Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES WARREN, PRESIDENT OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO JAMES WARREN, PRESIDENT OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
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
[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.