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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - 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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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
[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.