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.
Head-Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 20 September, 1776.
I have been honored with your favor of the 16th with its inclosures to prevent the injury and abuses which would arise from the Militia and other troops carrying away Ammunition and Continental property. I have published the substance of the Resolves upon the subject in General Orders.
Since my letter of yesterday nothing of importance has cast up. The Enemy are forming a large and extensive Encampment in the plains mentioned in my last and are busily employed in transporting their cannon and Stores from Long Island. As they advance them this way, we may reasonably expect their operations will not long be deferred. * * * Genls. Howe1 and Erskine’s proclamations shew the measures that have been pursued to force & seduce the Inhabitants of Long Island from their allegiance to the States and to assist in their destruction.
As the period will soon arrive, when the troops composing the present army (a few excepted) will be disbanded according to the tenor of their enlistments, and the most fatal consequences may ensue, if a suitable and timely provision is not made in this instance, I take the liberty of suggesting to Congress not only the expediency, but the absolute necessity there is, that their earliest attention should be had to this subject. In respect to the time that troops should be engaged for, I have frequently given my sentiments; nor have I omitted to express my opinion of the difficulties that will attend raising them, nor of the impracticability of effecting it, without the allowance of a large and extraordinary bounty. It is a melancholy and painful consideration to those, who are concerned in the work, and have the command, to be forming armies constantly, and to be left by troops just when they begin to deserve the name, or perhaps at a moment when an important blow is expected. This, I am well informed, will be the case at Ticonderoga with part of the troops there, unless some system is immediately come into by which they can be induced to stay.
Genl. Schuyler tells me in a Letter received yesterday that De.Haas, Maxwell’s and Wines’ Regimts. stand engaged only till the beginning of next month, and that the men, he is fearfull, will not remain longer than the time of their inlistments.
I would also beg leave to mention to Congress, that the season is fast approaching when Cloaths of every kind will be wanted for the Army. Their distress is already great and will be encreased as the weather becomes more severe.
Our situation is now bad, but is much better than the militia that are coming to join us from the States of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut in consequence of the requisition of Congress. They, I am informed, have not a single Tent nor a necessary of any kind, nor can I conceive how it will be possible to support them. These circumstances are extremely alarming, and oblige me to wish Congress to have all the Tents, Cloathing of every kind, and Camp necessaries provided and forwarded, that are to be procured. These Eastern reinforcements have not a single necessary, not a pan or a kettle, in which we are now greatly deficient. It is with reluctance that I trouble Congress with these matters but to whom can I resort for relief unless to them? The necessity therefore, which urges the application, will excuse it, I am persuaded.
I have not been able to transmit Congress a General Return of the Army this week, owing to the peculiar situation of our affairs, and the great shifting and changing among the troops. As soon as I can procure one a copy shall be forwarded to Congress. I have &c.
P. S. Sept. 21st, 1776. Things with us remain in the situation they were yesterday.1
[1 ]“I received yesterday the enclosed declaration by a gentleman from Elizabethtown, who told me many copies were found in the possession of the soldiers from Canada that were landed there a day or two ago by General Howe’s permission. I shall not comment upon it. It seems to be founded on the plan that has been artfully pursued for some time past.”—Washington to Congress, 27 September, 1776.
[1 ]“The General hopes that Soldiers fighting in such a cause, as ours, will not be discouraged by any difficulties that may offer, and informs them that the grounds he now possesses, are to be defended at all events. Any officer or soldier therefore, who (upon the approach or attack of the Enemy’s forces by land or water) presumes to turn his back and flee, shall be instantly shot down, and all good officers are hereby authorized and required to see this done, that the brave and gallant part of the Army may not fall a sacrifice, to the base and cowardly part, or share their disgrace in a cowardly or unmanly Retreat. The Heights we are now upon may be defended against double the force we have to contend with; and the whole Continent expects it of us; but that we may assist the natural strength of the ground, as much as possible and make our Posts more secure, the General most earnestly recommends it to the Commanding Officers of every Brigade, and Regiment, to turn out every man they have off duty, for fatigue, and apply to Col. Putnam for tools, and directions how and where to work; This measure is also earnestly recommended to the men, as it will tend greatly to their own security and ease, as the guards will be lessened in proportion, as the grounds get strengthened.”—Orderly Book, 20 Sept., 1776.