Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MAJOR AND BRIGADIER GENERALS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO THE MAJOR AND BRIGADIER GENERALS. - 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 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
[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.”