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.
Camp, atMiddlebrook, 2 July, 1777.
The enclosed copies of General St. Clair’s letters, transmitted yesterday afternoon and last night by General Schuyler, I have thought it my duty to send to you. The intelligence they contain is important and interesting; nor are there circumstances wanting besides these, to induce a belief, or at least to raise a strong presumption, that the enemy have in contemplation a junction of their two armies by way of the Lakes and the North River. If they have their whole Canada force on the former, it is certainly their object. On receiving these accounts, I wrote immediately to General Putnam to embark Nixon’s brigade for reinforcing the northern army; to wait, however, the arrival or near approach of General Parsons’s and General Varnum’s brigades from this place, who march this morning, or the coming in of an equal number of militia to supply their place before they sail. This I have done by the advice of my general officers, and it is all that is thought practicable in the present uncertain, indeterminate situation of things. The rest of the army will be held in readiness to move according to information and circumstances.
As I have observed, if we were certain General Burgoyne was approaching Ticonderoga with his whole army, I should not hesitate a moment in concluding, that it is in consequence of a preconcerted plan with General Howe, and that the latter is to co-operate with him, by pushing his whole force up the North River, and aiming a stroke in the first instance and immediately against the Highland passes. But as the appearance of the enemy on the Lake may be a feint, calculated to amuse and distract, though it may seem like a real attack, to draw this army to Peekskill and more to the northward, that General Howe may with more facility turn his arms against Philadelphia, it has been determined unadvisable for us to move, till we have further proofs of his intentions, and that our conduct must be governed by his.
Our situation is truly delicate and embarrassing. Should we march to Peekskill, leaving General Howe on Staten Island, there will be nothing to prevent his passing to South Amboy, and pushing from thence to Philadelphia, or in short by any other route; though the marching such of his troops from the point opposite Amboy, as were encamped there, and the sailing of the ships from Princess Bay yesterday morning, are circumstances indicating that an embarkation has or will take place. On the other hand, if the North River and the possession of the Highlands are his objects, our remaining here till his views are certainly known may subject ’em to a risk that we wish to avoid. Thus, let us examine matters as we will, difficulties stare us in the face. We shall attempt to consult, and do the best we can. I have written to Generals Putnam and George Clinton fully upon the subject, urging them to put forth every exertion in their power, and instantly to call in a respectable body of militia to aid in the defence of those important posts at this critical conjuncture. I trust they will come out; their services in all probability will be wanted but for a very short time.
I must earnestly request, that you will send Mr. Stewart, the Issuing Commissary Genl to Camp immediately.—There is reason to apprehend, the Army will be in great distress and confusion for want of Issuing Commissaries in three or four days.—On Saturday, those with Mr. Trumbull declare they will leave him, without they are put on a different footing from what they now are. I need not mention the consequences that will result from such an Event if there are not others here to supply their places.—
There is one thing more I would add, which is, that there are not more than Forty thousand Dollars in the Military Chest and Two Months pay due to all the Army except two or three Regiments which have just obtained Warrants. One Hundred and fifty Six thousand out of the last Supply sent the paymaster, I was obliged to order to Peekskill, for the Troops in that quarter, whose demands are great and pressing also.—I must earnestly entreat that you will forward a Supply direct to the paymaster. Should we be obliged to move before the Troops are paid, much uneasiness & murmuring will be the certain attendants & I fear some thing worse.
As the Enemy will adopt every Stratagem and device to deceive & distress us, notwithstanding the present appearances in favor of making an Expedition up the North River, I doubt not but you will have the most vigilant look outs kept along Delaware Bay and proper Express & Signals for communicating the earliest intelligence. I think it would be highly expedient that some sensible—judicious men should be employed in that business at this time, who would view things as they ought to be and from whose accounts certain inferences and conclusions may be drawn so as to form a proper line for our conduct.—The most fatal consequences may flow from false information at this period—Things should be examined with all possible certainty—I shall not be surprized, to hear of several Ships appearing in or off Delaware, tho Genl. Howe’s destination should be elsewhere.—Their fleet give them the most signal advantages and an opportunity of practising a thousand feints. I have, &c.1
[1 ]Read in Congress July 3d.