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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, 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 By the best information we have from thence, the stores have been withdrawn some time.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
[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.