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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.
I am now to acknowledge the honor of your several favors of the 18th, 19th, and 21st Instant, which with their respective Inclosures have been duly received.
In compliance with the resolution of Congress of the 5th instant, transmitted in your letter of the 7th, I was about to take measures for appointing a court-martial and bringing on the trials which they direct. But, on recurring to the papers you were pleased to send me, I do not find that the committee have made any particular charges against the officers, who are to be the subjects of trial. It was probably the intention of Congress, that these charges should be laid by me. But, as I might err in doing it, and not fully correspond with their views in the matter, especially as it would require considerable time and thought to make myself sufficiently acquainted with it from the papers collected, I should think it would be most advisable for Congress to state explictly the charges they wish to have exhibited against the officers respectively; and then the business may be proceeded on with propriety.
Besides the above reasons, which operate generally against my exhibiting the charges, in the particular instance of General Schuyler it is impossible for me to do it, as I do not know what instructions he had received from Congress from time to time as to the objects of his command, nor precisely what these were. These appear to me necessary to be known, and essential to carrying on a prosecution against him. When Congress shall have arranged these points, and are pleased to honor me with them, I will pursue the speediest measures to bring on the trials. The sooner this can be done, the better, as some of the parties are extremely anxious, and strongly importune it.1
Baron Steuben has arrived at camp. He appears to be much of a gentleman, and, as far as I have had an opportunity of judging, a man of military knowledge, and acquainted with the world.2
The enclosed extract of a letter from General Putnam will show how great the distresses are in that quarter for want of money. He has described their necessities so fully, that it is unnecessary for me to add upon the subject. I shall only observe, that his account is more than justified by many other letters, and that I am persuaded the earliest possible supply will be forwarded, and that the very important and interesting works carrying on there may not be the least retarded.1
I am under some embarrassments respecting the thirteenth Virginia regiment. It was raised on the west side of the Allegany and towards Pittsburg, with assurances from the officers, it is said, that the men would not be drawn from that quarter. This circumstance, added to the disturbances by the Indians, and the exposed situation of their families, has been the cause of great desertions, and is at present the source of much uneasiness, and the more so, as part of the regiment was never marched from thence. I think the whole should be united either here or there, and wish Congress to direct me upon the subject. At the same time that their case, if truly represented, seems to be hard, and to merit the indulgence they claim, I would observe, that the twelfth regiment from the western parts of the same State, and the eighth and twelfth Pennsylvania from the frontier counties of this, have similar pretensions, and might become uneasy, and apply for a like indulgence.
Agreeable to the directions of Congress, I shall send a major-general to Rhode Island, though the number of officers here of this rank, from one cause and another, is greatly reduced, and more so than it ought to be in point of policy.1 Our loss of matrosses the last campaign, in killed and wounded, was considerable; and it has not been a little increased this winter by desertions from Colonel Procter’s corps. From these circumstances, we are very weak in this line; and I request that Congress will be pleased to order Colonel Harrison’s regiment of artillery to march from Virginia as early as the roads will admit, and join this army. I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]“Ordered, that so much of General Washington’s letter of February the 27th as relates to the court-martial on the officers in the northern department, be referred to a committee of four.” Ellery, James Smith, Dyer, and Lovell composed the committee.—Journals of Congress, 6 March, 1778.
[2 ]Congress had conferred on Steuben the rank of captain, “granted by a brevet commission at the Baron’s special instance, in order to guard against inconveniences which might attend him, if he should without any commission in his pocket be made a prisoner. Upon the arrival of this illustrious stranger at York Town, Congress ordered a committee consisting of Mr. Witherspoon, Mr. McKean, Mr. F. L. Lee and Mr. Henry to wait upon and confer with him, to pay the necessary compliments on his appearance in America and to learn explicitly his expectations from Congress, and the committee were directed to deliver me the substance of their conference in writing.”—Laurens to Washington, 19 February, 1778. The conference report was: “The Baron Steuben, who was a lieutenant-general and aid-de-camp to the King of Prussia, desires no rank; is willing to attend General Washington, and be subject to his orders; does not require or desire any command of a particular corps or division, but will serve occasionally as directed by the general; expects to be of use in planning encampments, &c., and promoting the discipline of the army. He heard, before he left France of the dissatisfaction of the Americans with the promotion of foreign officers, therefore makes no terms, nor will accept of any thing but with general approbation and particularly that of General Washington.”
[1 ]“I wish a supply of money to be sent as soon as possible. Our distresses for want of it are not easily to be described. What Mr. I’alfrey brought with him was not sufficient to pay the troops for November by 250 or 300,000 dollars. The demands were immense, most of the eastern troops having had four or five months’ pay due ’em and some more. The army now in general has three months’ pay in arrear, exclusive of the month’s extra pay, and besides this the Quarter Master is pressing for large drafts for the purposes of his Department, though he has received a large proportion of the money which came with Mr. Palfrey.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 3 February, 1778.
[1 ]“However inconvenient and distressing to the service in this quarter it may prove, to part with another Major General, yet, in obedience to a resolve of Congress, I must do it, if neither General Putnam nor Heath in the Judgment of the Committee will answer the purposes of the command at Rhode Island.
[1 ]Read in Congress, March 5th.