Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. V (1776-1777).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Peekskill, 11 November, 1776.
I have only time to acknowledge, the honor of your Letter of the 5th Inst and its several Inclosures and to inform you that agreeable to the resolves of Congress, I shall use every measure in my power, that the moving and present confused state of the army will admit of, for to appoint officers for recruiting. You will have been advised, before this, of the arrival of Commissioners from Massachusetts. Others have come from Connecticut; but, from the present appearance of things, we seem but little if any nearer levying an army. I had anticipated the resolve respecting the militia, by writing to the eastern States and to the Jerseys, by the advice of my general officers, and from a consciousness of the necessity of getting in a number of men if possible, to keep up the appearance of our army. How my applications will succeed, the event must determine. I have little or no reason to expect, that the militia now here will remain a day longer than the time they first engaged for. I have recommended their stay, and requested it in general orders. General Lincoln and the Massachusetts Commissioners are using their interest with those from that State; but, as far as I can judge, we cannot rely on their staying.1
I left White Plains about eleven o’clock yesterday; all peace then. The enemy appeared to be preparing for their expedition to Jersey, according to every information. What their designs are, or whether their present conduct is not a feint, I cannot determine. The Maryland and Virginia troops under Lord Stirling have crossed the river, as have part of those from the Jerseys; the remainder are now embarking. The troops, judged necessary to secure the several posts through the Highlands, have also got up. I am going to examine the passes, and direct such works as may appear necessary; after which, and making the best disposition I can of things in this quarter, I intend to proceed to Jersey, which I expect to do to-morrow.2
The Assemblies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, to induce their men more readily to engage in the service, have voted an advance pay of twenty shillings per month, in addition to that allowed by the Congress to privates. It may perhaps be the means of their levying the quotas exacted from them sooner, than they could otherwise have been raised; but I am of opinion, a more fatal and mistaken policy could not have entered their councils, or one more detrimental to the general cause. The influence of the vote will become Continental, and materially affect the other States in making up their levies. If they could do it, I am certain, when the troops come to act together, that jealousy, impatience, and mutiny would necessarily arise. A different pay cannot exist in the same army. The reasons are obvious, and experience has proved their force in the case of the eastern and southern troops last spring. Sensible of this, and of the pernicious consequences, that would inevitably result from the advance, I have prevented the Commissioners from proceeding, or publishing their terms, till they could obtain the sense of Congress upon the subject, and remonstrated against it in a letter to Governor Trumbull. I am not singular in opinion; I have the concurrence of all the general officers, of its fatal tendency.1 I congratulate you and Congress upon the news from Ticonderoga, and that General Carleton and his army have been obliged to return to Canada without attempting any thing. I have the honor to be, &c.2
[1 ]Congress on the 4th had passed resolutions authorizing Washington, after consulting with such of his generals as he could conveniently call together, to grant warrants to officers of States which had not sent commissoners for appointing officers. He was also desired to take such steps as he might think most proper for continuing the militia then in camp.
[2 ]The command of the posts in the Highlands, including the passes on both sides of the river, and the forts Constitution, Montgomery, and Independence, had been assigned to General Heath, and a division of the army had already marched to Peekskill for that purpose. General Washington reconnoitred these posts on the 11th of November, and passed over into New Jersey the next day. General Heath’s division consisted mostly of Connecticut and Massachusetts troops, and General George Clinton’s brigade of New York militia.
[1 ]Although Congress had determined what inducements should be offered to officers and men inlisting to serve during the war, the individual States undertook in some cases to alter the rewards. Maryland, having no lands in the west, offered to its recruits ten dollars in lieu of the 100 acres of land promised by Congress; but Congress decided that its faith was pledged to a performance of the promise of land, that the promise was equally obligatory upon its constituents, and no one State could by its own act be released therefrom, and requested the convention of Maryland to “reconsider” its resolution. Journals of Congress, 30 October, 1776. See also Journals, 12 November, 1776.
[2 ]Read in Congress November 15th.