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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.
Head-Quarters,Morristown, 22 January, 1777.
My last to you was on the 20th instant. Since that I have the pleasure to inform you, that General Dickinson, with about four hundred militia, has defeated a foraging party of the enemy of an equal number, and has taken forty wagons, and upwards of a hundred horses, most of them of the English draft breed, and a number of sheep and cattle, which they had collected. The enemy retreated with so much precipitation, that General Dickinson had only an opportunity of making nine prisoners. They were observed to carry off a good many dead and wounded in light wagons. This action happened near Somerset Court-House, on Millstone River. General Dickinson’s behavior reflects the highest honor upon him; for, though his troops were all raw, he led them through the river middle-deep, and gave the enemy so severe a charge, that, although supported by three field-pieces, they gave way and left their convoy.
I have not heard from General Heath since the firing near Kingsbridge last Saturday; which I cannot account for, unless the North River should have been rendered impassable by the ice.
But the account of his having surprised and taken Fort Independence on Friday Night, last, comes so well authenticated by different ways, that I cannot doubt it. It is said that he took 400 prisoners in that Fort; and that he invested Fort Washington on Saturday, which occasioned the firing. This is brought out by three of our Officers, who made their Escape from New York on Sunday and is confirmed by a Spy who went into Amboy who says, an Express had arrived at Amboy from New York, with an Account of the Loss of Fort Independence, and calling for a Reinforcement to protect the City, in consequence of which, a number of Troops had gone over.
I have sent in Spies to Brunswic and Amboy to know the Truth of this, and if it appears that they have weakened themselves to reinforce New York, I shall probably make some attempt upon them, if we have men enough left to do it.
I shall be glad to know what stock of small arms you at present have, and what are your expectations shortly. The necessity, that we have been and are now under, of calling in and arming the militia, scatters our armory all over the world, in a manner. Their officers are so irregular, that they generally suffer their men to carry home every thing that is put into their hands, which is forever lost to the public. The new raised regiments will call for a great number of arms; and I do not at present see how they are to be supplied.
I would again beg leave to recall the attention of Congress to the appointment of general officers. I will not suppose the nomination of them is postponed upon a saving principle, because the advantage in having proper officers to examine the pay-rolls of their several regiments, and compare them with the returns of their brigades, to see that the regiments are provided with what is proper, and that no more than a sufficiency is allowed, to keep officers to their duty, and not, while the spirited officer is encountering all the fatigues and hardships of a rigorous campaign, suffer a number of others, under various frivolous pretences and imaginary sicknesses, to enjoy themselves at the public expense at their own firesides,—I say, if the appointments are withheld upon parsimonious principles, the Congress are mistaken; for I am convinced, that, by the correction of many abuses, which it is impossible for me to attend to, the public will be benefited in a great degree in the article of expense. But this is not all. We have very little time to do a very great work in. The arranging, providing for, and disciplining a hundred and odd battalions is not to be accomplished in a day; nor is it to be done at all with any degree of propriety, when we have once entered upon the active part of the campaign. These duties must be branched out, or they will be neglected, and the public injured. Besides, were the brigadiers appointed, they might be facilitating the recruiting service; they would have time to get a little acquainted with their brigades and the wants of them, and ease me of the great weight and burden, which I at present feel.
On whom the choice will or ought to light, I cannot undertake to say. In a former letter I took the liberty of submitting to the consideration of Congress the propriety of appointing, out of each State, brigadiers to command the troops of that State, thinking, as a distinction is now fixed, a spirit of emulation might arise by this means. At any rate, I shall take the liberty of recommending General Cadwalader as one of the first for the new appointments. I have found him a man of ability, a good disciplinarian, firm in his principles, and of intrepid bravery. I shall also beg leave to recommend Colonel Reed to the command of the horse, as a person, in my opinion, every way qualified; for he is extremely active and enterprising; many signal proofs of which he has given this campaign. For the rest, the members of Congress can judge better than I can. I can only say, that, as the army will probably be divided in the course of the next campaign, there ought, in my opinion, to be three lieutenant-generals, nine major-generals, and twenty-seven brigadiers; in other words, there ought, at least, to be a brigadier to every four regiments, and a major-general to every three brigades. The lieutenant-generals will, I presume, be appointed out of the oldest major-generals, and the major-generals from the oldest brigadiers. New brigadiers will then be to nominate.
I forgot before this to inform Congress, that, including the regiment of light dragoons from Virginia, and Colonel Sheldon’s to be raised in Connecticut, I have only commissioned officers for four regiments. I was willing to try how these could be equipped before I put more officers into commission. It is apprehended we shall find difficulty in providing necessaries or even horses for these four regiments; if we should not, I shall immediately set about the residue. Colonel Baylor, Colonel Moylan (who, as volunteer, has remained constantly with the army since his discontinuance in the quarter-master’s department), and Colonel Sheldon, command the three new regiments of light dragoons. The treasury has been for some time empty, and the army has labored under the greatest inconvenience for want of money. The recruiting service is particularly injured by this, as many officers are now waiting only for bounty-money. I have also complaints from the eastward of the want of money to carry on their recruiting service. If we are not supplied with that necessary article, all matters must be at a stand. I must therefore beg, that, if Mr. Palfrey has not been already supplied with a large sum, it may be done with the utmost expedition, and that you will endeavor to keep up the supply by constantly sending on smaller parcels.
I am, &c.
P. S. I did not recollect Major-General Lincoln, in the provincial service of Massachusetts. He is an excellent officer, and worthy of your notice in the Continental line.