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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, 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
[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.