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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).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
General Greene’s Quarters,1
I have the honor to inform you of my arrival here yesterday, and that the whole of the troops belonging to the States, which lay south of Hudson’s River, and which were in New York government, have passed over to this side, except the regiment lately Colonel Smallwood’s, which I expect is now on their march. That they may be ready to check any incursions, the enemy may attempt in this neighborhood, I intend to quarter them at Brunswic, Amboy, Elizabethtown, Newark, and about this place, unless Congress should conceive it necessary for any of them to be stationed at or more contiguous to Philadelphia. In such case they will be pleased to signify their pleasure. There will be very few of them after the departure of those, who were engaged for the Flying Camp, and which is fast approaching. The disposition I have mentioned seems to me well calculated for the end proposed, and also for their accommodation.
The movements and designs of the enemy are not yet understood. Various are the opinions and reports on this head. From every information, the whole have removed from Dobb’s Ferry towards Kingsbridge; and it seems to be generally believed on all hands, that the investing of Fort Washington is one object they have in view; but that can employ but a small part of their force. Whether they intend a southern expedition, must be determined by time; to me there appears a probability of it, and which seems to be favored by the advices we have that many transports are wooding and watering.1 General Greene’s Letter would give you the substance of the intelligence brought by Mr. Mersereau from Staten Island in this instance, which he received before it came to me. Enclosed you have copies of two letters from General Howe, and of my answer to the first of them. The letter alluded to, and returned in his last, was one from myself to Mrs. Washington, of the 25th ultimo, from whence I conclude that all the letters, which went by the Boston express, have come to his possession.2
You will also perceive that Genl. Howe has requested the return of Peter Jack, a servant to Major Stewart to which I have consented as he was not in the military line, and the requisition agreable to the custom of War. This servant having been sent to Philadelphia with the Waldeckers and other prisoners, I must request the favor of you to have him conveyed to Genl. Greene by the earliest opportunity in order that he may be returned to his master.1
Before I conclude, I beg leave, not only to suggest, but to urge the necessity of increasing our field artillery very considerably. Experience has convinced me, as it has every gentleman of discernment in this army, that, while we remain so much inferior to the enemy in this instance, we must carry on the war under infinite disadvantages, and without the smallest probability of success. It has been peculiarly owing to the situation of the country, where their operations have been conducted, and to the rough and strong grounds we possessed ourselves of, and over which they had to pass, that they have not carried their arms, by means of their artillery, to a much greater extent. When these difficulties cease, by changing the scene of action to a level, champaign country, the worst of consequences are justly to be apprehended. I would, therefore, with the concurrence of all the officers, whom I have spoke to upon the subject, submit to the consideration of Congress, whether immediate measures ought not to be taken for procuring a respectable train. It is agreed on all hands, that each battalion should be furnished at least with two pieces, and that a smaller number than a hundred of three pounds, fifty of six pounds, and fifty of twelve pounds, should not be provided, in addition to those we now have. Besides these, if some eighteen and twenty-four pounders are ordered, the train will be more serviceable and complete. The whole should be of brass, for the most obvious reasons; they will be much more portable, and not half so liable to burst; and, when they do, no damage is occasioned by it, and they may be cast over again. The sizes before described should be particularly attended to; if they are not, there will be great reason to expect mistakes and confusion in the charges in time of action, as it has frequently happened in the best regulated armies. The disparity between those I have mentioned, and such as are of an intermediate size, is difficult to discern. It is also agreed, that a regiment of artillerists, with approved and experienced officers, should be obtained if possible, and some engineers of known reputation and abilities. I am sorry to say, too ready an indulgence has been given to several appointments in the latter instance, and that men have been promoted, who seem to me to know but little if any thing of the business. Perhaps this Train, &c, may be looked upon by some as large and expensive. True, it will be so; but when it is considered that the Enemy, having effected but little in the course of the present Campaign, will use their utmost efforts to subjugate us in the next, every consideration of that sort should be disregarded, and every possible preparation made to frustrate their unjust and wicked attempts. How they are to be procured, is to be inquired into. That we cannot provide them among ourselves or more than a very small proportion, so trifling as not to deserve our notice, is evident; therefore I would advise with all imaginable deference, that without any abatement of our own in formal exertions, application should be immediately made to such powers as can and may be willing to supply them. They cannot be obtained too early, if soon enough, and I am told they may be easily had from France and Holland.1
Mr. Trumbull, the Commissary General has frequently mentioned to me of late, the inadequacy of his pay to his trouble, and the great risk he is subject to on account of the large sums of money which pass thro his hands. He has stated his case with a view of laying it before Congress and obtaining a more adequate compensation. My sentiments upon the Subject are already known, but yet I shall take the liberty to add, that I think his complaint to be well founded and that his pay considering the important duties and risks of his Office by no means sufficient, and that the footing he seems to think it should be upon himself appears just and reasonable.
A proposition having been made long since to General Howe, and agreed to by him, for an exchange of prisoners, in consequence of the resolutions of Congress to that effect, I shall be extremely happy if you will give directions to the committees, and those having the charge of prisoners in the several States south of Jersey, to transmit me proper lists of the names of all the commissioned officers, and of their ranks and the corps they belong to; also the number of non-commissioned and privates, and their respective regiments. You will perceive by his letter, he supposes me to have effected some delay, or to have been unmindful of the proposition I had made.
I propose to stay in this neighborhood a few days, to which time I expect the designs of the enemy will be more disclosed, and their incursions be made in this quarter, or their investiture of Fort Washington, if they are intended.1
I have the honor to be, &c.2
[1 ]At Fort Lee.
[1 ]To prevent the Americans from receiving supplies by the North River and check further progress in obstructing the channel at Jeffrey’s Hook, three of the British ships had, on the 9th, passed up the river, suffering much on their masts and rigging. On the night of the 14th, thirty flat-bottomed boats were ordered to King’s Bridge, now left open by the retreat of the Americans, and troops were carried over to invest Fort Washington, succeeding in this venture with little loss. On the 18th, twenty more flat boats passed the American works undiscovered in the night, and a detachment of the army “commanded by Lord Cornwallis, being landed on the Jersey shore the 20th in the morning, above the enemys redoubts, opposite to Jeffrey’s Hook, and unperceived by the rebels for some time, they soon became possessed of the redoubts [Fort Lee] without loss.” Lord Viscount Howe, 23 November, 1776. See Journals of Congress, 14 November, 1776.
[2 ]Timothy Dod, an express rider, received despatches from Washington for Congress and reported that they had been stolen from him at Bristol, Pennsylvania. A committee of Congress investigated the matter and discovered no traces of the robbery or stealth. The statement of Dod not being so clear or satisfactory as fully to exculpate himself, he was placed under arrest, but, after a month’s confinement was released. Journals of Congress, October 29th and 31st; and December 12th. The deputy postmaster at Bristol, one Bessonet, and his barkeeper, were arrested, and search made for one Wilkins, who was at the tavern when the packet was lost. Nothing, however, was proved against the prisoners.
[1 ]While these negotiations for an exchange were pending Howe sent a Lieutenant Barker to New London to propose to the “principle inhabitants or persons of the greatest authority in that colony” an exchange of prisoners “officers for officers in each class, and sailors for sailors.” It was very justly determined that such an application to a State was “improper and inconsistent” and could only be made to General Washington.—Hinman, Connecticut in the Revolution, 572.
[1 ]Journals of Congress, 19 November, 1776.
[1 ]Read in Congress November 18th.—Referred to Board of War.
[2 ]“As an exchange of prisoners is likely to take effect as soon as the nature of the case will admit, and as in the course of the transaction it may possibly happen that an attempt may be made by the enemy to redeem their prisoners by men who were never engaged in our service, I must request you immediately to direct the colonies or commanders of regiments in your division, to make out an exact list of the particular officers and privates who have been killed, taken prisoners, or are missing, in the respective regiments and companies to which they belong.”—Washington to General Lee, 14 November, 1776.