TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
New York, 18 May, 1776.
My Dear Sir,
In great haste I write you a few lines to cover the enclosed; they came in the manner you see them, and as explained in Captain Langdon’s letter to me. I hesitated some time in determining whether I could, with propriety, select them from the rest, considering in what manner they came to my hands; but as there are some things in each which may serve to irritate, I concluded it best to send not only the one directed to you, but the other also, (to Doctor Franklin) under cover to you, as you may communicate and secrete such parts as you like. I have no time to add the necessity of vigorous exertions; they are too obvious to need any stimulus from me. Adieu, my dear Sir.
P. S. Upon second thought, knowing that Doctor Franklin is in Canada, I send you a copy only of a letter to him, (which I take to be from Doctor Lee) and the original to the Doctor.
George Merchant, one of Arnold’s men captured at Quebec and sent a prisoner to England, had made his escape and returned to America with letters “concealed in the waistband of his breeches.” The letters were from Arthur Lee and were addressed to “Lieutenant Governor Colden,” as a blind. They are printed in a garbled state in Sparks, Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, i., 380 et seq.
“I do myself the honor to transmit to you the enclosed letters and papers, I received this morning in the state they now are, and which contain sundry matters of intelligence of the most interesting nature. As the consideration of them may lead to important consequences, and the adoption of several measures in the military line, I have thought it advisable for General Gates to attend Congress, he will follow to-morrow, and satisfy & explain to them some points they may wish to be informed in the course of their deliberations, not having an opportunity at this time to submit my thoughts to them upon these interesting accounts.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 18 May, 1776.
“The General has the pleasure to inform the recruiting officers of the regiments that came from the eastward (no allowance having been heretofore made them) that upon a representation of their case, Congress have been pleased to allow a Dollar and one third of a Dollar, for each good, and able bodied man, that shall be recruited, for the purpose of completing the several regiments, as a compensation for their trouble, and expence; and that the same allowance will be made those officers, who have heretofore inlisted men, upon the new establishment, excluding all Boys, and such men as were inlisted in Camp out of the old regiments.
“The several Officers, which have been employed in this service, are to settle this matter, under these exceptions, with their several Colonels, or commanding officers; and to give in rolls of the men’s names, by them respectively inlisted.
“The utmost care and exactness is recommended to the Officers claiming this allowance, as proof will be required, agreeable to the above directions.”—Orderly Book, 18 May, 1776.
“The Brigadier Generals are desired to make their respective Brigades, perfectly acquainted with the alarm posts, which have been reported to the Commander in Chief: But in case of an Alarm, the respective regiments are to draw up, opposite to their encampments, or quarters, until they receive orders to repair to the alarm posts above referred to. The following Signals are to give the alarm, to all the Troops (as well regulars as Militia) and the Inhabitants of the city; (viz). In the day time two Cannon to be fired from the rampart at Fort George, and a Flag hoisted from the Top of General Washington’s Headquarters: In the night time, two Cannon fired as above from Fort George, and two lighted Lantherns hoisted from the top of Head Quarters aforesaid.
“The Colonels and officers commanding Corps, are immediately to have their men compleated with twenty-four rounds of powder and ball properly, and compleatly, made up into Cartridges, six rounds of which each man is to have in his pouch, or cartridge box, for ordinary duty; the remaining eighteen are to be wrapped up tight, in a Cloth, or coarse Paper, and mark’d with the name of the soldier to whom they belong, and carefully packed into an empty powder barrel. The Captain’s or Officers commanding Companies, are to see that this is done, and to take into his own possession, the barrel with the cartridges so packed, and to have them delivered to the men, as occasion may require; And whatsoever Soldier shall be found wasting or embezzling his ammunition, shall not only be made to pay for it, but be punished for so base and shameful a neglect, and disobedience of Orders.
“Notwithstanding the care and pains that has been taken to provide good arms for the troops, on examination they are found to be in the most shocking situation. The Colonels or commanding Officers of the regiments, are requested to get the arms belonging to their regiments, put in good order as soon as possible, the work to be executed at the Continental Armoury, or elsewhere, so as to have them repaired in the most expeditious manner—Every man to be furnished with a good Bayonet. But all that have had Bayonets heretofore, and have lost them to pay for the new ones. Wherever a Soldier is known to have injured his gun, on purpose, or suffered it to be injured by negligence, to be chargeable with repairs. An account to be rendered of the expence of those repairs, after deducting what each Individual ought to pay. A warrant will be given the commanding Officer of the regiments for the discharge of the same.
“All repairs that are done to the arms hereafter, except unavoidable accidents, to be paid by the men, and stopt out of their wages by the commanding officer of the regiment. An Account to be rendered to him, by the Captains, or commanding Officers of companies.”—Orderly Book, 19 May, 1776.