Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VI (1777-1778).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Headquarters,Valley Forge, 1 January, 1778.
I have been duly honored with your several favors of the 23d, 24th, and 25th ult., with the inclosures to which they allude.
In my letters of the 22d and 23d of last month, I mentioned the difficulties which the service labored under for want of a Quarter Master General; and as I am induced to believe that a new nomination has not been made since Gen. Mifflin’s resignation, because Congress could not fix upon any person in their opinions fully qualified to fill that important office, I thought it my duty to endeavor to find out a gentleman, who I could venture to recommend, either from my own particular knowledge, or from that of others. That my inquiries might be more extensive, I occasionally mentioned the matter to the General and Field officers, and desired them, if any person came within their idea as proper, that they might mention them to me, that I might, upon their comparative merits, fix upon the most deserving.
Several of the officers from the Northward spoke of the activity and uncommon exertions of Col. Hay, Deputy Quarter Master General in that Department. Hearing him so well spoken of I enquired very particularly of most of those who had served there in the last campaign, and of Generals Sullivan and Wayne, who had served in that country the two preceding ones, in times of uncommon difficulty. They confirmed the favorable report of the others, and went so far as to say, that without disparagement to any gentlemen, they thought him the best qualified of any man upon the continent for the office in question.
Upon this universal concurrence of all parties, I think I may venture to recommend Col. Hay to the consideration of Congress, and if, upon further inquiry, they should find him answer the high character which he bears, I hope no time will be lost in appointing him, provided some other has not already been the object of their choice. I will first add, that Col. Hay’s pretensions, in right of seniority, entitle him to notice.
You must be fully sensible that very little time is left between this and the opening of the next campaign, for the provision of field equipage, carriages, horses and many other articles essentially necessary, towards which I cannot find that any steps have been taken.
In my last I also took occasion to mention, that by Col. Pickering’s appointment to the Board of War, I expected he would soon be called upon to take his seat. In a letter from the Secretary of 24th ult. I am desired to permit him to retire and to nominate an Adjutant General pro tempore. But as there is no person upon the spot that I can with propriety ask to accept of the place pro tem., I am obliged to detain him, and am under the necessity for that reason of urging a new appointment as speedily as possible. I have taken the same methods of endeavoring to find out a person qualified for an Adjutant General, that I did for that of Quarter Master General; but I cannot say that I have received any account sufficiently satisfactory to determine me in favor of any particular person. I will just recite the names that have been mentioned to me, which are Cols. Lee and Scammel, of Massachusetts and New Hampshire; Cols. James and Davies, of Virginia, and Maj. Scott of Pennsylvania. The four first are known to many gentlemen of Congress, and Major Scott is warmly recommended by General St. Clair.
The enemy returned into Philadelphia on Sunday last, having made a considerable hay forage, which appeared to be their only intention. As they kept themselves in close order, and in just such a position that no attack could be made upon them to advantage, I could do no more than extend light parties along their front, and keep them from plundering the inhabitants and carrying off cattle and horses; which had the desired effect.
I have the pleasure to inform you that a vessel has fallen into Gen. Smallwood’s hands near Wilmington. I hope she will prove a valuable prize. You have the particulars in the inclosed extract of his letter.1
Before this reaches you, you will have received a letter from Gen. Weedon, in which he has stated his objections to Gen. Woodford’s taking rank of him. Gen. Muhlenberg is gone to Virginia, and I therefore cannot say what would have been his objections; but I imagine they are founded upon the same reasons as those of Gen. Weedon. And you may perceive by the inclosed copy of General Wayne’s letter to me, that he does not think that the rank of colonel, which Gen. Woodford held at the time of his resignation, could operate in his favor upon his appointment to the rank of Brigadier General. I could therefore wish that Congress, as they now have the matter fully before them, would proceed to the final settlement of the relative rank of the Brigadiers.
I have received information that the militia of Jersey have taken possession of another of the enemy’s vessels that ran on ground upon their shore. I have reason to believe the fact is so, but I have it not from full authority.
[1 ]“I am obliged to you for your promise of the prize wine. I do not imagine you will find more liquor on board than will be sufficient for your little garrison, but if the quantity should be any thing considerable, you must not be forgetful of the poor fellows who are exposed to the severity of the weather in very indifferent houses, indeed many of them are not yet under cover.”—Washington to General Smallwood, 3 January, 1778. The name of the vessel was Symmetry.