Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOSEPH REED. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777)
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TO JOSEPH REED. - 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 JOSEPH REED.
Morristown, 23 February, 1777.
Your Letters of the 13th and 18th inst, are both to hand, the last in date arrived first,—the first this morning only.
I am sorry, upon the footing you have put it, and under the apprehensions you seem to be, that I did not accept your Commission as Adjt. Genl. when you offered it, tho’ your fears cannot be realized, because at that time it was mentioned in Genl. Orders, that you having resigned, Colo. Weedon was appointed Pro. Tem; your having the Comn. in possession therefore can be no argument against your Resignation—but I am to accept it at any time.
I am sorry the Cartel Settlmt. by Genl. Conway with the French cant be found—I have lately wrote to Genl. Gates for it, who I think told me he had it. I would by no means wish you to come up merely on that acct; especially as I have not, as yet, got any answer from Congress relative to my recommendation of you to the Command of the Horse. If they should listen to my wishes in this appointment,—if a separate Quarter Master is necessary for the Horse, and Colo. Coxe Inclines to accept it, I can have no possible objection to it, but how far the Rank of Colo. can be annexed to the office I cannot undertake to say. I would wish to think of it a little.
I believe all the Prisoners from the Eastern States are now gone in.—that they did not do it long ago is not my fault.—this I thought Colo. Miles had been satisfied of when he was out—and what method I could devise to furnish their pay, except in a currency that would not pass, I am sure I know not;—all the hard money that could be had he must know was sent in.—
I am not a little surprised at what you mention concerning Colo. Griffin. Before Christmas I offered him a Regiment, and the nomination of his own officers,—this he refused.—Since that he has been offered the Lieutenant Colonelcy of a Regiment of Horse, and this he has refused. If his expectations are higher than that of a Regiment, which he was offered, (even before I was vested with full Powers to do it) the Congress are alone competent to the gratification of them, as I have no authority to go beyond what I have already offered him.
If you should have the Command of the Horse, it will be quite agreeable to me that you should have one of those that was bought at Boston,—if you have not, as they were got for that particular service by Express order of Congress and I have already refused Genl. Green, I could not with propriety consent to it, as I mean, after choosing a couple, or three, for my own use, to throw the rest into some of the Troop, or let them go among the officers.
I wish your leisure would permit you to digest a proper plan for the prevention of Desertion, and apprehension of Deserters that would have a general operation throughout all the United States. I have, in general terms recommended to Congress, and to all the States Individually, the absolute necessity of adopting some efficacious mode to accomplish the latter, but each will, unless some method can be adopted by or recommended from Congress, or the Commander of the Army, have some new-fangled, or inadequate schemes of their own.—In like manner, if you can give any assistance to Genl. Mifflin in an arrangement of waggons I shall be glad of it. One Snickers, a Gentleman on or near Shanandoah in Fredk. County, Virginia, has offered to buy a number. He is a person well acquainted in this business, and may be depended on.
I think the Congress ought not, under the present appearance of things by any means to return to Philadelphia. I think we are now in one of the most critical periods which America ever saw, and because the enemy are not in actual motion (by the by I believe they are not far from it) every body seems to be lulled into ease and Security.—1
Would Colo. Coxe accept the appointment of Commissary of Prisoners?—If he will, I wish to God he would repair hither immediately—I want a shrewd sensible man exceedingly for this business—and obtaining Intelligence which offices are very correspondent—Let me hear from you on this point as quick as possible—the Pay may, I presume, be equal to that of Colonel. I am Dr. Sir, &c.
[1 ]“Our delicate and truly critical situation for want of a sufficient force to oppose the Enemy, who are now ready and before many days elapse, will take the field, induced me to expect, that the Troops raising in the Southern States and intended for this Army would march in Companies or half Companies as they were made up, without waiting for their Regiments to be compleat. Policy strongly suggested the propriety of the measure, and I requested it. But to my great anxiety and surprize I am told, that this line of conduct is totally neglected, tho’ a great number of Recruits are actually engaged. I must entreat Congress to interpose again with their most pressing applications & commands, that this expedient may be adopted without a moments delay. No injury can result from it, because a sufficient number, and proper officers can and must be left to recruit the Corps to their full Complement. Nor will my fears respecting the state of our Arms allow me to be silent on that Head. Let the States be urged to send their men equipped with them and every other necessary if possible—I know not what supplies may be in Store else where or in the power of Congress, but they must not depend upon their being furnished here with any or but with very few. No human prudence or precaution could secure, but a small part of those belonging to the public and in the Hands of the Soldiery, from being embezzled and carried off when their time of Service expired. Nor can the same abuses be restrained in the Militia.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 23 February, 1777.