of charity perhaps for their support: when calamities like these are staring us in the face, and a brutal, savage enemy (more so than was every yet found in a civilized nation), are threatening us, and every thing we hold dear, with destruction from foreign troops, it little becomes the character of a soldier to shrink from danger, and condition for new terms. It is the General’s intention to indulge both officers and soldiers who compose the new army with furloughs, to be absent a reasonable time, but it must be done in such a manner as not to injure the service, or weaken the army too much at once. The General also thinks that he can take upon him to assure the officers and soldiers of the new army, that they will receive their pay once a month regularly, after the terms of their present inlistment are expired.”—Orderly Book, 26 October.
[1 ]“I am happy to inform you that Congress has agreed to every recommendation of the Committee, and have gone beyond it, in allowing the additional pay to the officers. I rejoice at this, but cannot think with patience that pitiful wretches, who stood cavilling with you when entreated to serve the next campaign, should reap the benefit of this addition. They will now be ready enough, but hope you will be able to refuse them with the contempt they deserve, and to find better in their room. Could not some of the gentlemen at camp enlist the New England men who have been persuaded to leave you? Frazier told me he could. It would be a capital point to convince the world that it is not necessary to have bad officers of that country, in order to raise men there. I can scarce bear their tyranny.”—Lynch to Washington, 13 November, 1775.
[2 ]Read in Congress November 7.
[1 ]Edmund Randolph, who had served for a short time as an aid to General Washington.
[2 ]Peyton Randolph, president of the first Continental Congress. He died suddenly at Philadelphia on the 22d of October. A long and intimate friendship had existed between him and Washington. He had lately been absent from Congress to preside in the Virginia Convention, and his last letter to Washington was dated September 6th. It begins with the following paragraph:—
[1 ]Although the election of a brigadier-general was appointed for November 23d, the journals contain no mention of any action taken until January 1776, when Joseph Fry was chosen for the army in Massachusetts, and Benedict Arnold for the army in the northern department.
[2 ]Proclamations issued by General Howe, on the 28th of October. The first was for prohibiting any person from leaving Boston, in which he says, “I do, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by his Majesty, forbid any person or persons whatever, not belonging to the navy, to pass from hence by water or otherwise without my order or permission given in writing. Any person or persons detected in the attempt, or who may be retaken upon sufficient proof thereof, shall be liable to military execution, and those who escape shall be treated as traitors by seizure of their goods and effects.” The second proclamation prohibited any person from carrying more than five pounds in specie away from the city. The association was for embodying the citizens to defend the town. See Remembrancer, Vol. ii., p. 191. Boston Gazette, November 6th, 1775.
[1 ]Read in Congress, November 13th.
[1 ]Mr. Quincy had suggested to General Washington a plan for blocking up Boston harbor, and taking the whole British army and fleet. Being thoroughly acquainted with the islands in the harbour, and the ship-channels, he conceived it practicable to construct such works at suitable points, as would prevent the egress of the shipping. He communicated his scheme to Dr. Franklin, who paid him a visit while attending the committee of conference at camp, and by whose advice he wrote at large on the subject to Washington.
[1 ]The situation of affairs in Canada at this time may be understood by the following extract from a letter, dated at Montreal, October 19th, and written by Brook Watson, an eminent merchant of that city, to Governor Franklin of New Jersey. The letter was intercepted by General Montgomery, and forwarded by him to General Schuyler.
[1 ]“I received your favor of the 2d instant, and am very sorry it is not in my power to supply the necessities of the town of Falmouth. I have referred the gentlemen, who brought me your letter, to the General Court of this province, who, I hope, will fall upon some method for your assistance. The arrival of the Cerberus man-of-war is very alarming; I do not apprehend they will attempt to penetrate into the country, as you seem to fear. If they should attempt to land any of their men, I would have the good people of the country, by all means, make every opposition in their power; for it will be much easier to prevent their making a lodgment, than to force them from it, when they have got possession.
[1 ]General Sullivan had already been employed several days at Portsmouth in giving directions about fortifying the town and harbor, having been sent there in consequence of the threat of Lieutenant Mowat at Falmouth, that all the towns on the sea-coast to the eastward of Boston would be burned. He also caused action to be taken against certain persons who were thought to be hostile to the cause of the colonies.—Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iv., 19.
[1 ]John McPherson. “He proposes great things; is sanguine, confident, positive, that he can take or burn every man of war in America. It is a secret, he says, but he will communicate it to any one member of Congress, upon condition that it be not divulged during his life at all, nor after his death, but for the service of this country. He says that it is as certain as that he shall die, that he can burn any ship.”—John Adams, Works, ii., 424-428.
[1 ]Journals of Congress, 25 November, 1775.
[2 ]The prisoners were ordered to Reading, Lancaster, and York, in Pennsylvania.
[1 ]Colonel Gridley had been appointed by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, April 26th, chief engineer in the army then beginning to be organized, with a salary of one hundred and seventy pounds a year while in service; and after the army should be disbanded, he was to receive annually one hundred and twenty-three pounds for life.—MS. Journal of Prov. Congress. The same provision of a life annuity was extended to the assistant-engineer. On the 20th of September, Colonel Gridley was commissioned to take command of the artillery of the Continental army, but was superseded by Colonel Knox in November. His advanced age was assigned by Congress, as a reason for superseding him. At the battle of Bunker’s Hill he fought with conspicuous bravery in the intrenchments, which he had planned under Prescott, and in which he was wounded. Colonel Gridley was a soldier of long experience, having served in the two last wars, and been present at the taking of Louisburg, and in Wolfe’s battle on the Plains of Abraham.—Swett’s Hist. of Bunker-Hill Battle, pp. 11, 44, 54. Before the Revolution he received half-pay as a British officer. When Colonel Knox was appointed to his place in the artillery, 17 November, Congress voted to indemnify him for any loss of half-pay, which he might sustain in consequence of having been in the service of the United Colonies.
[1 ]The town of Falmouth seemed destined to suffer more than the usual calamities of war, as the victim of resentment, or the object of a bitter enmity. It had been burnt to the ground by the commander of one armed ship, and a fortnight afterwards its ashes were insulted by the following menace of another.
[1 ]“A Mr Lewis, who left Boston yesterday afternoon, informs me that, on account of the scarcity of wood and provisions in that place, General Howe has issued a proclamation, desiring such of the inhabitants as are inclined to leave the Town to give in their names, and a list of their effects, before twelve o’clock this day.
[2 ]The Virginia Convention had met on the 17th of July, and passed an ordinance for raising two regiments to act in defence of the colony, and two additional companies for protecting the western frontiers. By the same ordinance the province was divided into sixteen districts, and regulations were adopted for exercising all the militia as minute-men, and preparing for public service at a moment’s call.—See Hening’s Stat. vol. ix., p. 9. Patrick Henry was appointed colonel of the first regiment, and commander of all the forces to be raised for the defence of the colony. William Woodford was colonel of the second regiment.
[1 ]“The General thanks Col. Thompson, and the other gallant Officers and Soldiers (as well of other Regiments as the Rifflers) for their alacrity yesterday, in pushing thro’ the water, to get to the Enemy on Letchmore’s point; he is inform’d that there were some (names as yet unknown) who discover’d a backwardness in crossing the causway—these will be marked if they can be discovered—The General was much surprised and concerned to see the order in which many of the Arms in several of the regiments appeared; he had not time to enquire the names of the particular Officers to whose Companies they belonged, but desires that this hint may be received, as an Admonition, by such officers as are conscious of their Neglect of this duty; as other methods will be fallen upon, if it is not.”—Orderly Book, 10th November, 1775.
[1 ]This act is remarkable as having been the first, which was passed by any of the colonies, for fitting out vessels of marque and reprisal, and for establishing a court to try and condemn the captured vessels of the enemy. See the Act, and some interesting remarks on the subject, in Austin’s Life of Gerry, vol. i., pp. 92, 505. See also Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, v., 436, 515.
[1 ]“These N. England men are a strange composition. Their commonalty is undoubtedly good, but they are so defective in materials for officers that it must require time to make a real good army out of ’em. Enclosed I send you the address of the generals to the soldiers. You must know that some officers who are discarded from the service are suspected of exerting themselves to dissuade the soldiers from reenlisting. To counteract their machinations was the design of this paper.”—Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 22 November, 1775. “We were some time apprehensive of losing every thing from the backwardness of the men in enlisting. It is supposed that the discarded officers labored to render the soldiers disaffected; but the men really have public spirits and recruiting goes on most swimmingly.”—Same to same, 9 December, 1775. “The zeal and alacrity of the militia who were summon’d on the supposition that our lines would be degarnished, prognosticate well, and do much honor to these Provinces. There is certainly much public spirit in the bulk of the people and I think they merit public eulogium. The N. England delegates I am told have lately received so many rubs that they want a cordial. I beg therefore that you will administer one to those who are of your acquaintance in my name. I never saw a finer body than this militia.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 12 December, 1775.
[1 ]In writing to Colonel Reed a few days afterwards, Washington spoke in the following manner of this affair. “The alacrity of the riflemen and officers upon that occasion did them honor, to which Colonel Paterson’s regiment and some others were equally entitled, except in a few instances; but the tide, at that time, was so exceedingly high as to compel a large circuit before our men could get to the causeway, by which means the enemy, except a small covering party, distant from the dry land on this side near four hundred yards, had retreated or were about to embark. All the shot, therefore, that passed were at a great distance; however, the men went to and over the causeway spiritedly enough. This little manœuvre of the enemy is nothing more than a prelude. We have certain advice of a scoundrel from Marblehead, a man of property, having carried to General Howe a true state of the temper and disposition of the troops towards the new enlistment, and given him the strongest assurances of the practicability of making himself master of these lines in a very short time, from the disaffection of the soldiers to the service. I am endeavoring to counteract him; how effectually, time alone can show. I began our bomb battery at Lechmere’s Point last night; the working party came off in the morning without having met with any interruption. The weather favored our operations, the earth being clear of frost. There is not an officer in the army, who does not look for an attack. This has no effect upon the Connecticut regiments; they are resolved to go off.”
[2 ]Received by Congress, November 19th, and read the next day.
[3 ]William Palfrey was a native of Boston, born in 1741, and educated a merchant under the auspices of John Hancock. Before the revolution he was engaged in mercantile affairs in Boston, and towards the close of the year 1774 he sailed on a voyage to South Carolina, and thence to England, in a vessel belonging to Hancock. From a journal, which he kept during his stay in London, and which I have seen, he appears to have been on terms of intimacy with some of the leaders of the high Whig party, and it is probable, that his visit to the metropolis of Great Britain had a political as well as commercial object. He returned to Massachusetts a few days before General Washington took command of the army, and was immediately employed on business of trust and importance. Assuming a military character, he was for some time aid to General Charles Lee, and afterwards to General Washington, and received a lieutenant-colonel’s commission. On the 27th of April, 1776, he was by Congress appointed paymaster-general of the army, a station of great responsibility, which, for more than four years and a half, he filled in such a manner as to give universal satisfaction. During this period he had exhibited such proofs of his talents for business, fidelity, and devotedness to the cause of his country, that, on the 4th of November, 1780, he was elected Consul-General from the United States to France, an office at this time of much consideration, as it involved the duties of making extensive purchases of military and other supplies for the country, and an examination and settlement of all the accounts, in which the United States were concerned with public and private agents in Europe, and which had been multiplying and accumulating since the commencement of the war. He sailed for France, but the vessel in which he took passage was lost at sea, and every one on board was supposed to have perished,—Sparks.
[1 ]“I received your favor of the 6th inst: in which you give a detail of Doctor Cheney’s case as it appeared before you and council, in which nothing but the fair side of his character appears. You may be assured sir that his Trial will be impartial,—that no insidious designs of his enemies will have weight, and that it will give me much pleasure to find he can acquit himself of the Crimes he is charged with—the evidences are hourly expected—on their arrival, the Trial will be no Longer delayed. Genl. Sullivan set out on the 12th Inst: for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. . . . As it is now very apparent that we have nothing to depend on in the present Contest, but our own strength, care, firmness, & union. Should not the same measures be adopted in yours and every other Government on the Continent? Would it not be prudent to seize on those Tories, who have been, are and that we know will be active against us? why should persons who are preying upon the vitals of their Country be suffered to stalk at large, whilst we know they would do us every mischief in their power? these, Sir, are points I beg to submit to your serious consideration.
[1 ]Knox’s journal of this expedition is printed in New England Genealogical Register, July, 1876.
[1 ]Three companies of Loyalists were embodied in Boston on the 17th of November. The following is an extract from General Howe’s Orderly Book of that date:—
[1 ]Congress directed the general to “suspend the raising the two battalions of marines out of his present army,” and directed that they should be raised “independent of the army already ordered for the service in Massachusetts Bay.” Journals, 27 November, 1775.
[2 ]Colonel Roger Enos commanded the rear division of the army under Arnold. When he arrived at the great Carrying-Place, between the Kennebec and Dead Rivers, he wrote to Colonel Arnold, who was then in advance, making inquiry about provisions. Arnold replied, that the stock was sufficient for twenty-five days. But before Enos got over the Carrying-Place, Major Bigelow was sent back from Colonel Greene’s division with ninety men for provisions. Enos supplied them, and marched onward till he overtook Colonel Greene fifty miles up the Dead River. Here he received orders from Arnold to furnish Colonel Greene with provisions enough for his men in their march to the settlements on the Chaudière River. After executing this order, he had no more than six days’ provisions left for his own troops. In this condition it was the opinion of the officers, that the rear division ought to return.
[1 ]“Resolved, that the 500,000 dollars lately ordered, be forwarded, with all possible expedition, to General Washington, that he may be enabled to pay such soldiers as will re-enlist, for the succeeding year, their wages for the months of October, November and December, and also advance them one month’s pay.” Journals, 1 December, 1775.
[2 ]Received and read in Congress November 27th.
[1 ]“The people on board the Brigantine Washington are, in general, discontented, and have agreed to do no duty on board said vessel; and say that they enlisted to serve in the army, and not as marines. . . . [These] people really appear to me to be a set of the most unprincipled, abandoned fellows I ever saw. . . . I am very apprehensive that little is to be expected from fellows drawn promiscuously from the army for this business; but that if people were enlisted for the purpose of privateering, much might be expected from them.”—William Watson to Washington, 29 November, 1775.
[1 ]“As the General is informed that this is the season, in which the people of the four New England Governments lay in Provisions, Stores, &c. for the use of their families, he has recommended (in the strongest manner he is capable) the necessity of sending Money to Camp for the immediate payment of the Troops for the Months of October and November, and in order to enable those, who have again inlisted, and such others as are resolved to continue in service; to do this more effectually, he has also recommended them to the Congress, for one Months advanced pay, & has no doubt himself, of its being complied with, if money can be forwarded in time.
[1 ]The associate of Mr. Willard, on this mission, was Moses Child. These commissioners proceeded by land to the borders of Nova Scotia, where they were met by two proclamations of the Governor of that province; the one “warning all persons, that they do not in any manner, directly or indirectly, aid or assist with any supplies whatever any rebel or rebels, nor hold intelligence or correspondence with them, nor conceal, harbour, or protect any such offender, as they would avoid being deemed rebels and traitors, and proceeded against accordingly”; and the other, “forbidding any strangers to be in Halifax more than two hours, without making their business known to a justice of the peace, upon the pain and peril of being treated as spies.” The commissioners thought it prudent to return to Cambridge, where they reported little else, than that, “from their own knowledge, and the best information from others, about eight parts in ten of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia would engage in the common cause of America, could they be protected.” The grounds upon which they founded this opinion are not stated.
[1 ]Mr. Lund Washington was the agent for superintending General Washington’s plantations, and managing his business concerns, during the revolution. It was not known what degree of family relationship existed between them, though it was supposed, that they both descended from the same original stock. Their ancestors came to America at different times, doubtless emigrating from different parts of England, and the name is the only evidence of consanguinity, which either branch of the family possesses.
[1 ]These breastworks, forming one of the strongest points in the American lines, were thrown up on the night of the 22nd, by Putnam and Knox, with the support of the regiments of William Bond and Eben Bridge.
[1 ]Congress had already provided for these measures, in the instructions given to a committee, R. T. Paine & Jno. Langdon, appointed to proceed to the northern army, for the purpose of conferring with General Schuyler on the affairs of his department. It is there stated, that “Congress desire you to exert your utmost endeavors to induce the Canadians to accede to a union with these colonies, and that they form from their several parishes a provincial convention, and send delegates to this Congress,”—and that “you use all the means in your power to perfect the raising of a regiment of Canadians.” In fact General Montgomery had been beforehand with Congress in this respect, for he had said to the people, when he took possession of Montreal, on the 12th of November, that he “hoped to see such a provincial convention assembled, as would enter with zeal into every measure, that could contribute to set the civil and religious rights of that and her sister colonies on a permanent foundation.” And he did not fail to use his best endeavors to induce as many Canadians as possible to join his standard. In this, however, he was less successful, than some sanguine persons had anticipated. Notwithstanding appearances, the Canadians proved themselves nowise inclined to be conquered into liberty.
[1 ]An address from the general officers to the Continental soldiers, dated 24 November, 1775, is printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii. 1666.
[1 ]See Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1711-1713.
[1 ]“An express last night from General Montgomery, brings the joyful tidings of the Surrender of the City of Montreal, to the Continental Arms—The General hopes such frequent favors from divine providence will animate every American to continue to exert his utmost, in the defence of the Liberties of his country as it would now be the basest ingratitude to the Almighty and to their Country, to shew any the least backwardness in the public cause.”—Orderly Book, 28 November, 1775.
[2 ]Received in Congress, December 7th.
[1 ]“His Excellency is a great and good man. I feel the highest degree of respect for him. I wish him immortal honor. I think myself happy in an opportunity to serve under so good a general. My happiness will be still greater if fortune gives me an opportunity to contribute to his glory and my country’s good. But his Excellency, as you observe, has not had time to make himself acquainted with the genius of this people. They are naturally as brave and spirited as the peasantry of any other country; but you cannot expect veterans of a raw militia of only a few months’ service. The common people are exceedingly avaricious; the genius of the people is commercial, from their long intercourse with trade. The sentiment of honor, the true characteristic of a soldier, has not yet got the better of interest. His Excellency has been taught to believe the people here a superior race of mortals; and finding them of the same temper and dispositions, passions and prejudices, virtues and vices of the common people of other governments, they sink in his esteem. The country round here set no bounds to their demand for hay, wood and teaming. It has given his Excellency a great deal of uneasiness that they should take this opportunity to extort from the necessities of the army such enormous prices.”—General Greene to Henry Ward, 18 December, 1775.
[1 ]“As the troops are considered continental and not colonial, there must be some systematical plan for the payment without any reference to particular colonies; otherwise they will be partly continental and partly colonial. His Excellency has a great desire to banish every idea of local attachments. It is next to impossible to unhinge the prejudices that people have for places and things they have had a long connection with. But the fewer of those local attachments discover themselves in our plan for establishing the army the more satisfactory it must be to the Southern gentry. For my own part, I feel the cause and not the place. I would as soon go to Virginia as stay here. I can assure the gentlemen to the southward that there could not be any thing more abhorrent proposed, than a union of those [these] colonies for the purpose of conquering the southern colonies.”—General Greene, to Governor Ward, 16 October, 1775. It would have had great effect with the troops, who are exceedingly turbulent and even mutinous. My vexation and distress can only be alleviated by reflecting on the great public advantages, which must arise from my unparalleled good fortune. I shall clothe the troops completely, who engage again. I find with pleasure, that my politics have squared with the views of Congress, and shall lose no time in calling a convention, when my intended expedition is finished. Will not your health permit you to reside at Montreal this winter? I must go home, if I walk by the side of the lake, this winter. I am weary of power, and totally want that patience and temper, so requisite for such a command. I wish some method could be fallen upon of engaging gentlemen to serve. A point of honor, and more knowledge of the world to be found in that class of men, would greatly reform discipline and render the troops much more tractable.
[1 ]General Montgomery wrote as follows to General Schuyler, the day after the capitulation of Montreal, 13 November:—
[1 ]“I cannot help complaining of distress when occasioned by man. There are a few in the army who monopolize, and distress us. A load of sea coal is just bought by them @ 10 dollars pr. chaldron, and we are forced to pay £3 5/ sterling for it. A quantity of rum was lately fairly purchased @ 2/8 pr. gallon; but it being in possession of the Admiral, the monopolizers gave ½ penny more and got it; and now rum is sold @ 9/ sterling by the hhd. A galled horse will not wince. I do not suppose the General knows of it.”—Peter Oliver to Elisha Hutchinson, 30 November, 1775.
[2 ]This capture of the brig Nancy was made by the schooner Lee, commanded by Captain Manly. The prize was taken to Cape Ann, “a very open harbor and accessible to large ships, which made me immediately send off Col. Glover and Mr. Palfrey with orders to raise the minute men and militia of that part of the country, to have the cargo landed without loss of time, and guarded up to this camp. This I hope they will be able to effect, before it is known to the enemy, what port she is carried into. . . . Manly has also taken a sloop in the ministerial service, and Capt. Adams, in the schooner Warren has taken a schooner laden with potatoes and turnips, bound to Boston and carried her into Portsmouth.” Washington to Congress, 30 November, 1775.
[3 ]“The fatal consequences which have at all times, and upon all occasions befallen Armies attacked at unawares, when men are scattered and remote from their posts, or negligent whilst at them, are too well known, and very often too unhappily felt, to stand in need of description; Whereas a handful of men prepared for an Attack, are seldom defeated. It is therefore ordered in the most express and premptory terms, that no non-commissioned officer or soldier, do presume under any pretence whatever, day or night, to be out of Drum call of his Alarm post, without leave of the Captain or commanding Officer of the Company he belongs to; and it is also as expressly ordered, that no Non-Commissioned Officer, or Soldier, do pass from Cambridge, and the lines on this side the river to Roxbury, or come from thence hither, or go from either, to any other place in the neighbourhood, without a written pass from the Captain or Commanding Officer of the Company he belongs to, although he should not mean to stay more than an hour or two.
[1 ]J. Palmer on the part of the Council, and J. Warren and Col. Bowers, of the House of Representatives.
[2 ]“The behavior of our soldiers has made me sick; but little better could be expected from men trained up with notions of their right of saying how, and when, and under whom, they will serve; and who have, for certain dirty political purposes been tampered with by their officers, among whom no less than a general has been busy.”—Silas Deane to his wife, 15 December, 1775. the Information that was communicated to the Connecticut Troops of the Relief being ordered to supply their places, by the 10th of this Month; that many of them have taken their arms with them and gone off, not only without leave, but contrary to express orders, this is therefore to inform those who remain, that the General has sent an express to the Governor of Connecticut, with the names of such men as have left the Camp, in order that they may be dealt with in a manner suited to the Ignominy of their behaviour. The General also informs those who remain, that it is necessary for them to obtain a written discharge from the Commanding Officer of the Regt. they belong to, when they are dismissed on the 10th Instant that they may be distinguished from and not treated as Deserters.
[1 ]Governor Trumbull wrote in reply:—“The late extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of some of the troops of this colony impresses me, and the minds of many of our people, with grief, surprise, and indignation; since the treatment they met with, and the order and request made to them, were so reasonable, and apparently necessary for the defence of our common cause, and safety of our rights and privileges, for which they freely engaged; the term they voluntarily enlisted to serve not expired, and probably would not end much before the time when they would be relieved, provided their circumstances and inclination should prevent their undertaking further.
[3 ]“It is with Surprise and Astonishment The General learns that notwithstanding
[1 ]“I am credibly informed that James Anderson, the consignee and part owner of the ship Concord and cargo, is not only unfriendly to American liberty, but actually in arms against us, being captain of the Scotch company at Boston. Whether your being acquainted with this circumstance will operate against the vessel and cargo, I will not take upon me to say; but there are many articles on board, so absolutely necessary for the army, that whether she is made a prize or not, we must have them.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 7 December, 1775.
[1 ]“I have by command of his Excellency General Washington, to inform you, that the Connecticut forces (deaf to the entreaties of their own as well as all other officers, and regardless of the contempt with which their own government threatens to treat them upon their return), have absolutely refused to tarry till the 1st. day of January, but will quit the lines on the 6th. of December. They have deceived us and their officers, by pretending there would be no difficulty with them, till they have got so near the close of their term, and now to their eternal infamy, demand a bounty to induce them to tarry only three weeks. This is such an insult to every American, that we are determined to release them, at the expiration of their term, at all hazards, and find ourselves obliged immediately to supply their place with troops from New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay.”—General Sullivan to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 30 November, 1775.
[1 ]Mr. Lynch, who had been one of the committee of conference in camp, wrote to General Washington, after returning to Congress, in regard to the state of the army here described;—
[1 ]Henry Babcock. “He has this day been very serviceable in assisting me in quelling a mutiny and bringing back a number of deserters.”—Putnam to Washington, 1 December, 1775.
[2 ]General Howe wrote to Lord Dartmouth, on the 3d of December, communicating intelligence of the loss of St. John’s and Montreal, and the retreat of General Carleton to Quebec, and expressing apprehensions that the entire province would fall into the hands of the invaders, as there was little reason to believe the capital would be able to withstand the expected attack. He added, also, that, supposing it possible the Americans might be encouraged by their successes in Canada, and the arms recently taken in the brigantine Nancy, and think of a project against Halifax, he should immediately send a reinforcement to that place. As the recovery of Canada was a primary object, he recommended that the army for effecting it should consist of not less than twelve thousand fighting men, representing at the same time the inexpediency of abandoning the plan heretofore suggested of taking possession of Rhode Island and New York, since the enemy would be more distressed by an attack on this vulnerable side, than by any successes against them in Canada.—M.S. Letter.
[1 ]“I believe I told you that Broughton and Sellman were returned; they never entered the river St. Lawrence.”—Moylan to Reed, 2 January, 1776.
[1 ]“Manly is truly our hero of the sea; poor — [probably Martindale, commander of the Washington] is gone to England; his vessel was not at all calculated for the service; she was fitted out at an enormous expense, did nothing, and struck without firing a gun. Coit I look upon to be a mere blubber, and — — are indolent and inactive souls. Their time was out yesterday, and from frequent rubs they got from me (under the General’s wings) they feel sore, and decline serving longer.”—Moylan to Reed, 2 January, 1776.
[1 ]Received and read in Congress, 13 December, 1775.
[1 ]“It was mentioned to me yesterday in conversation that the militia of this government who were ordered in to supply the places of the Connecticut troops, are allowed 40/ per month of 28 days. The first I highly approved of, because I was unwilling to see any invidious distinction in pay, the never failing consequence of which is jealousy and discord. But, Sir, if the General Court of this Colony have resolved on the latter, you must give me leave to add, that it aims the most fatal stab to the peace of this army that ever was given, and that Lord North himself could not have devised a more effectual blow to the recruiting Service. Excuse me, Sir, for the strength of these expressions. If my information is wrong (I had it from General Heath, who says he had it from a member of your Court) they are altogether improper and I crave your pardon for them; if right my Zeal in the American cause must plead my excuse.”—Washington to the President of the Council of Massachusetts Bay, 6 December, 1775.
[1 ]“You entreat the general officers to recommend to Congress the giving of a bounty. But his Excellency General Washington has often assured us that the Congress would not give a bounty, and before they would give a bounty they would give up the dispute. The cement between the Northern and Southern colonies is not very strong if forty thousand lawful will induce the Congress to give us up.”—General Greene to Governor Ward.
[2 ]At this time the army at Cambridge was suffering much distress for the want of firewood and hay. The Assembly of Massachusetts undertook to supply these articles, by calling on the towns within twenty miles of Boston, to furnish at stated times specific quantities, according to the population of each town, and its distance from camp. This requisition was generally complied with by the selectmen and committees of the towns, although it was issued only in the form of a recommendation, and the wants of the army were effectually relieved. These supplies were furnished at the charge of the colony. A committee of the Assembly was likewise authorized to procure wood from such woodlands as they thought proper, even without the consent of the owner, a reasonable price being paid for the wood thus taken away.—Journal of the Assembly, December 2d, 16th, and 23d.
[1 ]General Schuyler had written in the letter to which this is a reply;—“Nothing can surpass the impatience of the troops from the New England colonies to get to their firesides. Near three hundred of them arrived a few days ago, unable to do any duty; but as soon as I administered that grand specific, a discharge, they instantly acquired health, and rather than be detained a few days to cross Lake George, they undertook a march from here of two hundred miles with the greatest alacrity.
[2 ]This was a favorite phrase with Washington. He uses it in his letter to Deputy Governor Cooke, p. 188 ante.
[1 ]On December 8th Congress appointed a standing committee, composed of one member from each Colony, to examine into and report upon the qualifications of such persons as might apply for offices in the Continental army. The names of the members are given in the Journals, 8 December, 1775, and 16 January, 1776.
[1 ]“There are limes, lemons and oranges on board, which, being perishable, you must sell immediately. The General will want some of each, as well of the sweetmeats and pickles that are on board, as his lady will be here today or tomorrow. You will please to pick up such things on board as you think will be acceptable to her, and send them as soon as possible; he does not mean to receive any thing without payment.”—Moylan to William Bartlett, 10 December, 1775.
[1 ]“I was much pleased to hear of the zeal of the people of Connecticut, and the readiness of the inhabitants of the several towns to march to this camp, upon their being acquainted with the behavior and desertion of their troops. I have nothing to suggest for the consideration of your Assembly; I am confident they will not be wanting in their exertions for supporting the just and constitutional rights of the colonies.”—Washington to Governor Trumbull, 15 December, 1775.
[1 ]“To reward and encourage Military Merit, The Congress thought proper to increase the pay of the Captains and Subalterns of the Continental Army; and as uniformity and decency in dress, are essentially necessary in Appearance & regularity of an Army His Excellency recommends it earnestly to the Officers to put themselves in a proper uniform—The Field Officers of each of the new Corps, will set the example, by cloathing themselves in a Regimental of their respective Corps, and it is not doubted but the Captains and Subalterns, will immediately follow the example: The General by no means recommends, or desires Officers to run into costly, or expensive Regimentals; no matter how plain, or coarse, so they are but uniform in their colour, Cut and Fashion; The officers belonging to those Regiments whose uniforms are not yet fixed upon, had better delay making their Regimentals until they are.”—Orderly Book, 11th December 1775:
[2 ]The proceedings of the court-martial are given in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1709.
[1 ]“A letter from General Washington dated 14th December being delivered by two strangers was read. Resolved that the same be committed to the Secret Committee, who are directed to confer with the bearers, and pursue such measures as they may think proper for the interest of the United Colonies.”—Journals of Congress (MS.), 30 December, 1775.
[1 ]Congress determined on December 2 to send the recently equipped continental vessels against Lord Dunmore, and pilots were sent for from Virginia. Two of the best pilots, Edward Cooper and William Ballard, came up to Philadelphia soon after Christmas 1775, but the appearance of two British vessels in the Chesapeake, put an end to the attempt. Richard Henry Lee to Arthur Lee, 6 July, 1783.
[1 ]Henry Knox was appointed Colonel of the regiment of artillery by Congress, on the 17th of November.
[2 ]Connanicut is a small island opposite Newport, in Narraganset Bay. Captain Wallace landed on the island with a body of sailors and marines, burnt several houses, plundered the people’s goods, and drove off the cattle.
[3 ]“I do myself the honor to address this letter to you by Mr. Prenet and another French gentleman, who arrived here [Providence] last night, with Captain Rhodes, from Cape François, who were despatched some time since from this place for powder. Mr. Prenet comes extremely well recommended to our committee, for providing powder, from a merchant of character, at the Cape. He hath proposals to make for supplying the United Colonies with arms and warlike stores. I am informed that the other gentleman is a person of some consequence.”—Governor Cooke to Washington, 11 December, 1775. “I have heard their proposals and plans for supplying the continent with arms and ammunition, which appear plausible, and to promise success. But not thinking myself authorized to enter into any contract respecting the same, and being not fully acquainted with the measures Congress have adopted for procuring these articles, I have prevailed upon them to go to Philadelphia, and recommended them, and a consideration of their plan, to that body, when the matter will be finally agreed upon, or rejected.”—Washington to Governor Cooke, 14 December, 1775.
[1 ]“Philadelphia, Nov. 22. Yesterday the Lady of his Excellency General Washington arrived here, upon her way to New England. She was met at the Lower Ferry by the officers of the different battalions, the troop of light horse, and the light infantry of the second battalion, who escorted her into the city.”—Penn. Gazette, 22 November, 1775.
[1 ]These jealousies were undoubtedly those exhibited between the Southern and New England delegates, of which some mention has already been made. Circumstances had tended to increase rather than diminish these jealousies, and as a result had seriously obstructed the action of Congress. The New Englanders were opposed to General Schuyler, while their democratic ideas were very displeasing to the South. When Harrison and Lynch visited the camp in October, what they heard not a little surprised them. “You ought, my friend to be a little more upon your guard in declaring your Republican sentiments to the Southern people. Virginians and Carolinians are not yet prepared for such doctrines. . . . They seem to me without exception to be exactly in the whimsical state of the prince of Liliput, hobbling with one high shoe and one low one—homines qui nec totam servitatem pati possunt, nec totam libertatem. . . . Poor Gates, who is as mad an enthusiast as Colonel Rumbold himself has frightened ’em out of their wits.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 10 and 20 October, 1775. The prejudice was often personal. “One of our members of Congress [John Adams] sets out today for New England. Whether his intents be wicked or not, I doubt much; he should be watched.”—Lynch to Washington, 8 December, 1775. The decision to pay the troops by calendar months appears to have been a measure supported by the Southern colonies, as the New England colonies had already decided to pay by the lunar month; so also the opposition to a bounty came from the South. “You entreat the general officers to recommend to the Congress the giving of a bounty. But his Excellency, General Washington, has often assured us that the Congress would not give a bounty, and before they would give a bounty they would give up the dispute. The cement between the Northern and Southern colonies is not very strong, if forty thousand lawful, will induce the Congress to give us up. Although I do not imagine that the necessity of allowing a bounty would have broken the Union, yet it was a sufficient intimation that the bare mention was disagreeable. . . . Most of the generals belong to the Northern governments; if the Congress refuse to hear their delegates, I apprehend they would the generals also.”—General Greene to Samuel Ward, 31 December, 1775. Also John Adams to Joseph Hawley, 25 November, 1775. The trade policy of Congress was regarded as bearing unequally on the different colonies, and was a subject of debate often and hotly. Behind all this was the contest between those who still hoped for a reconciliation with Britain, and those who were urging Congress to cut away all connection with the mother country. “It is almost impossible to move any thing [in Congress], but you instantly see private friendships and enmities, and provincial views and prejudices intermingle in the consultation.”—John Adams, II, 448. See also General Greene to Samuel Ward, 31 December, 1775.
[1 ]On November 7 Dunmore had issued a proclamation declaring the colony to be under martial law and summoning every person capable of bearing arms to resort to his Majesty’s standard, or be looked upon as traitors to his Majesty’s crown and government. But the part that gave the most offense to the colonists was the promise of freedom to all indented servants, negroes and others “appertaining to rebels” who should join his troops. Congress interpreted this proclamation as one “tearing up the foundations of civil authority and government” within the colony of Virginia, and advised that such a form of government should be established as should best produce the happiness of the people and most effectually secure peace and good order in the colony during the continuance of the dispute with Britain. Journals, 4 December, 1775. A month before the proclamation was issued Dunmore had sworn “by the living God, that if any injury or insult was offered to himself, he would declare freedom to the slaves.” See John Adams, ii., 458.
[1 ]When Ethan Allen was captured at Montreal, he was taken before the British General, Prescott, who treated him not only with extreme rudeness, but cruelty. Allen writes, that, after receiving from him much personal abuse, “he ordered one of his officers to take me on board the Gaspee, schooner of war, and confine me, hands and feet, in irons, which was done the same afternoon I was taken.”—Narrative, &c., p. 26. The account of this treatment was confirmed to General Montgomery, after he had taken Montreal; and when General Prescott fell into his hands, he gave notice to General Schuyler of his previous conduct.
[1 ]Alluding to Lord Howe, a brother of General Howe, who had been slain in the last war at the attack on Ticonderoga under General Abercromby. He was an officer of great merit, and extremely popular in the colonies. The province of Massachusetts caused a monument to be erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey.—Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, Vol. iii., p. 71.
[2 ]By sundry persons and accounts just from Boston, I am informed that the ministerial army is in very great distress for want of fresh provisions, and having received intelligence that there are two hundred fat cattle on Block Island, and some transport vessels cruizing that way in quest of necessaries for the army, I must request you to have the cattle, &c., removed from thence, immediately; and from every other place where their ships can come and take them off. It is a matter of the utmost importance to prevent their getting a supply; if they can be hindered now, the advanced season of the year, and the inclement weather, which we may expect ere long, will put it out of their power.”—Washington to Governor Cooke, 17 December, 1775.
[3 ]The part of the above letter, concerning Colonel Allen, was written in consequence of an order from Congress. It had also been resolved by Congress, that an exchange of prisoners was proper, citizens for citizens, officers for officers of equal rank, and soldier for soldier.
[1 ]Colonel Kirkland was described by Lord Dunmore as an American “truly well-disposed to his Majesty’s service,” a man of “real worth and spirit.”
[2 ]See Journals of Congress, January, 1776. In the printed edition of these Journals two of the resolutions are omitted. I take them from MS. Journal. “Resolved, That the seizing and securing the barracks and castle of St. Augustine will greatly contribute to the safety of these Colonies, therefore, it is earnestly recommended to the Colonies of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia to undertake the reduction of St. Augustine, if it be thought practicable.
[1 ]A hill on the west side of Boston.
[1 ]By the first resolve of Congress respecting these two battalions of marines, they were to be raised out of the army. Upon the representation of General Washington, that this would cause an interference with his arrangements, it was voted that the marines should be raised in addition to the proposed army. Congress had also empowered the Commander-in-chief to call out the militia in the New England colonies whenever he should find it necessary, and requested those colonies severally to afford him all the assistance in their power to effect this object.
[2 ]Journals of Congress, 5 January, 1776.
[3 ]Received by Congress, December 30. Referred to Lynch, Hooper, Wythe, Deane and J. Adams.
[1 ]“The evening before General Montgomery landed on the island of Montreal, Mr. Carleton embarked his garrison on board of some vessels and small craft, and made two attempts to pass our batteries near the mouth of the Sorel, but was driven back by Colonel Easton, who has behaved with bravery and much alertness. On the 19th Mr. Carleton, disguised as a Canadian, and accompanied by six peasants, found means to make his escape. Brigadier-General Prescott surrendered next day by capitulation.”—General Schuyler’s Letter.
[1 ]Major Rogers had been celebrated for his adventures and feats of valor in the French war as the companion of Putnam and Stark. He wrote a journal of those events, which is not without ability and interest. He was once governor of Michillimackinac. After the peace he lived in New Hampshire, and continued an officer on half-pay. Dr. Wheelock’s letter, from which the above is an extract, contains some other curious particulars about him; whether true or fabulous, the reader must judge.
[1 ]“Should the force sailed from Boston, be destined for Rhode Island, I tremble for the consequences; as the colony, in its present exhausted state, cannot, without assistance defend the island. At their [the general committee] unanimous request, I apply to your excellency for a detachment from the Continental army of one regiment, to be stationed upon Rhode Island; and that you will please to appoint a general officer, to take command of the whole force there. They also desired me to inform you, that Gen. Lee would be very acceptable to the colony; and to request that the general officer who may be appointed, may set out immediately, to take command of the troops upon the island, and put it in the best posture of defence.”—Governor Cooke to Washington, 19 December, 1775.
[1 ]“Notwithstanding the great pains taken by the quartermaster general to procure blankets for the army, he finds it impossible to procure a number sufficient. He has tried the different places to the southward, without success; as what were there, are engaged to supply the troops in each place. Our soldiers are in great distress; and I know of no other way to remedy the evil, than applying to you. Cannot some be got from the different towns? Most houses could spare one; some of them many.”—Washington to Governor Cooke, and President of the New Hampshire Convention, 23 December, 1775. One hundred and eighty blankets were thus collected “full as large a number as I expected to procure” the governor wrote.
[1 ]“The Indians delivered us a speech on the 12th, in which they related the substance of all the conferences Col. Johnson had with them the last summer, concluding with that at Montreal, where he delivered to each of the Canadian tribes a war belt and the hatchet, who accepted it. After which they were invited to feast on a Bostonian and drink his blood, an ox being roasted for the purpose, and a pipe of wine to drink. The war song was also sung. One of the chiefs of the Six Nations that attended at that conference, accepted of a very large black war belt with a hatchet depictured in it, but would neither eat nor drink, nor sing the war song. This famous belt they have delivered up, and we have now a full proof that the ministerial servants have attempted to engage the savages against us.”—Schuyler to Congress, 14 December, 1775.
[1 ]Allen Cameron, Doctor John Smith (or Smyth) and John Connolly were apprehended at Hagers Town by the Committee of Frederick County, Maryland, and some incriminating documents found on them. Connolly had been commissioned by Gage to raise a company in the back country and Canada, and was arrested when on his way to the Delaware Indians bearing a speech from Dunmore to enlist their efforts against the colonists. Cameron was to be appointed a lieutenant, and Smith, a surgeon in the new company. Both were Scotchmen. Connolly was kept a prisoner till the end of the war. A narrative of his experiences is printed in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1888 and 1889. See also note to the letter of Washington to Congress, 30 January, 1776, post.
[2 ]“A gross calculation of the sum wanted to pay off the army upon the old establishment and to pay one month’s pay advance to the new established regiments, with the other necessary contingent and incidental charges.
N. B. The five Connecticut regiments upon the old establishment are not included in the above account, they being gone home, and will be cleared off by the colony.”—Enclosure in letter to Congress.
[1 ]Peleg Wadsworth.
[2 ]Intelligence had been received from Boston, that eight large ships and two small ones sailed out of the harbor on the 16th. Four days afterwards General Lee set off for Newport, attended by a guard and a party of riflemen. He went and returned through Providence, and was absent from camp ten days. Besides giving directions respecting the fortifications and other means of defence at Newport, he called before him several obnoxious persons, and tendered to them the oath of fidelity to the country. Two custom-house officers and another person, refusing to take the oath, were put under guard and sent to Providence.
[3 ]Read 3 January, 1776.
[1 ]“As the time is just at hand, when the Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Rhode Island Troops (not again inlisted) will be released from their present Engagement, the General recommends to them to consider what may be the consequence of their abrupt departure from the lines; should any accident happen to them, before the New Army gets greater strength, they not only fix eternal disgrace upon themselves as soldiers, but inevitable Ruin perhaps upon their country and families.
[1 ]“I have the opportunity of acquainting you that Congress has just received a letter from General Washington enclosing a copy of an application of our General Assembly to him to order payment to four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham. The General says they were never regimented, and he cannot comply with the request of the Assembly without the direction of Congress. A committee is appointed to consider the letter, of which I am one. I fear there will be a difficulty, and therefore I shall endeavor to prevent a report on this part of the letter, unless I see a prospect of justice being done to the Colony, till I can receive from you authentic evidence of those companies having been actually employed by the Continental officers, as I conceive they have been in the service of the Continent. I wish you would inform me whether the two companies stationed at Chelsea and Malden were paid out of the Continent’s chest. I suppose they were; and if so, I cannot see reason for any hesitation about the payment of these.”—Samuel Adams to John Adams, 15 and 16 January, 1776.
[1 ]“The General was in great hopes that a sufficient sum of money would have been sent from Philadelphia to have paid the troops for the months of October, November & December, but is sorry to inform them, that there is no more yet arrived than will allow one months pay, the advance pay to the New Army and Blanket Money, furnishing at the same time the Commissary & Qr. Mr. Generals, with such sums as are necessary for conducting business. The General has already wrote express to Congress for more money and hopes speedily to be furnished with a sufficient sum to pay them in full.”—Orderly Book, 29 December, 1775.
[1 ]Journals of Congress, 16 January, 1776.
[1 ]General Gates’ order (given on page 17 of this volume), excluded negroes from enlistments. On September 26 Edward Rutledge in Congress moved the discharge of all the negroes in the army, being strongly supported by many of the southern delegates; but the motion was lost. Bancroft. The conference committee considered the question “Ought not negroes to be excluded from the new enlistment, especially such as are slaves? All were thought improper by the council of officers.” And the decision was: “Agreed, that they be rejected altogether.”
[1 ]Congress directed that Col. Gridley should be continued chief engineer in the army at Cambridge, if the General “thought proper,” and fixed the pay of assistants at 26⅔ dollars a month.
[1 ]“Of the people on board is a member of their Provincial Congress, two other persons of note, whom Lord Dunmore had taken prisoners and ordered to Boston to be tried, it is supposed for their lives.”—Anonymous Letter, Beverly, 10 December, 1775. Matthews was a captain of the minute men. The London Gazette, 26 December, 1775, gives the name of the member of the Congress as Robinson.
[1 ]“He [Lee] has taken the Tories in hand and sworn them by a very solemn oath that they would not, for the future, grant any supplies to the enemy, directly or indirectly, nor give them any kind of intelligence, nor suffer it to be done by others, without giving information.”—Greene Life of Greene, 1., 125.
[2 ]Congress adopted this second suggestion, and fixed the pay at 33⅓ dollars a month.
[1 ]Received in Congress January 15th. Referred to Wythe, Adams and Wilson.