Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
New York, 5 August, 1776.
I was honored with your favor of the 31st ulto. on Friday with its several Inclosures, and return you my thanks for the agreeable Intelligence you were pleased to communicate of the arrival of one of our ships with such valuable Articles as Arms and Ammunition, also of the capture made by a privateer.
The mode for the exchange of prisoners, resolved on by Congress, is acceded to by General Howe, so far as it comes within his command.1 A copy of my letter and his answer upon the subject I have the honor to enclose you; to which I beg leave to refer Congress.
The enclosed copy of a letter from Colonel Tupper, who had the general command of the galleys here, will inform Congress of the engagement between them and the ships of war up the North River on Saturday evening, and of the damage we sustained. What injury was done to the ships, I cannot ascertain. It is said they were hulled several times by our shot. All accounts agree, that our officers and men, during the whole of the affair, behaved with great spirit and bravery. The damage done to the galleys shows beyond question, that they had a warm time of it. The ships still remain up the river; and, before any thing further can be attempted against them, should it be thought advisable, the galleys must be repaired. I have also transmitted Congress a copy of a letter I received by Saturday’s post from Governor Cooke, to which I refer them for the intelligence it contains. The seizure of our vessels by the Portuguese is, I fear, an event too true. Their dependence upon the British crown for aid against the Spaniards must force them to comply with every thing required of them. I wish the Morris may get safe in with her cargo. As to the ships which Captain Buchlin saw on the 25th ultimo, they are probably arrived, for yesterday twenty-five sail came into the Hook.
By a letter from General Ward of the 29 Ulto. he informs me that two of our Armed Vessels the day before had brought into Marblehead a Ship bound from Hallifax to Staten Island. She had in about 1509£ cost of British Goods, besides a good many belonging to Tories. A Hallifax paper found on board her I have inclosed, as also an account sent me by Mr. Hazard, transmitted him by some of his Friends, as given by the Tories taken in her. Their Intelligence I dare say is true respecting the arrival of part of the Hessian Troops. Genl. Ward in his Letter mentions the day this prize was taken, Capn. Burke in another of our Armed Vessels had an Engagement with a Ship and a Schooner which he thought were Transports, and would have taken them, had it not been for an unlucky accident in having his Quarter deck blown up. Two of his men were killed and several more wounded. The hulks and three chevaux-de-frise, that have been preparing to obstruct the channel, have got up to the place they are intended for, and will be sunk as soon as possible.1 I have transmitted Congress a Genl. Return of the Army in & about this place on the 3d Inst. by which they will perceive the amount of our force.
Before I conclude I would beg leave to remind Congress of the necessity there is of having some major-generals appointed for this army, the duties of which are great, extensive, and impossible to be discharged as they ought, and the good of the service requires, without a competent number of officers of this rank. I mean to write more fully upon the subject; and, as things are drawing fast to an issue, and it is necessary to make every proper disposition and arrangement that we possibly can, I pray that this matter may be taken into consideration, and claim their early attention. I well know what has prevented appointments of this sort for some time past; but the situation of our affairs will not justify longer delays in this instance. By the first opportunity I shall take the liberty of giving you my sentiments more at large upon the propriety & necessity of the measure. I have &c.1
[1 ]Journals of Congress, 22 July, 1776.
[1 ]The mode of constucting the chevaux-de-frise was a contrivance of General Putnam’s, as appears by a letter from him to General Gates, dated July 26th: “The enemy’s fleet now lies in the bay very safe, close under Staten Island. Their troops possess no land here but the Island. Is it not very strange, that those invincible troops, who were to destroy and lay waste all this country with their fleets and army, are so fond of islands and peninsulas, and dare not put their feet on the main? But I hope, by the blessing of God and good friends, we shall pay them a visit on their island. For that end, we are preparing fourteen fire-ships to go into their fleet, some of which are ready charged and fitted to sail, and I hope soon to have them all fixed. We are preparing chevaux-de-frise, at which we make great despatch by the help of ships, which are to be sunk; a scheme of mine, which you may be assured is very simple, a plan of which I send you. The two ships’ sterns lie towards each other, about seventy feet apart. Three large logs, which reach from ship to ship, are fastened to them. The two ships and logs stop the river two hundred and eighty feet. The ships are to be sunk, and, when hauled down on one side, the picks will be raised to a proper height, and they must inevitably stop the river if the enemy will let us sink them.”—MS. Letter.
[1 ]Read in Congress August 6th.