Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOSEPH REED. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO JOSEPH REED. - 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 JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 25 March, 1776.
My Dear Sir,
Since my last, things remain nearly in statu quo. The enemy have the best knack at puzzling people I ever met with in my life. They have blown up, burnt, and demolished the Castle totally, and are now all in Nantasket Road. They have been there ever since Wednesday. What they are doing, the Lord knows. Various are the conjectures. The Bostonians think their stay absolutely necessary to fit them for sea, as the vessels, neither in themselves nor their lading, were in any degree fit for a voyage, having been loaded in great haste and much disorder. This opinion is corroborated by a deserter from one of the transports, who says they have yards, booms, and bowsprits yet to fix. Others again think, that they have a mind to pass over the equinoctial gale before they put out, not being in the best condition to stand one; others, that they are a reinforcement, which I believe has arrived, as I have had an account of the sailing of fifteen vessels from the West Indies. But my opinion of the matter is, that they want to retrieve their disgrace before they go off, and I think a favorable opportunity presents itself to them. They have now got their whole force into one collected body, and no posts to guard. We have detached six regiments to New York, and have many points to look to, and, on Monday next, ten regiments of militia, which were brought in to serve till the first of April, will be disengaged.1 From former experience, we have found it as practicable to stop a torrent, as these people, when their time is up. If this should be the case now, what more favorable opening can the enemy wish for, to make a push upon our lines, nay, upon the back of our lines at Roxbury, as they can land two miles from them and pass behind? I am under more apprehension from them now than ever, and am taking every precaution I can to guard against the evil; but we have a kind of people to deal with, who will not fear danger till the bayonet is at their breast, and then they are susceptible enough of it. I am fortifying Fort Hill in Boston, and demolishing the lines on the Neck there, as they are a defence against the country only, and making such other dispositions, as appear necessary for a general defence. I can spare no more men till I see the enemy’s back fairly turned, and then I shall hasten towards New York.
You mention Mr. Webb in one of your letters for an assistant.1 He will be agreeable enough to me, if you think him qualified for the business. What kind of a hand he writes, I know not. I believe but a cramped one; latterly none at all, as he has either the gout, or rheumatism, or both. He is a man fond of company and gayety, and is of a tender constitution. Whether, therefore, such a person would answer your purpose so well as a plodding, methodical person, whose sole business should be to arrange his papers in such order as to produce any one at any instant it is called for, and capable at the same time of composing a letter, is what you have to consider. I can only add, that I have no one in view myself, and wish you success in your choice; being with great truth and sincerity, dear Sir, your affectionate servant.
P. S. I have taken occasion to hint to a certain gentleman in this camp, without introducing names, my apprehensions of his being concerned in trade. He protests most solemnly that he is not, directly nor indirectly, and derives no other profit than the Congress allows him for defraying the expenses, to wit, 5 per cent. on the goods purchased.2
[1 ]“I now beg leave to inform you, that I have just received intelligence that the whole of the ministerial fleet, besides three or four ships, got under way this evening in Nantasket Road, and were standing out for sea; in consequence of which, I shall detach a brigade of six regiments immediately for New York, under the command of Brigadier-General Sullivan (Brigadier-General Heath having gone with the first), which will be succeeded by another in a day or two; and, directly after, I shall forward the remainder of the army, except four or five regiments, which will be left for taking care of the barracks and public stores, and fortifying the town, and erecting such works for its defence as the honorable General Court may think necessary; and then follow myself.
[1 ]Samuel B. Webb.
[2 ]Probably Mifflin, as the Quartermaster-General was allowed five per cent. on purchases.