Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE. - 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 MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.
Cambridge, 23 January, 1776.
I received your favor of the 16th instant, and am exceedingly sorry to hear, that Congress countermanded the embarkation of the two regiments intended against the Tories on Long Island.1 They, I doubt not, had their reasons; but to me it appears, that the period is arrived, when nothing less than the most decisive and vigorous measures should be pursued. Our enemies, from the other side of the Atlantic, will be sufficiently numerous; it highly concerns us to have as few internal ones as possible.
As Congress seem to have altered their views in this instance, and the men, which went with you from Connecticut, are upon a very different footing from what I expected, it will be right to give Congress the earliest notice of your proceeding, and to disband your troops as soon as you think circumstances will admit of it.2
In consequence of the melancholy reverse of our affairs in Canada, an application was made to me for succour, and happy should I have been, if the situation of this army could have afforded it. All I could do was to lay the matter before this and the governments of Connecticut and New Hampshire, and urge the expediency and necessity of their sending thither a reinforcement of three regiments there immediately. Mr. Trumbull and his Council of Safety had anticipated my request. The other two colonies have adopted the measure. The three regiments are now raising, and, I would willingly hope, will arrive in time to reinstate matters in that quarter, and give them a more agreeable aspect than they now have.
I shall be much obliged by your pressing Colonel McDougall to forward the shells mentioned in his letter of the 2d instant, as they are much wanted, and also to spare me some powder if he possibly can.1 You know our stock of this necessary article is small and inconsiderable, and you know, too, that we have a demand for a further supply.
The progress in raising recruits for the new army being very slow, I have applied to this colony, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, for ten regiments of militia, to continue in service till the 1st of April next, which they have granted me. As soon as they come in, and I can get provided with proper means, I am determined to attempt something. Of this I would have you take no notice.
Within a few days past several persons have come out of Boston. They all agree, that General Clinton has gone upon some expedition. Some say he has between four and five hundred men, others, part of two regiments. What his force consists of is not precisely known; but I am almost certain he has gone with some. His destination must be south of this, and very probably for New York. I thought it necessary to give you this information, that you may be on your guard, and prepared to receive him as well as you can.
I shall be glad to hear from you frequently, and to be informed of any occurrences you may think material. I am, dear Sir, with great regard, &c.
[1 ]See Journal of Congress, January 3d and 10th.
[2 ]For an account of General Lee’s proceedings in New York, see the Life of Gouverneur Morris, vol. i., pp. 74-88.
[1 ]In June, 1775, the New York Provincial Congress had formed a scheme for raising a battalion, to consist of four regiments, and on the 30th of that month Alexander McDougall was appointed colonel of the first regiment. He had been extremely zealous in the cause of liberty, acting at an early hour a bold and decided part, by a correspondence with leaders in the other colonies, and by promoting efficient measures in New York. Two or three years before, he had been imprisoned by the old colonial Assembly, on suspicion of writing and publishing his sentiments too freely concerning the character and deliberations of that body. His principles and conduct throughout the war accorded with these early pledges of fidelity to his country’s interests.