Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777)
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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.
Morristown, 24 May, 1777.
I beg leave to inform Congress, that, immediately after the receipt of their resolve of the 26th of March, recommending the office of adjutant-general to be filled by the appointment of a person of abilities and unsuspected attachment to our cause, I wrote to Colonel Timothy Pickering of Salem, offering him the post in the first instance, and transmitting at the same time a letter for Colonel William Lee, whom Congress had been pleased to mention, to be delivered to him in case my offer could not be accepted. This conduct, in preference of Colonel Pickering, I was induced to adopt from the high character I had of him, both as a great military genius cultivated by an industrious attention to the study of war, and as a gentleman of liberal education, distinguished zeal, and great method and activity in business. This character of him I had from gentlemen of distinction and merit, and on whose judgment I could rely. When my letter reached Colonel Pickering, at first view he thought his situation in respect to public affairs would not permit him to accept the post. That for Colonel Lee he sent immediately to him, who, in consequence of it, repaired to head-quarters. By Colonel Lee I received a letter from Colonel Pickering, stating more particularly the causes, which prevented his accepting the office when it was offered, and assuring me that he would in a little time accommodate his affairs in such a manner as to come into any military post, in which he might be serviceable, and thought equal to.
Here I am to mark with peculiar satisfaction, in justice to Colonel Lee, who has deservedly acquired the reputation of a good officer, that he expressed a distrust of his abilities to fill the appointment intended for him; and, on hearing that Colonel Pickering would accept it, he not only offered but wished to relinquish his claim to it in favor of him, whom he declared he considered, from a very intimate and friendly acquaintance, as a first-[rate] military character; and that he knew no gentleman better or so well qualified for the post among us. Matters being thus circumstanced, and Colonel Lee pleased with the command he was in, I wrote to Colonel Pickering on his return, who accepted the office and is daily expected. In this business I beg Congress to be assured, though Colonel Lee was postponed in the first instance, their recommendation had its due weight; and that no motive, other than a regard to the service, induced me to prefer Colonel Pickering. His acknowledged abilities and equal zeal, without derogating from the merits of Colonel Lee, who holds a high place in my esteem, gave him a preference; and I flatter myself the cause will be promoted in his appointment, especially as we shall have two good officers in lieu of one, who, I am persuaded, will do honor to themselves in the line in which they move.
Considering the passes through the Highlands of the utmost importance to secure, I sent Generals Greene and Knox about a fortnight ago to see what had been done for their defence, and to consult with the general officers they should meet, upon such further measures as might be deemed necessary for their greater safety. The enclosed copy of their report will fully convey their sentiments upon the subject; to which I beg leave to refer Congress. I have sent General Putnam to command in that quarter, and have instructed him to use every possible means in his power for expediting and effecting the works and obstructions mentioned in the report. Fearing that the cables might not be procured in time, I have directed his particular and immediate attention to fixing the boom. However, as the cables would render that more secure, and will be extremely serviceable in the opinion of the officers, if they are to be had in Philadelphia, I would advise Congress to order them to be purchased and forwarded without loss of time; they cannot be got elsewhere. They must be proportioned to the width of the river, which is about five hundred and forty yards; and, as they will be of most use if diagonally laid, the gentlemen think they should not be less than four hundred and fifty fathoms long, and the largest size that can be had. Unless they are large and substantial, they will answer no purpose, and will not sustain their weight when stretched.
I should be glad to know whether it be the intention of Congress, that one of the already appointed General Officers may be assigned to the Command of the light Horse, or whether they have in contemplation the appointing of one for this purpose—If the first, I shall immediately name one to that duty. If the second, they will be pleased to choose one, as it is time we should have our arrangements compleat.1
I have nothing of importance to communicate, unless it is, that Seventeen Ships are said to have arrived at New York on the 22d, and that others were in the offing. A Report has also prevailed, and has come thro two or three channels, that Govr. Tryon, that was, is dead of the wound he received in the Danbury expedition & one account is, that Lieut. Colo. Walcot fell in the engagement at Ridgefield. I don’t know how far the facts are to be depended on; It seems certain that Mr. Tryon was wounded.
I have the honor, &c.
P. S. As I dont know what particular purposes, Congress had in view, when they ordered Col. Harrison’s Regiment of Artillery to be raised, I don’t think myself at liberty to give any directions about It. But if they have no certain employment for it in view, I could wish them to order the whole or such part of It as they shall judge proper to join this Army, as we are in great want of more Artillerymen than we have—It will not be necessary that the Artillery should come.
[1 ]“If Congress have it not in contemplation to appoint a General of Horse, but leave it to me to assign one of the Brigadiers already appointed to that command, I shall assuredly place General Reed there, as it is agreeable to my own recommendation and original design; of this please in my name inform him, but add, as it would not be agreeable to me, and I am sure could not be so to him, to be placed in a situation that might be the standing of a day only, I could wish to know what the views of Congress are on this head, which Mr. Thomson or any of the members I suppose could inform. I would have written to General Reed myself on this subject, and other matters, but my extreme hurry will not permit me to do it, and therefore I decline it altogether; be so obliging as to offer my best regards to him, and assure him that I read his name in the appointment of Brigadiers with great pleasure.”—Washington to Moylan, 24 May, 1777.