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George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) [1889]

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George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2378

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About this Title:

Vol. 3 covers the years July 1775 to March 1776 and includes letters and papers.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE WRITINGS of GEORGE WASHINGTON
VOL. III.
1775-1776
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

Of this Letter-press Edition 750 Copies have been Printed for Sale

No._____

August, 1889

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
THE WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
COLLECTED AND EDITED by WORTHINGTON CHAUNCEY FORD
Vol. III.
1775-1776
NEW YORK & LONDON
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS The Knickerbocker Press
1889
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

Press of

G. P. Putnam’s Sons

New York

Edition: current; Page: [v]

CONTENTS OF VOL. III.

  • 1775.
    • Answer to an Address of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, July 4th . . . . . page 1
    • To James Warren, July 10th . . . . . 5

      Returns of the army show a force inadequate to general expectations—Council of officers—Post horses—Asks concerning executive.

    • To the President of Congress, July 10th . . . 8

      His arrival at camp—Position of the enemy and of the Continental troops—Disadvantages labored under—Council of war—Army returns—Tents wanted—Commissary-general should be appointed—Other offices are indispensably necessary—Military chest and clothing—Engineers—Appointments of officers in Massachusetts troops—The generals characterized—Deficiency of the army in numbers and suggestions for completing the establishment—Discipline and subordination—Losses at Bunker’s Hill—Intelligence.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, July 10th . . . . 21

      Condition of army—Delay in making returns—A position of danger—Advantages possessed by the enemy—Abuses will be corrected.

    • To Governor Trumbull, July 18th . . . . 26

      Arrangement of general officers by Congress has produced dissatisfaction—Right of Congress to control unquestionable.

    • To the President of Congress, July 21st . . . 28

      Augmentation of troops by Connecticut and Rhode Island—Both armies fortifying—Distressed situation of those in Boston—Intentions of the enemy—Cowardice of officers at Bunker’s Hill—Division of the army—Generals Spencer and Pomroy—Judge-advocate wanted—Paymaster—Other officers required—Hospital service—Recruiting and reduction of officers—Information from England—Destruction of the light-house—British losses at Bunker’s Hill.

      Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • To General Thomas, July 23d . . . . . 39

      On his proposed retirement.

    • To John Augustine Washington, July 27th . . 44

      Situation of army on his arrival—Losses at Bunker’s Hill—The enemy sickly and in want—Reinforcements arrived, and an attack expected.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 28th . . . 48

      The attitude of the Indians and the Canadians—His own difficulties—Patience and perseverance recommended—News from England—Impositions and irregularities.

    • To the General Court of Massachusetts Bay, July 31st, 51

      Cannot detail troops for internal defence—Intention of Congress that each colony should depend on its own militia in such cases.

    • To Deputy-Governor Cooke, August 4th . . . 53

      The British fleet—Great necessities in powder and lead—An expedition to Bermuda proposed—Tow cloth and hunting shirts.

    • To the President of Congress, August 4th . . 58

      Commissions received—Difficulties attending their issue—Colonel Gridley—Different establishments—Deficiencies and recruiting—Reduction of regiments—Prospects for the winter—Supposed intentions of the enemy—Affair at the light-house—Lack of powder, and an error in returns—Allowance of provisions—Detachment of troops for colonial defence—Army formed into divisions—Operations of General Gage—Punishment of officers for cowardice—Indians in camp—Disposition of the Canadians—Letters intercepted—New restrictions imposed on persons coming from Boston.

    • To Lewis Morris, August 4th . . . . . 70

      Appointments in army—Suggests that Congress reserve them in their own hands.

    • To J. Palmer, August 7th . . . . . . 71

      Local appointments—Sound policy of bestowing positions among different colonies—Impossibility of effecting a surprise.

    • To the President of the Council of Massachusetts Bay, August 7th . . . . . . . 72

      Large number of absent soldiers and officers—The ruinous consequences.

    • To the Provincial Congress of New York, August 8th, 74

      On supplying British with provisions—Future movements of the enemy.

      Edition: current; Page: [vii]
    • To a Committee of the General Court of Massachusetts Bay, August 11th . . . . . 76

      Proposed expedition against Nova Scotia—Objections stated—Impossibility of supplying armed vessels.

    • To Lieutenant-General Gage, August 11th . . 77

      Ill treatment of American prisoners—Retaliation threatened.

    • To Governor Trumbull, August 14th . . . 80

      New levies—Powder—Lead to be brought from Ticonderoga.

    • To Deputy-Governor Cooke, August 14th . . 81

      The Bermuda expedition—Live stock should be removed from the islands.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, August 15th . . . 84

      Indians—Supply of lead from Ticonderoga.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, August 20th . . . 86

      Powder supplies—Neutrality of Indians desired by Congress—Proposed expedition to Canada submitted—The New Hampshire companies.

    • To Lieutenant-General Gage, August 20th . . 90

      His letter irrelevant—Ministerial position—Correspondence terminated.

    • To J. Palmer, August 22d . . . . . . 92

      Point Alderton—Impossible to take post at such a distance—No powder to spare.

    • To Sir William Howe, August 23d . . . . 95

      Intercourse between camps to be stopped.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, August 29th . . . 96

      Edmund Randolph—Stupidity of people and army—Appointment of officers under the rank of general should be made by Congress—A “good slam” made among Massachusetts officers—Point Alderton and the objections to occupying it—Occupation of Plowed Hill—Washington’s annoyance and fatigue.

    • To Cæsar Rodney and Thomas McKean, August 30th. 102

      Mr. Parke—Appointment of officers.

    • To the President of Congress, August 31st . . 104

      The vacant brigadier-general—Col. John Armstrong—Col. Frye—Brigade majors—Occupation of Plowed Hill.

    • To Brigadier-General Wooster, September 2d . . 107

      On application for aid—Cannot interfere with General Schuyler’s orders—No Provincial Congress can dispose of troops on the Continental establishment—Importance of preserving communication on North River.

      Edition: current; Page: [viii]
    • To the Inhabitants of the Island of Bermuda, September 6th . . . . . . . . 110

      Address asking for aid.

    • To the Major- and Brigadier-Generals, September 8th. 114

      A proposed attack on Boston to be considered.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, September 8th . . 116

      Arnold’s detachment to Canada—Necessity of preserving the friendship of the Canadians.

    • To Governor Trumbull, September 8th . . . 117

      Continental troops not to be employed for defence of the sea-coast—New levies to march to Cambridge.

    • To John Augustine Washington, September 10th . 118

      Occupation of Plowed Hill was expected to bring about an action—Inactivity of the British—Arnold’s expedition into Canada.

    • Instructions to Colonel Benedict Arnold, September 14th . . . . . . . . . 121
    • To Colonel Arnold, September 14th . . . . 124

      Must regard Canadians as friends and brethren—Order, discipline, and respect for the religion of the country enjoined.

    • To the Inhabitants of Canada . . . . . 126
    • To Thomas Everard, September 17th . . . 128

      His Ohio lands—Attempts to seat and improve them—Wishes petition to be made as law requires.

    • To Deputy-Governor Cooke, September 18th . . 133

      Powder from Bermuda—Intercepting the packets—Bayonne expedition.

    • To Governor Trumbull, September 21st . . . 135

      Is concerned by the Governor’s interpretation of his last letter—No disrespect intended—Special details of troops to be discouraged.

    • To the President of Congress, September 21st . . 137

      Difficulty of obtaining a subscription to the articles of war—Dissolution of the army on December 1st—Measures recommended to engage troops—Pay of artificers and artillery—The rifle companies exceed their establishment—Pay of troops by the month—Petition of subalterns—New regulation of the army—Clothing and blankets—Provision allowance for officers—Arnold’s expedition—Attack on Boston proposed, but negatived by officers—Winter accommodations and necessities of army.

      Edition: current; Page: [ix]
    • To Major Christopher French, September 26th . 148

      His question one of punctilio—Advises an acquiescence in the wishes of the committee—Impropriety of his conduct.

    • To Brigadier-General Spencer, September 26th . 151

      On questioning appointments—Commission a reward of merit—Claims from real service few.

    • To the President of Congress, September 30th . 153

      Mr. Kirkland—Disposition of the Indians and Canadians.

    • To Captain Daniel Morgan, October 4th . . . 155

      Claim of exemption from command inadmissible—Officers must command according to rank.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, October 4th . . . 156

      Arnold’s march to Canada—Intercepted letters from Quebec—Bunker’s Hill in England—Gage’s recall.

    • To the General Officers, October 5th . . . 161

      Questions submitted by Congress and the General.

    • To the President of Congress, October 5th . . 162

      Opinion of officers asked on the questions of Congress—Treason of Dr. Church—Captured property intended for the enemy—Intelligence from Boston and Canada.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, October 5th . . . 168

      Wooster and Arnold’s march.

    • To Robert Carter Nicholas, October 5th . . . 170

      Acknowledges his congratulations—Pay of Mr. Byrd—Position of the two armies.

    • To the President of Congress, October 12th . . 172

      Committee of Congress—Pay of men cannot be reduced—Surgeons recommended—Vessels to intercept supplies for Boston and for Quebec—Intelligence—Lord Dunmore’s schemes.

    • To John Augustine Washington, October 13th . 177

      Resolutions of the Virginia convention—Position of the army—Arnold’s detachment for Canada—Mrs. Washington invited to camp.

    • To the President of Congress, October 24th . . 181

      Destruction of Falmouth—Sullivan sent to that place.

    • To the Committee of Falmouth, October 24th . . 182

      Inability to send a detachment to their assistance.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, October 26th . . 183

      Obstacles—Col. Allen’s capture—Committee of Congress—Intelligence—Importance of Canadian campaign.

      Edition: current; Page: [x]
    • To Joseph Reed, October 30th . . . . . 188

      Mr. Tudor’s recommendations as to general courts-martial.

    • To the President of Congress, October 30th . . 190

      Return of committee—Continuance of officers in service—Encouragement should be given to the privates.

    • To the President of Congress, November 2d . . 193

      Death of Peyton Randolph—Return of officers willing to continue—Brigadier-general should be appointed—British proclamations.

    • To the General Court of Massachusetts, November 2d, 195

      Wood and hay required—Regiments cutting their throats for a few locust trees near the camp—Destruction of trees deprecated.

    • To Josiah Quincy, November 4th . . . . 196

      Point Alderton.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, November 5th . . 198

      Chamblee—Wooster and Montgomery—Destruction of Falmouth—Situation of the army.

    • Instructions to General Sullivan, November 7th . 200
    • To the President of Congress, November 8th . . 202

      Scheme of Captain Macpherson—British vessels taken—Proper courts to condemn prizes necessary—British prisoners—The new establishment delayed—Knox to succeed Gridley—Canada and Falmouth.

    • To Joseph Reed, November 8th . . . . 207

      Captures of British property—New arrangement of officers and difficulties encountered—A series of blunders.

    • To Colonel William Woodford, November 10th . 209

      Advice as to disciplining troops.

    • To the President of Congress, November 11th . . 213

      Prizes and determination of questions pertaining to them—Arrangement of the army—Want of arms and powder—Affair at Letchmore’s Point.

    • To William Palfrey, November 12th . . . . 217

      Tyranny and cruelty of the British—Orders to seize every officer of government at Portsmouth.

    • Instructions to Henry Knox, November 16th . . 220
    • To Major-General Artemas Ward, November 17th . 222

      Wishes to consult him on fortifying his camp—Also a surprise of Castle William.

      Edition: current; Page: [xi]
    • To the President of Congress, November 19th . . 225

      Messengers to Nova Scotia—Arrangement of troops—Battalions of marines—News from Canada expeditions—Mortifying scarcity of firewood—Returns of enlistments.

    • To Joseph Reed, November 20th . . . . 229

      His position as secretary—Other aids described—Suggestion of advance pay—Dr. Church sent to Connecticut—Mutiny of the privateersmen—News from Arnold—Mrs. Washington’s journey to camp.

    • Instructions to Aaron Willard, November 24th . 233
    • To Lund Washington, November 26th . . . 235

      Servants unreliable—His own wages—Directions for maintaining the hospitality of the house.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, November 27th . . . 237

      Works on Cobble Hill—Armed vessels—The British not likely to leave Boston—Money wanted—Canada.

    • To Joseph Reed, November 27th . . . . 239

      Occupation of Cobble Hill—Fortifications constructed—The exodus from Boston—An ordnance vessel to be captured.

    • To the President of Congress, November 28th . . 241

      Knox’s orders—Messengers to Nova Scotia—Col. Enos—Enlistment of men for war not obtainable—Cobble Hill—Inhabitants of Boston coming out—Number of enlisted men, and favors granted—Militia and minute-men to be called in—Small-pox in Boston—The Canada expedition.

    • To Joseph Reed, November 28th . . . . 245

      His presence wanted—Mr. Lynch on his position—Want of money—Stock-jobbing and want of virtue prevail—Connecticut troops will not stay beyond their time—Would not have accepted command had present difficulties been foreseen—Operations of Army—Knox—Proposed exchange of prisoners—Aids should be ready writers—The new arrangement of the officers—Capture of Montreal—Reed’s perquisites.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, November 28th . . 250

      Little patriotic spirit shown by troops—Col. Enos and Montgomery—Incidents of the camp—Capture of military stores.

    • To Governor Trumbull, December 2d . . . 253

      Reprehensible conduct of the Connecticut troops—Militia called in to take their place.

      Edition: current; Page: [xii]
    • To the President of Congress, December 4th . . 256

      Capture of vessels—Inquiries as to disposition of ships and cargoes—Scandalous conduct of Connecticut troops, and measures taken to remedy their leaving—Enlistments proceed slowly—Colonel Babcock—Affairs of the Canada forces—Defence of Cape Cod—Howe sending out inhabitants—Fears of small-pox.

    • To Governor Cooke, December 5th . . . . 264

      Impracticability of recruiting new army by voluntary enlistments—A bounty expected—Desertion of troops looked for—The militia not to be depended upon—Vigorous measures necessary to complete army.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, December 5th . . 267

      Arnold’s progress and merit—Want of order among troops—Trusts he will not resign.

    • To Colonel Arnold, December 5th . . . . 268

      Commends his spirit—A command reserved for him—Enos under arrest.

    • To the President of Congress, December 11th . . 270

      Prizes—Slow enlistment—Militia arriving in numbers—Fear of small-pox—Matters in Boston—Colonel Enos’ trial and acquittal.

    • To the President of Congress, December 14th . . 274

      The marine battalions—Appointment of surgeons—Exchange of Allen proposed—Small-pox in Boston.

    • To Joseph Reed, December 15th . . . . 277

      Attentions to Mrs. Washington—Jealousies noticed, and explanations made—Letters from camp disapproved—Money and pay accounts—Bounty for enlistments—Inactivity of British—Lord Dunmore’s schemes—Small-pox.

    • To His Excellency General Howe, December 18th . 282

      Treatment of American prisoners—Allen’s case noted, and retaliation on Prescott threatened—Regret that Howe should appear against America.

    • To the President of Congress, December 18th . . 285

      Intercepted letters showing Dunmore’s plans—Also the situation at St. Augustine—Progress of new works of fortification—Letter to Howe—Returns of enlistments—Master Lovell’s case.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, December 18th . . 288

      Escape of Carleton—Allen’s case—Major Rogers said to have been in Canada.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
    • To Major-General Schuyler, December 24th . . 292

      On his intention to quit the service—Clothing of the troops—The British relations with the Indians.

    • To the President of Congress, December 25th . . 294

      The instructions to Connolly—Howe’s letter—The pay of the army—Ordnance—General Lee sent to Rhode Island.

    • To Joseph Reed, December 25th . . . . 298

      Fortifying Letchmore’s Point—Letters of introduction—A passage of a letter misunderstood—Voluntary enlistments—The Continental fleet—Mrs. Washington’s journey.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, December 26th . . . 300

      Demands for money—Lord Dunmore’s schemes and necessity of acting against him—Determination of Captures—A brigadier-general necessary.

    • To the General Court of Massachusetts, December 29th . . . . . . . . . 303

      The independent companies and their pay—On extending the guard.

    • To the President of Congress, December 31st . . 305

      Expenses of the Army—Clothing—Commissions for the officers in Canada—Employment of free negroes in the army—Colonel Gridley—Intelligence from Canada—Prizes and Prisoners—Lee in Rhode Island—Pay of chaplains.

  • 1776.
    • To the President of Congress, January 4th . . 312

      An attack on Boston—Situation of the army—The British forces and their operations—Protecting New York—His Majesty’s speech.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 4th . . . . . 316

      Matters in Virginia—The king’s speech, and its reception in camp—Raising the colors—The condition of the army—French troops in the West Indies—A move by the British fleet.

    • To Governor Cooke, January 6th . . . . 320

      Blankets—Supplying Captain Wallace with provisions—Its pernicious consequences—Acts of the Connecticut Assembly—Impressing wagons.

    • To Governor Trumbull, January 7th . . . . 324

      Supplies—Embarkation of troops from Boston—Probably for New York or Long Island—Will detach General Lee to New York—Tories to be disarmed—Request for troops.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
    • Instructions to Major-General Lee, January 8th . 327
    • To the Council of Massachusetts Bay, January 10th, 330

      The strength of the lines—The new army.

    • To the President of Congress, January 11th . . 332

      Embarkation of British troops—Importance of defending New York—Knowlton’s exploit.

    • To Colonel Arnold, January 12th . . . . 334

      Stores at Quebec—A Canadian army proposed.

    • To James Warren, January 13th . . . . 336

      Great deficiency of arms.

    • To the President of Congress, January 14th . . 337

      Deficiency of arms, and the reasons for it—Enlistments almost at an end—Reinforcements from England—Colonies applied to for arms.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 14th . . . . . 340

      Criticisms on his conduct answered—The Continental fleet—Enlistments at a stand—Opposition of some officers—Great want of arms—His uneasy hours and anxieties—Knowlton’s exploit—Lee sent to New York—Intelligence from England—The commitment of Sayre—French forces in the West Indies—Adjournment of Congress.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, January 16th . . . 348

      On continuing to hold his commission—Prescott and Rogers—Montgomery and Arnold—The Indians—Parole of Mr. Gamble—Wooster’s furloughs criticised.

    • To the General Court of Massachusetts Bay, January 16th . . . . . . . . . 351

      Bounty proposition misinterpreted—On raising troops—The purchase of arms—Loan of money.

    • To Matthew Thornton, January 16th . . . 354

      New forces to be raised.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, January 18th . . 355

      Fall of Montgomery—Can spare no troops—New regiments to be raised—Route of new forces.

    • To the President of Congress, January 19th . . 359

      Repulse in Canada—Reinforcements from the eastern colonies—Importance of supporting the Canada troops—Replies from Connecticut and Rhode Island.

    • To the New England Governments, January 19th . 362

      Urging reinforcements for Canada.

      Edition: current; Page: [xv]
    • To Governor Trumbull, January 21st . . . 363

      Inducements for men to enlist for Canada.

    • To Major-General Lee, January 23d . . . . 364

      Action of Congress regretted—Troops should be disbanded—Canadian affairs—Slow recruiting—Clinton gone on some expedition.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 23d . . . . . 367

      Distress for a secretary—Pressure of business—Wooster’s enterprise—New troops—Movements of the British—Powder needed.

    • To the President of Congress, January 24th . . 371

      Commissary-General and his accounts—The accounts of the army—Purchase of arms—Nothing decisive can be done without powder—Clinton’s expedition—The battalions of marines—Indians entertained.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, January 27th . . 375

      News of Arnold—Reinforcements for Canada—The Indians a cause of embarrassment—The Tryon County expedition.

    • To Colonel Arnold, January 27th . . . . 379

      Montgomery’s defeat—Measures taken to send troops to Canada—Importance of retaining a position in that country.

    • To Commodore Manly, January 28th . . . 382

      His conduct commended—Promise of better vessel—Appointed commodore.

    • To the President of Congress, January 30th . . 383

      Importance of Canada—Reinforcements—Exchange of Mr. Lovell to be proposed—The rank of aids—Connolly’s instructions—Need of powder—Money—A general for Canada—Clinton’s expedition—Captain Cochran—Prize captures—Arms—Concealment of Connolly’s orders—The commissioners returned from Nova Scotia—Proposed attempt on Halifax.

    • To Major-General Lee, January 30th . . . 393

      Clinton probably gone to New York—Disarming the Tories—Congress may send him to Canada.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 31st . . . . . 395

      Multiplying business—The Continental navy—The ravages in Virginia and “Common-Sense”—Arnold’s ability—Importance of supporting him—Lee in New York—Campbell’s picture.

    • To Joseph Reed, February 1st . . . . . 398

      Behavior of Montgomery’s troops—Evils of short enlistments—A bounty should be given.

      Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
    • To Governor Trumbull, February 8th . . . 401

      Payment of colony for troops—Powder very much wanted.

    • To the President of Congress, February 9th . . 403

      Prizes—Commissary of prisoners needed—Loan from Massachusetts—Procuring arms—Expresses.

    • To the President of Congress, February 9th . . 406

      Disadvantages of short enlistments—A cause of Montgomery’s defeat—Army cannot be disciplined—Consequent expense—A bounty should be given.

    • To Joseph Reed, February 10th . . . . 411

      Expectations and fulfilment—Enlistments and condition of regiments—Character of the people—Starving the cause—Ideas of accommodation—Zeal of chimney-corner heroes—Trial of captures—Militia ordered in—Arduous work at Letchmore’s Point—Miss Wheatley’s poem—Reed’s election to the Assembly.

    • To the General Court of Massachusetts, February 10th, 418

      Necessity of purchasing firelocks.

    • To the President of Congress, February 14th . . 419

      Lord Drummond’s letter—His intentions of dubious nature—Conduct is premature and officious—The Nova Scotia mission a failure—British attack on Dorchester Neck—Supplying prisoners.

    • To the President of Congress, February 18th . . 425

      Ice formed between Dorchester Point and Boston—Attack on city proposed but negatived—Irksomeness of his position—Powder—Expresses.

    • To Governor Trumbull, February 19th . . . 428

      Situation as to powder—A golden opportunity to attack city lost—Cause, a want of powder—Urges the forwarding of supplies—Town stocks inexpedient at this juncture.

    • To the President of Congress, February 26th . . 432

      Preparations to take possession of Dorchester Heights—Movements of British looking to an embarkation—Conjectures as to destination—His own operations in case of evacuation.

    • To Major-General Lee, February 26th . . . 435

      Captain Parker’s threats—British apparently preparing to move—Dorchester Heights to be occupied—Defence of New York—The Canada expedition.

    • To Miss Phillis Wheatley, February 28th . . . 440

      Acknowledgment of poem.

      Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
    • To Joseph Reed, March 3d . . . . . . 443

      Powder—Dorchester Heights—Lee’s journey to New York—Unlooked-for expense attending the Connecticut troops—Promise of Sears—Possible disapprobation of Congress—Camp equipage wanted.

    • To the President of Congress, March 7th . . . 448

      Bombardment of Boston—Occupation of Dorchester Heights—Nook’s Hill to be taken possession of—Mortars ordered—Militia ordered in, an attack being anticipated—Movements of the enemy—A probable attack intended—His preparations to meet it—Militia discharged—Three major-generals needed—Thomas and Thompson recommended—Information from Boston by Captain Irvine—Letter from the selectmen—Its reception—Move on Nook’s Hill—Enemy’s operations to be watched by land and sea—Conjectures as to their plans—Money wanted.

    • To Joseph Reed, March 7th . . . . . 460

      The recent events described—Hopes for his return—Patrick Henry—Armstrong and Thompson—To send Thompson to Virginia in the first command would be a grave mistake—General Fry—The rumored commission—The embarkation confirmed.

    • To the President of Congress, March 13th . . 467

      British still in the harbor—Importance of defending New York—Army to be sent to that place—Temporary troops called for from Connecticut and New Jersey—Nook’s Hill not occupied—Measures to hasten march to New York—Promotions recommended.

    • To the Commanding Officer at New York, March 14th, 473

      Urges importance of that post, and gives information of measures taken to strengthen the forces under him.

    • To the President of Congress, March 19th . . 475

      Evacuation of the city by the British—The causes—Occupation of the city—Its condition, and stores abandoned by the enemy.

    • Proclamation on the Evacuation, March 21st . . 479
    • To the General Court of Massachusetts, March 21st . 481

      Necessity of throwing troops into the town—Danger of small-pox—Measures of defence—Property of refugees—Pay of field officers.

    • To Governor Trumbull, March 21st . . . . 485

      Information on the situation—Future movements.

      Edition: current; Page: [xviii]
    • To the President of Congress, March 24th . . 487

      British still at Nantasket Road—Abandoned property and questions of ownership—Fortifications thrown up to prevent enemy’s return—Stores and number of rations drawn by the British—Resignations of Ward and Fry—Powder—Queries as to receiving commissioners from England.

    • To Joseph Reed, March 25th . . . . . 492

      Movements of the enemy—Danger of an attack—Mr. Webb.

    • To Col. Mifflin, Instructions, March 24th . . . 496
    • Answer to an Address from the General Assembly of Massachusetts . . . . . . . 497
    • To Major-General Putnam, Instructions, March 29th, 500
    • To John Augustine Washington, March 31st . . 501

      Want of arms and powder—Operations before Boston—Condition of the town after the departure of the British—The loyalists—His own position—Every person should be active at this time—Commissioners—General Lee.

Edition: current; Page: [1]

THE WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.

1775.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 July, 1775

ANSWER TO AN ADDRESS OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS.1

Gentlemen,

Your kind congratulations on my appointment and arrival, demand my warmest acknowledgments, and will ever be retained in grateful remembrance.

Edition: current; Page: [2]

In exchanging the enjoyments of domestic life for the duties of my present honorable but arduous station, I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of the Massachusetts Bay, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example in modern history, have sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life, in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country. My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating those rights, and to see this devoted province again restored to peace, liberty, and safety.

The short space of time, which has elapsed since Edition: current; Page: [3] my arrival, does not permit me to decide upon the state of the army. The course of human affairs forbids an expectation that troops formed under such circumstances should at once possess the order, regularity, and discipline of veterans. Whatever deficiencies there may be, will, I doubt not, soon be made up by the activity and zeal of the officers, and the docility and obedience of the men. These qualities, united with their native bravery and spirit, will afford a happy presage of success, and put a final period to those distresses, which now overwhelm this once happy country.1

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I most sincerely thank you, Gentlemen, for your declaration of readiness at all times to assist me in the discharge of the duties of my station. They are so complicated and extended, that I shall need the assistance of every good man, and lover of his country. I therefore repose the utmost confidence in your aid.

In return for your affectionate wishes to myself, permit me to say, that I earnestly implore that divine Being, in whose hands are all human events, to make you and your constituents as distinguished in private and public happiness, as you have been by ministerial oppression, and private and public distress.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
10 July, 1775
Cambridge
James Warren
Warren, James

TO JAMES WARREN, PRESIDENT OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF MASSACHUSETTS.

Sir,

After much difficulty and delay, I have procured such returns of the state of the army, as will enable us to form a judgment of its strength. It is with great concern I find it inadequate to our general expectations, and the duties that may be required of it. The number of men fit for duty in the forces raised in this province, including all the outposts and artillery, does not amount to nine thousand. The troops raised in the other colonies are more complete, but Edition: current; Page: [6] yet fall short of their establishment; so that, upon the whole, I cannot estimate the present army at more than fourteen thousand five hundred men capable of duty. I have the satisfaction to find the troops, both in camp and quarters, very healthy; so that the deficiency must arise from the regiments never having been filled up to the establishment, and the number of men on furlough; but the former cause is by much the most considerable. Under all these circumstances, I yesterday called a council of war, and enclosed I send you an extract of our determinations, so far as they respect the province of Massachusetts Bay.1 Your own prudence will suggest the necessity of secrecy on this subject, as we have the utmost reason to believe, that the enemy suppose our numbers Edition: current; Page: [7] much greater than they are, an error which it is not our interest to remove.

The great extent of our lines, and the uncertainty where may be the point of attack, added to the necessity of immediate support, have induced me to order that horses ready saddled should be kept at several posts, in order to bring the most early intelligence of any movement of the enemy. For this purpose, I should be glad that ten horses may be provided as soon as possible. I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

P. S. As I am informed, that the Congress proposes to rise immediately, I should be glad to know what committees are left, or upon whom the executive business devolves.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
July 10, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1

Sir,

I arrived safe at this Place on the 3d inst., after a Journey attended with a good deal of Fatigue, and retarded by necessary Attentions to the successive Civilities which accompanied me in my whole Rout. Upon my arrival, I immediately visited the several Posts occupied by our Troops, and as soon as the Weather permitted, reconnoitred those of the Enemy. I found the latter strongly entrench’d on Bunker’s Hill about a Mile from Charlestown, and advanced about half a Mile from the Place of the last Action, with their Centries extended about 150 Yards on this side of the narrowest Part of the Neck leading from this Place to Charlestown; 3 floating Batteries lay in Mystick River, near their camp; and one 20 Gun Ship below the Ferry Place between Boston and Charlestown. They have also a Battery on Copse Hill, on the Boston side, which much annoyed our Troops in the late attack. Upon the Neck, they are also deeply entrenched and strongly fortified. Their advanced Guards ’till last Saturday morning, occupied Brown’s Houses, about a mile from Roxbury Meeting House and 20 roods from their Lines: But at that Time a Party from General Thomas’s Camp surprized the Guard, drove them in and burnt the houses.2 The Bulk of their Army commanded by Edition: current; Page: [a] Edition: current; Page: [b] Edition: current; Page: [9] Genl. Howe, lays on Bunker’s Hill, and the Remainder on Roxbury Neck, except the Light Horse, and a few Men in the Town of Boston. On our side we have thrown up Intrenchments on Winter and Prospect Hills, the Enemies camp in full View at the Distance of little more than a Mile.1 Such intermediate Points, as would admit a Landing, I have since my arrival taken care to strengthen, down to Sewall’s Farm, where a strong Entrenchment has been thrown up. At Roxbury General Thomas has thrown up a strong Work on the Hill, about 200 Yards above the Meeting House which with the Broken-ness of the Ground and great Number of Rocks has made that Pass very secure.2 The Troops raised in New Hampshire, with a Regiment from Rhode Island occupy Winter Hill. A Part of those from Connecticut under General Puttnam are on Prospect Hill. Edition: current; Page: [10] The Troops in this Town are intirely of the Massachusetts: The Remainder of the Rhode Island Men, are at Sewall’s Farm: Two Regiments of Connecticut and 9 of the Massachusetts are at Roxbury. The Residue of the Army, to the Number of about 700, are posted in several small Towns along the Coast, to prevent the Depredations of the Enemy: Upon the whole, I think myself authorized to say, that considering the great Extent of Line, and the nature of the Ground we are as well secured as could be expected in so short a Time and under the Disadvantages we labour. These consist in a Want of Engineers to construct proper Works and direct the men, a Want of Tools, and a sufficient Number of Men to man the Works in Case of an attack. You will observe by the Proceedings of the Council of War, which I have the Honor to enclose, that it is our unanimous Opinion to hold and defend these Works as long as possible. The Discouragement it would give the Men and its contrary Effects on the ministerial Troops, thus to abandon our Incampment in their Face, form’d with so much Labor, added to the certain Destruction of a considerable and valuable Extent of Country, and our Uncertainty of finding a Place in all Respects so capable of making a stand, are leading Reasons for this Determination: at the same Time we are very sensible of the Difficulties which attend the Defence of Lines of so great extent, and the Dangers which may ensue from such a Division of the Army.

lf1450-03_figure_001.jpg

the above fac-simile shows the rough heads of subjects to be treated of in the letter to congress of 10 july, 1775, and is interesting as a key to the manner in which all of washington’s correspondence was probably prepared. by the courtesy of the publishers of winsor’s Narrative and Critical History of America, i am allowed to use this fac-simile.

My earnest Wishes to comply with the Instructions Edition: current; Page: [11] of the Congress in making an early and complete Return of the State of the Army, has led into an involuntary Delay in addressing you, which has given me much Concern. Having given orders for this Purpose immediately on my Arrival, and unapprized of the imperfect Obedience which had been paid to those of the like Nature from General Ward, I was led from Day to Day to expect they would come in, and therefore detained the Messenger. They are not now so complete as I could wish, but much Allowance is to be made for Inexperience in Forms, and a Liberty which has been taken (not given) on this subject. These Reasons I flatter myself will no longer exist, and of Consequence more Regularity and exactness in future prevail. This, with a necessary attention to the Lines, the Movements of the Ministerial Troops, and our immediate Security, must be my Apology, which I beg you lay before the Congress with the utmost Duty and Respect.

We labor under great Disadvantages for Want of Tents, for tho’ they have been help’d out by a Collection of now useless sails from the Sea Port Towns, the Number is yet far short of our Necessities. The Colleges and Houses of this Town are necessarily occupied by the Troops which affords another Reason for keeping our present Situation: But I most sincerely wish the whole Army was properly provided to take the Field, as I am well assured, that besides greater Expedition and Activity in case of Alarm, it would highly conduce to Health and discipline. As Materials are not to be had here, I would beg leave Edition: current; Page: [12] to recommend the procuring a farther supply from Philadelphia as soon as possible.1

I should be extremely deficient in Gratitude, as well as Justice, if I did not take the first opportuny to acknowledge the Readiness and Attention which the provincial Congress and different Committees have shewn to make every Thing as convenient and agreeable as possible: but there is a vital and inherent Principle of Delay incompatible with military service in transacting Business thro’ such numerous and different Channels. I esteem it therefore my Duty to represent the Inconvenience that must unavoidably ensue from a dependence on a Number of Persons for supplies, and submit it to the Consideration of the Congress whether the publick Service will not be best promoted by appointing a Commissary General for these purposes. We have a striking Instance of the Preference of such a Mode in the Establishment of Connecticut, as their Troops are extremely well provided under the Direction of Mr. Trumbull, and he has at different Times assisted others with various Articles. Should my Sentiments happily coincide with those of your Honors, on this subject, I beg leave to recommend Mr. Trumbull as a very proper Person for this Department. In the Arrangement of Troops collected under such Circumstances, and upon the Spur of immediate Necessity Edition: current; Page: [13] several Appointments are omitted, which appear to be indispensably necessary for the good Government of the Army, particularly a Quartermaster General, a Commissary of Musters and a Commissary of Artillery. These I must Earnestly recommend to the Notice and Provision of the Congress.1

I find myself already much embarrassed for Want of a Military Chest; these embarrassments will increase every day: I must therefore request that Money may be forwarded as soon as Possible. The want of this most necessary Article, will I fear produce great Inconveniences if not prevented by an early Attention. I find the Army in general, and the Troops raised in Massachusetts in particular, very deficient in necessary Cloathing.2 Upon Inquiry there appears no Probability of obtaining any supplies in this Quarter. And the best Consideration of this Matter I am able to form, I am of Opinion that a Number of hunting Shirts not less than 10,000, would in a great Degree remove this Difficulty in the cheapest and quickest manner. I know nothing in a speculative View more trivial, yet if put in Practice would have a happier Tendency to unite the Men, and abolish those Provincial Distinctions which lead to Jealousy and Dissatisfaction. In a former part of this Letter I mentioned the want of Edition: current; Page: [14] Engineers; I can hardly express the Disappointment I have experienced on this Subject. The Skill of those we have, being very imperfect and confined to the mere manual Exercise of Cannon: Whereas—the War in which we are engaged requires a Knowledge comprehending the Duties of the Field and Fortifications.1 If any Persons thus qualified are to be found in the Southern Colonies, it would be of great publick Service to forward them with all expedition. Upon the Article of Ammunition I must re-echo the former Complaints on this Subject: We are so exceedingly destitute, that our Artillery will be of little Use without a supply both large and seasonable: What we have must be reserved for the small Arms, and that managed with the utmost Frugality.

I am sorry to observe that the Appointments of the General Officers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay have by no Means corresponded with the Judgement Edition: current; Page: [15] and Wishes of either the civil or Military. The great Dissatisfaction expressed on this Subject and the apparent Danger of throwing the Army into the utmost Disorder, together with the strong Representations of the Provincial Congress, have induced me to retain the Commissions in my Hands untill the Pleasure of the Congress should be farther known, (except General Puttnam’s which was given the Day I came into Camp and before I was apprized of these Uneasinesses.)1 In such a Step I must beg the Congress will do me the Justice I believe, that I have been actuated solely by a Regard to the publick Good. I have not, nor could have any private Attachments; every Gentleman in Appointment, was an intire Stranger to me but from Character. I must therefore rely upon the Candor of the Congress for their favorable Construction of my Conduct in this Particular. General Spencer was so much disgusted at the preference given to General Puttnam that he left the Army without visiting me, or making known his Intentions in any respect.2 General Pomroy had also retired before my Arrival, occasioned (as is said) by some Disappointment from the Provincial Congress.3 General Thomas is much Edition: current; Page: [16] esteemed and earnestly desired to continue in the service: and as far as my Opportunities have enabled me to judge I must join in the general opinion that he is an able good Officer and his Resignation would be a publick Loss. The postponing him to Pomroy and Heath whom he has commanded would make his Continuance very difficult, and probably operate on his Mind, as the like Circumstance has done on that of Spencer.1

The State of the Army you will find ascertained with tolerable Precision in the Returns which accompany this Letter.2 Upon finding the Number of men to fall so far short of the Establishment, and below all Expectation, I immediately called a Council of the general Officers, whose opinion as to the mode of filling up the Regiments, and providing for the present Exigency, I have the Honor of inclosing together with the best Judgment we are able to form of the ministerial Troops. From the Number of Boys, Deserters, and Negroes which have been inlisted in the troops of this Province, I entertain some doubts whether the number required can be raised here; and all the General Officers agree that no Dependance can be put on the militia for a Continuance Edition: current; Page: [17] in Camp, or Regularity and Discipline during the short Time they may stay.1 This unhappy and devoted Province has been so long in a State of Anarchy, and the Yoke of ministerial Oppression been laid so heavily on it that great Allowances are to be made for Troops raised under such Circumstances: The Deficiency of Numbers, Discipline and Stores can only lead to this Conclusion, that their Spirit has exceeded their Strength. But at the same Time I would humbly submit to the consideration of the Congress, the Propriety of making some farther Provision of Men from the other Colonies. If these Regiments should be completed to their Establishment, the Dismission of those unfit for Duty on account of their Age and Character would occasion a considerable Reduction, and at all events they have been inlisted upon such Terms, that they may be disbanded when other Troops arrive: But should my apprehensions be realized, and the Regiments here not filled up, the publick Cause would suffer by an absolute Dependance upon so doubtful an Event, Edition: current; Page: [18] unless some Provision is made against such a Disappointment.1

It requires no military Skill to judge of the Difficulty of introducing proper Discipline and Subordination into an Army while we have the Enemy in View, and are in daily Expectation of an Attack, but it is of so much Importance that every Effort will be made which Time and Circumstance will admit. In the mean Time I have a sincere Pleasure in observing that there are Materials for a good Army, a great number of able bodied Men, active zealous in the Cause and of unquestionable courage.2

I am now Sir, to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 28th Inst. inclosing the Resolutions of the Congress of the 27th ult. and a Copy of a Letter from the Committee of Albany, to all which I shall pay due Attention.

General Gates and Sullivan have both arrived in Edition: current; Page: [19] good Health. My best Abilities are at all Times devoted to the Service of my Country, but I feel the Weight Importance and variety of my present Duties too sensibly, not to wish a more immediate and frequent Communication with the Congress. I fear it may often happen in the Course of our present Operations, that I shall need that Assistance and Direction from them which Time and Distance will not allow me to receive.1

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Since writing the above, I have also to acknowledge your Favour of the 4th Inst. by Fessenden, and the Receipt of the Commission and Articles of War. The Former are yet 800 short of the number required, this deficiency you will please supply as soon as you conveniently can. Among the other Returns, I have also sent one of our killed, wounded and missing in the late Action, but have been able to procure no certain Account of the Loss of the ministerial Troops, my best Intelligence fixes it at about 500 killed and 6 or 700 wounded; but it is no more than Conjecture, the utmost Pains being taken on their side to conceal it.1

P. S. Having ordered the commanding Officer to give me the earliest Intelligence of every Motion of the Enemy, by Land or Water, discoverable from the Heighths of his Camp, I this inst., as I was closing my Letter received the enclosed from the Brigade Major. The Design of this Manuœvre I know not, perhaps it may be to make a Descent some where along the Coast; it may be for New York, or it may be practised as a Deception on Us. I thought it not improper however to mention the matter to you. I Edition: current; Page: [21] have done the same to the commanding Officer at New York, and I shall let it be known to the Committee of Safety here, so that the Intelligence may be communicated as they shall think best along the Sea Coast of this Government.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 July, 1775
Cambridge
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE, IN CONGRESS.

Dear Sir,

I was exceeding glad to receive a letter from you, as I always shall be whenever it is convenient; though perhaps my hurry, till such time as matters are drawn a little out of the chaos they appear in at present, will not suffer me to write you such full and satisfactory answers, or give such clear and precise accounts of our situation and views, as I could wish, or you might expect. After a journey, a good deal retarded, principally by the desire of the different townships through which I travelled of showing respect to the general of your armies, I arrived here on this day week; since which I have been laboring with as much assiduity by fair and threatening means, to obtain returns of our strength in this camp and Roxbury and their dependencies, as a man could do, and never have been able to accomplish the matter till this day; and now, I will not answer for the correctness of them, although I have sent several of the regimental returns back more than once to have mistakes rectified.

I do not doubt but the Congress will think me very Edition: current; Page: [22] remiss in not writing to them sooner; but you may rely on it yourself, and I beg you to assure them, that it has never been in my power till this day to comply with their orders. Could I have conceived, that what ought, and, in a regular army, would have been done in an hour, would employ eight days, I should have sent an express on the second morning after I arrived, with a general account of things; but expecting in the morning to receive the returns in the evening, and in the evening surely to find them in the morning, and at last getting them full of imperfections, I have been drilled on from day to day, till I am ashamed to look back at the time, which has elapsed since my arrival here. You will perceive by the returns, that we have but about sixteen thousand effective men in all this department, whereas, by the accounts which I received from even the first officers in command, I had no doubt of finding between eighteen and twenty thousand; out of these there are only fourteen thousand fit for duty. So soon as I was able to get this state of the army, and came to the knowledge of our weakness, I immediately summoned a council of war, the result of which you will see, as it is enclosed to the Congress. Between you and me, I think we are in an exceedingly dangerous situation, as our numbers are not much larger than we suppose those of the enemy to be, from the best accounts we are able to get. They are situated in such a manner, as to be drawn to any point of attack, without our having an hour’s previous notice of it, if the General will keep his own counsel; Edition: current; Page: [23] whereas we are obliged to be guarded at all points, and know not where, with precision to look for them.

I should not, I think, have made choice of the present posts, in the first instance, although I believe the communication between the town and country could not have been so well cut off without them; and, as much labor has been bestowed in throwing up lines, and making redoubts; as Cambridge, Roxbury, and Watertown must be immediately exposed to the mercy of the enemy, were we to retreat a little further into the country; as it would give a general dissatisfaction to this colony, dispirit our own people, and encourage the enemy, to remove at this time to another place; we have for these reasons resolved in council to maintain our ground if we can. Our lines on Winter and Prospect Hills, and those of the enemy on Bunker’s Hill, are in full view of each other, a mile distant, our advance guards much nearer, and the sentries almost near enough to converse; at Roxbury and Boston Neck it is the same. Between these, we are obliged to guard several of the places at which the enemy may land. They have strongly fortified, or will fortify in a few days, their camps and Bunker’s Hill; after which, and when their newly landed troops have got a little refreshed, we shall look for a visit, if they mean, as we are told they do, to come out of their lines. Their great command of artillery, and adequate stores of powder, give them advantages, which we have only to lament the want of.

The abuses in this army, I fear, are considerable, and the new modelling of it, in the face of an enemy, Edition: current; Page: [24] from whom we every hour expect an attack, is exceedingly difficult and dangerous. If things therefore should not turn out as the Congress would wish, I hope they will make proper allowances. I can only promise and assure them, that my whole time is devoted to their service, and that as far as my judgment goes, they shall have no cause to complain.1 I need Edition: current; Page: [25] not tell you, that this letter is written in much haste; the fact will sufficiently appear from the face of it. I thought a hasty letter would please you better than no letter, and, therefore, I shall offer no further apology, but assure you, that, with sincere regard for my fellow laborers with you, and Dr. Shippen’s family, I am, dear Sir, your most affectionate servant.

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George Washington
Washington, George
18 July, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.1

Sir,

It is with no small concern, that I find the arrangement of general officers, made by the honorable Continental Congress, has produced much dissatisfaction. Edition: current; Page: [27] As the army is upon a general establishment, their right, to supersede and control a Provincial one, must be unquestionable; and, in such a cause, I should hope every post would be deemed honorable, which gave a man opportunity to serve his country.

A representation from the Congress of this province, Edition: current; Page: [28] with such remarks as occurred to me on this subject, is now before the Continental Congress.1 In the mean time, I beg leave to assure you, that, unbiassed by any private attachments, I shall studiously endeavor to reconcile their pretensions to their duty, and so dispose them, as to prevent, as far as possible, any inconvenience to the public service from this competition. I have the honor to be, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
21 July, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Since I did myself the Honor of addressing you the 14th instt I have received Advice from Govr Trumbull, that the Assembly of Connecticut had voted, and that they are now raising two Regiments of 700 Men each, in Consequence of an Application from Edition: current; Page: [29] the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts Bay. The Rhode Island Assembly has also made an Augmentation for this purpose1; these Reinforcements with the Riffle Men who are daily expected, and such Recruits as may come in, to fill up the Regiments here, will I apprehend compose an Army sufficiently strong, to oppose any force which may be brought against us at present. I am very sensible, that the heavy expence necessarily attendant upon this Campaign, will call for the utmost Frugality and Care, and would therefore if possible avoid inlisting one unnecessary Man. As this is the first certain Account of the Destination of these new raised Troops, I thought proper to communicate my Sentiments as early as possible; least the Congress should act upon my Letter of the 10th, and raise Troops in the Southern Colonies, which in my present Judgment may be dispens’d with.

In these 8 Days past there have been no movements in either Camp of any consequence. On our side, we have continued the Works without any Intermission, and they are now so far advanced, as to leave us little to apprehend on that Score. On the side of the Enemy, they have also been very industrious in finishing their Lines both on Bunker’s Hill, and Roxbury Neck. In this Interval also their Transports have arrived from New York, and they have been employed in landing and stationing their Men. I have been able to collect no certain Account of the Edition: current; Page: [30] Numbers arrived, but the inclosed Letter, wrote (tho’ not signed) by Mr. Sheriff Lee, and delivered me by Capt Darby, (who went Express with an Account of the Lexington Battle,) will enable us to form a pretty accurate Judgment. The Increase of Tents and Men in the Town of Boston, is very obvious, but all my Accounts from thence agree, that there is a great Mortality occasioned by the Want of Vegetables and fresh Meat: and that their Loss in the late Battle at Charles Town (from the few Recoveries of their Wounded) is greater than at first supposed. The Condition of the Inhabitants detained in Boston is very distressing, they are equally destitute of the Comfort of fresh Provisions, and many of them are so reduced in their Circumstances, as to be unable to supply themselves with salt: Such Fish as the Soldiery leave, is their principal support. Added to all this, such Suspicion and Jealousy prevails, that they can scarcely speak, or even look, without exposing themselves to some Species of military Execution.

I have not been able from any Intelligence I have received, to form any certain Judgment of the future Operations of the Enemy. Some Times I have suspected an intention of detaching a part of their Army to some Part of the Coast; as they have been building a number of flat bottom’d Boats capable of holding 200 Men each. But from their Works, and the Language held at Boston, there is Reason to think, they expect the Attack from us, and are principally engaged in preparing themselves against it. Edition: current; Page: [31] I have ordered all the Whale Boats along the Coast to be collected, and some of them are employed every Night to watch the Motions of the Enemy by Water, so as to guard as much as possible against any surprize.

Upon my arrival and since, some Complaints have been preferr’d against Officers for Cowardice in the late Action on Bunkers Hill. Though there were several strong Circumstances and a very general Opinion against them, none have been condemned, except a Captn Callender of the Artillery, who was immediately cashier’d.1 I have been sorry to find it Edition: current; Page: [32] an uncontradicted Fact, that the principal failure of Duty that day was in the Officers, tho’ many of them distinguish’d themselves by their gallant Behavior. The Soldiers generally shew’d great Spirit and Resolution.

Next to the more immediate and pressing Duties of putting our Lines in as secure a State as possible, attending to the Movements of the Enemy, and gaining Intelligence, my great Concern is to establish Order, Regularity and Discipline: without which, our numbers would embarass us, and in case of Action general Confusion must infallibly ensue. In order to this, I propose to divide the Army into three Divisions at the Head of each will be a General Officer—these Divisions to be again subdivided into Brigades, under their respective Brigadiers1; but the Difficulty arising from the Arrangement of the General Officers, and waiting the farther Proceedings of the Congress on this Subject, has much retarded my Progress in this most necessary Work. I should be very happy to receive their final Commands, as any Determination would enable me to proceed in my Plan.2

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General Spencer returned to the Camp two Days ago, and has consented to serve under Puttnam, rather than leave the Army intirely. I have heard nothing from General Pomroy, should he wholly retire, I apprehend it will be necessary to supply his Place as soon as possible. General Folsom proposes also to retire. In addition to the Officers mentioned in mine of the 10. Instt, I would humbly propose that some Provision should be made for a Judge Advocate, and Provost Marshal—the Necessity of the first appointment was so great, that I was obliged to nominate a Mr Tudor, who was well recommended to me, and now executes the Office, under an Expectation of receiving a Captain’s pay; an Allowance, in my Opinion, scarcely adequate to the Service in new Edition: current; Page: [34] raised Troops, when there are Court Martials every Day. However as that is the Proportion in the regular Army, and he is contented, there will be no Necessity of an Addition.

I must also renew my Request as to Money, and the Appointment of a Paymaster: I have forbore urging Matters of this Nature from my Knowledge of the many important Concerns which engage the Attention of the Congress; but as I find my Difficulties thicken every Day, I make no Doubt suitable Regard will be paid to a Necessity of this Kind. The Inconvenience of borrowing such Sums as are constantly requisite must be too plain for me to enlarge upon, and is a Situation, from which I should be very happy to be relieved.

Upon the Experience I have had, and the best Consideration of the Appointment of the several Offices of Commissary Genl, Muster master Genl, Quarter Master Genl, Paymaster Genl and Commissary of Artillery, I am clearly of Opinion that they not only conduce to Order, Despatch and Discipline, but that it is a Measure of Oeconomy. The Delay, the Waste, and unpunishable Neglect of Duty arising from these Offices being in Commission, in several Hands, evidently show that the publick Expence must be finally enhanced. I have experienced the Want of these Officers, in completing the Returns of Men, Ammunition, and Stores, the latter are yet imperfect, from the Number of Hands in which they are dispers’d. I have inclosed the last weekly Return which is more accurate than the former, and hope in a little Time we Edition: current; Page: [35] shall be perfectly regular in this, as well as several other necessary Branches of Duty.

I have made Inquiry into the Establishment of the Hospital, and find it in a very unsettled Condition. There is no principal Director, or any Subordination among the Surgeons, of Consequence, Disputes and Contention have arisen, and must continue, untill it is reduced to some system. I could wish it was immediately taken into Consideration, as the Lives and Health of both Officers and Men, so much depend upon a due Regulation of this Department.1 I have been particularly attentive to the least Symptoms of the small Pox and hitherto we have been so fortunate, as to have every person removed so soon, as not only to prevent any Communication, but any Alarm or Apprehension it might give in the Camp. We shall continue the utmost Vigilance against this most dangerous Enemy.

In an Army properly organized, there are sundry Offices of an Inferior kind, such as Waggon Master, Master Carpenter, &c, but I doubt whether my Powers are sufficiently extensive for such Appointments: If it is thought proper to repose such a Trust in me, I shall be governed in the Discharge of it, by a strict Regard to Oeconomy, and the publick Interest.

My Instructions from the Hon Congress direct that no Troops are to be disbanded without their express Direction, nor to be recruited to more than double the Number of the Enemy. Upon this Subject, Edition: current; Page: [36] I beg Leave to represent, that unless the Regiments in this Province, are more successful in recruiting than I have Reason to expect, a Reduction of some of them, will be highly necessary; as the Publick is put to the whole Expense of an Establishment of Officers, while the real Strength of the Regiment, which consists in the Rank and file, is defective. In Case of such a Reduction doubtless some of the Privates, and all the Officers would return Home; but many of the former, would go into the remaining Regiments, and having had some Experience would fill them up with useful Men. I so plainly perceive the Expence of this Campaign, will exceed any Calculation hitherto made, that I am particularly anxious to strike off every unnecessary Charge. You will therefore, Sir, be pleased to favor me with explicit Directions from the Congress on the Mode of this Reduction, if it shall appear necessary, that no Time may be lost when such Necessity appears.

Yesterday we had an Account that the Light House was on Fire—by whom, and under what Orders, I have not yet learned. But we have Reason to believe, it has been done by some of our Irregulars.

You will please to present me to the Congress with the utmost Duty, and Respect.

P. S. Capt. Darby’s Stay in England was so short, that he brings no other Information than what the inclosed Letter, and the News Papers which will accompany this, contain1—General Gage’s Dispatches Edition: current; Page: [37] had not arrived, and the Ministry affected to disbelieve the whole Account—treating it as a Fiction or at most an Affair of little Consequence. The Fall of Stocks was very inconsiderable.1

George Washington
Washington, George
21 July, 1775

Since closing the Letters which accompany this I have received an Account of the Destruction of the Edition: current; Page: [38] Light House, a Copy of which I have the Honor to inclose.1

P. S. I have also received a more authentick Account of the Loss of the Enemy in the late Battle than any yet received. Dr. Winship who lodged in the same House with an Officer of the Marines assures me they had exactly 1043 killed and wounded, Edition: current; Page: [39] of whom 300 fell on the Field or died within a few Hours. Many of the wounded are since dead.1

George Washington
Washington, George
23 July, 1775
General Thomas
General Thomas

TO GENERAL THOMAS.2

Sir:

The retirement of a General Officer possessing the confidence of his country and the army at so critical a period, appears to me to be big with fatal consequences both to the public cause and his own reputation. While it is unexecuted I think it my duty to use this last effort to prevent it, and your own virtue and good sense must decide upon it. In the usual contests of empire and ambition, the conscience of a soldier has so little share, that he may very properly insist upon his claims of rank, and extend his pretensions even to punctilio;—but in such a cause as this, when the object is neither glory nor extent of territory, but a defence of all that is dear and valuable in Edition: current; Page: [40] private and public life, surely every post ought to be deemed honorable in which a man can serve his country. What matter of triumph will it afford our enemies, that in less than one month, a spirit of discord should show itself in the highest ranks of the army, not to be extinguished by any thing less than a total desertion of duty. How little reason shall we have to boast of American union and patriotism, if at such a time and in such a cause smaller and partial considerations cannot give way to the great and general interest. These remarks not only affect you as a member of the great American body, but as an inhabitant of Massachusetts Bay. Your own Province and the other Colonies have a peculiar and unquestionable claim to your services, and in my opinion you cannot refuse without relinquishing in some degree that character of public virtue and honor which you have hitherto supported. If our cause is just, it ought to be supported; but when shall it find support if gentlemen of merit and experience, unable to conquer the prejudices of a competition, withdraw themselves in the hour of danger? I admit, Sir, that your just claims and services have not had due respect,—it is by no means a singular case,—worthy men of all nations and countries have had reasons to make the same complaint, but they did not for this abandon the public cause,—they nobly stifled the dictates of resentment, and made their enemies ashamed of their injustice. And can America afford no such instances of magnanimity? For the sake of your bleeding country,—your devoted Province,—your Edition: current; Page: [41] charter rights,—and by the memories of those brave men who have already fallen in this great cause, I conjure you to banish from your mind every suggestion of anger and disappointment; your country will do ample justice to your merits,—they already do it by the regret and sorrow expressed on this occasion; and the sacrifice you are called to make, will in the judgment of every good man and lover of his country, do you more real honor than the most distinguished victory. You possess the confidence and affection of the troops of this Province particularly;—many of them are not capable of judging the propriety and reasons of your conduct,—should they esteem themselves authorized by your example to leave the service, the consequences may be fatal and irretrievable. There is reason to fear it from the personal attachment of the officers and men, and the obligations that are supposed to arise from these attachments.

But, sir, the other Colonies have also their claims upon you, not only as a native of America, but an inhabitant of this Province. They have made common cause with it, they have sacrificed their trade, loaded themselves with taxes, and are ready to spill their blood, in vindication of the rights of Massachusetts Bay, while all the security and profit of a neutrality have been offered them. But no acts or temptations could seduce them from your side, and leave you a prey to a cruel and perfidious ministry. Sure these reflections must have some weight with a mind as generous and considerate as yours. How will you Edition: current; Page: [42] be able to answer it to your country and to your own conscience, if such a step should lead to a division of the army or the loss and ruin of America be ascribed to measures which your counsels and conduct would have prevented! Before it is too late, I entreat, sir, you would weigh well the greatness of the stake, and upon how much smaller circumstances the fate of empires has depended. Of your own honor and reputation you are the best and only judge; but allow me to say, that a people contending for life and liberty, are seldom disposed to look with a favorable eye upon either men or measures, whose passions, interests or consequences will clash with those inestimable objects. As to myself, Sir, be assured, that I shall with pleasure do all in my power to make your situation both easy and honorable, and that the sentiments I have here expressed flow from a clear opinion that your duty to your country, your posterity, and yourself, most explicitly require your continuance in the service. The order and rank of the commissions is under the consideration of the Continental Congress, whose determination will be received in a few days. It may argue a want of respect to that august body not to wait that decision. But at all events, I shall flatter myself, that these reasons, with others which your own good judgment will suggest, will strengthen your mind against those impressions which are incident to humanity, and laudable to a certain degree, and that the result will be your resolution to assist your country and friends in this day of distress. That you may reap Edition: current; Page: [43] the full reward of honor and public esteem which such a conduct deserves, is the sincere wish of, Sir, Yours, &c—1

Edition: current; Page: [44]
George Washington
Washington, George
27 July, 1775
Cambridge
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

On the 2nd instant I arrived at this place, after passing through a great deal of delightful country, covered with grass, (although the season has been dry) in a very different manner to what our lands in Virginia are.

I found a mixed multitude of people here, under very little discipline, order, or government; I found the enemy in possession of a place called Bunker’s Hill, on Charles Town Neck, strongly intrenched, and fortifying themselves. I found part of our army on two hills, (called Winter and Prospect Hills) about a mile and a quarter from the enemy on Bunker’s Hill, in a very insecure state; I found another part of the army at this village; and a third part at Roxbury, guarding the entrance in and out of Boston. My whole time, since I came here, has been employed in throwing up lines of defence at these three several places, to secure, in the first instance, our own troops from any attempts of the enemy; and, in the next place, to cut off all communication between their troops and the country. To do this, and to prevent them from penetrating into the country with fire and sword, and to harass them if they do, is all that is expected of me; and if effected, must totally overthrow the designs of administration, as the whole force of Great Britain in the town and harbor of Boston can answer no other end, than to sink her under the disgrace and weight of the expense. Their force, Edition: current; Page: [45] including marines, Tories, &c., are computed, from the best accounts I can get, at about twelve thousand men1; ours, including sick absent, &c., at about sixteen thousand; but then we have a semicircle of eight or nine miles, to guard to every part of which we are obliged to be equally attentive; whilst they, situated as it were in the center of the semicircle, can bend their whole force (having the entire command of the water), against any one part of it with equal facility. This renders our situation not very agreeable, though necessary. However, by incessant labor (Sundays not excepted), we are in a much better posture of defence now, than when I first came. The enclosed, though rough, will give you some small idea of the situation of Boston and Bay on this side, as also of the post they have taken on Charles Town Neck, Bunker’s Hill, and our posts.

By very authentic intelligence lately received out of Boston (from a person who saw the returns), the number of regulars (including I presume the marines) the morning of the action on Bunker’s Hill amounted to 7533 men. Their killed and wounded on that occasion amounted to 1043, whereof 92 were officers. Our loss was 138 killed, 38 missing, and 276 wounded.

The enemy are sickly, and scarce of fresh provisions. Beef, which is chiefly got by slaughtering their milch cows in Boston, sells from one shilling to eighteen pence sterling per pound2; and that it may Edition: current; Page: [46] not get cheaper, or more plenty, I have drove all the stock, within a considerable distance of this place, back into the country, out of the way of the men-of-war’s boats. In short, I have [done,] and shall continue to do, every thing in my power to distress them. The transports are all arrived, and their whole reinforcement is landed, so that I can see no reason why they should not, if they ever attempt it, come boldly out, and put the matter to issue at once. If they think themselves not strong enough to do this, they surely will carry their arms (having ships of war and transports ready) to some other part of the continent, or relinquish the dispute; the last of which the ministry, unless compelled, will never agree to do.1 Our works, and those of the enemy are so near and quite open between that we see every thing that each other is doing. I recollect nothing more worth mentioning. I shall therefore conclude, with my best wishes Edition: current; Page: [47] and love to my sister and family, and compliments to any inquiring friend, your most affectionate brother.1

Edition: current; Page: [48]
George Washington
Washington, George
28 July, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you yesterday by way of New York, and in two hours afterwards was favored with yours of the 15th and 18th instant, with their respective enclosures. I was extremely glad to find your first apprehensions of an incursion by the Indians in some degree removed by the later advices. At the same time, I think it is evident from the spirit and tenor of Colonel Johnson’s letter, that no art or influence will be left untried by him to engage them in such an enterprise. Should he once prevail upon them to dip their hands in blood, mutual hostilities will most probably ensue, and they may be led to take a more decisive part. All accounts I think agree, that the Canadians are very averse to engage in this unnatural contest; but I am persuaded you will not abate in the least your vigilance to expedite every movement in that quarter, notwithstanding their present pacific appearances.1

Edition: current; Page: [49]

I am much easier with respect to the public interest since your arrival at Ticonderoga, as I am persuaded those abilities and that zeal for the common welfare, which have led your country to repose such confidence in you, will be fully exerted. From my own experience I can easily judge of your difficulties to introduce order and discipline into troops, who have from their infancy imbibed ideas of the most contrary kind. It would be far beyond the compass of a letter, for me to describe the situation of things here on my arrival. Perhaps you will only be able to judge of it from my assuring you, that mine must be a portrait at full length of what you have had a miniature. Confusion and disorder reigned in every department, which, in a little time, must have ended either in the separation of the army, or fatal contests with one another. The better genius of America has prevailed, and most happily the ministerial troops have not availed themselves of their advantages, till I trust the opportunity is in a great measure past over. The arrangement of the general officers in Massachusetts and Connecticut has been very unpopular, indeed I may say injudicious. It is returned to the Congress for further consideration, and has much retarded my plan of discipline. However, we mend every day, and I flatter myself that in a little time we shall work up these raw materials into a good manufacture. I must recommend to you, what I endeavor to practise myself, patience and perseverance. As to your operations, my dear Sir, I can suggest nothing, which your own good judgment will not either anticipate, or control, from Edition: current; Page: [50] your immediate view of things, and the instructions of the Continental Congress.1

The express from hence to England, with the account of the commencement of hostilities at Lexington, has returned. It was far from making the impression generally expected here. Stocks fell but one and a half per cent. General Gage’s account had not arrived, and the ministry affected to treat it as a fiction. Parliament had been prorogued two days, but it was reported that it would be immediately recalled. Our enemy continues strongly posted about a mile from us, both at Bunker’s Hill and Roxbury, but we are not able to get any information of their future intentions. Part of the riflemen are come in, and the rest daily expected.

I did not expect your returns would be very complete at first; but I must beg your attention to reforming them as soon as possible; and I beg leave to add, that I would have you scrutinize with exactness Edition: current; Page: [51] into the application of provisions and stores. I have the utmost reason to suspect irregularities and impositions here. You will be fortunate if the contagion does not reach you. General Lee has removed about four miles from me, but I will take the first opportunity to make your kind wishes known to him. Col. R [eed] and Major M [ifflin] join me in the best wishes for your health and success. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
31 July, 1775
Cambridge

TO GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Sir,

I have Considerd the Application2 made me yesterday, from the General Court, with all the attention due to the situation of the People in whose Behalf it is made, & the Respect due to such a Recommendation.

Edition: current; Page: [52]

Upon referring to my Instructions and Consulting with those Members of Congress who are present as well as the General Officers; they all agree that it would not be consistent with my duty to detach any Part of the Army now here on any Particular Provincial Service. It has been debated in Congress and Settled that the Militia or other Internal Strength of each Province is to be applied for Defence against those Small and Particular Depredations which were to be expected, & to which they were supposed to be Competent. This will appear the more proper, when it is Consider’d that every Town & indeed every Part of our Sea Coast which is exposed to these Depredations would have an equal Claim upon this Army: It is the misfortune of our situation which exposes us to these Ravages, against which in my Judgment no such Temporary relief would possibly secure us. The great Advantage the Enemy has of Transporting Troops by being Masters of the Sea will enable them to harrass us by Diversions of this kind; and should we be tempted to pursue them upon every Alarm, The Army must either be so weaken’d as to Expose it to Destruction or a great Part of the Coast be still left unprotected:

Nor indeed does it appear to me that such a Pursuit would be attended with the least Effect: The first notice of such an Incursion would be its actual Execution; and long before any Troops could reach the Scene of Action, the Enemy would have an Opportunity to Accomplish their Purpose & retire. It would give me great Pleasure to have it in my Edition: current; Page: [53] Power to extend Protection and Safety to every Individual, but the Wisdom of the General Court will Anticipate me in the Necessity of Conducting our Operations on a General and Impartial Scale, so as to exclude any first Cause of Complaint and Jealousy.1

I beg Sir you will do me the Honor to Communicate these Sentiments to the General Court and to Apologize for my Involuntary Delay: As we were alarm’d this Morning by the Enemy & my Time taken up with giving the Necessary Directions.

I shall be happy in every Opportunity of shewing my very great Respect and Regard for the General Court of Massachusetts Bay.2

George Washington
Washington, George
4 August, 1775
Cambridge
Deputy Governor Cooke
Deputy Governor Cooke

TO DEPUTY GOVERNOR COOKE, OF RHODE ISLAND.

Sir,

I was yesterday favored with yours of the 31st July. We have yet no certain account of the fleet, which sailed out of Boston on the 25th; but if our conjectures and information are just, we may expect to hear of it every hour.

Edition: current; Page: [54]

I am now, Sir, in strict confidence, to acquaint you, that our necessities in the articles of powder and lead are so great, as to require an immediate supply. I must earnestly entreat, you will fall upon some measures to forward every pound of each in the colony, which can possibly be spared. It is not within the propriety or safety of such a correspondence to say what I might upon this subject. It is sufficient, that the case calls loudly for the most strenuous exertions of every friend of his country, and does not admit of the least delay. No quantity, however small, is beneath notice, and, should any arrive, I beg it may be forwarded as soon as possible.1

But a supply of this kind is so precarious, not only Edition: current; Page: [55] from the danger of the enemy, but the opportunity of purchasing, that I have revolved in my mind every other possible chance, and listened to every proposition on the subject, which could give the smallest hope. Among others, I have had one mentioned, which has some weight with me, as well as the general officers to whom I have proposed it. One Harris is lately come from Bermuda, where there is a very considerable magazine of powder in a remote part of the island; and the inhabitants well disposed not only to our cause in general, but to assist in this enterprise in particular. We understand there are two armed vessels in your province, commanded by Edition: current; Page: [56] men of known activity and spirit; one of which, it is proposed to despatch on this errand with such assistance as may be requisite. Harris is to go along, as the conductor of the enterprise, and to avail ourselves of his knowledge of the island; but without any command. I am very sensible, that at first view the project may appear hazardous; and its success must depend on the concurrence of many circumstances; but we are in a situation, which requires us to run all risks. No danger is to be considered, when put in competition with the magnitude of the cause, and the absolute necessity we are under of increasing our stock. Enterprises, which appear chimerical, often prove successful from that very circumstance. Common sense and prudence will suggest vigilance and care, where the danger is plain and obvious; but, where little danger is apprehended, the more the enemy will be unprepared, and consequently there is the fairest prospect of success.1

Mr. Brown2 has been mentioned to me as a very proper person to be consulted upon this occasion. You will judge of the propriety of communicating it to him in part or the whole, and as soon as possible favor me with your sentiments, and the steps you may have taken to forward it. If no immediate and safe opportunity offers, you will please to do it by express. Edition: current; Page: [57] Should it be inconvenient to part with one of the armed vessels, perhaps some other might be fitted out, or you could devise some other mode of executing this plan; so that, in case of a disappointment, the vessel might proceed to some other island to purchase.

My last letter from the honorable Continental Congress recommends my procuring, from the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, a quantity of tow cloth, for the purpose of making Indian or hunting-shirts for the men, many of whom are very destitute of clothing. A pattern will be sent you; and I must request you to give the necessary directions throughout your government, that all the cloth of the above kind may be bought up for this use, and suitable persons set to work to make it up. As soon as any number is made, worth the conveyance, you will please to direct them to be forwarded. It is designed as a species of uniform, both cheap and convenient.

We have had no transactions in either camp since my last, but what are in the public papers, and related with tolerable accuracy. The enemy still continue to strengthen their lines, and we have reason to believe, intend to bombard ours, with the hopes of forcing us out of them. Our poverty in ammunition prevents our making a suitable return.

Since writing the above, Colonel Porter has undertaken to assist in the matter, or to provide some suitable person to accompany Harris to you, who will communicate all the circumstances. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [58]
George Washington
Washington, George
4 August, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your Favor of the 24th July accompanied by 284 Commissions, which are yet much short of the necessary Number. I am much honored by the Confidence reposing in me of appointing the several Officers recommended in mine of the 10th ult.; and shall endeavor to select such Persons, as are best qualified to fill those important Posts.

General Thomas has accepted his Commission and I have heard nothing of his Retirement since, so that I suppose he is satisfied.

In the Renewal of those Commissions some Difficulties occur, in which I should be glad to know the Pleasure of the honbl Congress. The General Officers of the Massachusetts, have Regiments, those of Connecticut, have both Regiments, and Companies, and the other Field Officers have Companies each. From Rhode Island, the General Officer has no Regimt, but the Field Officers have Companies. But I do not find they have, or expect Pay under more than one Commission. Should the Commission now to be delivered supercede these different Establishments, there will be a Distinction between Edition: current; Page: [59] General and Field Officers of the same Rank. In Order to put New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island upon a Line with Connecticut, it would be necessary to dismiss a Number of Officers in Possession of Commissions, without any Fault of theirs; on the other Hand, to bring the Connecticut Generals, and Field Officers to the same Scale with the others, will add to the Number of Officers, and may be deemed inconsistent with the Terms on which they entered into the Service, altho you add nothing to the Expence, except in the Article of Provisions. Upon the whole, it is a Case, which I would wish the Honbl Congress to consider and determine.

Col. Gridley of this Province, who is at the Head of the Artillery has the Rank of Major Genl from the Provincial Congress. Will it be proper to renew his Commission here in the same Manner? It is proper here to remark, that in this Case he will take Rank of all the Brigadiers General, and even the Majors General, whose Commissions are subsequent in Date, and can answer no good Purpose, but may be productive of many bad Consequences.1

These are Matters of some Importance, but I am embarrassed with a Difficulty of a superior kind. The Estimate made in Congress, supposed all the Regiments to be formed upon one Establishment, but they are different in different Provinces; and even vary in the same Province, in some Particulars. In Massachusetts, some Regiments have Ten Companies, Edition: current; Page: [60] others Eleven; The Establishment of the former is 590 Men Officers included, of the latter 649. The Establishment of Rhode Island, and New Hampshire is 590 to a Regiment, Officers included. Connecticut has 1000 Men to a Regiment. Should the Massachusetts Regiments be completed; with the new Levies from Rhode Island and Connecticut and the Riffle Men, the Number will exceed 22,000. If they should not be completed, as each Regiment is fully officer’d, there will be a heavy Expense to the Publick without an adequate Service. The Reduction of some of them seems to be necessary and yet is a Matter of much Delicacy, as we are situated. I most earnestly request it may be taken into immediate Consideration, and the Time and Mode of doing it, pointed out by the Honbl Congress. By an Estimate I have made, from the General Return, when the new Levies arrive, and the Regiments are completed there will be 24,450 Men on the Pay and Provision of the united Colonies. Some of the recruiting Officers who have been out on that Service, have returned with very little Success, so that we may safely conclude, the Number of 2064 now wanting to complete will rather increase than diminish. There are the Regiment of Artillery consisting of 493 Men, and one under Col. Sergeant who has not received any commission, altho he had Orders to raise a Regiment from the Provincial Congress here, which are not included in the above Estimate. This last Regiment consists of 234 Men by the last Return, but a Company has since joined.

Edition: current; Page: [61]

By adverting to the General Return, which I have the Honor of inclosing (No. 11) it will be seen what Regiments are most deficient.

If the Congress does not chuse to point out the particular Regiments, but the Provinces in which the Reduction is to be made, the several Congresses and Assemblies may be the proper Channell to conduct this Business: which I should also conceive the most adviseable, from their better Acquaintance with the Merits, Terms, and Time of Service of the respective Officers. Reducing some Regiments, and with the Privates thereof, filling up others would certainly be the best Method of accomplishing this Work, if it were practicable; but the Experiment is dangerous, as the Massachusetts Men under the Priviledge of chusing their own Officers, do not conceive themselves bound if those Officers are disbanded.

As General Gage is making Preparations for Winter, by contracting for Quantities of Coal; it will suggest to us the Propriety of extending our Views to that Season. I have directed that such Huts as have been lately made of Boards, should be done in Edition: current; Page: [62] such a Manner, that if necessary they may serve for covering during the Winter; but I need not enlarge upon the Variety of Necessities such as Clothing, Fuel, &c.—both exceedingly scarce and difficult to be procured, which that season must bring with it; if the Army, or any considerable Part of it is to remain embodied. From the Inactivity of the Enemy since the Arrival of their whole Reinforcement, their continual Addition to their lines, and many other Circumstances, I am inclined to think that finding us so well prepared to receive them, the Plan of Operations is varied, and they mean by regular Approaches to bombard us out of our present Line of Defence, or are waiting in Expectation that the Colonies must sink under the Weight of the Expence; or the Prospect of a Winters Campaign, so discourage the Troops as to break up our Army. If they have not some such Expectations the Issue of which they are determined to wait; I cannot account for the Delay, when their Strength is lessened every Day by Sickness, Desertions, and little Skirmishes.

Of these last we have had only two worthy of Notice: Having some Reason to suspect they were extending their Lines at Charles Town, I last Saturday Evening, ordered some of the Riffle Men down to make a Discovery, or bring off a Prisoner. They were accidentally discovered sooner than they expected; by the Guard coming to relieve, and obliged to fire upon them; We have Reason to believe they killed several. They brought in two Prisoners whose Edition: current; Page: [63] Acct confirmed by some other Circumstances removed my Suspicions in part. Since that Time we have on each Side drawn in our Centries, and there have been scattering Fires along the Line. This Evening we have heard of three Captains who have been taken off by the Riffle Men and one killed by a Cannon Shot from Roxbury besides several Privates; but as the Intelligence is not direct, I only mention it as a Report which deserves Credit. The other happened at the Light House. A Number of Workmen have been sent down to repair it with a Guard of 22 Marines and a Subaltern, Major Tupper last Monday Morning about 2 ’Clock landed there with about 300 Men, attack’d them killed the Officer, and 4 Privates; but being detained by the Tide, in his Return he was attack’d by several Boats, but he happily got through with the Loss of one Man killed and another wounded. The Remainder of the ministerial Troops, three of which are badly wounded, he brought off Prisoners, with 10 Tories, all of whom are on their Way to Springfield Gaol. The Riffle Men in this Skirmish lost one Man who we hear is a Prisoner in Boston Gaol. The Enemy in Return endeavored to surprise our Guard at Roxbury, but they being apprized of it by a Deserter, had Time to prepare for it; but by some Negligence or Misconduct in the Officer of the Guard, they burnt the George Tavern on the Neck; and have every day since been cannonading us from their Lines both at Roxbury and Charles Town, but with no other Effect than the Loss of two Men. On our Part except Edition: current; Page: [64] straggling Fires from the small Arms about the Lines which we endeavor to restrain, we have made little or no Return. Our Situation in the Article of Powder is much more alarming than I had the most distant Idea of. Having desired a Return to be made out on my Arrival, of the Ammunition, I found 303½ Bbbl’s of Powder mentioned as in the Store: But on ordering a new Supply of Cartridges yesterday, I was informed to my very great Astonishment that there was no more than 36 Bbbls of the Massachusetts Store, which with the Stock of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut makes 9937 lb—not more than 9 Rounds a Man: As there had been no Consumption of Powder since, that could in any Degree account for such a Deficiency, I was very particular in my Inquiries, and found that the Committee of Supplies, not being sufficiently acquainted with the Nature of a Return, or misapprehending my Request, sent in an Account of all the Ammunition, which had been collected by the Provinces so that the Report included not only what was in Hand, but what had been spent. Upon discovering this Mistake, I immediately went up to confer with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, upon some Measures to obtain a Supply from the neighboring Townships, in such a Manner, as might prevent our Poverty being known, as it is a Secret of too great Consequence to be divulged in the general Court, some Individual of which might perhaps indiscreetly suffer it to escape him, so as to find its Way to the Enemy, the Consequences of which, are terrible even Edition: current; Page: [65] in Idea. I shall also write to the Governors of Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the Committee of Safety in New Hampshire on this Subject, urging in the most forcible Terms, the Necessity of an immediate Supply if in their Power. I need not enlarge on our melancholy Situation; it is sufficient that the Existence of the Army, and the Salvation of the Country, depends upon something being done for our Relief both speedy and effectual, and that our Situation be kept a profound secret.

In the Inclosures (No 2 and 3) I send the Allowance of Provisions &c, made by the Provinces of Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Mode and Quantity are different from what has fallen within my Experience, and I am confident must prove very wasteful, and expensive. If any alteration can be safely made, (which I much doubt) there might be a great Saving to the publick.

A Gentleman of my Family,1 assisted by a Deserter who has some Skill in Fortification, has by my Direction sketchd out two Draughts of our respective Lines, at Charles Town and Roxbury, which with the Explanation will convey some Idea of our Situation, and I hope prove acceptable to the Members of the honorable Congress. They are the Inclosures (No 4 and 5).

Since I had the Honor of addressing you last, I have been applied to, by a Committee of the General Court for a Detachment of the Army, to protect Edition: current; Page: [66] the Inhabitants of the Eastern Parts of this Province, from some apprehended Depredations on their Coasts. I could have wish’d to have complied with their Request; but after due Consideration, and consulting the General Officers, together with those Members of Congress, who are here, I thought it my Duty to excuse myself. The Application, and my Answer are the Inclosures No. 6 and 7, which I hope will be approved by the honorable Congress.

Since I began this Letter, the Original of which the Inclosure No. 8 is a Copy, fell into my Hands; as the Writer is a Person of some Note in Boston, and it contains some Advices of Importance not mentioned by others, I thought proper to forward it as I received it. By comparing the Handwriting with another Letter, it appears the Writer is one Belcher Noyes, a Person probably known to some of the Gentlemen Delegates from this Province; who can determine from his Principles and Character what Credit is due to him.

The Army is now formed into three grand Divisions, under the Command of the Generals Ward, Lee and Puttnam. Each Division into two Brigades, consisting of about 6 Regiments each, commanded by Generals Thomas, and Spencer at Roxbury; Heath at Cambridge, Sullivan and Greene at Winter Hill. By this you will please to observe, there is a Deficiency of one Brigadier General, occasioned by Mr Pomroy’s not acting under his Commission, which I beg may be filled up as soon as possible. I observe the Honbl Congress have also favored me with the Edition: current; Page: [67] Appointment of three Brigade Majors; I presume they have, or intend to appoint the rest soon, as they cannot be unacquainted that one is necessary to each Brigade, and in a new raised Army it will be an Office of great Duty and Service.

General Gage has at length liberated the People of Boston, who land in Numbers at Chelsea every Day, the Terms on which the Passes are granted as to Money Effects and Provisions correspond with Mr Noyes’s Letter.

We have several Reports that General Gage is dismantling Castle William and bringing all the Cannon up to Town, but upon a very particular Inquiry, Accounts are so various that I cannot ascertain the Truth of it.

I am sorry to be under a Necessity of making such frequent Examples among the Officers when a Sense of Honor, and the Interest of their Country might be expected to make Punishment unnecessary. Since my last, Capt. Parker of Massachusetts for Frauds both in Pay, and Provisions, and Capt. Gardiner of Rhode Island for Cowardice in running away from his Guard on an Alarm, have been broke. As nothing can be more fatal to an Army, than Crimes of this kind, I am determined by every Motive of Reward and Punishment to prevent them in future.

On the first Instt a Chief of the Cagnewaga Tribe,1 who lives about 6 Miles from Montreal, came in here, Edition: current; Page: [68] accompanied by a Col: Bayley of Cohoss.1 His Accounts of the Temper and Disposition of the Indians, are very favorable. He says they have been strongly sollicited by Gov. Carleton, to engage against us, but his Nation is totally averse: Threats, as well as Intreaties have been used without Effect.2 That the Canadians are well disposed to the English Colonies, and if any Expedition is meditated against Canada the Indians in that Quarter will give all their Assistance. I have endeavored to cherish these favorable Dispositions, and have recommended to him to cultivate them on his Return. What I have said, I enforced with a Present which I understood would be agreeable to him, and as he is represented to be a Man of Weight, and Consequence in his own Tribe, I flatter myself his Visit will have a good Effect. His Accounts of Gov. Carleton’s Force and Situation at St Johns correspond with what we have already had from that Quarter.

The Accession of Georgia to the Measures of the Congress is a happy Event and must give a sincere Pleasure to every Friend of America.

August 5th.

We have Accounts this Morning of two Explosions at the Castle, so that its Destruction may now be supposed certain.

Edition: current; Page: [69]

I have this Morning been alarmed with an Information that two Gentlemen from Philada (Mr Hitchbourn and Capt. White) with Letters for General Lee and myself have been taken by Capt. Ayscough at Rhode Island, the Letters intercepted and sent forward to Boston with the Bearers as Prisoners. That the Captain exulted much in the Discoveries he had made and my Informer who was also in the Boat but released understood them to be the Letters of Consequence. I have therefore dispatch’d the Express immediately back, tho’ I had before resolved to detain him till Fessenden’s Return. I shall be anxious till I am relieved from the Suspence I am in as to the Contents of those Letters.

It is exceedingly unfortunate that Gentlemen should chuse to travel the only Road on which there is Danger. Let the Event of this be what it will I hope it will serve as a general Caution against trusting any Letter that Way in future.

Nothing of Consequence has occurr’d in the Camp these two Days. The Inhabitants of Boston continue coming out at Chelsea, but under a new Restriction that no Men shall come out without special Licence—which is refused to all Mechanicks since the Tory Laborers were taken at the Light House.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
4 August, 1775
Cambridge
Lewis Morris
Morris, Lewis

TO LEWIS MORRIS.1

Dear Sir,

I have been favored with your letter of the 18th ulto. by Messrs. Ogden and Burr, and wish it was in my power to do that justice to the merits of those gentlemen which you think them entitled to. Whenever it is, I shall not be unmindful of your recommendations. The two or three appointments with which I have been honored by Congress were partly engaged, before I received your letter, and you will please recollect that the ultimate appointment of all other officers is vested in the governments in which the regiments were originally raised. I can venture to pronounce, therefore, that few commissions in this army will be disposed of out of the four New England governments; the good policy and justice of which, you may judge of as well as I can: as Volunteers from any other colonies, however deserving they may be of notice, or to be considered on account of the expence which they are run to, will stand little chance whilst there is an application from any person of the government from whence the Regiment came.

Admitting this to be the case and I believe hardly any one will doubt it, had not the Congress better reserve these appointments in their own hands? It will be putting the matter upon a much larger bottom and giving merit a better chance; nor do I see any inconvenience arising from it, as it is highly presumable that during the continuance of Edition: current; Page: [71] these disturbances, the Congress will be chiefly sitting, or acting by a Committee from whence commissions might be as easily obtained as from a Provincial Assembly or Congress. I have taken the liberty of suggesting this matter, as I conceive the service will be infinitely promoted thereby; as merit only, without a regard to Country will entitle a man to preferment, when, and so often as vacancys may happen—Having wrote fully to the Congress respecting the state of publick affairs, I shall refer you to that, and am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
7 August, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Palmer
Palmer, Joseph

TO J. PALMER.

Sir,

Your favor of yesterday came duely to my hands. As I did not consider local appointments, as having any operation upon the general one, I had partly engaged (at least in my own mind) the office of Quartermaster-Genl. before your favor was presented to me.

In truth Sir, I think it sound policy to bestow Officers indiscriminately among the Gentlemen of the different Governmts.; for as all bear a proportionable part toward the expence of this war, if no Gentlemen out of these four Governments come in for any share of the appointments, it may be apt to create jealousies which will, in the end, give disgust; for this reason, I would earnestly recommend to your Board to provide for some of the Volunteers who are come from Edition: current; Page: [72] Philadelphia with very warm Recommendations, tho’ strangers to me.—

In respect to the Boats &c. from Salem, I doubt, in the first place, whether they can be brought over by Land—in the Second, I am sure nothing could ever be executed here by Surprize; as I am well convinced that nothing is transacted in our Camp, or Lines, but what is known in Boston in less than 24 hours,—indeed, Circumstanced as we are it is scarce possible to do otherwise, unless we were to stop the Communication between the Country & our Camp & Lines; in which case, we shd. render our Supplies of Milk, Vegetables &c. difficult & precarious.—We are now building a kind of Floating Battery, when that is done & the utility of it discovered, I may possibly apply for Timber to build more, as Circumstances shall require. I remain with great esteem Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 August, 1775

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Sir,

By the general return made to me for last week, I find there are great numbers of soldiers and non-commissioned officers, who absent themselves from duty, the greater part of whom, I have reason to believe, are at their respective homes in different parts of the country; some employed by their officers on their farms, and others drawing pay from the public, while they are working on their own plantations Edition: current; Page: [73] or for hire. My utmost exertions have not been able to prevent this base and pernicious conduct. I must, therefore, beg the assistance of the General Court to coöperate with me in such measures as may remedy this mischief. I am of opinion it might be done, either wholly or in part, by the committees in your several towns making strict and impartial inquiry of such as are found absent from the army, upon whose account they have left it, by whose leave, and for what time; requiring such, as have no impediment of sickness or other good reason, to return to their duty immediately, or, in case of failure sending an account of their names, and the company and regiment to which they belong, that I may be able to make examples of such delinquents.1

I need not enlarge upon the ruinous consequences of suffering such infamous deserters and defrauders of the public to go unnoticed or unpunished, nor use any arguments to induce the General Court to give it immediate attention. The necessity of the case does not permit me to doubt the continued exertions of that zeal, which has distinguished the General Court upon less important occasions. I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [74]
George Washington
Washington, George
8 August, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS OF NEW YORK.

Gentlemen,

It must give great concern to any considerate mind, that, when this whole continent, at a vast expense of blood and treasure, is endeavoring to establish its liberties on the most secure and solid foundations, not only by a laudable opposition of force to force, but denying itself the usual advantages of trade, there are men among us so basely sordid, as to counteract all our exertions, for the sake of a little gain. You cannot but have heard, that the distresses of the ministerial troops for fresh provisions and many other necessaries at Boston were very great. It is a policy, justifiable by all the laws of war, to endeavor to increase them. Desertions, discouragement, and a dissatisfaction with the service, besides weakening their strength, are some of the natural consequences of such a situation; and, if continued, might afford the fairest hope of success, without further effusion of human blood.

A vessel, cleared lately out of New York for St. Croix, with fresh provisions and other articles, has just gone into Boston, instead of pursuing her voyage to the West Indies. I have endeavored to discover the name of the captain, or owner, but as yet without success. The owner it is said, went to St. Croix before the vessel; from which, and her late arrival, I make no doubt you will be able to discover and expose the villain. And, if you could fall upon some effectual measures, to prevent the like in future, it Edition: current; Page: [75] would be doing a signal service to our common country.1

I have been endeavoring, by every means in my power, to discover the future intentions of our enemy here. I find a general idea prevailing, throughout the army and in the town of Boston, that the troops are soon to leave the town and go to some other part of the continent. New York is generally mentioned, as the place of their destination. I should think a rumor or suggestion of this kind worthy of very little notice, if it were not confirmed by some corresponding circumstances. But four weeks of total inactivity, with all their reinforcements arrived and recruited, the daily diminution by desertion, sickness, and small skirmishes, induce an opinion, that any effort they propose to make will be directed elsewhere.2

I thought it proper just to hint to you what is probably intended, and you will then consider what regard is to be paid to it, and what steps it will be expedient Edition: current; Page: [76] for you to take, if any. I am, with great respect and regard, Gentlemen, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
11 August, 1775
Cambridge

TO A COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Gentlemen,

I have considered the papers you left with me yesterday.2

As to the expedition proposed against Nova Scotia, by the inhabitants of Machias, I cannot but applaud their spirit and zeal; but, after considering the reasons offered for it, several objections occur, which seem to me unanswerable. I apprehend such an enterprise to be inconsistent with the general principle upon which the colonies have proceeded. That province has not acceded, it is true, to the measures of Congress; and, therefore, it has been excluded from all commercial intercourse with the other colonies; but it has not commenced hostilities against them, nor are any to be apprehended. To attack it, therefore, is a measure of conquest, rather than defence, and may be attended with very dangerous consequences. Edition: current; Page: [77] It might, perhaps, be easy, with the force proposed to make an incursion, into the province and overawe those of the inhabitants, who are inimical to our cause, and, for a short time, prevent their supplying the enemy with provisions; but, to produce any lasting effects, the same force must continue.

As to the furnishing vessels of force, you, Gentlemen, will anticipate me, in pointing out our weakness and the enemy’s strength at sea. There would be great danger, that, with the best preparations we could make, they would fall an easy prey, either to the men-of-war on that station, or to some which would be detached from Boston. I have been thus particular, to satisfy any gentleman of the Court, who should incline to adopt the measure. I could offer many other reasons against it, some of which, I doubt not, will suggest themselves to the honorable Board. But it is unnecessary to enumerate them, when our situation as to ammunition absolutely forbids our sending a single ounce of it out of the camp at present. I am, Gentlemen, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
11 August, 1775
Cambridge
Lieutenant-General Gage
Lieutenant-General Gage

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE.

Sir,

I understand that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have been thrown Edition: current; Page: [78] indiscriminately into a common gaol appropriated for felons; that no consideration has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness; that some have been even amputated in this unworthy situation.

Let your opinion, Sir, of the principle which actuates them be what it may, they suppose they act from the noblest of all principles, a love of freedom and their country. But political principles, I conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and extensive, (except in case of retaliation.) These, I should have hoped, would have dictated a more tender treatment of those individuals, whom chance or war had put in your power. Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to widen that unhappy breach, which you, and those ministers under whom you act, have repeatedly declared you wished to see for ever closed.

My duty now makes it necessary to apprize you, that, for the future, I shall regulate my conduct towards those gentlemen, who are or may be in our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe towards those of ours now in your custody.

If severity and hardship mark the line of your conduct, (painful as it may be to me,) your prisoners will feel its effects. But if kindness and humanity are shown to ours, I shall with pleasure consider those in our hands only as unfortunate, and they shall receive from me that treatment to which the unfortunate are ever entitled.

Edition: current; Page: [79]

I beg to be favored with an answer as soon as possible, and am, Sir, your very humble servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [80]
George Washington
Washington, George
14 August, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Trumbull, Governor

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir

Your favors of the 7th 8th and 12th Inst. are all received. The detention of the new raised levies has happily coincided with my Intentions respecting them. In the present uncertainty I think it best they should continue where they are and I hope their officers will be assiduous in disciplining and improving them in the use of their arms.

Upon the subject of powder I am at a loss what to say—Our necessities are so great and it is of such importance that this army should have a full supply that nothing but the most urgent and pressing exigence would make it proper to detain any on its way—I have been informed that 15 Hhds were lately landed at New York and that farther supplies were daily expected both there and at Connecticut: Should there be any arrivals, I beg no time may be lost in forwarding this from Hartford and what can be spared from the necessary Colony stock—Indeed at present I should chuse you to forward one of these waggons and the other may remain where it is till we see the issue of our expectations on this head. The removal from Boston I consider as very precarious, by no means deserving to have so much stress laid Edition: current; Page: [81] on it. We begin to feel a scarcity of Lead, and as I do not learn that we are to expect any from the southward—I have concluded that a part of the stock found at Ticonderoga should be brought down and for this purpose have wrote to Genl. Schuyler. I am not sufficiently Master of the geography of the Country to know the easiest Mode of Conveyance—but from the Time in which Letters have come thro’ your Hands I apprehend thro Connecticut must be the best & most expeditious. You will therefore be pleased to give us your Assistance and take the Direction of this Matter into your own Hands, to which I have not the least Doubt you will attend as well to the Expence as other Circumstances conducive to the publick Service.

Nothing new in the Camp for several Days past.—Three Deserters have come in within these 48 Hours but they bring no Intelligence of any Consequence. I am, sir, &c.

Since writing the above I have been informed there is a Lead Mine in your Colony which may be work’d to Advantage. Cut off from all foreign supplies every internal resource is worthy of attention & I make no Doubt if my Information is just some proper Steps may be taken to turn this to the publick advantage.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 August, 1775
Deputy-Governor Cooke
Deputy-Governor Cooke

TO DEPUTY-GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

Your Favors of the 8 and 11th Instt. are duly received. The former I laid before the General Court of this Province but one of the Delegates having Edition: current; Page: [82] communicated to them what Mr. Ward did to you of the Proceedings of the Continental Congress touching this Powder, nothing was done towards the providing of specie that the Vessel might proceed to other Places in Case of a Disappointment at the first. I am of opinion that the Collection of any considerable sum here would be difficult in the Time proposed: and I think there is the less Necessity for it, as there are few Colonies who have not some Vessel out on this Errand and will probably bring all that is at Market—Having conversed with Col. Porter and farther considered the Matter, I am of Opinion it ought to be prosecuted on the single Footing of procuring what is in the Magazine. The Voyage is short, our Necessity is great; the Expectation of being supplied by the Inhabitants of the Island under such hazards as they must run is slender, so that the only Chance of Success is by a sudden Strike. There is a great Difference between acquiescing in the Measure and becoming Principals, the former we have great Reason to expect, the latter is doubtful. The Powder by all our Information is publick Property so that as you observe it may be settled with our other Accounts. The draughting of Men from hence would be very difficult and endanger a Discovery of the Scheme. I am not clear that I have Power to send them off the Continent and to engage them as Volunteers it would be necessary to make their Destination known; I should suppose the Captain who is to have the Direction of this Enterprize would rather chuse to have Men whom he knew and in Edition: current; Page: [83] whom he could confide, in Preference to strangers. From what Col. Parks informs me I do not see that Harris’s Presence is absolutely necessary, and as his Terms would add considerably to the Expence after obtaining from him all the Intelligence he could give his Attendance might be dispensed with—The Vessel lately sent out to cruise for Powder seems to me the properest for this Voyage, and as the ten Days will soon be out, if no objection occurs to you she might be dispatched.

I have given Directions respecting the Lead at Ticonderoga which I am of Opinion with you is the surest Mode of Supply in that Article.

I have sent by this Opp’y a hunting-Shirt as a Pattern. I should be glad you would inform me of the Number you think I may expect.

I have flattered myself that the Vigilance of the Inhabitants on the Islands and Coasts would have disappointed the Enemy in their late Expedition after live Stock. I hope nothing will be omitted by the several Committees and other Persons to guard against any future Attempts by removing all the Stock from those Places where their Shipping can protect them in plundering. I do assure you Sir that it would be rendering a most essential Service to the publick Interest. Their Distresses before were very great and if renewed after their present supply is exhausted must be productive of very great Advantage.1

Edition: current; Page: [84]
George Washington
Washington, George
15 August, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Sir,

I received your favor of the 31st of July,1 informing me of your preparations to cross the Lake, and enclosing the affidavits of John Shatforth, and John Duguid.2 Several Indians of the tribe of St. Francis came in here yesterday, and confirm the former accounts of the good dispositions of the Indian nations and Canadians to the interests of America; a most happy event, on which I sincerely congratulate you.3

Edition: current; Page: [85]

I am glad to relieve you from your anxiety, respecting troops being sent from Boston to Quebec. These reports, I apprehend, took their rise from a fleet being fitted out about fourteen days ago to plunder the islands in the Sound of their live stock; an expedition, which they have executed with some success, and are just returning; but you may depend on it no troops have been detached from Boston for Canada or elsewhere.

Among other wants, of which I find you have your proportion, we feel that of lead most sensibly; and as we have no expectation of a supply from the southward, I have concluded to draw upon the stock found at Ticonderoga when it fell into our hands. I am informed, that it is considerable, and that a part of it may be spared, without exposing you to any inconvenience. In consequence of this I have wrote to Governor Trumbull to take the direction of the transportation of it, supposing the conveyance through Connecticut the most safe and expeditious. I expect he will write you on this subject by this opportunity.

I have nothing new, my dear Sir, to write you. Edition: current; Page: [86] We are precisely in the same situation, as to the enemy, as when I wrote last, nor can I gain any certain intelligence of their future intentions. The troops from the southward are come in very healthy and in good order.1 To-morrow I expect a supply of powder from Philadelphia, which will be a most seasonable relief in our present necessity.

God grant you health and success, equal to your merit and wishes. Favor me with intelligence as often as you can, and believe me with very sincere regard, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
20 August, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Since my last of the 15th instant I have been favored with yours of the 6th. I am much concerned to find, that the supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this time I hope Colonel McDougall, whose zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every thing necessary for prosecuting your plan.

Several of the delegates from Philadelphia, who have visited our camp, assure me that powder is forwarded to you; and the daily arrivals of that article give us reason to hope, that we shall soon have a very ample supply.2 Animated with the goodness of Edition: current; Page: [87] our cause, and the best wishes of your countrymen, I am sure you will not let any difficulties, not insuperable, damp your ardor. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.1

In my last, a copy of which is enclosed, I sent you an account of the arrival of several St. Francis Indians in our camp, and their friendly dispositions. You have also a copy of the resolution of Congress, by which you will find it is their intention to seek only a neutrality of the Indian nations, unless the ministerial agents should engage them in hostilities, or enter into an offensive alliance with them.2 I have been, therefore, embarrassed in giving them an answer, when they have tendered their services and assistance. As your situation enables you best to know the notions of the Governor3 and the agents, Edition: current; Page: [88] I proposed to him [the chief] to go home by way of Ticonderoga, referring him to you for an answer, which you would give according to the intelligence you have had, and the judgment you have formed of the transactions among the Indians; but as he does not seem in any hurry to leave our camp, your answer by the return of this express may possibly reach me, before he returns, and alter his route. Four of his company still remain in our camp, and propose to stay some time with us.1

The design of this express is to communicate to you a plan of an expedition, which has engaged my thoughts for several days. It is to penetrate into Canada, by way of Kennebec River, and so to Quebec by a route ninety miles below Montreal. I can very well spare a detachment for this purpose of one thousand, or twelve hundred men, and the land-carriage by the route proposed is too inconsiderable to make an objection. If you are resolved to proceed, which I gather from your last letter is your intention, it would make a diversion, that would distract Carleton, and facilitate your views. He must either break up and follow this party to Quebec, by which he will Edition: current; Page: [89] leave you a free passage, or he must suffer that important place to fall into our hands; an event that would have a decisive effect and influence on the public interests. There may be some danger, that such a sudden incursion might alarm the Canadians, and detach them from that neutrality which they have hitherto observed; but I should hope, that, with suitable precautions, and a strict discipline preserved, any apprehensions and jealousies might be removed. The few, whom I have consulted upon it, approve it much; but the final determination is deferred until I hear from you. You will, therefore, by the return of this messenger, inform me of your ultimate resolution. If you mean to proceed, acquaint me as particularly as you can with the time and force, what late accounts you have had from Canada, and your opinion as to the sentiments of the inhabitants, as well as those of the Indians upon a penetration into their country; what number of troops are at Quebec, and whether any men-of-war; with all other circumstances, which may be material in the consideration of a step of such importance. Not a moment’s time is to be lost in the preparation for this enterprise, if the advices received from you favor it. With the utmost expedition, the season will be considerably advanced, so that you will dismiss the express as soon as possible.

While the three New Hampshire companies remain in their present station, they will not be considered as composing a part of the Continental army, but as a militia under the direction and pay of the colony, whose inhabitants they are, or for whose defence Edition: current; Page: [90] they are stationed; so that it will not be proper for me to give any orders respecting them.

We still continue in the same situation, as to the enemy, as when I wrote you last; but we have had six tons and a half of powder from the southward, which is a very seasonable supply. We are not able to learn any thing further of the intentions of the enemy, and they are too strongly posted for us to attempt any thing upon them at present.

My best wishes attend you; and believe me, with much truth and regard, my dear Sir, your very obedient humble servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
20 August, 1775
Cambridge
Lieutenant-General Gage
Lieutenant-General Gage

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE.

Sir,

I addressed you, on the 11th instant, in terms which gave the fairest scope for that humanity and politeness, which were supposed to form a part of your character. I remonstrated with you on the unworthy treatment shown to the officers and citizens of America, whom the fortune of war, chance, or a mistaken confidence had thrown into your hands.

Whether British or American mercy, fortitude, and patience are most pre-eminent; whether our virtuous citizens, whom the hand of tyranny has forced into arms to defend their wives, their children, and their property, or the mercenary instruments of lawless domination, avarice, and revenge, best deserve the appellation of rebels, and the punishment of that cord, which your affected clemency has forborne to inflict; whether the authority under which I act is Edition: current; Page: [91] usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles of liberty, were altogether foreign to the subject. I purposely avoided all political disquisition; nor shall I now avail myself of those advantages, which the sacred cause of my country, of liberty, and of human nature, give me over you; much less shall I stoop to retort and invective; but the intelligence you say you have received from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, Sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers have been treated with a tenderness due to fellow citizens and brethren, but even those execrable parricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their country with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly enraged people. Far from compelling or permitting their assistance, I am embarrassed with the numbers, who crowd to our camp, animated with the purest principles of virtue and love to their country. You advise me to give free operation to truth, to punish misrepresentation and falsehood. If experience stamps value upon counsel, yours must have a weight, which few can claim. You best can tell how far the convulsion, which has brought such ruin on both countries, and shaken the mighty empire of Britain to its foundation, may be traced to these malignant causes.

You affect, Sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true Edition: current; Page: [92] magnanimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and respect it.

What may have been the ministerial views, which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to whom you then appealed, judge between America and you. Under his providence, those who influence the councils of America, and all the other inhabitants of the United Colonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges, which they received from their ancestors.

I shall now, Sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps for ever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treatment from me different from that, which I wished to show them, they and you will remember the occasion of it. I am Sir, your very humble servant.1

George Washington
Washington, George
22 Augst., 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Palmer
Palmer, Joseph

TO J. PALMER.

Sir,

In answer to your favor of yesterday I must inform you, that I have often been told of the advantages of Point Alderton with respect to its command of the shipping going in and out of Boston Harbor; Edition: current; Page: [93] and that it has, before now, been the object of my particular enquiries,—That I find the Accts. differ, exceedingly, in regard to the distance of the Ship Channel,—and that, there is a passage on the outer side of the light House Island for all Vessels except Ships of the first Rate.

My knowledge of this matter would not have rested upon enquires only, if I had found myself at any time since I came to this place, in a condition to have taken such a post. But it becomes my duty to consider, not only what place is advantageous, but what number of Men are necessary to defend it; how they can be supported in case of an attack; how they may retreat if they cannot be supported; and what stock of Ammunition we are provided with for the purpose of self defence, or annoyance of the enemy. In respect to the first, I conceive our defence must be proportioned to the attack of Genl. Gage’s whole force (leaving him just enough to Man his Lines on Charles Town Neck & Roxbury); and with regard to the Second, and most important object, we have only 184 Barrls. of Powder in all, which is not sufficient to give 30 Musket Cartridges a Man, & scarce enough to serve the Artillery in any brisk action a single day.1

Edition: current; Page: [94]

Would it be prudent then in me, under these Circumstances, to take a Post 30 Miles distant from this place when we already have a Line of Circumvaleation at least Ten Miles in extent, any part of which may be attacked (if the Enemy will keep their own Council) without our having one hours previous notice of it?—Or is it prudent to attempt a Measure which necessarily would bring on a consumption of all the Ammunition we have, thereby leaving the Army at the Mercy of the Enemy, or to disperse; & the Country to be ravaged, and laid waste at discretion?—To you Sir who is a well wisher to the cause, and can reason upon the effects of such a Conduct, I may open myself with freedom, because no improper discoveries will be made of our Situation: but I cannot expose my weakness to the Enemy (tho’ I believe they are pretty well informed of every thing that passes) by telling this, and that man who are daily pointing out this—that—and t’other place, of all the motives that govern my actions, Notwithstanding, I know what will be the consequence of not doing it—Namely, that I shall be accused of inattention to the publick Service—& perhaps with want of spirit to prosecute it—but this shall have no effect upon my mind, and I will steadily (as far as my judgment will assist me) pursue such measures as I think most conducive to the Interest of the cause, & rest satisfied of Edition: current; Page: [95] any obloquy that shall be thrown conscious of having discharged my duty to the best of my abilities.

I am much obliged to you, however, as I shall be to every Gentleman, for pointing out any measure which is thought conducive to the publick good, and chearfully follow any advice which is not inconsistent with, but corrispondant to, the general Plan in view, & practicable under such particular circumstances as govern in cases of the like kind.

In respect to point Alderton, I was no longer ago than Monday last, talking to Genl. Thomas on this head & proposing to send Colo. Putnam down to take the distances &c, but considered it could answer no end but to alarm, & make the Enemy more vigilant, unless we were in condition to possess the Post to effect, I thought it as well to postpone the matter a while. I am, Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
23 August, 1775
Cambridge
William Howe
Howe, William

TO SIR WILLIAM HOWE.2

Sir,

I flatter myself you have been misinformed, as to the conduct of the men under my command, complained Edition: current; Page: [96] of in yours of yesterday. It is what I should highly disapprove and condemn.

I have not the least objection to put a stop to the intercourse between the two camps, either totally or partially. It obtained through the pressing solicitations of persons cruelly separated from their friends and connexions, and I understood was mutually convenient.

I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
George Washington
Washington, George
29 August, 1775
Cambridge
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir:

Your favor of the first Inst. by Mr. Randolph1 came safe to hand—the merits of this young Gentleman added to your recommendation, and my own knowledge of his character induced me to take him into my Family as an aid de camp in the room of Mr. Mifflin, whom I have appointed Quarter Master Genel. from a thorough perswasion of his Integrity—my own experience of his activity—and finally, because he stands unconnected with either of these Governments; or with this that, or t’other man; for between you and I there is more in this than you can easily immagine.

As we have now nearly compleated our Lines of Defence, we have nothing more, in my opinion to fear from the Enemy, provided we can keep our men to their duty and make them watchful and vigilant; but it is among the most difficult tasks I ever undertook Edition: current; Page: [97] in my life to induce these people to believe that there is, or can be, danger till the Bayonet is pushed at their Breasts; not that it proceeds from any uncommon prowess, but rather from an unaccountable kind of stupidity in the lower class of these people which, believe me, prevails but too generally among the officers of the Massachusets part of the Army who are nearly of the same kidney with the Privates, and adds not a little to my difficulties; as there is no such thing as getting of officers of this stamp to exert themselves in carrying orders into execution—to curry favor with the men (by whom they were chosen, & on whose smiles possibly they may think they may again rely) seems to be one of the principal objects of their attention.

I submit it therefore to your consideration whether there is, or is not, a propriety in that Resolution of the Congress, which leaves the ultimate appointment of all officers below the Rank of Generals to the Governments where the Regiments originated, now the Army is become Continental?—To me it appears improper in two points of view; first, it is giving that power and weight to an Individual Colony, which ought, of right, to belong only to the whole, and next it damps the spirit and ardor of volunteers from all but the four New England Governments as none but their people have the least chance of getting into office.—Would it not be better therefore to have the warrants which the Commander-in-Chief is authorized to give Pro-tempore, approved or disapproved, by the Continental Congress, or a Committee Edition: current; Page: [98] of their body, which I should suppose in any long recess must always sit? In this case every Gentleman will stand an equal chance of being promoted according to his merits; in the other all officers will be confined to the Inhabitants of the 4 New England Governments which in my opinion is impolitick to a degree. I have made a pretty good slam among such kind of officers as the Massachusets Government abound in since I came to this Camp having Broke one Colo. and two Captains for cowardly behavior in the action on Bunkers Hill,—two Captains for drawing more provisions and pay than they had men in their Company—and one for being absent from his Post when the Enemy appeared there and burnt a House just by it. Besides these, I have at this time—one Colo., one Major, one Captn., & two subalterns under arrest for tryal—In short I spare none yet fear it will not all do as these People seem to be too inattentive to every thing but their Interest.1

Edition: current; Page: [99]

I have not been unmindful of that part of your Letter respecting Point Alderton—before the receipt of it, it had become an object of my particular enquiry, but the Accts. of its situation differ exceedingly in respect to the command it has of the ship channel but my knowledge of this matter would not have been confined to enquiries only if I had ever been in a condition, since my arrival here, to have taken possession of such a Post; but you well know, my good Sir, that it becomes the duty of an Officer to consider some other matters, as well as a situation,—namely, What number of men are necessary to defend a place—how it can be supported—& how furnished with ammunition.—

In respect to the first I conceive our defence of this place (point alderton) must be proportioned to the attack of Genl. Gage’s whole force, leaving him just enough to man his Lines on Boston & Charles-Town Necks—& with regard to the second, and most important, as well as alarming object we have only 184 Barls. of Powder in all (including the late supply from Philadelphia) wch is not sufficient to give 25 muskets cartridges to each man, and scarcely to serve the artillery in any brisk action one single day—Under these circumstances I dare say you will agree with me, that it would not be very eligible to take a post 30 miles distant (by Land) from this place, when we have already a line of circumvallation round Boston of at least 10 miles in extant to Edition: current; Page: [100] defend any part of which may be attacked without our having (if the Enemy will keep their own Council) an hours previous notice of it; and that, it would not be prudent in me, to attempt a measure which would necessarily bring on a consumption of all the ammunition we have, thereby leaving the Army at the mercy of the Enemy, or to disperse; and the Country to be ravaged and laid waste at discretion—to you, Sir, I may Account for my conduct, but I cannot declare the motives of it to every one, notwithstanding I know by not doing it, that I shall stand in a very unfavorable light in the opinion of those who expect much, and will find little done, without understanding or perhaps giving themselves the trouble of enquiring into the cause.—Such however is the fate of all those who are obliged to act the part I do, I must therefore submit to it, under a consciousness of having done my duty to the best of my abilities.

On Saturday night last we took possession of a Hill advanced of our Lines, & within point blank shot of the Enemy on Charles Town neck.—We worked incessantly the whole night with 1200 men, & before morning got an Intrenchment in such forwardness as to bid defiance to their Cannon; about nine o’clock on Sunday they began a heavy cannonade which continued through the day without any injury to our work, and with the loss of four men only two of which were killed through their own folly—The Insult of the cannonade however we were obliged to submit to with impunity, not daring to make use of Edition: current; Page: [101] artillery on acct. of the consumption of powder, except with one nine pounder placed on a point, with which we silenced, & indeed sunk, one of their Floating Batteries—

This move of ours was made to prevent the Enemy from gaining this Hill, and we thought was giving them a fair challenge to dispute it as we had been told by various people who had just left Boston, that they were preparing to come out, but instead of accepting of it, we learn that it has thrown them into great consternation which might be improved if we had the means of doing it—Yesterday afternoon they began a Bombardment without any effect, as yet.—

There has been so many great, and capital errors, & abuses to rectify—so many examples to make—& so little Inclination in the officers of inferior Rank to contribute their aid to accomplish this work, that my life has been nothing else (since I came here) but one continued round of annoyance & fatigue; in short no pecuniary recompense could induce me to undergo what I have especially as I expect, by shewing so little countenance to irregularities & publick abuses to render myself very obnoxious to a greater part of these People.—But as I have already greatly exceeded the bounds of a Letter I will not trouble you with matters relative to my own feelings.1

As I expect this Letter will meet you in Philadelphia Edition: current; Page: [102] I must request the favor of you to present my affecte. & respectful compliments to Doctr. Shippen, his Lady and Family, my Brothers of the Delegation, and any other enquiring friends—& at the same time do me the justice to believe that I am with a sincere regard.

George Washington
Washington, George
30 August, 1775
Cambridge
Caesar Rodney
Rodney, Caesar
Thomas McKean
McKean, Thomas

TO CAESAR RODNEY AND THOMAS McKEAN.1

Gentlemen,

I have endeavored to pay the best attention in my power to your recommendation of Mr. Parke2 by Edition: current; Page: [103] making him an assistant Quartermaster-General, an office indispensably necessary in discharge of that important and troublesome business. I wish it was in my power to provide for more of the young gentlemen who, at their own expence have travelled and now continue here, from Pennsylvania and elsewhere; but the Congress seems to have put it out of their own power to do this, leaving by their instructions to me the ultimate appointment of all officers as high as a colonel to the government in which the regiments originated, the obvious consequence of which is that every commission will be monopolized by these four New England governments; the good policy and justice of which I submit to your better judgment, but should give it as my own opinion that as the whole troops are now taken into the pay of the United Colonies, the Congress (which I presume will either by themselves, or a Committee of their own body always be sitting) ought to reserve the filling up of all vacancies themselves, in order that volunteers from every government may have an equal chance of preferment, instead of confining all offices to a few governments to the total exclusion of the rest. I have dropt these thoughts by way of hints which you may improve or reject as they shall appear to have or want weight.1 For the occurrences of the camp, Edition: current; Page: [104] the state of the army, &c., I refer to my publick letters addressed to Mr. Hancock, and with great respect and gratitude for your good wishes contained in your letter, I remain &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
31 August, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The enclosed letter came under such a direction and circumstances as led me to suppose it contained some interesting advices, either respecting a supply of powder, or the clothing lately taking at Philadelphia. I therefore took the liberty of breaking the seal, for which I hope the service and my motives will apologize.

As the filling up the place of vacant brigadier-general will probably be of the first business of the honorable Congress, I flatter myself it will not be deemed assuming, to mention the names of two gentlemen, whose former services, rank, and age, may be thought worthy of attention on this occasion. Of the one I can speak from my own knowledge, of the other only from character. The former is Colonel John Armstrong, of Pennsylvania; he served during the last war, in most of the campaigns to the southward, Edition: current; Page: [105] was honored with the command of the Pennsylvania forces, and his general military conduct and spirit much approved by all who served with him; besides which, his character was distinguished by an enterprise against the Indians, which he planned with great judgment, and executed with equal courage and success.1 It was not till lately that I had reason to believe he would enter again on public service; and it is now wholly unsolicited and unknown on his part. The other gentleman is Colonel Frye of Massachusetts Bay. He entered into the service as early as 1745, and rose through the different military ranks in succeeding wars, to that of colonel, until last June, when he was appointed a major-general by the Congress of this province.2 From these circumstances, together with the favorable report made to me of him, I presume he sustained the character of a good officer, though I do not find it distinguished by any peculiar service.

Either of these gentlemen, or any other whom the honorable Congress shall please to favor with this appointment, will be received by me with the utmost deference and respect.3

Edition: current; Page: [106]

The late adjournment having made it impracticable to know the pleasure of the Congress as to the appointment of brigade majors beyond the number of three, which they were pleased to leave to me, and the service not admitting of further delay, I have continued the other three, which I hope their honors will not disapprove. These latter were recommended by the respective corps to which they belong, as the properest persons for these offices until further direction, and have discharged the duty ever since. They are the majors Box, Scammell, and Samuel Brewer.

Last Saturday night we took possession of a hill considerably advanced beyond our former lines;1 which brought on a very heavy cannonade from Bunker’s Hill, and afterwards a bombardment, which has been since kept up with little spirit on their part, or damage on ours. The work, having been continued ever since, is now so advanced, and the men so well covered as [to] leave us under no apprehenions of much farther loss. In this affair we had killed one adjutant, one volunteer,2 and two privates. The scarcity of ammunition does not admit of our availing ourselves of the situation, as we otherwise might do; but this evil, I hope, will soon be remedied, as I have been informed of the arrival of a large quantity at New York, some at New London, and more hourly expected at different places. I need not add to what I have already said on this subject. Our Edition: current; Page: [107] late supply was very seasonable, but far short of our necessities. * * * The treatment of our officers, prisoners in Boston, induced me to write to General Gage on that subject. His answer and my reply I have the honor to lay before the Congress; since which I have heard nothing from him. I remain, with the greatest respect and regard, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
2 September, 1775
Cambridge
Brigadier-General Wooster
Brigadier-General Wooster

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL WOOSTER.2

Sir,

I have just received your favor of the 29th ultimo by express. I am very sensible, that the situation of the inhabitants of Long Island, as well as of all those on the coast, exposes them greatly to the ravages of the enemy, and it is to be wished that general protection could be extended to them, consistent with the prosecution of those great plans, which have been adopted for the common safety. This was early foreseen, Edition: current; Page: [108] and the danger provided for by a resolution of Congress, that each province should depend on its own internal strength against these incursions, the prejudice arising from them, even if successful, not being equal to that of separating the army into a number of small detachments, which would be harassed in fruitless marches and countermarches after an enemy, whose convayance by shipping is so advantageous, that they might keep the whole coast in constant alarm, without our being able, perhaps, at any time to give them vigorous opposition. Upon this principle I have invariably rejected every application made to me here, to keep any detachments on the coast for these purposes.

I should, therefore, most probably have thought it my duty to order the three companies, mentioned in your letter as having joined your army, to aid in the general service, had they not been under command from General Schuyler to join him; but as it is, I can by no means interfere. He is engaged in a service of the greatest importance to the whole continent, his Edition: current; Page: [109] strength and appointments being far short of his expectations, and to give any counter orders may not only defeat his whole plan, but must make me responsible to the public for the failure. Instead, therefore, of their further stay, I would have them march immediately. I fear the delay of the ten days may have very bad effects, as, by my last advice from Ticonderoga, General Schuyler was to march in a few days for Canada; and it is highly probable he may depend upon these companies to occupy the posts of communication, which otherwise he must weaken his army to do. No Provincial Congress can, with any propriety, interfere with the disposition of troops on the Continental establishment, much less control the orders of any general officer; so that in this instance the Congress at New York have judged properly, in declining to counteract General Schuyler’s orders. I wish I could extend my approbation equally to the whole line of their conduct. Before you receive this letter, you will most probably be able to judge how far your continuance on Long Island will be farther necessary. If the fleet, which last sailed, was destined for those coasts, it must be arrived. If it is not, it is certainly gone to the eastward, and your present station is no longer necessary. The importance of preserving the communication of the North River, and many other reasons, induce me to wish you were returned to your former post. The late transactions at New York furnish additional reasons for your being as near that city, as is consistent with the discipline and convenience of your troops. Your next, therefore, I flatter myself, will inform me of your Edition: current; Page: [110] having resumed your former station. I am, Sir, with much regard and esteem, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6 September, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE ISLAND OF BERMUDA.2

Gentlemen,

In the great conflict, which agitates this continent, I cannot doubt but the assertors of freedom and the Edition: current; Page: [111] right of the constitution are possessed of your most favorable regards and wishes for success. As descendants of freemen, and heirs with us of the same glorious inheritance, we flatter ourselves that, though divided by our situation, we are firmly united in sentiment. The cause of virtue and liberty is confined to no continent or climate. It comprehends, within its capacious limits, the wise and good, however dispersed and separated in space or distance.

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You need not be informed, that the violence and rapacity of a tyrannic ministry have forced the citizens of America, your brother colonists, into arms. We equally detest and lament the prevalence of those counsels, which have led to the effusion of so much human blood, and left us no alternative but a civil war, or a base submission. The wise Disposer of all events has hitherto smiled upon our virtuous efforts. Those mercenary troops, a few of whom lately boasted of subjugating this vast continent, have been checked in their earliest ravages, and are now actually encircled in a small space, their arms disgraced, and suffering all the calamities of a siege. The virtue, spirit, and union of the provinces leave them nothing to fear, but the want of ammunition. The applications of our enemies to foreign states, and their vigilance upon our coasts, are the only efforts they have made against us with success. Under these circumstances, and with these sentiments, we have turned Edition: current; Page: [113] our eyes to you, Gentlemen, for relief. We are informed, there is a very large magazine on your island under a very feeble guard. We would not wish to involve you in an opposition, in which, from your situation, we should be unable to support you; we know not, therefore, to what extent to solicit your assistance in availing ourselves of this supply; but, if your favor and friendship to North America and its liberties have not been misrepresented, I persuade myself you may, consistently with your own safety, promote and further this scheme, so as to give it the fairest prospect of success. Be assured, that, in this case, the whole power and exertion of my influence will be made with the honorable Continental Congress, that your island may not only be supplied with provisions, but experience every mark of affection and friendship, which the grateful citizens of a free country can bestow on its brethren and benefactors. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [114]
George Washington
Washington, George
8 September, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE MAJOR AND BRIGADIER GENERALS.

Gentlemen,

As I mean to call upon you in a day or two for your opinions upon a point of very great importance to the welfare of this continent in general, and this colony in particular, I think it proper, indeed, an incumbent duty on me, previous to this meeting to intimate to you the end and design of it, that you may have time to consider the matter with that deliberation and attention, which the importance of it requires.

It is to know, whether, in your judgment, we cannot make a successful attack upon the troops at Boston by means of boats, coöperated by an attempt upon their lines at Roxbury. The successs of such an enterprise depends, I well know, upon the All-wise Disposer of events, and it is not within the reach of human wisdom to foretell the issue; but if the prospect is fair, the undertaking is justifiable under the following, among other reasons, which might be assigned.

The season is now fast approaching, when warm and comfortable barracks must be erected for the security of the troops against the inclemency of winter. Large and costly provision must be made in the article of wood for the supply of the army; and after all that can be done in this way, it is but too probable that fences, woods, orchards, and even houses themselves will fall a sacrifice to the want of fuel before the end of winter. A very considerable difficulty, if not expense, must accrue on account of clothing for Edition: current; Page: [115] the men now engaged in the service; and if they do not enlist again, this difficulty will be increased to an almost insurmountable degree. Blankets, I am informed, are now much wanted, and not to be got. How then shall we be able to keep soldiers to their duty, already impatient to get home, when they come to feel the severity of winter without proper covering? If this army should not incline to engage for a longer time than the 1st of January, what consequences more certainly can follow, than that you must either be obliged to levy new troops and thereby have two sets, or partly so, in pay at the same time, or by disbanding one before you get the other, expose the country to desolation and the cause perhaps to irretrievable ruin. These things are not unknown to the enemy; perhaps it is the very ground they are building on, if they are not waiting for a large reinforcement; and if they are waiting for succorers, ought it not to give a spur to the attempt? Our powder, not much of which will be consumed in such an enterprise, without any certainty of a supply, is daily wasting; and, to sum up the whole, in spite of every saving that can be made, the expense of supporting this army will so far exceed any idea, that was formed in Congress of it, that I do not know what will be the consequences.

These, among many other reasons, which might be assigned, induce me to wish a speedy finish of the dispute; but to avoid these evils we are not to lose sight of the difficulties, the hazard, and the loss, that may accompany the attempt, nor what will be the probable consequences of a failure.

That every circumstance for and against this measure may be duly weighed, that there may be time for doing it, and nothing of this importance resolved on, but after mature deliberation, I give this previous notice of the intention of calling you together on Monday next at nine o’clock, at which time you are requested to attend at head-quarters. It is not necessary, I am persuaded, to recommend secrecy. The success of the enterprise, (if undertaken,) must depend in a great measure upon the suddenness of the stroke. I am with great esteem, etc.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
8 September, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 31st of August. I am much engaged in sending off the detachment under Colonel Arnold, upon the plan contained in mine of the 20th ultimo. A variety of obstacles has retarded us, since the the express returned with yours of the 27th August from Albany; but we are now in such forwardness, that I expect they will set out by Sunday next at farthest. I shall take care in my instructions to Colonel Arnold, that, in case there should be a junction of the detachment with your army, you shall have no difficulty in adjusting the scale of command.

You seem so sensible of the absolute necessity of preserving the friendship of the Canadians, that I need say nothing on that subject; but that a strict discipline, and punctual payment for all necessaries brought to your camp, will be the most certain means Edition: current; Page: [117] of attaining so valuable and important an end. I shall inculcate the same principle most strongly on our troops, who go from hence, as that on which their safety, success, and honor entirely depend.

I am truly concerned, that your supplies and appointments are so far short of your expectations; but trust you will have a feeble enemy to contend with, and a whole province on your side, two circumstances of great weight in the scale. Your situation for some time must be so critical and interesting, that I hope you will not fail giving me constant information of your motions and success.1

Believe me, with much truth and regard, dear Sir, your obedient and humble servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
8 September, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

Upon the receipt of this you will please to give directions, that all the new levies march immediately to this camp. By a resolution of Congress, the troops on the Continental establishment were not to be employed for the defence of the coasts, or of any particular province, the militia being deemed competent Edition: current; Page: [118] to that service.1 When I directed these troops to remain in their own province, I had some reason to expect a remove from Boston to New York, in which case they would have been able to give them a more speedy opposition; but as that suspicion now appears groundless, there will be an impropriety in continuing them where they now are, considering the above resolve.

The detachment, which I mentioned in my last, will march in two days, and I shall have occasion for the troops from you to fill their places. The ministerial expedition must, I apprehend, by this time have come to some issue; they are either returned with disappointment, or have succeeded in their errand; in either case the men can be spared without danger to the country. But should this not be the case, and they are still hovering on the coast, it is to make no difference in their march; so that I shall at all events expect them here next week, for which you will please to give the necessary orders. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 September, 1775
Cambridge
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

So little has happened since the date of my last, that I should scarce have given you the trouble of reading this letter, did I not imagine that it might be some satisfaction to you to know, that we are well, and in no fear or dread of the enemy; being in Edition: current; Page: [119] our own opinion at least, very securely intrenched, and wishing for nothing more than to see the enemy out of their strong-holds, that the dispute may come to an issue. The inactive state we lie in is exceedingly disagreeable, especially as we can see no end to it, having had no advices lately from Great Britain to form a judgment upon.

In taking possession, about a fortnight ago, of a hill within point-blank (cannon-)shot of the enemy’s lines on Charles Town Neck, we expected to bring on a general action, especially as we had been threatened by reports from Boston several days before, that they (that is the enemy) intended an attack upon our intrenchments. Nothing, however, followed but a severe cannonade for a day or two, and a bombardment afterwards for the like time; which, however, did us no other damage, than to kill two or three men, and to wound as many more. Both are now at an end, as they found that we disregarded their fire, and continued our works till we had got them completed.

Unless the ministerial troops in Boston are waiting for reinforcements, I cannot devise what they are staying there for, nor why (as they affect to despise the Americans,) they do not come forth, and put an end to the contest at once. They suffer greatly for want of fresh provisions, notwithstanding they have pillaged several islands of a good many sheep and cattle. They are also scarce of fuel, unless, (according to the account of one of their deserters,) they mean to pull down houses for firing. In short, they are, from all accounts, suffering all the inconveniences Edition: current; Page: [120] of a siege. It is true, by having the entire command of the sea, and a powerful navy, and, moreover, as they are now beginning to take all vessels indiscriminately, we cannot stop their supplies through that channel; but their succors in this way hath not been so powerful, as to enable them to give the common soldiers much fresh meat as yet. By an account from Boston, of the 4th instant, the cattle lately brought in there sold at public auction from fifteen to thirty-four pounds ten shillings sterling apiece; and the sheep from thirty to thirty-six shillings each; and that fowls and every other species of fresh provisions went in proportion. The expense of this, one would think, must soon tire them, were it not, that they intend to fix all the expense of this war upon the colonies,—if they can, I suppose we shall add.

I am just sending off a detachment of one thousand men to Quebec, by the way of Kennebec River, to coöperate with General Schuyler, who by this is, I expect, at or near St. John’s, on the north end of Lake Champlain; and may, for aught I know, have determined the fate of his army and that of Canada, as he left Crown Point the 31st of last month for the Isleaux-Noix, (within twelve miles of St. John’s, where Governor Carleton’s principal force lay.) If he should succeed there, he will soon after be in Montreal without opposition; and if the detachment I am sending from hence, (though late in the season,) should be able to get posession of Quebec, the ministry’s plan, in respect to that government, will turn out finely.1

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I have only to add my love to my sister and the little ones, and that I am, with the greatest truth, your most affectionate brother.

George Washington
Washington, George
14th day of September, 1775
Cambridge
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.
INSTRUCTIONS.

1. You are immediately on their march from Cambridge to take the command of the detachment from the Continental army against Quebec, and use all possible expedition, as the winter season is now advancing, and the success of this enterprise, under God, depends wholly upon the spirit with which it is pushed, and the favorable dispositions of the Canadians and Indians.

2. When you come to Newburyport you are to make all possible inquiry, what men-of-war or cruisers there may be on the coast, to which this detachment may be exposed on their voyage to Kennebec River; and, if you should find that there is danger of your being intercepted, you are not to proceed by water, but by land, taking care on the one hand not to be diverted by light and vague reports, and on the other not to expose the troops rashly to a danger, which by many judicious persons has been deemed very considerable.

3. You are, by every means in your power, to endeavor to discover the real sentiments of the Canadians towards our cause, and particularly as to this expedition, bearing in mind, that if they are averse to it and will not coöperate, or at least willingly acquiesce, it must fail of success. In this case you are by no means to prosecute the attempt; the expense of the expedition, and the disappointment, are not to be put in competition with the dangerous consequences, which may ensue from irritating them against us, and detaching them from that neutrality, which they have adopted.

4. In order to cherish those favorable sentiments to the American cause, that they have manifested, you are, as soon as you arrive in their country, to disperse a number of the addresses you will have with you, particularly in those parts, where your Edition: current; Page: [122] route shall lie; and observe the strictest discipline and good order, by no means suffering any inhabitant to be abused, or in any manner injured, either in his person or property, punishing with exemplary severity every person, who shall transgress, and making ample compensation to the party injured.

5. You are to endeavor, on the other hand, to conciliate the affections of those people, and such Indians as you may meet with, by every means in your power; convincing them, that we come, at the request of many of their principal people, not as robbers or to make war upon them, but as the friends and supporters of their liberties as well as ours. And to give efficacy to these sentiments, you must carefully inculcate upon the officers and soldiers under your command, that, not only the good of their country and their honor, but their safety, depend upon the treatment of these people.

6. Check every idea and crush in its earliest stage every attempt to plunder even those, who are known to be enemies to our cause. It will create dreadful apprehensions in our friends, and, when it is once begun, no one can tell where it will stop. I therefore again most expressly order, that it be discouraged and punished in every instance without distinction.

7. Any King’s stores, which you shall be so fortunate as to possess yourself of, are to be secured for the Continental use, agreeably to the rules and regulations of war published by the honorable Congress. The officers and men may be assured, that any extraordinary services performed by them will be suitably rewarded.

8. Spare neither pains nor expense to gain all possible intelligence on your march, to prevent surprises and accidents of every kind, and endeavor if possible to correspond with General Schuyler, so that you may act in concert with him. This, I think, may be done by means of the St. Francis Indians.

9. In case of a union with General Schuyler, or if he should be in Canada upon your arrival there, you are by no means to consider yourself as upon a separate and independent command, but are to put yourself under him and follow his directions. Upon this occasion, and all others, I recommend most earnestly Edition: current; Page: [123] to avoid all contention about rank. In such a cause every post is honorable, in which a man can serve his country.

10. If Lord Chatham’s son should be in Canada, and in any way should fall into your power, you are enjoined to treat him with all possible deference and respect. You cannot err in paying too much honor to the son of so illustrious a character, and so true a friend to America. Any other prisoners, who may fall into your hands, you will treat with as much humanity and kindness, as may be consistent with your own safety and the public interest. Be very particular in restraining, not only your own troops, but the Indians, from all acts of cruelty and insult, which will disgrace the American arms, and irritate our fellow subjects against us.

11. You will be particularly careful to pay the full value for all provisions, or other accommodations, which the Canadians may provide for you on your march. By no means press them or any of their cattle into your service, but amply compensate those, who voluntarily assist you. For this purpose you are provided with a sum of money in specie, which you will use with as much frugality and economy, as your necessities and good policy will admit, keeping as exact an account as possible of your disbursements.

12. You are by every opportunity to inform me of your progress, your prospects, and intelligence, and upon any important occurrence to send an express.

13. As the season is now far advanced, you are to make all possible despatch; but if unforeseen difficulties should arise, or if the weather should become so severe, as to render it hazardous to proceed, in your own judgment and that of your principal officers, whom you are to consult,—in that case you are to return, giving me as early notice as possible, that I may render you such assistance as may be necessary.

14. As the contempt of the religion of a country by ridiculing any of its ceremonies, or affronting its ministers or votaries, has ever been deeply resented, you are to be particularly careful to restrain every officer and soldier from such imprudence and folly, and to punish every instance of it. On the other hand, as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free Edition: current; Page: [124] exercise of the religion of the country, and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority.

Given under my hand, at head-quarters, Cambridge, this 14th day of September, 1775.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 September, 1775
Cambridge
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.

Sir,

You are entrusted with a command of the utmost consequence to the interest and liberties of America. Upon your conduct and courage, and that of the officers and soldiers detached on this expedition, not only the success of the present enterprise, and your own honor, but the safety and welfare of the whole continent may depend. I charge you, therefore, and the officers and soldiers under your command, as you value your own safety and honor, and the favor and esteem of your country, that you consider yourselves, as marching not through the country of an enemy, but of our friends and brethren, for such the inhabitants of Canada, and the Indian nations, have approved themselves in this unhappy contest between Great Britain and America; and that you check, by every motive of duty and fear of punishment, every attempt to plunder or insult the inhabitants of Canada. Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian, in his person or property, I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment, as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend Edition: current; Page: [125] to death itself, it will not be disproportioned to its guilt, at such a time and in such a cause.

But I hope and trust, that the brave men, who have voluntarily engaged in this expedition, will be governed by far different views; and that order, discipline, and regularity of behavior, will be as conspicuous as their valor. I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect of the religion of the country, and its ceremonies. Prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit will lead us to look with compassion upon their errors without insulting them. While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.

Upon the whole, Sir, I beg you to inculcate upon the officers and soldiers the necessity of preserving the strictest order during the march through Canada; to represent to them the shame, disgrace, and ruin to themselves and their country, if they should by their conduct turn the hearts of our brethren in Canada against us; and, on the other hand, the honors and rewards, which await them if by their prudence and good behavior they conciliate the affections of the Canadians and Indians to the great interests of America, and convert those favorable dispositions they have shown into a lasting union and affection. Thus wishing you, and the officers and soldiers under your command, all honor, safety, and success, I remain, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [126]
George Washington
Washington, George

TO THE INHABITANTS OF CANADA.1

Friends and Brethren,

The unnatural contest between the English colonies and Great Britain has now risen to such a height, that arms alone must decide it. The colonies, confiding in the justice of their cause, and the purity of their intention, have reluctantly appealed to that Being, in whose hands are all human events. He has hitherto smiled upon their virtuous efforts, the hand of tyranny has been arrested in its ravages, and the British arms, which have shone with so much splendor in every part of the globe, are now tarnished with disgrace and disappointment. Generals of approved experience, who boasted of subduing this great continent, find themselves circumscribed within the limits of a single city and its suburbs, suffering all the shame and distress of a siege, while the free-born sons of America, animated by the genuine principles of liberty and love of their country, with increasing union, firmness, and discipline, repel every attack, and despise every danger.

Above all we rejoice, that our enemies have been deceived with regard to you. They have persuaded themselves, they have even dared to say, that the Canadians were not capable of distinguishing between the blessings of liberty, and the wretchedness of slavery; that gratifying the vanity of a little circle of nobility would blind the people of Canada. By such artifices they hoped to bend you to their views, but they have been deceived; instead of finding in you a poverty of soul and baseness of spirit, they see with a chagrin, equal to our joy, that you are enlightened, generous, and virtuous; that you will not renounce your own rights, or serve as instruments to deprive your fellow subjects of Edition: current; Page: [127] theirs. Come then, my brethren, unite with us in an indissoluble union, let us run together to the same goal. We have taken up arms in defence of our liberty, our property, our wives, and our children; we are determined to preserve them, or die. We look forward with pleasure to that day, not far remote, we hope, when the inhabitants of America shall have one sentiment, and the full enjoyment of the blessings of a free government.

Incited by these motives, and encouraged by the advice of many friends of liberty among you, the grand American Congress have sent an army into your province, under the command of General Schuyler, not to plunder, but to protect you; to animate, and bring into action those sentiments of freedom you have disclosed, and which the tools of despotism would extinguish through the whole creation. To coöperate with this design, and to frustrate those cruel and perfidious schemes, which would deluge our frontiers with the blood of women and children, I have detached Colonel Arnold into your country, with a part of the army under my command. I have enjoined it upon him, and I am certain that he will consider himself, and act, as in the country of his patrons and best friends. Necessaries and accommodations of every kind, which you may furnish, he will thankfully receive and render the full value. I invite you therefore as friends and bretheren, to provide him with such supplies as your country affords; and I pledge myself, not only for your safety and security, but for an ample compensation. Let no man desert his habitation; let no one flee as before an enemy.

The cause of America, and of liberty, is the cause of every virtuous American citizen; whatever may be his religion or descent, the United Colonies know no distinction but such as slavery, corruption, and arbitrary dominion may create. Come, then, ye generous citizens, range yourselves under the standard of general liberty, against which all the force and artifices of tyranny will never be able to prevail.

Edition: current; Page: [128]
George Washington
Washington, George
17 September, 1775
Cambridge
Thomas Everhard
Everhard, Thomas

TO THOMAS EVERHARD, VIRGINIA.

Dear Sir,

As I believe it will be three years next December since some of my Ohio lands (under the proclamation of 1754) were patented; and as they are not yet improved agreeably to the express letter of the law, it behoves me to have recourse, in time, to the common expedient of saving them by means of a friendly petition. My distance from Williamsburg, and my ignorance of the mode of doing this, lays me under the necessity of calling upon some friend for assistance. Will you, then, my good Sir, aid me in this work? I shall acknowledge it as a singular favor if you will, and, unless you discourage me, I shall rely on it.

I have already been at as much expense in attempting to seat and improve these lands, as would nearly if not quite have saved them, agreeable to our act of Assembly, had it been laid out thereon. In March, 1774, I sent out more than twenty odd servants and hirelings, with a great number of tools, nails, and necessaries for this purpose; but, hostilities commencing with the Indians, they got no further than the Red-stone settlement, where the people dispersed, my goods got seized and lost, and the whole expedition, (which I suppose stood me in at least three hundred pounds,) came to nothing.1 In March last, Edition: current; Page: [129] I again purchased a parcel of servants, hired men at considerable wages, and sent out a second time; but Edition: current; Page: [130] what they have done, I neither know nor have heard, further than that, after buying tools and provisions Edition: current; Page: [131] at most exorbitant prices, and not being able (for money) to procure a sufficiency of the latter, my Edition: current; Page: [132] servants, for the most part, had run away, and the manager with a few negroes and hirelings left in an almost starving condition.1 This, Sir, is my situation; and to avoid a total loss of the land (as I conceive there are some peculiar circumstances attending the matter, on account of other claims), and to prevent involving myself in any disagreeable controversy in defence of my property, having already had a great deal of trouble about it, I am desirous of adopting in time the method of petitioning.

The enemy and we are very near neighbors. Our advanced works are not more than five or six hundred yards from theirs, and the main bodies of the two armies scarce a mile. We see every thing that passes, and that is all we can do, as they keep close on the two peninsulas of Boston and Charlestown, both of which are surrounded by ships of war, floating batteries, &c.; and the narrow necks of land leading into them fortified in such a manner as not to be forced, without a very considerable slaughter, if practicable at all. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [133]
George Washington
Washington, George
18 September, 1775
Deputy Governor Cooke
Deputy Governor Cooke

TO DEPUTY GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

Your Favors of the 9th, 14th and 15 Instant have been duly received. The readiness of the committee to cooperate with me in procuring the most authentick intelligence and dispatching Captain Whipple for this purpose, is peculiarly satisfactory, and I flatter myself will be attended not only with Success, but the happiest consequences to the publick cause. I should immediately have sent you notice of the paragraph in the Philadelphia papers which is all the Account I have of the taking the powder at Bermudas; but I supposed it must have come to your hands before it reached ours. I am inclined to think it sufficient to suspend Captain Whipple’s voyage at least till farther intelligence is procured from Philadelphia, as it is scarce supposable these vessels would leave any quantity behind worth the risque and expence of such a voyage. As this enterprize will therefore most probably be laid aside for the present it may be proper for Captain Whipple to keep his station a few days longer for the packet. It must be remembered they generally have long passages, and we are very sure she has not yet arrived at Boston, nor do I find she is expected there. The voyage to Bayonne is what I should approve and recommend. The person sent to Governor Trumbull has not yet called upon me, but the scheme appears so feasible that I should be glad to see it executed. At the same time I must add that I am in some doubt as to the Edition: current; Page: [134] extent of my powers to appropriate the publick Moneys here to this purpose. I could wish you would communicate it to the Congress for which you will have sufficient time and I make no doubt of their concurrence. In fact the state of our treasury here at present is so low that it would be impracticable to be of any service to the expedition if all other objections were obviated. We have no news either in the Camp or from Boston, except a piece of intelligence from the latter, that the Enemy are pulling down the South end of the town in order to continue a work across from River to River.

Your chearful Concurrence with me in publick Measures and Zeal for the service calls for my best Thanks.—You will please to accept them and believe me to be with much Truth and Esteem, etc.

P. S.—No Southern Mail arriving last Saturday we are apprehensive it has again fallen into the Enemy’s Hands. If it was not attended with too much Trouble should be glad you would cause Inquiry to be made, if by any Accident the Letters are at Providence you will please to forward them by Express—1

Edition: current; Page: [135]
George Washington
Washington, George
21 September, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

It gives me real concern to observe by yours of the 15th instant, that you should think it necessary to distinguish between my personal and public character, and confine your esteem to the former. Upon a reperusal of mine of the 8th instant, I cannot think the construction you have made one; and, unless it Edition: current; Page: [136] was I should have hoped that the respect I really have, and which I flattered myself I had manifested to you, would have called for the most favorable. In the disposition of the Continental troops, I have long been sensible that it would be impossible to please, not individuals merely, but particular provinces, whose partial necessities would occasionally call for assistance. I therefore thought myself happy, that the Congress had settled the point, and apprehended I should stand excused to all, for acting in the line, which not only appeared to me to be that of policy and propriety, but of express and positive duty. If, to the other fatigues and cares of my station, that is to be added of giving reasons for all orders, and explaining the grounds and principles on which they are formed, my personal trouble will perhaps be of the least concern. The public would be most affected. You may be assured, Sir, nothing was intended that might be construed into disrespect; and, at so interesting [a] period, nothing less ought to disturb the harmony so necessary for the happy success of our public operations.

The omission of acknowledging, in precise terms, the receipt of your favor of the 5th instant was purely accidental. The subject was not so new to me as to require long consideration. I had had occasion fully to deliberate upon it, in consequence of applications for troops from Cape Ann, Machias, New Hampshire, and Long Island, where the same necessity was as strongly pleaded, and, in the two last instances, the most peremptory orders were necessary to prevent the Edition: current; Page: [137] troops from being detained. I foresaw the same difficulty here. I am by no means insensible to the situation of the people on the coast. I wish I could extend protection to all; but the numerous detachments, necessary to remedy the evil, would amount to a dissolution of the army, or make the most important operations of the campaign depend upon the piratical expeditions of two or three men-of-war and transports.

The spirit and zeal of the colony of Connecticut are unquestionable; and whatever may be the hostile intentions of the men-of-war, I hope their utmost efforts can do little more than alarm the coast.

I am, with great esteem and regard for both your personal and public character, Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
21 September, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have been in daily expectation of being favored with the commands of the honorable Congress on the subject of my two last letters. The season now advances so fast, that I cannot any longer defer laying Edition: current; Page: [138] before them such further measures as require their immediate attention, and in which I wait their direction.

The mode in which the present army has been collected has occasioned some difficulty, in procuring the subscription of both officers and soldiers to the Continental articles of war. Their principal objection has been, that it might subject them to a longer service, than that for which they engaged under their several provincial establishments. It is in vain to attempt to reason away the prejudices of a whole army, often instilled, and in this instance at least encouraged, by their officers from private and narrow views. I have therefore forbore pressing them, as I did not experience any such inconvenience from their adherence to their former rules, as would warrant the risk of entering into a contest upon it; more especially as the restraints, necessary for the establishment of essential discipline and subordination, indisposed their minds to every change, and made it both duty and policy to introduce as little novelty as possible. With the present army, I fear, such a subscription is impracticable; but the difficulty will cease with this army.1

The Connecticut and Rhode Island troops stand engaged to the 1st of December only; and none longer than the 1st of January. A dissolution of the present army therefore will take place, unless some early provision is made against such an event. Most Edition: current; Page: [139] of the general officers are of opinion, that the greater part of them may be reënlisted for the winter, or another campaign, with the indulgence of a furlough to visit their friends, which may be regulated so as not to endanger the service. How far it may be proper to form the new army entirely out of the old, for another campaign, rather than from the contingents of the several provinces, is a question which involves in it too many considerations of policy and prudence, for me to undertake to decide. It appears to be impossible to draw it from any other source than the old army, for this winter; and, as the pay is ample, I hope a sufficient number will engage in the service for that time at least. But there are various opinions of the temper of the men on the subject; and there may be great hazard in deferring the trial too long.

In the Continental establishment no provision has been made for the pay of artificers, distinct from that of the common soldiers; whereas, under the provincial such as found their own tools were allowed one shilling per diem advance, and particular artisans more. The pay of the artillery, also, now differs from that of the province; the men have less, the officers more; and, for some ranks, no provision is made, as the Congress will please to observe by this list, which I have the honor to enclose. These particulars, though seemingly inconsiderable, are the source of much complaint and dissatisfaction, which I endeavor to compose in the best manner I am able.

By the returns of the rifle companies, and that Edition: current; Page: [140] battalion, they appear to exceed their establishment very considerably. I doubt my authority to pay these extra men without the direction of the Congress; but it would be deemed a great hardship wholly to refuse them, as they have been encouraged to come.1

The necessities of the troops having required pay, I directed that those of the Massachusetts should receive for one month, upon their being mustered, and returning a proper roll; but a claim was immediately made for pay by lunar months; and several regiments have declined taking up their warrants on this account. As this practice was entirely new to me, though said to be warranted by former usage Edition: current; Page: [141] here, the matter now waits the determination of the honorable Congress.1 I find, in Connecticut and Rhode Island, this point was settled by calendar months; in Massachusetts, though mentioned in the Congress, it was left undetermined, which is also the case of New Hampshire.2

The enclosure No. 2 is a petition from the subalterns, respecting their pay. Where there are only two of these in a company, I have considered one as an ensign, and ordered him pay as such, as in the Connecticut forces. I must beg leave to recommend this petition to the favor of the Congress, as I am of opinion the allowance is inadequate to their rank and service, and is one great source of that familiarity between the officers and men, which is so incompatible with subordination and discipline.3 Many valuable Edition: current; Page: [142] officers of those ranks, finding themselves unable to support the character and appearance of officers, I am informed, will retire as soon as the term of service is expired, if there is no alteration.1

For the better regulation of duty, I found it necessary to settle the rank of the officers, and to number the regiments; and, as I had not received the commands of the Congress on the subject, and the exigence of the service forbade any further delay, the general officers were considered as having no regiments; an alteration, which, I understand, is not pleasing to some of them, but appeared to me and others to be proper, when it was considered, that, by this means, the whole army is put upon one footing, and all particular attachments are dissolved.2

Among many other considerations which the approach of winter will demand, that of clothing appears to be one of the most important. So far as regards the preservation of the army from cold, they may be deemed in a state of nakedness. Many of the men have been without blankets the whole campaign, and Edition: current; Page: [143] those which have been in use during the summer are so much worn as to be of little service. In order to make a suitable provision in these articles, and at the same time to guard the public against imposition and expense, it seems necessary to determine the mode of continuing the army; for should these troops be cloathed under their present engagement, and at the expiration of the term of service decline renewing it, a set of unprovided men may be sent to supply their places.

I cannot suppose it to be unknown to the honorable Congress, that in all armies it is an established practise to make an allowance to officers of provisions and forage proportionate to their rank. As such an allowance formed no part of the continental establishment, I have hitherto forbore to issue the orders for that purpose: but as it is a received opinion of such members of the Congress, as I have had an opportunity of consulting, as well as throughout the army, that it must be deemed a matter of course, and implied in the establishment of the army, I have directed the following proportion of rations, being the same allowance in the American armies last war:—

Major General 15 Major 4
Brigadier General 12 Captain 3
Colonel 6 Subaltern 2
Lieut. Colonel 5 Staff 2

If these should not be approved by the honorable Congress, they will please to signify their pleasure as Edition: current; Page: [144] to the alterations they would have made, in the whole or in part.

I am now to inform the honorable Congress, that, encouraged by the repeated declarations of the Canadians and Indians, and urged by their requests, I have detached Colonel Arnold with a thousand men, to penetrate into Canada by way of Kennebec River, and, if possible, to make himself master of Quebec. By this manœuvre, I proposed either to divert Carleton from St. John’s, which would leave a free passage to General Schuyler; or, if this did not take effect, Quebec, in its present defenceless state, must fall into his hands an easy prey. I made all possible inquiry, as to the distance, the safety of the route, and the danger of the season being too far advanced; but found nothing in either to deter me from proceeding, more especially as it met with very general approbation from all whom I consulted upon it. But, that nothing might be omitted, to enable me to judge of its propriety and probable consequences, I communicated it by express to General Schuyler, who approved of it in such terms, that I resolved to put it in immediate execution. They have now left this place seven days; and, if favored with a good wind, I hope soon to hear of their being safe in Kennebec River. For the satisfaction of the Congress, I here enclose a copy of the proposed route. I also do myself the honor of enclosing a manifesto, which I caused to be printed here, and of which Colonel Arnold has taken a suitable number with him. I have also forwarded a copy of his instructions. From all which, I hope the Congress Edition: current; Page: [145] will have a clear view of the motives, plan, and intended execution of this enterprise, and that I shall be so happy as to meet with their approbation in it.

I was the more induced to make this detachment, as it is my clear opinion, from a careful observation of the movements of the enemy, corroborated by all the intelligence we receive by deserters and others of the former of whom we have some every day, that the enemy have no intention to come out, until they are reinforced. They have been wholly employed for some time past in procuring materials for barracks, fuel, and making other preparations for winter. These circumstances, with the constant additions to their works, which are apparently defensive, have led to the above conclusion, and enabled me to spare this body of men where I hope they will be usefully and successfully employed.

The state of inactivity, in which this army has lain for some time, by no means corresponds with my wishes by some decisive stroke, to relieve my country, from the heavy expense its subsistence must create. After frequently reconnoitring the situation of the enemy in the town of Boston, collecting all possible intelligence, and digesting the whole, a surprise did not appear to me wholly impracticable, though hazardous. I communicated it to the general officers some days before I called them to a council, that they might be prepared with their opinions. The result I have the honor of sending in the inclosure No 6. I cannot say that I have wholly laid Edition: current; Page: [146] it aside; but new events may occasion new measures. Of this I hope the honorable Congress can need no assurance, that there is not a man in America, who more earnestly wishes such a termination of the campaign, as to make the army no longer necessary.

The season advances so fast, that I have given orders to prepare barracks and other accommodations for the winter. The great scarcity of tow cloth in this country, I fear, will totally disappoint us in our expectations of procuring hunting shirts. Gov. Cooke informs me, few or none are to be had in Rhode Island, and Gov. Trumbull gives me little encouragement to expect many from Connecticut.

I have filled up the office of quartermaster-general, which the Congress was pleased to leave to me, by the appointment of Major Mifflin, which I hope and believe will be universally acceptable.

It gives me great pain to be obliged to solicit the attention of the honorable Congress to the state of this army, in terms which imply the slightest apprehension of being neglected. But my situation is inexpressibly distressing, to see the winter fast approaching upon a naked army, the time of their service within a few weeks of expiring, and no provision yet made for such important events. Added to these, the military chest is totally exhausted; the paymaster has not a single dollar in hand; the commissary-general assures me he has strained his credit, for the subsistence of the army, to the utmost. The quartermaster-general is precisely in the same situation; and the greater part of the troops are in a Edition: current; Page: [147] state not far from mutiny, upon the deduction from their stated allowance.1 I know not to whom I am to impute this failure; but I am of opinion, if the evil is not immediately remedied, and more punctually observed in future, the army must absolutely break up. I hoped I had expressed myself so fully on this subject, both by letter, and to those members of the Congress, who honored the camp with a visit, that no disappointment could possibly happen. I therefore hourly expected advice from the paymaster, that he had received a fresh supply, in addition to the hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars delivered him in August; and thought myself warranted to assure the public creditors, that in a few days they should be satisfied. But the delay has brought matters to such a crisis, as admits of no farther uncertain expectations. I have therefore sent off this express with orders to make all possible despatch. It is my most earnest request, that he may be returned with all possible expedition, unless the honorable Congress have already forwarded what is so indispensably necessary. I have the honor to be, &c.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
26 September, 1775
Cambridge
Christopher French
French, Christopher

TO MAJOR CHRISTOPHER FRENCH.1

Sir,

Your favor of the 18th instant is now before me, as well as that from the Committee of Hartford on the same subject. When I compare the treatment you have received with that, which has been shown to those brave American officers, who were taken fighting gallantly in defence of the liberties of their country, I cannot help expressing some surprise, that you should thus earnestly contest points of mere Edition: current; Page: [149] punctilio. The appellation of Rebel has been deemed sufficient to sanctify every species of cruelty to them; while the ministerial officers, the voluntary instruments of an avaricious and vindictive ministry, claim, upon all occasions, the benefit of those military rules, which can only be binding where they are mutual. We have shown, on our part, the strongest disposition to observe them, during the present contest; but I should ill support my country’s honor, and my own character, if I did not show a proper sense of their sufferings, by making the condition of the ministerial officers in some degree dependent upon theirs.

My disposition does not allow me to follow the unworthy example set me by General Gage to its fullest extent. You possess all the essential comforts of life; why should you press for indulgences of a ceremonious kind, which give general offence?

I have looked over all the papers sent me from Philadelphia. I find nothing in them upon the present subject, nor do I know whether the liberty of wearing your sword was given or taken. But I flatter myself, that, when you come to consider all circumstances, you will save me the trouble of giving any positive directions. You will easily conceive how much more grateful a compliance with the wishes of the people, among whom your residence may be longer than you expect, will appear, when it is the result of your prudence and good sense, rather than a determination from me. I therefore should be unwilling to deprive you of an opportunity of cultivating their esteem by so small a concession as this must be.

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As I suppose your several letters to me have been communicated to others, I cannot forbear considering your conduct in “declaring, in a high tone, that, had you joined your regiment, you would have acted vigorously against this country, and done all in your power to reduce it,”1 as a deviation from the line of propriety and prudence, which I should have expected to distinguish the conduct of so old and experienced an officer. Your being so entirely in our power may extinguish the resentment, which a generous and enlightend mind would otherwise feel; but I cannot commend the conduct, which puts such a mind to the trial.2

I am Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

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George Washington
Washington, George
26 September, 1775
Joseph Spencer
Spencer, Joseph

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOSEPH SPENCER.

Sir,

I have perused and considered a petition, or rather a remonstrance, directed to you and signed by several captains and subalterns, on the appointment of Mr. Huntington to the lieutenancy of Captain Chester’s company.

The decent representation of officers, or even of common soldiers, through the channel of their Colonel, or other superior officers, I shall always encourage and attend to; but I must declare my disapprobation Edition: current; Page: [152] of this mode of associating and combining, as subversive of all subordination, discipline, and order.

Should the proper officers refuse or neglect to receive their complaints, an immediate application to their general officer would be proper. Much as I disapprove the mode of opposition to this gentleman, I disapprove the opposition itself still more. To yield to it would be in effect to surrender the command of the army to those, whose duty it is, and whose honor it ought to be, to obey. Commission should be ever the reward of merit, not of age, and I am determined never to put it out of the proper power to reward a deserving, active officer, whatsoever may be his standing in the army, or the pretensions of those, who have no other merit than that of having been born or enlisted before him.

In an army so young as ours, the claims arising from real service are very few, and the accidental circumstance of obtaining a commission a month or two sooner can with no reasonable person claim any superior regard, or make such a scrutiny of any consequence. This army is supported by the whole continent; the establishment is entirely new. All provincial customs, therefore, which are different in different provinces, must be laid out of the question. The power, which has established and which pays this army, has alone the right to judge, who shall command in it, from the general to the ensign. To put it into any other hands would be a high breach of my trust, and would give birth to such factions and Edition: current; Page: [153] cabals, as must soon end in the dissolution of the army, and the ruin of our country.

As no objections are made to Mr. Huntington’s character, nor any other reason assigned, than his not rising by gradation, I can make no alteration in his appointment. At the same time I declare, that I shall upon all occasions pay a proper respect to long service, and as far as lies in my power give it all the preference, which is consistent with the welfare of the army and the duties of my station. I make no doubt, therefore, when these and all other officers (who, in such cases, are both parties and judges) divest themselves of prejudice and partiality, they will cheerfully acquiesce in such appointments as are made, and manifest their sincere attachment to their country, and the great cause in which we are engaged, by a ready and hearty obedience to all orders and rules judged necessary for the general interest. I am, Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
30 September, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The Rev. Mr. Kirkland,1 the bearer of this, having been introduced to the honorable Congress, can need Edition: current; Page: [154] no particular recommendation from me. But as he now wishes to have the affairs of his mission and public employ put upon some suitable footing, I cannot but intimate my sense of the importance of his station, and the great advantages which have [resulted] and may result to the United Colonies, from his situation being made respectable.

All accounts agree, that much of the favorable disposition, shown by the Indians, may be ascribed to his labor and influence. He has accompanied a chief of the Oneidas to this camp, which I have endeavored to make agreeable to him, both by civility and some small presents.1 Mr. Kirkland being also in some necessity for money to bear his travelling charges and other expenses, I have supplied him with thirty-two pounds lawful money.

I cannot but congratulate the honorable Congress on the happy temper of the Canadians and Indians, our accounts of which are now fully confirmed by some intercepted letters from officers in Canada to General Gage and others in Boston, which were Edition: current; Page: [155] found on board the vessel lately taken, going into Boston with a donation of cattle and other fresh provisions for the ministerial army.1 I have the honor to be, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
4 October, 1775
Cambridge
Daniel Morgan
Morgan, Daniel

TO CAPTAIN DANIEL MORGAN.

Sir,

I write to you in consequence of information I have received, that you and the captains of the rifle companies on the detachment against Quebec, claim an exemption from the command of all the field-officers, except Colonel Arnold, I understand this claim is founded upon some expressions of mine; but, if you Edition: current; Page: [156] understood me in this way, you are much mistaken in my meaning. My intention is, and ever was, that every officer should command according to his rank. To do otherwise would subvert all military order and authority, which, I am sure, you could not wish or expect.

Now the mistake is rectified, I trust you will exert yourself to support my intentions, ever remembering that by the same rule by which you claim an independent command, and break in upon military authority, others will do the same in regard to you, and, of consequence, the expedition must terminate in shame and disgrace to yourselves, and the reproach and detriment of your country. To a man of true spirit and military character, farther argument is unnecessary. I shall, therefore, recommend to you to preserve the utmost harmony among yourselves, to which a due subordination will much contribute; and, wishing you health and success, I remain your very humble servant.1

George Washington
Washington, George
4 October, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 20th ultimo came safely to hand, and I should have despatched the express much sooner, but Colonel Arnold’s expedition is so connected with your operations, that I thought it most proper to detain him, until I could give you the fullest Edition: current; Page: [157] account of his progress. This morning the express, I sent him, returned, and the enclosure No. 1 is a copy of his letter to me; No. 2 is a copy also of a paper sent me, being the report of a reconnoitring party sent out some time ago.1 You will certainly hear from him soon, as I have given him the strongest injunctions on this head.

Inclosed No. 3, I send you a copy of his instructions, and No. 4 is a Manifesto, of which I have sent a number with him to disperse throughout Canada. He is supplied with one thousand pounds lawful money in specie, to answer his contingent charges.

About eight days ago a brig from Quebec to Boston was taken and brought into Cape Ann. By some intercepted letters from Captain Gamble to General Gage and Major Sheriff, the account of the temper of the Canadians in the American cause is fully confirmed. The Captain says, that if Quebec should be attacked before Carleton can throw himself into it, there will be a surrender without firing a shot. We most anxiously hope you will find sufficient employ for Carleton at St. John’s and its neighborhood.

We at last have the echo of Bunker’s Hill from England. The number of killed and wounded by General Gage’s account nearly corresponds with what Edition: current; Page: [158] we had, vizt., 1100. There does not seem the least probability of a change of measures or of ministers.1

General Gage is recalled from Boston, and sails tomorrow; he is succeeded by General Howe.2 We have had no material occurrence since I had the Edition: current; Page: [159] pleasure of writing to you last. Our principal employ at present is preparing for the winter, as there seems to be no probability of an accommodation, or any such decision as to make the present army less necessary.1

Edition: current; Page: [160]

I also send a copy of a letter given to Colonel Arnold to be communicated to the officers and men. The accounts we have of your health gives us great concern, not only on your own account, but that of the public service, which must suffer in consequence. I shall most sincerely rejoice to hear of your perfect recovery; and now, most fervently wishing you all possible success, honor, and safety, I am, dear Sir, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [161]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL OFFICERS.

Sir,

In a letter from the Congress, dated September 26th, information on the following points is required:

What number of men are sufficient for a winter campaign?

Can the pay of the privates be reduced? How much?

What regulations are further necessary for the government of the forces?

To the above queries of the Congress I have to add several of my own, which I also request your opinion upon, viz.:—

For how long a time ought the men in the present army (should we set about enlisting them) be engaged?

What method would you recommend as most eligible to cloathe a new raised army with a degree of decency and regularity? Would you advise it to be done by the Continent? In that case would you lower the men’s wages, and make no deduction for cloathing, or let it stand and make stoppages? and how much a month?

As there appears to be great irregularity in the manner of paying the men, and much discontent has prevailed on this account, in what manner and at what fixed periods would you advise it to be done under a new establishment?

What sized regiments would you recommend under this establishment; that is how many men to a company? how many companies to a regiment, and how officered?

Is there any method by which the best of the present officers in this army can be chosen without impeding the inlistment of the men, by such choice and preference? Under any complete establishment, even if the privates in the army were engaged again, many of the present officers must be discharged as there is an over-proportion, of course we ought to retain the best.

Your close attention to the foregoing points against Monday, ten o’clock, at which time I shall expect to see you at this place, will much oblige, Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [162]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was honored with your favor of the 26th ultimo, late the night before last; and a meeting of the general officers having been called upon a business, which will make a considerable part of this letter, I took the opportunity of laying before them those parts of yours, which respect the continuance and new-modelling the army, the fuel, clothing, and other Edition: current; Page: [163] preparations for the ensuing winter. They have taken two or three days to consider; and, as soon as I am possessed of their opinions, I shall lose no time in transmitting the result, not only on the above subjects, but the number of troops necessary to be kept up. I have also directed the commissary-general and the quartermaster-general to prepare estimates of the expense of their departments for a certain given number of men, from which a judgment may be made, when the number of men to be kept in pay is determined; all which I shall do myself the honor to lay before the Congress, as soon as they are ready.

I have now a painful though a necessary duty to perform, respecting Dr. Church, director-general of the hospital. About a week ago, Mr. Secretary Ward of Providence sent up to me one Wainwood, an inhabitant of Newport, with a letter directed to Major Cane in Boston, in characters; which he said had been left with Wainwood some time ago, by a woman who was kept by Dr. Church. She had before pressed Wainwood to take her to Captain Wallace,1 Mr. Dudley the collector, or George Rome, which he declined. She then gave him a letter, with a strict charge to deliver it to either of those gentlemen. He, suspecting some improper correspondence, kept the letter, and after some time opened it; but, not being able to read it, laid it up, where in remained until he received an obscure letter from the woman, expressing an anxiety after the original letter. He Edition: current; Page: [164] then communicated the whole matter to Mr Ward, who sent him up with the papers to me. I immediately secured the woman; but for a long time she was proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the author. However, at length she was brought to a confession, and named Dr. Church. I then immediately secured him and all his papers. Upon his first examination he readily acknowledged the letter, said it was designed for his brother Fleming, and, when deciphered, would be found to contain nothing criminal. He acknowledged his never having communicated the correspondence to any person here but the girl, and made many protestations of the purity of his intentions.1 Having found a person capable of deciphering the letter, I in the mean time had all his papers searched, but found nothing criminal among them. But it appeared, on inquiry, that a confidant had been among the papers before my messenger arrived. I then called the general officers together for their advice, the result of which you will find in the enclosure No. 1. The deciphered letter is the enclosure No. 2. The army and country are exceedingly irritated; and, upon a free discussion of the nature, circumstances, and consequence of this matter, it has been unanimously agreed to lay it before the honorable Congress for Edition: current; Page: [165] their special advice and direction; at the same time suggesting to their consideration, whether an alteration of the twenty-eighth article of war may not be necessary.1

As I shall reserve all farther remarks upon the state of the army till my next, I shall now beg leave to request the determination of Congress, as to the property and disposal of such vessels and cargoes, as are designed for the supply of the enemy, and may fall into our hands. There has been an event of this kind at Portsmouth as by the enclosure No. 3,2 in which I have directed the cargo to be brought hither for the use of the army, reserving the settlement of any claims of capture to the decision of Congress.

As there are many unfortunate individuals, whose property has been confiscated by the enemy, I would humbly suggest to the consideration of Congress the humanity of applying, in part or in the whole, such captures to the relief of those sufferers, after compensating any expense of the captors, and for their activity and spirit. I am the more induced to request this determination may be speedy, as I have directed three vessels to be equipped in order to cut off the supplies; and from the number of vessels hourly arriving, it may become an object of some importance. In the disposal of these captures, for the encouragement of the officers and men, I have allowed them Edition: current; Page: [166] one third of the cargoes, except military stores, which, with the vessel, are to be reserved for the public use. I hope my plan, as well as the execution, will be favored with the approbation of Congress.

One Mr. Fisk, an intelligent person, came out of Boston on the 3d instant, and gives us the following advices; that a fleet, consisting of a sixty-four, and a twenty-gun ship, two sloops of eighteen guns, [and] two transports with six hundred men, were to sail from Boston yesterday; that they took on board two mortars, four howitzers, and other artillery calculated for the bombardment of a town; their destination was kept a profound secret;1 that an express sloop of war, which left England the 8th of August, arrived four days ago; that General Gage is recalled, and last Sunday resigned his command to General Howe; that Lord Percy, Colonel Smith, and other officers, who were at Lexington, are ordered home with Gage; that six ships of the line and two cutters were coming out under Sir Peter Dennis; that five regiments and a thousand marines are ordered out, and may be expected in three or four weeks; no prospect of an accommodation, but the ministry determined to push the war to the utmost.

I have an express from Colonel Arnold, and herewith send a copy of his letter and an enclosure No. 4; and I am happy in finding he meets with no discouragement. The claim of the rifle officers to be independent of all the superior officers, except Colonel Arnold, is without any countenance or authority Edition: current; Page: [167] from me, as I have signified in my last despatch, both to Colonel Arnold and Captain Morgan. The captain of the brig from Quebec for Boston informs me, that there is no suspicion of any such expedition; and that, if Carleton is not drove from St. John’s, so as to be obliged to throw himself into Quebec, it must fall into our hands, as it is left without a regular soldier, and many of the inhabitants are most favorably disposed to the American cause; and that there is the largest stock of ammunition ever collected in America. In the above vessel some letters were also found, from an officer at Quebec to General Gage and Major Sheriff at Boston, containing such an account of the temper of the Canadians, as cannot but afford the highest satisfaction. I have thought it best to forward them. They are enclosures No. 6 & 7.1 I am, with the greatest respect, &c.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
5 October, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you yesterday, of which the enclosed is a copy, since which I have been informed, that your illness has obliged you to quit the army, and General Wooster as the eldest Brigadier will take rank and command of Mr. Montgomery. General Wooster, I am informed, is not of such activity as to press through difficulties, with which that service is environed. I am therefore much alarmed for Arnold, whose expedition was built upon yours, and who will infallibly perish, if the invasion and entry into Canada are abandoned by your successor.1

Edition: current; Page: [169]

I hope by this time the penetration into Canada by your army is effected; but if it is not, and there are any intentions to lay it aside, I beg it may be done in such a manner, that Arnold may be saved by giving him notice, and in the mean time your army to keep up such appearances as may fix Carleton, and prevent the force of Canada being turned wholly upon Arnold. He expected to be at Quebec in twenty days Edition: current; Page: [170] from the 26th of September, so that I hope you will have no difficulty in regulating your motions with respect to him. Should this find you at Albany, and General Wooster about taking the command, I intreat you to impress him strongly with the importance and necessity of proceeding, or so to conduct, that Arnold may have time to retreat.

Nothing new has occurred since yesterday deserving your notice. Our next accounts of your health I hope will be more favorable. Ten thousand good wishes attend you from this quarter; none more sincere and fervent than those of, dear Sir, your most obedient, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
5 October, 1775
Cambridge
Robert Carter Nicholas
Nicholas, Robert Carter

TO ROBERT CARTER NICHOLAS, VIRGINIA.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 8th ultimo came to my hands on the 2d instant by Mr. Byrd.1 I return you my sincere thanks for your kind congratulation on my appointment to the honorable and important post I now hold, by the suffrages of this great continent. My heart will ever bear testimony of my gratitude for the distinguished mark of honor, which has been conferred on me by this appointment; as it also will of my wishes, that so important a trust had been placed in the hands of a person of greater experience and abilities than mine. I feel the weight of my charge too sensibly not to make this declaration. At the same time, I must add, that I do not want to withdraw Edition: current; Page: [171] any services, within the compass of my power, from the cause we are nobly engaged in.

Mr. Byrd shall not want for his pay, whilst he is in this camp; although, as I have no cash of my own here, and charge the public with my expenses only, I shall be a little at a loss to know in what manner to advance it with propriety. Bills of exchange would answer no end here, as we have not the means of negotiating them; but, if you would place the money in the hands of Messrs. Willing and Morris of Philadelphia, (either in specie, continental, Maryland, or Pennsylvania paper,) they could easily remit or draw for it. But, at any rate, make yourself easy, as Mr. Byrd shall not want to the amount of his pay. * * *

The enemy in Boston and on the heights at Charlestown (two peninsulas surrounded in a manner by ships of war and floating batteries) are so strongly fortified, as to render it almost impossible to force their lines, which are thrown up at the head of each neck; without great slaughter on our side, or cowardice on theirs, it is absolutely so. We therefore can do no more, than keep them besieged, which they are, to all intents and purposes, as close as any troops upon earth can be, that have an opening to the sea. Our advanced works and theirs are within musket-shot. We daily undergo a cannonade, which has done no injury to our works, and very little hurt to our men. Those insults we are obliged to submit to for want of powder, being obliged, (except now and then giving them a shot,) to reserve what we have for closer work than cannon-distance.

Edition: current; Page: [172]

My respectful compliments to Mrs. Nicholas and the rest of your fireside, and to any inquiring friends, conclude me, with grateful thanks for the prayers and good wishes you are pleased to offer on my account, I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
12 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am honored with your several favors of the 26th and 30th of September, and 5th of October, the contents of which I shall beg leave to notice in their respective order.

Previous to the direction of Congress to consult the general officers on the best mode of continuing and providing for the army during the winter, I had desired them to turn their thoughts upon these subjects, and to favor me with the result, by a particular day, in writing. In this interval, the appointment of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison, was communicated, an event which has given me the highest satisfaction, as the subject was too weighty and complex for a discussion by letter. This appointment made any conclusion here unnecessary, as it is not probable any such arrangement would be agreed on, as would not be altered in some respects, upon a full and free conference. This good effect will arise from the step already taken, that every officer will be Edition: current; Page: [173] prepared to give his sentiments upon these important subjects.1

The estimates of the commissary and quartermaster general I have now the honor of enclosing. * * *

With respect to the reduction of the pay of the men, which may enter into the consideration of their support, it is the unanimous opinion of the general officers, that it cannot be touched with safety at present. * * *

Upon the presumption of there being a vacancy in the direction of the hospital, Lieut. Col. Hand, formerly a surgeon in the 18th Regiment, or Royal Irish, and Dr. Foster, late of Charles Town, and one of the surgeons of the hospital under Dr. Church, are Edition: current; Page: [174] candidates for that office. I do not pretend to be acquainted with their respective merits, and therefore have given them no further expectation than that they should be mentioned as candidates for the department. I therefore need only to add upon the subject that the affairs of the hospital require that the appointment should be made as soon as possible.

Before I was honored with your favor of the 5th instant, I had given orders for the equipment of some armed vessels, to intercept the enemy’s supplies of provisions and ammunition. One of them was on a cruise between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, when the express arrived. The others will be fit for the sea in a few days, under the command of officers of the Edition: current; Page: [175] Continental army, who are well recommended, as persons acquainted with the sea, and capable of such a service. Two of these will be immediately despatched on this duty, and every particular, mentioned in your favor of the 5th instant, literally complied with.1 That the honorable Congress may have a more complete idea of the plan on which these vessels are equipped, I enclose a copy of the instructions given to the captains now out.2 These, with the additional instructions directed, will be given to the captains, who go into the mouth of St. Lawrence’s River. As both officers and men most cheerfully engage in the service, on the terms mentioned in these instructions, I fear that the proposed increase will create some difficulty, by making a difference between men engaged on similar service. I have therefore not yet communicated this part of the plan, but reserved an extra bounty as a reward for extraordinary activity. There are no armed vessels in this Edition: current; Page: [176] province; and Governor Cooke informs me, the enterprise can receive no assistance from him, as one of the armed vessels of Rhode Island is on a long cruise, and the other unfit for the service. Nothing shall be omitted to secure success. A fortunate capture of an ordnance ship would give new life to the camp, and an immediate turn to the issue of this campaign.

Our last accounts from Colonel Arnold are very favorable. He was proceeding with all expedition; and I flatter myself, making all allowances, he will be at Quebec the 20th instant, where a gentleman from Canada (Mr. Price) assures me he will meet with no resistance.1 * * * From the various accounts received from Europe, there may be reason to expect troops will be landed at New York, or some other middle colony. I should be glad to know the pleasure of the Congress, whether, upon such an event, it would be expected that a part of this army should be detached, or the internal force of such colony and its neighborhood be deemed sufficient; or whether, in such case, I am to wait the particular direction of Congress.2

The fleet, mentioned in my last, has been seen Edition: current; Page: [177] standing N. N. E.; so that we apprehend it is intended for some part of this province, or New Hampshire, or possibly Quebec.

The latest and best accounts we have from the enemy are, that they are engaged in their new work across the south end of Boston, preparing their barracks, &c. for winter; that it is proposed to keep from five hundred to a thousand men on Bunker’s Hill all winter, who are to be relieved once a week; the rest to be drawn into Boston. A person,1 who has lately been a servant to Major Connolly, a tool of Lord Dunmore’s, has given an account of a scheme to distress the southern provinces, which appeared to me of sufficient consequence to be immediately transmitted. I have therefore got it attested, and do myself the honor of enclosing it.

The new levies from Connecticut have lately marched into camp, and are a body of as good troops as any we have; so that we have now the same strength, as before the detachment made under Colonel Arnold. I am, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
13 October, 1775
Cambridge
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

Your favor of the 12th ultimo came to hand a few days ago. By it I gladly learnt, that your family were recovered of the two complaints, which had seized many of them and confined my sister. I am Edition: current; Page: [178] very glad to hear, also, that the Convention had come to resolutions of arming the people, and preparing vigorously for the defence of the colony; which, by the latest accounts from England, will prove a salutary measure.1 I am also pleased to find, that the manufactury of arms and ammunition has been attended to with so much care. A plenty of these, and unanimity and fortitude among ourselves, must defeat every attempt that a diabolical ministry can invent to enslave this great continent. In the manufacturing of arms for public use, great care should be taken to make the bores of the same size, that the same balls may answer, otherwise great disadvantages may arise from a mixture of cartridges.

The enemy, by their not coming out, are, I suppose, afraid of us; whilst their situation renders any attempts of ours upon them in a manner impracticable.2 Nothing new has happened, since my last, Edition: current; Page: [179] worth communicating. Since finishing our own lines of defence, we, as well as the enemy, have been busily employed in putting our men under proper cover for the winter. Our advanced works, and theirs, are within musket-shot of each other. We are obliged to submit to an almost daily cannonade without returning a shot, from our scarcity of powder, which we are necessitated to keep for closer work than cannon-distance, whenever the red-coat gentry please to step out of their intrenchments. Seeing no prospect of this, I sent a detachment, about a month ago, into Canada, by the way of Kennebec River, under the command of a Colonel Arnold. This detachment Edition: current; Page: [180] consisted of one thousand men, and was ordered to possess themselves of Quebec if possible; but, at any rate, to make a diversion in favor of General Schuyler, who by this is in possession, I expect, of Montreal and St. John’s, as I am not altogether without hopes that Colonel Arnold may be [possessed] of the capital. If so, what a pretty hand the ministry have made of their Canada bill, and the diabolical scheme which was constructed upon it. I have also, finding that we were in no danger of a visit from our neighbors, fitted and am fitting out several privateers with soldiers (who have been bred to the sea), and have no doubt of making captures of several of their transports, some of which have already fallen into our hands, laden with provisions.

I am obliged to you for your advice to my wife, and for your intention of visiting her. Seeing no great prospect of returning to my family and friends this winter, I have sent an invitation to Mrs. Washington to come to me, although I fear the season is too far advanced (especially if she should when my letters get home be in Kent, as I believe the case will be) to admit this with any tolerable degree of convenience. I have laid a state of difficulties, however, which must attend the journey before her, and left it to her own choice.

My love to my sister and the little ones is sincerely tendered, and I am, with true regard, your most affectionate brother.1

Edition: current; Page: [181]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

My conjecture of the destination of the late squadron from Boston, in my last, has been unhappily verified by an outrage, exceeding in barbarity and cruelty every hostile act practised among civilized nations. I have enclosed the account given me by Mr. Jones,1 a gentleman of the town of Falmouth, of the destruction of that increasing and flourishing village. He is a very great sufferer, and informs me that the time allowed for the removal of effects was so small, that valuable property of all kinds, and to a great amount, has been destroyed. The orders shown by the captain for this horrid procedure, by which it appears the same desolation is meditated upon all the towns on the coast, made it my duty to communicate it as quickly and as extensively as possible. As Portsmouth was the next place to which he proposed to go, General Sullivan was permitted to go up, and give them his assistance and advice to ward off the blow. I flatter myself the like event will not happen there, as they have a fortification of some strength, Edition: current; Page: [182] and a vessel has arrived at a place called Sheepscot, with fifteen hundred pounds of powder.

The gentlemen of the Congress have nearly finished their business1; but, as they write by this opportunity, I must beg leave to refer you to their letter, for what concerns their commission.

We have had no occurrence of any consequence in the camp, since I had the honor of addressing you last; but expect every hour to hear that Newport has shared the fate of unhappy Falmouth.2

George Washington
Washington, George
24 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FALMOUTH, CASCO BAY.

Gentlemen,

The desolation and misery, which ministerial vengeance had planned, in contempt of every principle of humanity, and so lately brought on the town of Falmouth, I know not how sufficiently to commiserate. Nor can my compassion for the general suffering be conceived beyond the true measure of my feelings. But my readiness to relieve you, by complying with your request, signified in your favor of the Edition: current; Page: [183] 21st instant, is circumscribed by my inability. The immediate necessities of the army under my command require all the powder and ball, that can be collected with the utmost industry and trouble. The authority of my station does not extend so far, as to empower me to send a detachment of men down to your assistance. Thus circumstanced, I can only add my wishes and exhortations, that you may repel every future attempt to perpetrate the like savage cruelties.

I have given liberty to several officers in Colonel Phinny’s regiment to visit their connexions, who may now stand in need of their presence and assistance, by reason of this new exertion of despotic barbarity. I am, Gentlemen, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
26 October, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your several favors of the 12th and 14th instant came safely to hand, though not in the proper order of time, with their several enclosures. You do me justice in believing, that I feel the utmost anxiety for your situation, that I sympathize with you in all your distresses, and shall most heartily share in the joy of your success.2 My anxiety extends itself to Edition: current; Page: [184] poor Arnold, whose fate depends upon the issue of your campaign. Besides your other difficulties, I fear you have those of the season added, which will increase every day. In the article of powder, we are in danger of suffering equally with you. Our distresses on this head are mutual; but we hope they are short-lived, as every measure of relief has been pursued, which human invention could suggest.

When you write to General Montgomery, be pleased to convey my best wishes and regards to him.1 It has been equally unfortunate for our country and yourself, that your ill health has deprived the active part of your army of your presence. God Edition: current; Page: [185] Almighty restore you, and crown you with happiness and success.

Colonel Allen’s misfortune will, I hope, teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to others, who may be too ambitious to outshine their general officers, and, regardless of order and duty, rush into enterprises, which have unfavorable effects to the public, and are destructive to themselves.1

Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison, delegates from the Congress, have been in the camp for several days, in order to settle the plan for continuing and supporting the army.2 This commission extended to your department; but, upon consideration, Edition: current; Page: [186] it appeared so difficult to form any rational plan, that nothing was done upon that head. If your time and health will admit, I should think it highly proper to turn your thoughts to this subject, and communicate the result to the Congress as early as possible.

We have had no event of any consequence in our camp for some time, our whole attention being taken up with preparations for the winter, and forming the new army, in which many difficulties occur. The enemy expect considerable reinforcements this winter, and from all accounts are garrisoning Gibraltar and other places with foreign troops, in order to bring their former garrison to America. The ministry have begun the destruction of our seaport towns, by burning a flourishing town of about three hundred houses to the eastward, called Falmouth. This they effected with every circumstance of cruelty and barbarity, which revenge and malice could suggest. We expect every moment to hear other places have been attempted, and have been better prepared for their reception.

The more I reflect upon the importance of your expedition, the greater is my concern, lest it should sink under insuperable difficulties. I look upon the interest and salvation of our bleeding country in a great degree to depend upon your success. I know you feel its importance, as connected not only with your own honor and happiness, but the public welfare; so that you can want no incitements to press on, if it be possible. My anxiety suggests some Edition: current; Page: [187] doubts, which your better acquaintance with the country will enable you to remove. Would it not have been practicable to pass St. John’s, leaving force enough for a blockade; or, if you could not spare the men, passing it wholly, possessing yourselves of Montreal, and the surrounding country? Would not St. John’s have fallen of course, or what would have been the probable consequence? Believe me, dear General, I do not mean to imply the smallest doubt of the propriety of your operations, or of those of Mr. Montgomery, for whom I have a great respect. I too well know the absurdity of judging upon a military operation, when you are without the knowledge of its concomitant circumstances. I only mean it as a matter of curiosity, and to suggest to you my imperfect idea on the subject. I am, with the utmost truth and regard, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [188]
George Washington
Washington, George
30 October, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

After you left this yesterday, Mr. Tudor presented me with the enclosed. As there may be some observations worthy of notice, I forward it to you, that it may be presented to Congress; but I would have his remarks upon the frequency of general courts martial considered with some degree of caution, for although the nature of his office affords him the best opportunity of discovering the imperfections of the present Rules and Regulations for the Army, yet a desire of lessening his own trouble may induce him to transfer many matters from a general court martial, where he is the principal actor, to regimental courts where he has nothing to do. I do not know that this is the case, but as it may be, I think it ought not to be lost sight of.

In your conference with Mr. Bache, be so good as to ask him whether the two posts which leave Philadelphia for the southward, both go through Alexandria, and if only one, which of them it is, the Tuesday’s or Saturday’s, that I may know how to order my letters from this place.

Edition: current; Page: [189]

My letter to Colonel Harrison, on the subject we were speaking of, is inclosed, and open for your perusal; put a wafer under it and make what use you please of it. Let me know by the post or * * * what the world says of men and things. My compliments to Mrs. Reed, and with sincere regard, I remain, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [190]
George Washington
Washington, George
30 October, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The information, which the gentlemen who have lately gone from hence can give the Congress, of the state and situation of the army, would have made a letter unnecessary, if I did not suppose there would be Edition: current; Page: [191] some anxiety to know the intentions of the army on the subject of the reënlistment.

Agreeably to the advice of those gentlemen, and my own opinion, I immediately began by directing all such officers, as proposed to continue, to signify their intentions as soon as possible.1 A great number of the returns are come in, from which I find, that a very great proportion of the officers of the rank of Edition: current; Page: [192] captain, and under, will retire; from present appearances I may say half; but at least one third. It is with some concern also that I observe, that many of the officers, who retire, discourage the continuance of the men, and, I fear, will communicate the infection to them. Some have advised, that those officers, who decline the service, should be immediately dismissed; but this would be very dangerous and inconvenient. I confess I have great anxieties upon the subject, though I still hope the pay and terms are so advantageous, that interest, and I hope also a regard to their country, will retain a greater portion of the privates than their officers. In so important a matter, I shall esteem it my indispensable duty, not only to act with all possible prudence, but to give the most early and constant advice of my progress.1 A supply of clothing equal to our necessities would greatly contribute to the encouragement and satisfaction of the men: in every point of view it is so important that I beg leave to call the attention of the Congress to it in a particular manner.2 I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [193]
George Washington
Washington, George
2 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I could not suffer Mr. Randolph1 to quit this camp, without bearing some testimony of my duty to the Congress; although his sudden departure (occasioned by the death of his worthy relative,2 whose loss, as a good citizen and valuable member of society, is much to be regretted) does not allow me time to be particular.

Edition: current; Page: [194]

The enclosed return shows, at one view, what reliance we have upon the officers of this army, and how deficient we are likely to be in subaltern officers. A few days more will enable me to inform the Congress what they have to expect from the soldiery, as I shall issue recruiting-orders for this purpose, so soon as the officers are appointed, which will be done this day, I having sent for the general officers, to consult them in the choice.

I must beg leave to recall the attention of the Congress to the appointment of a brigadier-general, an officer as necessary to a brigade, as a colonel is to a regiment, and one that will be exceedingly wanted in the new arrangement.1

The proclamations and association, herewith enclosed, came to my hands on Monday last.2 I thought it my duty to send them to you. Nothing of moment has happened since my last. With respectful compliments Edition: current; Page: [195] to the members of Congress, I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
2 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

Sir:

I promised the gentlemen who did me the honour to call upon me yesterday, by order of your House, that I would inquire of the Quartermaster-General, and let them know to-day, what quantity of wood and hay would be necessary to supply the Army through the winter. I accordingly did so, and desired General Gates this morning to inform you that it was his (the Quartermaster’s) opinion it would require ten thousand cords of the first, and two hundred tons of the latter, to answer our demands; but the hurry in which we have been all day engaged caused him to forget it, till a fresh complaint brought it again to remembrance. When the Committee were here yesterday, I told them I did not believe that we had then more than four days’ stock of wood beforehand. I little thought that we had scarce four hours’, and that different Regiments were upon the point of cutting each others’ throats for a few standing locusts near their encampments, to dress their victuals with. This, however, is the fact; and unless some expedient is adopted by your honourable body to draw more teams into the service, or the Quartermaster-General empowered to impress them, this Army, if there comes a spell of rain or cold weather must inevitably Edition: current; Page: [196] disperse; the consequence of which needs no animadversion of mine.

It has been matter of great grief to me to see so many valuable plantations of trees destroyed. I endeavored (whilst there appeared a possibility of restraining it) to prevent the practice but it is out of my power to do it. From fences to forest trees, and from forest trees to fruit trees, is a natural advance to houses, which must next follow. This is not all; the distress of the soldiers in the article of wood, will I fear, have an unhappy influence upon their enlisting again. In short, Sir, if I did not apprehend every evil that can result from the want of these two capital articles, wood especially, I should not be so importunate; my anxiety on this head must plead my excuse. At the same time, I assure you that, with great respect and esteem, I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 November, 1775
Cambridge
Josiah Quincy
Quincy, Josiah

TO JOSIAH QUINCY.1

Sir,

Your favor of the 31st ultimo was presented to me yesterday. I thank you (as I shall do every gentleman), for suggesting any measure, which you conceive to be conducive to the public service; but, in the adoption Edition: current; Page: [197] of a plan, many things are to be considered to decide upon the utility of it. In the one proposed by you, I shall not undertake to determine whether it be good, or whether it be bad; but thus much I can say, that if there is any spot upon the main, which has an equal command of the ship-channel to Boston harbor (and give me leave to add that Point Alderton is not without its advocates), in all other respects it must have infinitely the preference; because the expense of so many batteries as you propose, with the necessary defences to secure the channel, the communication, and a retreat in the dernier resort from the east end of Long Island, are capital objections. Not, I confess, of such importance as to weigh against the object in view, if the scheme is practicable. But what signifies Long Island, Point Alderton, and Dorchester, while we are in a manner destitute of cannon, and compelled to keep the little powder we have for the use of the musketry. The knowledge of this fact is an unanswerable argument against every place, and may serve to account for my not having viewed the several spots, which have been so advantageously spoken of. I am not without intentions of making them a visit, and shall assuredly do myself the honor of calling upon you. In the mean while, permit me to thank you most cordially for your polite invitation, and to assure you that I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [198]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 November, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 26th ultimo with the enclosures, containing an account of the surrender of Fort Chamblee, was an excellent repast, but somewhat incomplete for want of Montgomery’s letter, which (a copy) you omitted to enclose. On the success of your enterprise so far, I congratulate you, as the acquisition of Canada is of immeasurable importance to the cause we are engaged in. No account of Arnold since my last. I am exceeding anxious to hear from him, but flatter myself, that all goes well with him, as he was expressly ordered, in case of any discouraging event, to advertise me of it immediately.1

I much approve your conduct in regard to Wooster. My fears are at an end, as he acts in a subordinate character. Intimate this to General Montgomery, Edition: current; Page: [199] with my congratulations on his success [and] the seasonable supply of powder, and wishes that his next letter may be dated from Montreal. We laugh at his idea of chasing (?) the Royal Fusileers with the stores. Does he consider them as inanimate, or as a treasure? If you carry your arms to Montreal, should not the garrisons of Niagara, Detroit, &c., be called upon to surrender, or threatened with the consequences of a refusal? They may indeed destroy their stores, and, if the Indians are aiding, escape to Fort Chartres, but it is not very probable.

The enclosed gazette exhibits sundry specimens of the skill of the new commander in issuing proclamations, and a proof, in the destruction of Falmouth, of barbarous designs of an infernal ministry. Nothing new hath happened in this camp. Finding the ministerial troops resolved to keep themselves close within their lines, and that it was judged impracticable to get at them, I have fitted out six armed vessels, with the design to pick up some of their store-ships and transports. The rest of our men are busily employed in erecting of barracks, &c. I hope, as you have said nothing of the state of your health, that it is much amended, and that the cold weather will restore it perfectly. That it may do so, and you enjoy the fruit of your summer’s labor and fatigue, is the sincere wish, dear Sir, of yours, &c.

Generals Lee and Mifflin are well; Colonel Reed gone to Philadelphia.1

Edition: current; Page: [200]
George Washington
Washington, George
7th day of November, 1775
John Sullivan
Sullivan, John

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN.
INSTRUCTIONS.

You are to proceed immediately to Portsmouth in New Hampshire, and complete the works already begun, to secure that and the other towns, at the entrance of Piscataqua River, from any attacks by ships of war. For this purpose you are to fix fire-ships and fire-rafts in such places, as you find most convenient to prevent the enemy from passing up the river.

As great calamities and distress are brought upon our seaport towns, through the malicious endeavors and false representations of many persons, holding commissions under the crown, who, not content with bringing destruction upon some of our principal towns, are yet using every art that malice can devise to reduce others to the same unhappy state, in hopes by such cruel conduct to please an arbitrary and tyrannical ministry, and to receive from them in return a continuance of such places and pensions, as they now hold at the expense of the blood and treasure of this distressed continent; you are, therefore, immediately Edition: current; Page: [201] upon your arrival in that province, to seize such persons as hold commissions under the crown, and are acting as open and avowed enemies to their country, and hold them as hostages for the security of those towns, which our ministerial enemies threaten to invade. In case any attack should be made upon Portsmouth, or other seaports in that quarter, you are immediately to collect such force as can be raised to repel invasion, and, at all hazards, to prevent the enemy from landing and taking possession of any posts in that quarter. When you have completed the works at Portsmouth, and secured the passage of the river there, you are to return without delay to the army, unless you find the enemy are about to make an immediate attack upon that or the neighboring towns.

The above is rather to be considered as matter of advice than orders, as I do not conceive myself authorized to involve the continent in any expense for the defence of Portsmouth, or other place, out of the line of the great American defence, particular colonies being called upon by the Congress to prepare for their own internal security. Given under my hand, this 7th day of November, 1775.1

Edition: current; Page: [202]
George Washington
Washington, George
8 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The immediate occasion of my giving the Congress the trouble of a letter at this time is to inform them, that, in consequence of their order signified in your letter of the 20th ultimo, I laid myself under a solemn tie of secrecy to Captain Macpherson,1 and proceeded to examine his plan for the destruction of the fleet in the harbor of Boston, with all that care and attention, which the importance of it deserved, and my judgment could lead to. But not being happy enough to coincide in opinion with that gentleman, and finding that his scheme would involve greater expense, than (under my doubts of its success), I thought myself justified in giving into, I prevailed upon him to communicate his plan to three gentlemen of the artillery (in this army), well versed in the knowledge and practice of gunnery. By them he has been convinced, that, inasmuch as he set out upon wrong principles, the scheme would prove abortive. Unwilling, however, to relinquish his favorite project of reducing Edition: current; Page: [203] the naval force of Great Britain, he is very desirous of building a number of row-galleys for this purpose. But as the Congress alone are competent to the adoption of this measure, I have advised him (although he offered to go on with the building of them at his own expense, till the Congress should decide) to repair immediately to Philadelphia with his proposals; where, if they should be agreed to, or vessels of superior force, agreeable to the wishes of most others, should be resolved on, he may set instantly about them, with all the materials upon the spot; here, they are to collect. To him, therefore, I refer for further information on this head.

A vessel said to be from Philadelphia and bound to Boston with 120 pipes of wine (118 of which are secured) stranded at a place called Eastham, in a gale of wind on the 2d inst. Another from Boston to Halifax with dry goods, &c. (amounting per invoice to about 240£ lawful) got disabled in the same gale near Beverly. These cargoes, with the papers, I have ordered to this place, the vessels to be taken care of until further orders. I have also an account of the taking of a wood sloop bound to Boston, and carried into Portsmouth by one of our armed vessels—particulars not yet come to hand, and this instant of two others from Nova Scotia to Boston, with hay, wood, live stock, &c., by another of our armed schooners. These are in Plymouth.

These accidents and captures point out the necessity of establishing proper courts without loss of time for the decision of property, and the legality of seizures. Edition: current; Page: [204] Otherwise I may be involved in inextricable difficulties.1

Our prisoners, by the reduction of Fort Chamblee (on which happy event I most sincerely congratulate the Congress), being considerably augmented, and likely to be increased, I submit it to the wisdom of Congress, whether some convenient inland towns, remote from the post roads, ought not to be assigned them; the manner of their treatment, subsistence, &c., defined; and a commissary or agent appointed, to see that justice is done both to them and the public, proper accounts rendered, &c. Unless a mode of this sort is adopted, I fear there will be sad confusion hereafter, as there are great complaints at present.2

I reckoned without my host, when I informed the Congress in my last, that I should in a day or two be able to acquaint them with the disposition of the soldiery towards a new enlistment. I have been in consultation with the generals of this army ever since Thursday last, endeavoring to establish new corps of officers; but find so many doubts and difficulties to reconcile, I cannot say when they are to end, or what may be the consequences; as there appears to be such an unwillingness in the officers of one government mixing in the same regiment with those of another; and, without it, many must be dismissed, who are willing to serve, notwithstanding we are deficient on the whole. I am to have another meeting Edition: current; Page: [205] to-day upon this business, and shall inform you of the result.

The council of officers are unanimously of opinion, that the command of the artillery should no longer continue in Colonel Gridley1; and, knowing of no person better qualified to supply his place, or whose appointment will give more general satisfaction, I have taken the liberty of recommending Henry Knox, Esq., to the consideration of the Congress, thinking it indispensably necessary, at the same time, that this regiment should consist of two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and twelve companies, agreeable to the plan and estimate handed in;—which, differing from the last establishment, I should be glad to be instructed on.

The Commissary General not being returned, will apologize I hope for my silence, respecting a requisition Edition: current; Page: [206] of the expence of his clerks, &c., which I was to have obtained, together with others, and forward.

I have heard nothing of Colonel Arnold since the 13th ultimo. His letter of, and journal to, that date, will convey all the information I am able to give of him. I think he must be in Quebec. If any mischance had happened to him, he would, as directed, have forwarded an express. No account yet of the armed vessels sent to the St. Lawrence. I think they will meet with the stores inward or outward bound.

Captain Symons, in the Cerberus, lately sent from Boston to Falmouth, has published the enclosed declaration at that place; and, it is suspected, intends to make some kind of a lodgment there. I wrote immediately to a Colonel Phinny (of this army) who went up there upon the last alarm, to spirit up the people and oppose it at all events. Falmouth is about a hundred and thirty miles from this camp.1

I have the honor to be, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [207]

P. S. I send a general return of the troops, and manifests of the cargoes and vessels, taken at Plymouth.

George Washington
Washington, George
8 November, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED, PHILADELPHIA.

Dear Sir,

The shipwreck of a vessel, said to be from Philadelphia to Boston, near Plymouth, with one hundred and twenty pipes of wine, one hundred and eighteen of which are saved; another, from Boston to Halifax, near Beverly, with about two hundred and forty pounds’ worth of dry goods; the taking of a wood-vessel bound to Boston by Captain Adams; and the sudden departure of Mr. Randolph, (occasioned by the death of his uncle,) are all the occurrences worth noticing, which have happened since you left this.

I have ordered the wine and goods to this place for sale; as also the papers. The latter may unfold secrets, that may not be pleasing to some of your townsmen, and which, so soon as known, will be communicated.

I have been happy enough to convince Captain Macpherson, as he says, of the propriety of returning to the Congress. He sets out this day, and I am happy in his having an opportunity of laying before them a scheme for the destruction of the naval force of Great Britain. A letter and journal of Colonel Arnold’s, to the 13th ultimo, are come to hand, a copy of which I enclose to the Congress, and by application to Mr. Thomson you can see. I think he is in Edition: current; Page: [208] Quebec. If I hear nothing more of him in five days, I shall be sure of it.

I had like to have forgotten what sits heaviest upon my mind, the new arrangement of officers. Although we have not enough to constitute the new corps, it hath employed the general officers and myself ever since Thursday last, and we are nearly as we begun.

Connecticut wants no Massachusetts man in their corps; Massachusetts thinks there is no necessity for a Rhode-Islander to be introduced amongst them; and New Hampshire says, it ’s very hard, that her valuable and experienced officers (who are willing to serve) should be discarded, because her own regiments, under the new establishment, cannot provide for them. In short, after a four days’ labor, I expect that numbers of officers, who have given in their names to serve, must be discarded from Massachusetts, (where the regiments have been numerous, and the number in them small) and Connecticut, completed with a fresh recruit of officers from its own government. This will be departing, not only from the principles of common justice, but from the letter of the resolve agreed on at this place; but, at present, I see no help for it. We are to have another meeting upon the matter this day, when something must be hit upon, as time is slipping off. My compliments to Mrs. Reed and to all inquiring friends. I am, with sincerity and truth, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant.

P. S. I had just finished my letter when a blundering Lieutenant of the blundering Captain Coit, who Edition: current; Page: [209] had just blundered upon two vessels from Nova Scotia, came in with the account of it, and before I could rescue my letter, without knowing what he did, picked up a candle and sprinkled it with grease; but these are kind of blunders which one can readily excuse. The vessels contain hay, live-stock, poultry, &c., and are now safely moored in Plymouth harbour.1

George Washington
Washington, George
10 November, 1775
Cambridge
William Woodford
Woodford, William

TO COLONEL WILLIAM WOODFORD.2

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 18th of September came to my hands on Wednesday last, through Boston, and open, Edition: current; Page: [210] as you may suppose. It might be well to recollect by whom you sent it, in order to discover if there has not been some treachery practised.

I do not mean to flatter, when I assure you, that I highly approve of your appointment. The inexperience you complain of is a common case, and only to be remedied by practice and close attention. The best general advice I can give, and which I am sure you stand in no need of, is to be strict in your discipline; that is, to require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men, but see that whatever is required be punctually complied with. Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without Edition: current; Page: [211] partiality or prejudice; hear his complaints; if well founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them, in order to prevent frivolous ones. Discourage vice in every shape, and impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of the cause, and what it is they are contending for. For ever keep in view the necessity of guarding against surprises. In all your marches, at times, at least, even when there is no possible danger, move with front, rear, and flank guards, that they may be familiarized to the use; and be regular in your encampments, appointing necessary guards for the security of your camp. In short, whether you expect Edition: current; Page: [212] an enemy or not, this should be practised; otherwise your attempts will be confused and awkward, when necessary. Be plain and precise in your orders, and keep copies of them to refer to, that no mistakes may happen. Be easy and condescending in your deportment to your officers, but not too familiar, lest you subject yourself to a want of that respect, which is necessary to support a proper command. These, Sir, not because I think you need the advice, but because you have been condescending enough to ask it, I have presumed to give as the great outlines of your conduct.

As to the manual exercise, the evolutions and manœuvres of a regiment, with other knowledge necessary to a soldier, you will acquire them from those authors, who have treated upon these subjects, among whom Bland (the newest edition) stands foremost; also an Essay on the Art of War; Instructions for Officers, lately published at Philadelphia; the Partisan; Young; and others.

My compliments to Mrs. Woodford; and that every success may attend you, in this glorious struggle, is the sincere and ardent wish of, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [213]
George Washington
Washington, George
11 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I had the honor to address myself to you the 8th inst. by Captain Macpherson, since which I have an account of a schooner laden chiefly with fire wood being brought into Marblehead, by the armed schooner Lee, Captain Manly. She had on board the master, a midshipman, two marines, and four sailors, from the Cerberus, man of war, who had made a prize of this schooner a few days before, and was sending her into Boston.

Enclosed you have a copy of an act passed this session, by the honorable Council and House of Representatives of this province.1 It respects such captures as may be made by vessels fitted out by the province, or by individuals thereof. As the armed vessels, fitted out at the Continental expense, do not come under this law, I would have it submitted to the consideration of Congress, to point out a more summary way of proceeding, to determine the property and mode of condemnation of such prizes, as have been or hereafter may be made, than is specified in this act.

Should not a court be established by authority of Congress, to take cognizance of prizes made by the Continental vessels? Whatever the mode is, which Edition: current; Page: [214] they are pleased to adopt, there is an absolute necessity of its being speedily determined on; for I cannot spare time from military affairs, to give proper attention to these matters.

The inhabitants of Plymouth have taken a sloop, laden with provisions, from Halifax, bound to Boston; and the inhabitants of Beverly have, under cover of one of the armed schooners, taken a vessel from Ireland, laden with beef, pork, butter, &c., for the same place. The latter brings papers and letters of a very interesting nature, which are in the hands of the honorable Council, who informed me they will transmit them to you by this conveyance. To the contents of these papers and letters I must beg leave to refer you and the honorable Congress, who will now see the absolute necessity of exerting all their wisdom, to withstand the mighty efforts of our enemies.

The trouble I have in the arrangement of the army is really inconceivable. Many of the officers sent in their names to serve, in expectation of promotion; others stood aloof to see what advantage they could make for themselves; whilst a number, who had declined, have again sent in their names to serve. So great has the confusion, arising from these and many other perplexing circumstances, been, that I found it absolutely impossible to fix this very interesting business exactly on the plan resolved on in the conference, though I have kept up to the spirit of it, as near as the nature and necessity of the case would admit of. The difficulty with the soldiers is as great, indeed more so, if possible, than with the officers. They Edition: current; Page: [215] will not enlist, until they know their colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, captain, &c.; so that it was necessary to fix the officers the first thing; which is, at last, in some manner done; and I have given out enlisting orders. You, Sir, can much easier judge, than I can express, the anxiety of mind I must labor under on this occasion, especially at this time, when we may expect the enemy will begin to act on the arrival of their reinforcement, part of which is already come, and the remainder daily dropping in.1 Edition: current; Page: [216] I have other distresses of a very alarming nature. The arms of our soldiery are so exceedingly bad, that I assure you, Sir, I cannot place a proper confidence in them. Our powder is wasting fast, notwithstanding the strictest care, economy, and attention are paid to it. The long series of wet weather, which we have had, renders the greater part of what has been served out to the men of no use. Yesterday I had a proof of it, as a party of the enemy, about four or five hundred, taking the advantage of a high tide, landed at Lechmere’s Point, which at that time was in effect an island; we were alarmed, and of course ordered every man to examine his cartouch-box, when the melancholy truth appeared; and we were obliged to furnish the greater part of them with fresh ammunition.

The damage done at the Point was the taking of a man, who watched a few horses and cows; ten of the latter they carried off. Colonel Thompson marched down with his regiment of riflemen, and was joined by Colonel Woodbridge, with a part of his and a part of Patterson’s regiment, who gallantly waded through the water, and soon obliged the enemy to embark under cover of a man-of-war, a floating battery, and the fire of a battery on Charlestown Neck. We have two of our men dangerously wounded by grape-shot Edition: current; Page: [217] from the man-of-war; and by a flag sent out this day, we are informed the enemy lost two of their men.1 I have the honor to be, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
12 November, 1775
Cambridge
William Palfrey
Palfrey, William

TO WILLIAM PALFREY, PORTSMOUTH.3

Sir,

At a time when some of our seaport towns are cruelly and wantonly laid in ashes, and ruin and devastation Edition: current; Page: [218] denounced against others; when the arms are demanded of the inhabitants, and hostages required (in effect) to surrender of their liberties; when General Howe by proclamation, under the threat of military execution, has forbid inhabitants of Boston to leave the town without his permission first had and obtained in writing; when, by another proclamation, he strictly forbids any persons bringing out of that place more than five pounds sterling of their property in specie, because truly the ministerial army under his command may be injured by it; and when, by a third proclamation, after leaving the inhabitants no alternative, he calls upon them to take arms under officers of his appointing; it is evident, that the most tyrannical and cruel system is adopted for the destruction of the rights and liberties of this continent, that ever disgraced the most despotic ministry, and ought to be opposed by every means in our power. Edition: current; Page: [219] I therefore desire, that you will delay no time in causing the seizure of every officer of government at Portsmouth, who has given proofs of his unfriendly disposition to the cause we are engaged in; and when you have secured all such, take the opinion of the provincial Congress, or Committee of Safety, in what manner to dispose of them in that government. I do not mean that they should be kept in close confinement. If either of those bodies should incline to send them to any interior towns, upon their parole not to leave them until released, it will meet with my concurrence. For the present I shall avoid giving you the like order in respect to the Tories in Portsmouth; but the day is not far off, when they will meet with this or a worse fate, if there is not a considerable reformation in their conduct. Of this they may be assured from, Sir, your most humble servant.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
16 November, 1775
Cambridge
Henry Knox
Knox, Henry

TO HENRY KNOX.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Sir,

You are immediately to examine into the state of the artillery of this army, and take an account of the cannon, mortars, shells, Edition: current; Page: [221] lead, and ammunition, that are wanting. When you have done that, you are to proceed in the most expeditious manner to New York, there apply to the President of the Provincial Congress, and learn of him, whether Colonel Reed did any thing, or left any orders respecting these articles, and get him to procure such of them as can possibly be had there.

Edition: current; Page: [222]

The President, if he can, will have them immediately sent hither; if he cannot, you must put them in a proper channel for being transported to this camp with despatch, before you leave New York. After you have procured as many of these necessaries as you can there, you must go to Major-General Schuyler, and get the remainder from Ticonderoga, Crown Point, or St. John’s; if it should be necessary, from Quebec, if in our hands. The want of them is so great, that no trouble or expense must be spared to obtain them. I have written to General Schuyler; he will give every necessary assistance, that they may be had and forwarded to this place with the utmost despatch. I have given you a warrant to the paymaster-general of the Continental army for a thousand dollars, to defray the expense attending your journey and procuring these articles; an account of which you are to keep and render upon your return.1

George Washington
Washington, George
17 November, 1775
Cambridge
Artemas Ward
Ward, Artemas

TO MAJOR-GENERAL ARTEMAS WARD.

Sir,

As the season is fast approaching, when the bay between us and Boston will in all probability be close shut up, thereby rendering any movement upon the Edition: current; Page: [223] ice as easy as if no water was there; and as it is more than possible, that General Howe, when he gets the expected reinforcement, will endeavor to relieve himself from the disgraceful confinement in which the ministerial troops have been all the summer; common prudence dictates the necessity of guarding our camps wherever they are most assailable. For this purpose, I wish you, General Thomas, General Spencer, and Colonel Putnam, to meet me at your quarters tomorrow at 10 o’clock, that we may examine the ground between your work at the Mill and Sewall’s Point, and direct such batteries, as shall appear necessary for the security of your camp on that side, to be thrown up without loss of time.

I have long had it upon my mind, that a successful attempt might be made by way of surprise upon Castle William. From every account, there are not more than three hundred men in that place. The whale-boats, therefore, which you have, and such as could be sent you, would easily transport eight hundred or one thousand men, which, with a very moderate Edition: current; Page: [224] share of conduct and spirit, might, I should think, bring off the garrison, if not some part of the stores. I wish you to discuss this matter, (under the rose,) with officers on whose judgment and conduct you can rely. Something of this sort may show how far the men are to be depended upon. I am, &c.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
19 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I received your favors of the 7th and 10th instant, with the resolves of the honorable Congress, to which I will pay all due attention. As soon as two capable persons can be found, I will despatch them to Nova Scotia, on the service resolved on by Congress. The resolve to raise two battalions of marines will, (if practicable in this army,) entirely derange what has been done. It is therein mentioned, “one colonel for the two battalions”; of course, a colonel must be dismissed. One of the many difficulties, which attended the new arrangement, was in reconciling the different interests, and judging of the merits of the different colonels. In the dismission of this one, the same difficulties will occur. The officers and men must be acquainted with maritime affairs; to comply with which, they must be picked out of the whole army, one from this corps one from another, so as to break through the whole system, which it has cost us so much time, anxiety, and pains, to bring into any tolerable form. Notwithstanding any difficulties which will arise, you may be assured, Sir, that I will use every endeavor to comply with their resolve.

I beg leave to submit it to the consideration of Congress, if those two battalions can be formed out of this army, whether this is a time to weaken our lines, by employing any of the officers appointed to defend them on any other service? The gentlemen, who were here from Congress, know their vast extent; they must know, that we shall have occason for our Edition: current; Page: [226] whole force for that purpose, more now than at any past time, as we may expect the enemy will take the advantage of the first hard weather, and attempt to make an impression somewhere. That this is the intention, we have many reasons to suspect. We have had in the last week six deserters, and took two straggling prisoners. They all agree that two companies with a train of artillery, and one of the regiments from Ireland, were arrived at Boston, that fresh ammunition and fruits have been served out, that the grenadiers and light infantry had orders to hold themselves in readiness at a moment’s warning.

As there is every appearance, that this contest will not be soon decided, and of course that there must be an augmentation of the Continental army, would it not be eligible to raise two battalions of marines in New York and Philadelphia, where there must be numbers of sailors now unemployed? This, however, is matter of opinion, which I mention with all due deference to the superior judgment of the Congress.1

Enclosed you have copies of two letters, one from Colonel Arnold, the other from Colonel Enos. I can form no judgment on the latter’s conduct until I see him.2 Nothwithstanding the great defection, I do Edition: current; Page: [227] not despair of Colonel Arnold’s success. He will have, in all probability, many more difficulties to encounter, than if he had been a fortnight sooner; as it is likely that Governor Carleton will, with what forces he can collect after the surrender of the rest of Canada, throw himself into Quebec, and there make his last effort.

There is no late account from Captains Broughton and Sellman, sent to the River St. Lawrence. The other cruisers have been chiefly confined to harbors, by the badness of the weather. The same reason has caused great delay in the building of our barracks; which, with a most mortifying scarcity of firewood, Edition: current; Page: [228] discourages the men from enlisting. The last, I am much afraid, is an insuperable obstacle. I have applied to the honorable House of Representatives of this province, who were pleased to appoint a committee to negotiate this business; and, notwithstanding all the pains they have taken, and are taking, they find it impossible to supply our necessities. The want of a sufficient number of teams I understand to be the chief impediment.

I got returns this day from eleven colonels, of the numbers enlisted in their regiments. The whole amount is nine hundred and sixty-six men. There must be some other stimulus, besides love for their country, to make men fond of the service. It would be a great encouragement, and no additional expense to the continent, were they to receive pay for the months of October and November; also a month’s pay advance. The present state of the military chest will not admit of this. The sooner it is enabled to do so the better.1

The commissary-general is daily expected in camp. I cannot send you the estimate of the clerks in his department, until he arrives.

I sincerely congratulate you upon the success of your arms, in the surrender of St. John’s, which I hope is a happy presage of the reduction of the rest of Canada. I have the honor to be, &c.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
20 November, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your letters of the 4th from New York, 7th and — from Philadelphia (the last by express), are all before me, and gave me the pleasure to hear of your happy meeting with Mrs. Reed, without any other accident than that of leaving a horse by the way.

The hint contained in the last of your letters, respecting your continuance in my family, in other words, your wish that I could dispense with it, gives me pain. You already, my dear Sir, knew my sentiments on this matter; you cannot but be sensible of your importance to me; at the same time I shall again repeat, what I have observed to you before, that I can never think of promoting my convenience at the expense of your interest and inclination. That I feel the want of you, yourself can judge, when I inform you, that the peculiar situation of Mr. Randolph’s affairs obliged him to leave this soon after you did; that Mr. Baylor, contrary to my expectation, is not in the slightest degree a penman, though spirited and willing; and that Mr. Harrison, though sensible, clever, and perfectly confidential, has never yet moved upon so large a scale, as to comprehend at one view the diversity of matter, which comes before me, so as to afford that ready assistance, which every man in my situation must stand more or less in need of. Mr. Moylan, it is true, is very obliging; he gives me what assistance he can; but other business must necessarily deprive me of his aid in a very short time. This is Edition: current; Page: [230] my situation; judge you, therefore, how much I wish for your return, especially as the armed vessels, and the capital change (in the state of this army) about to take place, have added an additional weight to a burthen, before too great for me to stand under with the smallest degree of comfort to my own feelings. My mind is now fully disclosed to you, with this assurance sincerely and affectionately of accompanying it, that whilst you are disposed to continue with me, I shall think myself too fortunate and happy to wish for a change.

Dr. Morgan, (as director of the hospital,) is exceedingly wanted at this place, and ought not to delay his departure for the camp a moment, many regulations being delayed, and accounts postponed, till his arrival. I have given G. S. and Col. P. a hint of the prevailing reports in Connecticut, without intimating from what quarter they came (for indeed I received them through different channels) in order to put them upon their guard; they both deny the charge roundly, and wish for an opportunity of vindication. I thought as this information had come to my ears in different ways, it was best to speak to these gentlemen in terms expressive of my abhorrence of such conduct, and of the consequences that might flow from it, and think it will have a good effect. The method you have suggested, of the advanced pay, I very much approve of, and would adopt, but for the unfortunate cramped state of our treasury, which keeps us for ever under the hatches. Pray urge the necessity of this measure to such members as you may converse with, and the Edition: current; Page: [231] want of cash to pay the troops for the months of October and November; as also to answer the demands of the commissary, quartermaster, and for contingencies. To do all this, a considerable sum will be necessary. Do not neglect to put that wheel in motion, which is to bring us the shirts, medicines, &c. from New York; they are much wanting here, and cannot be had, I should think, upon better terms than on a loan from the best of Kings, so anxiously disposed to promote the welfare of his American subjects.

Dr. Church is gone to Governor Trumbull, to be disposed of in a Connecticut gaol, without the use of pen, ink, or paper, to be conversed with in the presence of a magistrate only, and in the English language. So much for indiscretion, the Doctor will say. Your accounts of our dependence upon the people of Great Britain, I religiously believe. It has long been my political creed, that the ministry durst not have gone on as they did, but under the firmest persuasion that the people were with them. The weather has been unfavorable, however, for the arrival of their transports; only four companies of the seventeenth regiment and two of the artillery are yet arrived, by our last advices from Boston.

Our rascally privateersmen go on at the old rate, mutinying if they cannot do as they please.1 Those Edition: current; Page: [232] at Plymouth, Beverly, and Portsmouth, have done nothing worth mentioning in the prize way, and no accounts are yet received from those farther eastward.

Arnold, by a letter which left him the 27th ultimo, had then only got to the Chaudière Pond, and was scarce of provisions. His rear division, under the command of the noble Colonel Enos, had, without his privity or consent, left him with three companies; and his expedition, (inasmuch as it is to be apprehended, that Carleton, with the remains of such force as he had been able to raise, would get into Quebec before him,) I fear, in a bad way. For further particulars I refer you to Mr. Hancock who has enclosed to him copies of Arnold’s and Enos’s letters. The last-named person is not yet arrived at this camp.

I thank you for your frequent mention of Mrs. Washington. I expect she will be in Philadelphia about the time this letter may reach you, on her way hither. As she and her conductor, (who I expect will be Mr. Custis, her son,) are perfect strangers to the road, the stages, and the proper place to cross Hudson’s River, (by all means avoiding New York,) I shall be much obliged in your particular instructions and advice to her. I do imagine, as the roads are bad and the weather cold, her stages must be short, especially as I expect her horses will be pretty much fatigued; as they will, by the time she gets to Philadelphia, have performed a journey of at least four hundred and fifty miles, my express finding of her Edition: current; Page: [233] among her friends near Williamsburg, one hundred and fifty miles below my own house.

As you have mentioned nothing in your letters of the cannon, &c., to be had from New York, Ticonderoga, &c., I have, in order to reduce the matter to a certainty, employed Mr. Knox to go to those places, complete our wants, and to provide such military stores as St. John’s can spare.

My respectful compliments to Mrs. Reed, and be assured that I am, dear Sir, with affectionate regard, &c.

Flints are greatly wanted here.1

George Washington
Washington, George
24th day of November, 1775
Aaron Willard
Willard, Aaron

TO AARON WILLARD.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Sir,

The honorable Continental Congress having lately passed a resolve, expressed in the following words,—“That two persons be sent, at the expense of these colonies, to Nova Scotia to inquire into the state of that colony, the disposition of the inhabitants towards the American cause, the condition of the fortifications Edition: current; Page: [234] and dock-yards, the quantity of artillery and warlike stores, and the number of soldiers, sailors, and ships of war there, and transmit the earliest intelligence to General Washington”; I do hereby constitute and appoint you, the said Aaron Willard, to be one of the persons to undertake this business; and, as the season is late and this work of great importance, I entreat and request, that you will use the utmost despatch, attention, and fidelity in the execution of it. The necessity of acting with a proper degree of caution and secrecy is too apparent to need recommendation.

You will keep an account of your expenses, and, upon your return, will be rewarded in a suitable manner for the fatigue of your journey, and the services you render your country, by conducting and discharging this business with expedition and fidelity. Given under my hand, this 24th day of November, 1775.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
26 November, 1775
Cambridge
Lund Washington
Washington, Lund

TO LUND WASHINGTON, MOUNT VERNON.1

What follows is part of a letter written to Mr. Lund Washington, the 26th day of November, 1775. A copy is taken to remind me of my engagements and the exact purport of them. These paragraphs follow an earnest request to employ good part of my force in clearing up swamps, h. hole, ditching, hedging, &c.

“I well know where the difficulty of accomplishing these things will lie. Overseers are already engaged (upon shares), to look after my business. Remote advantages to me, however manifest and beneficial, are nothing to them; and to engage standing wages, when I do not know that any thing that I have, or can Edition: current; Page: [236] raise, will command cash, is attended with hazard; for which reason, I hardly know what more to say, than to discover my wishes. The same reason, although it may in appearance have the same tendency in respect to you, shall not be the same in its operation; for I will engage for the year coming, and the year following, if these troubles and my absence continue, that your wages shall be standing and certain, at the highest amount, that any one year’s crop has produced to you yet. I do not offer this as any temptation to induce you to go on more cheerfully in prosecuting these schemes of mine. I should do injustice to you, were I not to acknowledge, that your conduct has ever appeared to me above every thing sordid; but I offer it in consideration of the great charge you have upon your hands, and my entire dependence upon your fidelity and industry.

“It is the greatest, indeed it is the only comfortable reflection I enjoy on this score, that my business is in the hands of a person in whose integrity I have not a doubt, and on whose care I can rely. Was it not for this, I should feel very unhappy, on account of the situation of my affairs; but I am persuaded you will do for me as you would for yourself, and more than this I cannot expect.

“Let the hospitality of the house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my money in charity, to the amount of Edition: current; Page: [237] forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by having no objection is, that it is my desire that it should be done. You are to consider, that neither myself nor wife is now in the way to do these good offices. In all other respects, I recommend it to you, and have no doubt of your observing the greatest economy and frugality; as I suppose you know, that I do not get a farthing for my services here, more than my expenses. It becomes necessary, therefore, for me to be saving at home.”

The above is copied, not only to remind myself of my promises and requests, but others also, if any mischance happens to

G. Washington.
George Washington
Washington, George
27 November, 1775
Cambridge
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 13th, with the enclosures, for which I thank you, came to this place on Wednesday evening; part of which, that is, the night, I was engaged with a party of men throwing up a work upon a hill, called Cobble Hill, which, in case we should ever be supplied with such things as we want, may prove useful to us, and could not be delayed, as the earth here is getting as hard as a rock,1 This, and the early departure of the post, prevented my giving your letter an answer the next morning.

In answer to your inquiries respecting armed Edition: current; Page: [238] vessels, there are none of any tolerable force belonging to this government. I know of but two of any kind; those very small. At the Continental expense, I have fitted out six, as by the enclosed list, two of which are upon the cruise directed by Congress; the rest ply about Cape Cod and Cape Ann, as yet to very little purpose. These vessels are all manned by officers and soldiers, except perhaps a master and pilots; but how far, as they are upon the old establishment, which has not more than a month to exist, they can be ordered off this station, I will not undertake to say, but suppose they might be engaged anew. Belonging to Providence there are two armed vessels; and I am told Connecticut has one, which, with one of those from Providence, is, I believe, upon the cruise you have directed.

I have no idea that the troops can remove from Boston this winter to a place, where no provision is made for them; however, we shall keep the best lookout we can; and upon that, and every occasion where practicable, give them the best we have. But their situation in Boston gives them but little to apprehend from a parting blow, whilst their ships can move, and floating batteries surround the town.

Nothing of importance has happened since my last. For God’s sake hurry the signers of money, that our wants may be supplied. It is a very singular case, that their signing cannot keep pace with our demands. I heartily congratulate you and the Congress on the reduction of St. John’s. I hope all Canada is in our possession before this. No accounts from Arnold Edition: current; Page: [239] since those mentioned in my last letter to the Congress. Would it not be politic to invite them to send members to Congress? Would it not be also politic to raise a regiment or two of Canadians, and bring them out of the country? They are good troops, and this would be entering them heartily in the cause.1 My best regards to the good families you are with. I am, very affectionately, your obedient servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
27 November, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 16th by Post now lyes before me, & I thank you for the attention paid to my Edition: current; Page: [240] Memorandums; the arrival of Money will be an agreeable Circumstance.

I recollect no occurrance of moment since my last, except the taking possession of Cobble Hill on Wednesday night. This to my great surprize we did, and have worked on ever since, without receiving a single shott from Bunkers Hill,—the ship—or Floating Batteries—what all this means we know not unless some capitol strike is meditating—I have caused two half Moon Batterries to be thrown up for occasional use, between Litchmore’s Point & the mouth of Cambridge River; and another Work at the Causey going on to Litchmores point to command that pass & rake the little Rivulet which runs by it to Patterson’s Fort. Besides these I have been, & mark’d three places between Sewall’s point & our Lines on Roxbury Neck for Works to be thrown up and occasionally mann’d in case of a Sortee, when the Bay gets froze.

By order of Genl. Howe, 300 of the poor Inhabitants of Boston were landed on Saturday last at point Shirley, destitute almost of every thing; the Instant I got notice of it, I informed a Committee of Council thereof, that proper care might be taken of them—Yesterday in the evening I received information that one of them was dead, & two more expiring; and the whole in the most miserable & piteous condition.—I have order’d Provision to them till they can be remov’d, but am under dreadful apprehensions of their communicating the small Pox as it is Rief in Boston. I have forbid any of them coming to this place on that acct.

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A Ship well fraught with Ordinance, Ordinance Stores, &c., is missing and gives great uneasiness in Boston, her Convoy has been in a fortnight—I have order’d our Arm’d Vessels to keep a good look out for her. The same reasons which restrained you from writing fully, also prevent me. I shall therefore only add that I am, &c.

If any waggon should be coming this way, Pray order a qty of good writing Paper to head Quarters, & Sea’g Wax.

George Washington
Washington, George
28 November, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you on the 19th instant. I have now to inform you that Mr. Henry Knox, Esq. is gone to New York, with orders to forward to this place what cannon and ordnance stores can be there procured. From thence he will proceed to General Schuyler on the same business, as you will see by the enclosed copy of instructions, which I have given him. It would give me much satisfaction, that this gentleman, or any other whom you may think qualified, were appointed to the command of the artillery regiment. In my letter to you of the 8th instant, I have expressed myself fully on this subject, which I beg leave to recommend to your immediate attention; as the formation of that corps will be at a stand, until I am honored with your instructions thereon. The vessel laden with wine which I advised you was wrecked on this coast, proves to have been Edition: current; Page: [242] the property of Thomas Satler of Philadelphia. The papers relative to her and cargo were sent to Robert Morris, Esqr. who can give you every information thereon. The schooner with the dry goods from Boston to Halifax, is given up to the Committee of Safety at Beverly, who will dispose of her and cargo, agreeable to the decision of a Court of Admiralty, and the schooner, carried into Portsmouth by Captain Adams, proves to be a friend, is of course discharged.

There are two persons engaged to go to Nova Scotia, on the business recommended in your last. By the best information we have from thence, the stores have been withdrawn some time. Should this not be the case, it is next to an impossibility to attempt any thing there, in the present unsettled and precarious state of the army.

Colonel Enos is arrived, and is under arrest; he acknowledges, that he had no orders for coming away. His trial cannot come on until I hear from Colonel Arnold, from whom there is no account since I last wrote you.

From what I can collect by my inquiries amongst the officers, it will be impossible to get the men to enlist for the continuance of the war, which will be an insuperable obstruction to the formation of the two battalions of marines on the plan resolved on in Congress.1 As it can make no difference, I propose to proceed on the new arrangement of the army, and, when completed, inquire out such officers and men as Edition: current; Page: [243] are best qualified for that service, and endeavor to form these two battalions out of the whole. This appears to me the best method, and I hope it will meet the approbation of Congress.

As it will be very difficult for the men to work, when the hard frost sets in, I have thought it necessary, (though of little use at present,) to take possession of Cobble Hill, for the benefit of any future operations. It was effected, without the least opposition from the enemy, the 23d instant. Their inactivity on this occasion is what I cannot account for; it is probable they are meditating a blow somewhere.

About three hundred men, women, and children of the poor inhabitants of Boston, came out to Point Shirley last Friday. They have brought their household furniture, but unprovided of every other necessary of life. I have recommended them to the attention of the committee of the honorable Council of this province, now sitting at Watertown.

The number enlisted since my last is two thousand five hundred and forty men. I am very sorry to be necesitated to mention to you the egregious want of public spirit, which reigns here. Instead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of their country, which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, I find we are likely to be deserted, and in a most critical time. Those that have enlisted must have a furlough, which I have been obliged to grant to fifty at a time, from each regiment. The Connecticut troops, upon whom I reckoned, are as backward, indeed, if possible, more so than the people of this colony. Our Edition: current; Page: [244] situation is truly alarming; and of this General Howe is well apprized, it being the common topic of conversation, when the people left Boston last Friday. No doubt, when he is reinforced, he will avail himself of the information.1

I am making the best disposition I can for our defence, having thrown up, besides the work on Cobble Hill, several redoubts, half-moons, &c., along the bay; and I fear I shall be under the necessity of calling in the militia and minute-men of the country to my assistance. I say, I fear it, because, by what I can learn from the officers in the army belonging to this colony, it will be next to an impossibility to keep them under any degree of discipline, and it will be very difficult to prevail on them to remain a moment longer, than they choose themselves. It is a mortifying reflection, to be reduced to this dilemma. There has been nothing wanting on my part to infuse a proper spirit amongst the officers, that they may exert their influence with the soldiery. You see, by a fortnight’s recruiting amongst men with arms in their hands, how little has been the success.

As the smallpox is now in Boston, I have used the precaution of prohibiting such, as lately came out, from coming near our camp. General Burgoyne, I am informed, will soon embark for England. I think the risque too great to write you by post whilst it continues to pass thro’ New York. It is certain that a post has been intercepted the beginning of last month, as they sent out several letters from Boston Edition: current; Page: [245] with the postmark at Baltimore on them. This goes by Captain Joseph Blewer, who promises to deliver it carefully unto you.

You doubtless will have heard, before this reaches you, of General Montgomery’s having got possession of Montreal.1 I congratulate you thereon. He has troubles with his troops, as well as I have. All I can learn of Colonel Arnold is, that he is near Quebec. I hope Montgomery will be able to proceed to his assistance. I shall be very uneasy until I hear they are joined.

My best respects attend the gentlemen in Congress; and believe me, Sir, your most obedient, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
28 November, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

By post I wrote you yesterday in answer to your letter of the 16th, since which your favors of the 15th and 17th are come to hand. In one of these you justly observe, that the sudden departure of Mr. Randolph must cause your absence to be the more sensibly felt. I can truly assure you, that I miss you exceedingly, and if an express declaration of this be Edition: current; Page: [246] wanting to hasten your return, I make it most heartily; and with some pleasure, as Mr. Lynch in a letter of the 13th (received with yours) gives this information. “In consequence of your letter by Colonel Reed, I applied to the chief justice, who tells me the Supreme Courts are lately held, and that it will be some time before their term will return; that he knows of no capital suit now depending, and that it is very easy for Colonel Reed to manage matters so as not to let that prevent his return to you; I am sure Mr. Chew is so heartily disposed to oblige you, and serve the cause, that nothing in his power will be wanting.” I could wish, my good friend, that these things may give a spur to your inclination to return; and that I may see you here as soon as convenient, as I feel the want of your ready pen, &c., greatly.

What an astonishing thing it is, that those who are employed to sign the Continental bills should not be able, or inclined, to do it as fast as they are wanted. They will prove the destruction of the army, if they are not more attentive and diligent. Such a dearth of public spirit, and want of virtue, such stock-jobbing, and fertility in all the low arts to obtain advantages of one kind or another, in this great change of military arrangement, I never saw before, and pray God I may never be witness to again. What will be the ultimate end of these manœuvres is beyond my scan. I tremble at the prospect. We have been till this time enlisting about three thousand five hundred men. To engage these I have been obliged to allow furloughs as far as fifty men a regiment, and Edition: current; Page: [247] the officers I am persuaded indulge as many more. The Connecticut troops will not be prevailed upon to stay longer than their term (saving those who have enlisted for the next campaign, and mostly on furlough), and such a dirty, mercenary spirit pervades the whole, that I should not be at all surprised at any disaster that may happen. In short, after the last of this month our lines will be so weakened, that the minute-men and militia must be called in for their defence; these, being under no kind of government themselves, will destroy the little subordination I have been laboring to establish, and run me into one evil whilst I am endeavoring to avoid another; but the lesser must be chosen. Could I have foreseen what I have, and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command. A regiment or any subordinate department would have been accompanied with ten times the satisfaction, and perhaps the honor.1

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I think I informed you in my letter of yesterday that we had taken possession of, and had fortified Cobble Hill, and several points round the Bay, between that and Roxbury. In a night or two more, we shall begin our work on Lechmore’s Point; when doubtless we shall be honored with their notice, unless General Howe is waiting the favorable moment he has been told of, to aim a capital blow; which is my fixed opinion.

The Congress already know, from the general estimate given in (for a month), what sum it will take to supply this army; and that little less than two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars will answer the purpose.

Pray impress this upon the members, and the necessity of forwarding the last sum voted, as one hundred thousand dollars will be but a flea-bite to our demands at this time. Did I not in one of my late letters inform you that I had sent Mr. Knox through New York to General Schuyler to see what artillery I could get from those places? He has been set out upon this business about ten days, and I hope will fall in with the Committee of Congress. Powder is also so much wanted, that nothing without it can be done.

I wish that matter respecting the punctilio, hinted at by you, could come to some decision of Congress. I have done nothing yet in respect to the proposed exchange of prisoners, nor shall I now, until I hear from them or you on this subject. I am sorry Mr. White met with a disappointment in the Jerseys; as Edition: current; Page: [249] I could wish not to be under the necessity, from any former encouragement given him, of taking him into my family. I find it is absolutely necessary that the aids to the Commander-in-chief should be ready at their pen, (which I believe he is not,) to give that ready assistance, that is expected of them. I shall make a lame hand therefore to have two of this kidney. It would give me singular pleasure to provide for those two gentlemen, mentioned in your letter; but, believe me, it is beyond the powers of conception to discover the absurdities and partiality of these people, and the trouble and vexation I have had in the new arrangement of officers. After five, I think, different meetings of the general officers, I have in a manner been obliged to give in to the humor and whimsies of the people, or get no army. The officers of one government would not serve in the regiments of another, (although there was to be an entire new creation;) a captain must be in this regiment, a subaltern in that company. In short, I can scarce tell at this moment in what manner they are fixed. Some time hence strangers may be brought in; but it could not be done now, except in an instance or two, without putting too much to the hazard.1

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I have this instant by express received the agreeable news of the capitulation of Montreal. The account of it, you also undoubtedly have. Poor Arnold, I wonder where he is. Enos left him with the rear division of his army, and is now here under arrest.

What can your brethren of the law mean, by saying your perquisites as secretary must be considerable? I am sure they have not amounted to one farthing. Captain Blewer waits, and therefore I shall add no more than that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.

P. S. Please to let Col. Lee know that I answered his query by last post respecting the armed vessels of this Province, and those fitted out by the Continent.

George Washington
Washington, George
28 November, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

You may easily conceive, that I had great pleasure in perusing your letter of the 18th instant, which, with the enclosures, I received last evening. It was much damped by my finding that General Montgomery had the same difficulties to encounter, with the troops under your command, that I have with these here.1 No troops were ever better provided, or higher Edition: current; Page: [251] paid; yet their backwardness to enlist for another year is amazing. It grieves me to see so little of that patriotic spirit, which I was taught to believe was characteristic of this people.

Colonol Enos, who had the command of Arnold’s rear division, is returned with the greater part of his men, which must weaken him so much, as to render him incapable of making a successful attack on Quebec, without assistance from General Montgomery. I hope he will be able to give it him, and, by taking that city, finish his glorious campaign. I have nothing material to communicate to you from hence. I am making every disposition for defence, by throwing up redoubts, &c., along the Bay; some of which have been constructed under the enemy’s guns, but they have not given us the least disturbance. I suppose Edition: current; Page: [252] Mr. Howe waits the arrival of his reinforcements, when probably he will attempt something. He sent out about three hundred men, women, and children last week. They give shocking accounts of the want of fuel and fresh provisions.1 General Burgoyne is gone, or going home.

November 30. Last evening I received the agreeable account of one of our armed schooners having taken a large brigantine, laden with military stores, the inventory of which I have the pleasure to enclose.2 But let not this acquisition prevent your sending what stores you can spare. We shall want them all. Adieu, my dear General. I wish you a return of your health, and am, &c.3

Edition: current; Page: [253]
George Washington
Washington, George
2 December, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

The reason of my giving you the trouble of this, is the late extraordinary and reprehensible conduct of some of the Connecticut troops. Some time ago, apprehending that some of them might incline to go home, when the time of their enlistment should be up, I applied to the officers of the several regiments, to know whether it would be agreeable to the men to continue till the 1st of January, or until a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place, who informed me, that they believed the whole Edition: current; Page: [254] of them would readily stay, till that could be effected. Having discovered last week, that they were very uneasy to leave the service, and determined upon it, I thought it expedient to summon the general officers at head-quarters, and invited a delegation of the General Court to be present,1 that suitable measures might be adopted for the defence and support of our lines. The result was that three thousand of the minute-men and militia of this province, and two thousand men from New Hampshire, should be called in, by the 10th instant, for that purpose. With this determination the Connecticut troops were made acquainted, and requested and ordered to remain here, as the time of most of them would not be out before the 10th, when they would be relieved. Notwithstanding this, yesterday morning most of them resolved to leave the camp. Many went off, and though the utmost vigilance and industry were used to apprehend them, several got away with their arms and ammunition. I have enclosed you a list of the names of some of them in General Putnam’s regiment only, who escaped, and submit to your judgment, whether some example should not be made of these men, who have basely deserted the cause of their country at this critical juncture, when the enemy are receiving reinforcements.2

I have the pleasure to inform you, that one of our Edition: current; Page: [255] armed vessels, the Lee, Captain Manly, took and brought in the other day a valuable store-ship bound to Boston. I am, &c.13

Edition: current; Page: [256]
George Washington
Washington, George
4 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you on the 30th. ult., inclosing inventory of the military stores, taken on board the brig Nancy, by Capt. Manly, of the armed schooner Lee. I have now to inform you that he has since sent into Beverley a ship named the Concord, James Lowrie, master, from Greenock in Scotland, bound to Boston. She has on board dry goods and coals to the value of £3606. 9. 7. sterling, shipped by Crawford, Anderson, & Co, and consigned to James Anderson, merchant in Boston. It is mentioned in Edition: current; Page: [257] the letters found on board, that this cargo was for the use of the army, but on a strict examination I find it is really the property of the shippers and the person to whom consigned. Pray what is to be done with this ship and cargo? And what with the brigantine which brought the military stores?

It was agreed in the conference last October, “that all vessels employed merely as transports and unarmed, with their crews, to be set at liberty upon giving security to return to Europe, but that this indulgence be not extended longer than till the first of April next.” In the shipper’s letter they mention: “that you must procure a certificate from the general and admiral of the Concord’s being in the government service, such as the Glasgow packet brought with her, which was of great service, procured a liberty to arm her which was refused us; also gave her a preference for some recruits that went out in her.” In another part of their letter they say: “Captain Lowrie will deliver you the contract for the coals. We gave it to him, as it perhaps might be of use as a certificate of his ship’s being employed in the government service.” Every letter on board breathes nothing but enmity to this country, and a vast number of them there are.1

It is some time since I recommended to the Congress, Edition: current; Page: [258] that they would institute a court for the trial of prizes made by the Continental armed vessels, which I hope they have ere now taken into their consideration; otherwise I should again take the liberty of urging it in the most pressing manner.

The scandalous conduct of a great number of the Connecticut troops has laid me under the necessity of calling in a body of the militia, much sooner than I apprehended there would be an occasion for such a step. I was afraid some time ago, that they would incline to go home when the time of their enlistment expired. I called upon the officers of the several regiments, to know whether they could prevail on the men to remain until the 1st of January, or till a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place. I suppose they were deceived themselves. I know they deceived me by assurances, that I need be under no apprehension on that score, for the men would not leave the lines. Last Friday showed how much they were mistaken, as the major part of the troops of that colony were going away with their arms and ammunition. We have, however, by threats, persuasions, and the activity of the people of the country, who sent back many of them, that had set out, prevailed upon the most part to stay. There are about eighty of them missing.1

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I have called in three thousand men from this province; and General Sullivan, who lately returned from the province of New Hampshire, having informed me that a number of men were there ready at the shortest notice, I have demanded two thousand from that province. These two bodies, I expect, will be in by the tenth instant, to make up the deficiency of the Connecticut men, whom I have promised to dismiss on that day, as well as the numbers to whom I was obliged to grant furloughs before any would enlist. As the same defection is much to be apprehended, when the time of the Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island forces is expired, I beg the attention of Congress to this important affair.1

I am informed, that it has been the custom of these provinces in the last war, for the legislative power to order every town to provide a certain quota of men Edition: current; Page: [260] for the campaign. This, or some other mode, should be at present adopted, as I am satisfied the men cannot be had without. This the Congress will please to take into their immediate consideration. My suspicions on this head I shall also communicate to the Governors Trumbull and Cooke, also to the New Hampshire Convention.

The number enlisted in the last week is about thirteen hundred men. By this you see how slow this important work goes on. Enclosed is a letter written to me by General Putnam, recommending Colonel Babcock1 to the brigadier-generalship now vacant in this army. I know nothing of this gentleman, but I wish the vacancy was filled, as the want of one is attended with very great inconveniences. An express is just come in from General Schuyler, with letters from Colonel Arnold and General Montgomery, copies of which I have the honor to enclose. Upon the whole, I think affairs carry a pleasing aspect in that quarter. The reduction of Quebec is an object of such great importance, that I doubt not the Congress will give every assistance in their power for the accomplishing it this winter.2

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By the last accounts from the armed schooners sent to the River St. Lawrence, I fear we have but little to expect from them. They were falling short of provision, and mentioned that they would be obliged to return; which at this time is particularly unfortunate, as, if they chose a proper station, all the vessels coming down that river must fall into their hands.1 The Edition: current; Page: [262] plague, trouble, and vexation I have had with the crews of all the armed vessels, are inexpressible. I do believe there is not on earth a more disorderly set. Every time they come into port, we hear of nothing but mutinous complaints. Manly’s success has lately, and but lately, quieted his people. The crews of the Washington and Harrison have actually deserted them; so that I have been under the necessity of ordering the agent to lay the latter up, and get hands for the other on the best terms he could.1

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The House of Representatives and the honorable Board have sent me a vote of theirs relative to the harbor of Cape Cod, which you have herewith. I shall send an officer thither to examine what can be done for its defence, though I do not think I shall be able to give them such assistance as may be requisite; for I have at present neither men, powder, nor cannon to spare. The great want of powder is what the attention of Congress should be particularly applied to. I dare not attempt any thing offensive, let the temptation or advantage be ever so great, as I have not more of that most essential article, than will be absolutely necessary to defend our lines, should the enemy attempt to attack them.

By recent information from Boston, General Howe is going to send out a number of the inhabitants, in order, it is thought, to make more room for his expected reinforcements. There is one part of the information I can hardly give credit to. A sailor says, that a number of those coming out have been inoculated, with the design of spreading the smallpox through this country, and camp. I have communicated this to the General Court, and recommended their attention thereto. They are arming one of the transports in Boston, with which they mean to decoy some of our armed vessels. As we are apprized of their design, I hope they will be disappointed. My best respects wait on the gentlemen in Congress, and I am, Sir, your most humble, &c.

P. S. I was misinformed when I mentioned that one regiment had arrived at Boston. A few companies Edition: current; Page: [264] of the 17th and artillery were all that are yet come. Near 300 persons are landed on Point Shirley from Boston.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 December, 1775
Cambridge
Governor Cooke
Governor Cooke

TO GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

I have of late met with abundant reason to be convinced of the impracticability of recruiting this army to the new establishment, in any reasonable time by voluntary enlistments. The causes of such exceeding great lukewarmness I shall not undertake to point out; sufficient it is to know, that the fact is so. Many reasons are assigned; one only I shall mention, and that is, that the present soldiery are in expectation of drawing from the landed interest and farmers a bounty, equal to the allowance at the commencement of this army, and that therefore they play off. Be this as it may, I am satisfied that this is not a time for trifling, and that the exigency of our affairs calls aloud for vigorous exertions.

By sad experience it is found, that the Connecticut regiments have deserted, and are about to desert, the noble cause we are engaged in. Nor have I any reason to believe, that the forces of New Hampshire, this government, or Rhode Island, will give stronger proofs of their attachment to it, when the period arrives that they may claim their dismission. For after every stimulus in my power to throw in their way, and near a month’s close endeavor, we have Edition: current; Page: [265] enlisted — men, one thousand five hundred of which are to be absent at a time on furlough, until all have gone home in order to visit and provide for their families.

Five thousand militia, from this government and the colony of New Hampshire, are ordered to be at this place by the 10th instant, to relieve the Connecticut regiments and supply the deficiency, which will be occasioned by their departure and of those on furlough.1 These men, I have been told by officers, who were eyewitnesses to their behavior, are not to be depended on for more than a few days; as they soon get tired, grow impatient, ungovernable, and of course leave the service. What will be the consequence, then, if the greatest part of the army is to be composed of such men? Upon the new establishment twenty-six regiments were ordered to be raised, besides those of the artillery and riflemen; of these New Hampshire has three, Massachusetts sixteen, Rhode Island two, and Connecticut five. A mode of appointing the officers was also recommended, Edition: current; Page: [266] and as strictly adhered to as circumstances would admit of. These officers are now recruiting, with the success I have mentioned.

Thus, Sir, have I given you a true and impartial state of our situation, and submit it to the wisdom of your and the other three New England colonies, whether some vigorous measures, if the powers of government are adequate, ought not to be adopted, to facilitate the completion of this army without offering a bounty from the public, which Congress have declared against, thinking the terms, exclusive thereof, greater than ever soldiers had.1 I have, by this conveyance, laid the matter before Congress, but the critical situation of our affairs will not await their deliberation and recommendation; something must be done without further delay.

I am, Sir, &c.2
Edition: current; Page: [267]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 December, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your much esteemed favor of the 22d ultimo, covering Colonel Arnold’s letter, with a copy of one to General Montgomery and his to you, I received yesterday morning. It gave me the highest satisfaction to hear of Colonel Arnold’s being at Point Levi, with his men in great spirits, after their long, fatiguing march, attended with almost insuperable difficulties, and the discouraging circumstance of being left by near one third of the troops, that went on the expedition. The merit of this gentleman is certainly great, and I heartily wish, that fortune may distinguish him as one of her favorites. I am convinced, that he will do every thing that prudence and valor shall suggest, to add to the success of our arms and for reducing Quebec to our possession. Should he not be able to accomplish so desirable a work with the forces he has, I flatter myself, that it will be effected when General Montgomery joins him, and our conquest of Canada be complete.

I am exceeding sorry to find you so much plagued and embarrassed by the disregard of discipline, confusion, and want of order among the troops, as to have occasioned you to mention to Congress an inclination to retire. I know that your complaints are too well founded; but I would willingly hope, that nothing will induce you to quit the service, and that, in time, order and subordination will take place of confusion, and command be rendered more agreeable. Edition: current; Page: [268] I have met with difficulties of the same sort, and such as I never expected; but they must be borne with. The cause we are engaged in is so just and righteous, that we must try to rise superior to every obstacle in its support; and, therefore, I beg that you will not think of resigning, unless you have carried your application to Congress too far to recede. I am, dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, yours, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 December, 1775
Cambridge
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 8th ultimo, with a postcript of the 14th from Point Levi, I have had the pleasure to receive. It is not in the power of any man to command success, but you have done more, you have deserved it2; and before this I hope you will have met with the laurels, which are due to your toils, in the possession of Quebec. My thanks are due, and sincerely offered to you, for your enterprising and persevering spirit. To your brave followers I likewise Edition: current; Page: [269] present them. I was not unmindful of you, or them, in the establishment of a new army. One out of twenty-six regiments (lately General Putnam’s) you are appointed to the command of, and I have ordered all the officers with you to the one or the other of these regiments, in the rank they now bear, that in case they choose to continue in service, and no appointments take place where they now are, no disappointment may follow.

Nothing very material has happened in this camp since you left it. Finding we were not likely to do much in the land way, I fitted out several privateers, or rather armed vessels, in behalf of the continent, with which we have taken several prizes to the amount, it is supposed, of fifteen thousand pounds sterling; one of them, a valuable store-ship, (but no powder in it,) containing a fine brass mortar, thirteen-inch, two thousand stand of arms, shot, &c. &c.

I have no doubt but a juncture of your detachment with the army under General Montgomery is effected before this. If so, you will put yourself under his command, and will, I am persuaded, give him all the assistance in your power, to finish the glorious work you have begun. That the Almighty may preserve and prosper you in it, is the sincere and fervent prayer of, dear Sir, &c.

P. S. You could not be more surprised than I was, at Enos’s return with the division under his command. I immediately put him under arrest, and had him tried for quitting the detachment without Edition: current; Page: [270] your orders. He is acquitted on the score of provisions.1

George Washington
Washington, George
11 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Captain Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, has taken and sent into Beverly two prizes since I wrote you last, (which was the 7th instant.) One of them is the ship Jenny, Captain Forster, who left London Edition: current; Page: [271] late in October. He has very unfortunately thrown all his papers overboard, and is not yet arrived at camp. If he does before I close this, I will let you know what information I get from him. His vessel is loaded with coal and porter; of the latter he has about one hundred butts. The other is a brigantine from Antigua, called the Little Hannah, Robert Adams, master. Her cargo consists of one hundred and thirty-nine hogsheads of rum, one hundred cases of Geneva, and some other trifling articles.1 Both cargoes were for the army and navy at Boston. I have great pleasure in congratulating you on this business.

The numbers enlisted last week are men. If they go on at this slow rate, it will be a long time before this army is complete. I have wrote to the Governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island, also to the Convention of New Hampshire, on this subject. A copy of my letter to them I have the honor to enclose herewith. A letter to the same purport I sent to the legislature of this province.

The militia are coming in fast. I am much pleased with the alacrity, which the good people of this province, as well [as] those of New Hampshire, have shown upon this occasion. I expect the whole will be in this day and to-morrow, when what remains of Edition: current; Page: [272] the Connecticut gentry, who have not enlisted, will have liberty to go to their firesides. The Commissary General is still (by his indisposition) detained from camp. He committed an error when making out the ration list, for he was then serving out, and has continued so to do, six ounces pr. man pr. week of butter, tho’ it is not included in the list approved of by Congress. I do not think it would be expedient to put a stop thereto, as everything that would have a tendency to give the soldiery room for complaint, must be avoided.

The information I received, that the enemy intended spreading the smallpox amongst us, I could not suppose them capable of. I now must give some credit to it, as it has made its appearance on several of those, who last came out of Boston. Every necessary precaution has been taken to prevent its being communicated to this army; and the General Court will take care, that it does not spread through the country.

I have not heard that any more troops are arrived at Boston; which is a lucky circumstance, as the Connecticut troops, I now find, are for the most part gone off.1 The houses in Boston are lessening every Edition: current; Page: [273] day; they are pulled down, either for fire-wood, or to prevent the effects of fire, should we attempt a bombardment or an attack upon the town. Cobble Hill is strongly fortified, without any interruption from the enemy.1

Colonel Enos has been tried and acquitted; upon what principle you will see by the process of his trial, which I now send you. As the time of Colonel Enos’s engagement was near expired, a doubt arose whether he could then be tried by a court-martial. This it was, which occasioned his trial to come on before Colonel Arnold’s evidence could be had.2 This is what at present occurs from, Sir, &c.

P. S. The weekly returns of inlistment not being Edition: current; Page: [274] yet received for more than ten regiments, amounting to 725 men, I cannot fill up the blank in this letter; but this added to the former makes in the whole, 5253.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1

Sir,

I received your favor of the 2d instant, with the several resolves of Congress therein enclosed. The resolves relative to captures made by Continental armed vessels only want a court established for trial, to make them complete. This, I hope, will be soon done, as I have taken the liberty to urge it often to the Congress.

I am somewhat at a loss to know whether I am to raise the two battalions of marines here or not. As the delay can be attended with but little inconvenience, I will wait a further explanation from Congress, before I take any further steps thereon. I am much pleased that the money will be forwarded with all possible expedition, as it is much wanting; also that Connolly and his associates are taken. It has been a very fortunate discovery. I make no doubt, but that Congress will take every necessary measure to dispossess Lord Dunmore of his hold in Virginia. Edition: current; Page: [275] The sooner steps are taken for that purpose, the more probability there will be of their being effectual.1

Mr. William Aspinwall and Mr Lemuel Hayward were appointed surgeons at Roxbury in the first formation of the army. They were confirmed by Doctor Church, who promised them to write to the Congress in their behalf. They applied to me during his confinement here, at a time that I had notice of Doctor Morgan’s appointment. I referred them to his arrival, and inclosed you have his sentiments relative to them, also of Doctor Rand, surgeon to the smallpox hospital and his mate. I have to remark to you that when we had some time past got the better of the smallpox, Doctor Rand applied to me for a continuance of him in that department, which from a principle of not multiplying offices, I declined. He is at present wanting, and says that by only attending occasionally he loses his country practice; of course his livelihood. You will please to lay these matters before Congress for their consideration.

I was happy enough to anticipate the desire of Congress, respecting Mr. Croft and Mr. Trot. They both declined. The latter did not choose to serve, the former’s ambition was not fully gratified by the offer made to him of a majority, and higher rank must have turned out Col. Burbeck, or Major Mason, Edition: current; Page: [276] who had served in those characters in that regiment to acceptation.

I hope Colonel Knox will soon finish the business he is upon, and appear here to take the honorable command conferred on him by Congress.1

I will make application to General Howe, and propose an exchange for Ethan Allen. I am much afraid I shall have a like proposal to make for Captain Martindale and his men, of the armed brigantine Washington, which, it is reported, was taken a few days past by a man-of-war, and carried into Boston. We cannot expect to be always successful. You will doubtless hear of the barbarity of Captain Wallace on Connanicut Island, ere this reaches your hands.2

About a hundred and fifty more of the poor inhabitants are come out of Boston. The smallpox rages all over the town. Such of the military, as had it not before, are now under inoculation. This, I apprehend, is a weapon of defence they are using against us. What confirms me in this opinion, is, that I have information, that they are tearing up the pavement, to be provided against a bombardment. I wrote to you this day by Messrs. Penet and de Pliarne, who will lay before the Congress, or a committee thereof, proposals for furnishing the continent with arms and ammunition. I refer you to themselves for further particulars.3 I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [277]
George Washington
Washington, George
15 December, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Since my last, I have had the pleasure of receiving your favors of the 28th ultimo, and the 2d instant. I must again express my gratitude for the attention shown Mrs. Washington at Philadelphia. It cannot but be pleasing, although it did, in some measure, impede the progress of her journey on the road.1 I Edition: current; Page: [278] am much obliged to you for the hints contained in both of the above letters, respecting the jealousies which you say are gone abroad.1 I have studiously avoided in all letters intended for the public eye, I mean for that of the Congress, every expression that could give pain or uneasiness; and I shall observe the same rule with respect to private letters, further than appears absolutely necessary for the elucidation of facts. I cannot charge myself with incivility, or, Edition: current; Page: [279] what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility, to the gentlemen of this colony; but if such my conduct appears, I will endeavor at a reformation, as I can assure you, my dear Reed, that I wish to walk in such a line as will give most general satisfaction. You know, that it was my wish at first to invite a certain number of gentlemen of this colony every day to dinner, but unintentionally I believe by anybody we some how or other missed it. If this Edition: current; Page: [280] has given rise to the jealousy, I can only say that I am sorry for it; at the same time I add, that it was rather owing to inattention, or, more properly, too much attention to other matters, which caused me to neglect it. The extracts of letters from this camp, which so frequently appear in the Pennsylvania papers, are not only written without my knowledge, but without my approbation, as I have always thought they must have a disagreeable tendency; but there is no restraining men’s tongues, or pens, when charged with a little vanity, as in the accounts given of, or rather by, the riflemen.

With respect to what you have said of yourself, and your situation, to what I have before said on this subject I can only add, that whilst you leave the door open to my expectation of your return, I shall not think of supplying your place. If ultimately you resolve against coming, I should be glad to know it, as soon as you have determined upon it. The Congress have resolved well in respect to the pay of and advance to the men; but if they cannot get the money-signers to despatch their business, it is of very little avail; for we have not at this time money enough in camp to answer the commissary’s and quarter-master’s accounts, much more to pay the troops. Strange conduct this!

The account, which you have given of the sentiments of the people respecting my conduct, is extremely flattering. Pray God, that I may continue to deserve them, in the perplexed and intricate situation I stand in. Our enlistment goes on slowly. By the returns last Monday, only five thousand nine Edition: current; Page: [281] hundred and seventeen men are engaged for the ensuing campaign; and yet we are told, that we shall get the number wanted, as they are only playing off to see what advantages are to be made, and whether a bounty cannot be extorted from the public at large, or individuals, in case of a draft. Time only can discover this. I doubt the measure exceedingly. The fortunate capture of the store-ship has supplied us with flints, and many other articles we stood in need of; but we still have our wants. We are securing our approach to Letchmore’s Point, unable upon any principle whatever to account for their silence, unless it be to lull us into a fatal security to favor some attempt they may have in view about the time of the great change they expect will take place the last of this month. If this be the drift, they deceive themselves, for if possible, it has increased my vigilance, and induced me to fortify all the avenues to our camps, to guard against any approaches upon the ice.

If the Virginians are wise, that arch-traitor to the rights of humanity, Lord Dunmore, should be instantly crushed, if it takes the force of the whole colony to do it; otherwise, like a snow ball, in rolling, his army will get size, some through fear some through promises, and some from inclination joining his standard. But that which renders the measure indispensably necessary is the negroes. For if he gets formidable, numbers will be tempted to join, who will be afraid to do it without.1 I am exceeding happy to find that that villain Connolly is seized; I hope if there is any Edition: current; Page: [282] thing to convict him, that he will meet with the punishment due to his demerit and treachery.

We impatiently wait for accounts from Arnold. Would to God we may hear he is in Quebec, and that all Canada is in our possession. My best respects to Mrs. Reed. I am, &c.

P. S. The smallpox is in every part of Boston. The soldiers there who have never had it, are, we are told, under innoculation, and considered as a security against any attempt of ours. A third shipload of people is come out to Point Shirley. If we escape the smallpox in this camp, and the country around about, it will be miraculous. Every precaution that can be is taken, to guard against this evil, both by the General Court and myself.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 December, 1775
Cambridge
General Howe
General Howe

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

We have just been informed of a circumstance, which, were it not so well authenticated, I should scarcely think credible. It is that Colonel Allen, Edition: current; Page: [283] who, with his small party, was defeated and taken prisoner near Montreal, has been treated without regard to decency, humanity, or the rules of war; that he has been thrown into irons, and suffers all the hardships inflicted upon common felons.

I think it my duty, Sir, to demand, and do expect from you, an eclaircissement on this subject. At the same time, I flatter myself, from the character which Mr. Howe bears, as a man of honor, gentleman, and soldier, that my demand will meet with his approbation. I must take the liberty, also, of informing you, that I shall consider your silence as a confirmation of the report; and further assuring you, that, whatever treatment Colonel Allen receives, whatever fate he undergoes, such exactly shall be the treatment and fate of Brigadier Prescott, now in our hands.1 The law of retaliation is not only justifiable in the eyes of God and man, but absolutely a duty, which, in our present circumstances, we owe to our relations, friends, and fellow-citizens.

Permit me to add, Sir, that we have all here the highest regard and reverence for your great personal qualities and attainments, and that the Americans in general esteem it as not the least of their misfortunes, Edition: current; Page: [284] that the name of Howe, a name so dear to them,1 should appear at the head of the catalogue of the instruments employed by a wicked ministry for their destruction.

With due respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant.2

P. S. If an exchange of prisoners taken on each side in this unnatural contest is agreeable to General Howe, he will please to signify as much to his most obedient, &c.3

Edition: current; Page: [285]
George Washington
Washington, George
18 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Captain Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, took and sent into Beverly the sloop Betsey, A. Atkinson master. She is an armed vessel, despatched by Lord Dunmore, with Indian corn, potatoes, and oats, for the army in Boston. The packets of letters found on board, I have the honor to send you with this by Captain James Chambers, they being of so much importance, that I do not think it would be prudent to trust them by a common express. As Lord Dunmore’s schemes are fully laid open in these letters, I need not point out to the Congress the necessity there is of a vigorous exertion being adopted by them, to dispossess his Lordship of the stronghold he has got in Virginia. I do not mean to dictate, but I am Edition: current; Page: [286] sure they will pardon me for giving them freely my opinion, which is, that the fate of America a good deal depends on his being obliged to evacuate Norfolk this winter or not.

I have Kirkland1 well secured, and think I will send him to you for examination. By most of the letters relative to him, he is a dangerous fellow. John Steuart’s letters and papers are of a very interesting nature. Governor Tonyn’s and many other letters from St. Augustine show the weakness of the place; at the same time, of what vast consequence it would be for us to possess ourselves of it, and the great quantity of ammunition contained in the fort.2 Indeed these papers are of so great consequence, that I think this but little inferior to any prize our famous Manly has taken.

We now work at our ease on Lechmere’s Hill. On discovering our party there yesterday morning, the ship which lay opposite began a cannonade, to which Edition: current; Page: [287] Mount Horam1 added some shells. One of our men was wounded. We fired a few shot from two eighteen pounders, which are placed on Cobble Hill, and soon obliged the ship to shift her station. She now lies in the ferry-way; and, except a few shells from the mount in Boston, (which do no execution,) we have no interruption in prosecuting our works, which will in a very short time be completed. When that is done, when we have powder to sport with, I think, if the Congress resolves on the execution of the proposal made relative to the town of Boston, that it can be done.

I have sent a letter this day to General Howe, of which a copy goes herewith. My reason for pointing out Brigadier-General Prescott as the object, who is to suffer Mr. Allen’s fate, is, that, by letters from General Schuyler, and copies of letters from General Montgomery to Schuyler, I am given to understand that Prescott is the cause of Allen’s sufferings. I thought it best to be decisive on the occasion, as did the generals whom I consulted thereon.

The returns of men enlisted since my last amount to about eighteen hundred, making in the whole seven thousand one hundred and forty. The militia that are come in, both from this province and New Hampshire, are very fine-looking men, and go through their duty with great alacrity. The despatch made, both by the people in marching and by the legislative powers in complying with my requisition, has given me infinite satisfaction. Your letter of the 8th Edition: current; Page: [288] instant, with the explanatory resolve respecting my calling forth the militia and minute-men, is come to hand; to which I shall pay all due attention. You have removed all the difficulties, which I labored under, about the two battalions of marines. I shall obey the orders of Congress in looking out for proper officers to command that corps.1 I make no doubt but, when the money arrives to pay off the arrears and the month’s advance, that it will be a great encouragement for the men to enlist.

Enclosed is a letter I lately received from Mr. James Lovell. His case is truly pitiable. I wish some mode could be fallen upon to relieve him from the cruel situation he is now in. I am sensible of the impropriety of exchanging a soldier for a citizen; but there is something so cruelly distressing in regard to this gentleman, that I dare say you will take it under your consideration.2 I am, with great respect, &c.3

George Washington
Washington, George
18 December, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favors, the first of the 28th ultimo, and the two last of the 9th instant, with their enclosures, I received. Edition: current; Page: [289] I am happy to hear of your being better, and heartily wish, that you may soon be perfectly recovered from your indisposition.

I should have been very glad, if Mr. Carleton had not made his escape. I trust ere long he will be in our hands, as I think we shall get possession of Quebec,1 from whence he will not easily get away. I am much concerned for Mr. Allen, and that he should be treated with such severity. I beg that you will have the matter and manner of his treatment strictly inquired into, and transmit me an account of the same, and whether General Prescott was active and instrumental in occasioning it. From your letter, and General Montgomery’s to you, I am led to think he was. If so, he is deserving of your particular notice, and should experience some marks of our resentment for his cruelty to this gentleman, and his violation of the rights of humanity. As some of the prisoners had attempted to escape, I doubt not of your giving the necessary orders, that they may be prevented. It is a matter that should be attended to. In a letter from the Reverend Dr. Wheelock, of Dartmouth College, of the 2d instant, I had the following intelligence:—

“That the day before, two soldiers returning from Montreal informed him, that our officers were assured by a Frenchman (a captain of the artillery whom they had taken captive), that Major Edition: current; Page: [290] Rogers was second in command under General Carleton, and that he had been in Indian habit through our encampment at St. John’s, had given a plan of them to the General, and supposed that he made his escape with the Indians, which were at St. John’s.”

You will be pleased to have this report examined into, and acquaint me as to the authenticity or probability of the truth of it. If any circumstances can be discovered to induce a belief, that he was there, he should be apprehended. He is now in this government.1

Edition: current; Page: [291]

The Congress have sent me several accounts against the rifle companies, one of which is against Captain Morgan, which I enclose to you, and desire it may be transmitted to Colonel Arnold, who will have proper steps taken for the payment of it, as Captain Morgan is with him.

I flatter myself that your next favor will give me an account of General Montgomery’s joining Col. Arnold, and that Quebec is, or soon will be, reduced to our possession. Should our arms be crowned with such success, to me it appears that Administration will Edition: current; Page: [292] be much embarrassed and stand in a very disagreeable predicament. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
24 December, 1775
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 15th instant came yesterday to hand, with copies and extracts of your late letters to Congress. I have with great attention perused them. I am very sorry to find by several paragraphs, that Edition: current; Page: [293] both you and General Montgomery incline to quit the service. Let me ask you, Sir, when is the time for brave men to exert themselves in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is not? Should any difficulties that they may have to encounter at this important crisis, deter them? God knows, there is not a difficulty, that you both very justly complain of, which I have not in an eminent degree experienced, that I am not every day experiencing; but we must bear up against them, and make the best of mankind as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish. Let me, therefore, conjure you and Mr. Montgomery to lay aside such thoughts,—thoughts injurious to yourselves, and excessively so to your country, which calls aloud for gentlemen of your abilities.

You mention in your letter to Congress of the 20th ultimo, that the clothing was to remain at Albany, as General Montgomery would provide the troops in Canada. I wish they could be spared for this army, for we cannot get clothing for half of our troops.1 Let me hear from you on this subject as soon as possible.

The proofs you have of the ministry’s intention to Edition: current; Page: [294] engage the savages against us are incontrovertible.1 We have other confirmations of it, by several despatches from John Stuart, the superintendent for the southern district, which luckily fell into my hands, being found on board a sloop, sent by Lord Dunmore, bound to Boston. She was taken by one of our armed vessels. These, with many letters of consequence from his Lordship, I have lately sent to the Congress.

I hope soon to hear, that Colonel Knox has made good progress in forwarding the artillery. It is much wanted for the works we have lately thrown up. I have written a letter, of the 18th instant, to General Howe respecting Mr. Allen, of which and the answer you have copies enclosed. I am, with great regard, Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
25 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I had the honor to address myself to you on the 19th instant, since which I have received undoubted information, that the genuine instructions given to Edition: current; Page: [295] Connolly have not reached your hands; that they are very artfully concealed in the tree of his saddle, and covered with canvass so nicely, that they are scarcely discernible; that those, which were found upon him, were intended to deceive, if he was caught. You will most certainly have his saddle taken to pieces, in order to discover this deep-laid plot.1

Enclosed is a copy of General Howe’s letter in an swer to the one I wrote to him on the 18th instant. The conduct I am to observe towards Brigadier Prescott, in consequence of these letters, the Congress will oblige me by determining for me. The gentlemen by whom you sent the money are arrived. The sum they brought, though large, is not sufficient to answer the demands of the army, which at this time are remarkably heavy. There is three months’ pay due, one month’s advance, two dollars for each blanket, the arms, which are left by those who are dismissed, to be paid for, besides the demands, on the commissary and quartermaster-generals. You will, therefore, see the necessity of another remittance, which I beg may be as soon as you conveniently can.2 I will take the opportunity of the return of Edition: current; Page: [296] these gentlemen, to send Colonel Kirkland to you for examination, and that you may dispose of him as to you may seem proper.

A committee from the General Court of this province called on me the other day, informing me that they were in great want of ordnance for the defence of the colony; that, if what belonged to them, now in use here, was kept for the continent, they will be under the necessity of providing themselves with other; of course, what is kept must be paid for. There are many of the cannon of very little use; such of them as are good, I cannot at present part with; perhaps when I receive the supply from New York and Canada, it may be in my power Edition: current; Page: [297] to spare them. Mr. Wadsworth1 has sent in his report respecting Cape Cod harbor, a copy of which you will receive herewith. Also a letter from a Mr. Jacob Bayley, put into my hands by Colonel Little. It contains some things that may not be unworthy the consideration of Congress.

We have made good progress in the works on Lechmere’s Point. They would have been finished ere this, but for the severity of the weather, which prevents our people from working. I received a letter from Governor Cooke, which expresses the fears of the people of Rhode Island, lest the ships, which we had information were sailed with some troops on board, were destined for Newport. I sent Major-General Lee there, to point out to them such defence as he may think the place capable of. I sincerely wish he may be able to do it with effect, as that place, in its present state, is an asylum for such as are disaffected to American liberty.2 Our returns of enlistments, to this day, amount to eight thousand five hundred men. I have the honor to be, &c.3

Edition: current; Page: [298]
George Washington
Washington, George
25 December, 1775
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Since my last your favors of the 7th and 11th are come to hand, as also the 8th; the first last night, the second by Wednesday’s post. For the several pieces of information therein contained, I thank you.

Nothing new has happened in this quarter since my last, except the setting in of a severe spell of cold weather, and a considerable fall of snow; which together have interrupted our work on Lechmere’s Point; which otherwise, would have been compleated before this. At first we only intended a bomb battery there, but afterwards constructed two redoubts, in one of which a mortar will be placed at a proper season. A line of communication extends from the point of wood this side the causey, leading on to Lechmere’s Point, quite up to the redoubt. From Boston and Bunker’s Hill both, we have received (without injury, except from the first case shot) an irregular fire from cannon and mortars ever since the 17th, but have returned none except upon the ship; which we soon obliged to move off. At the same time that I thank you for stopping visitors in search of preferment, it will give me pleasure to show civilities to others of your recommendation. Indeed no gentleman, that is not well known, ought to come here without letters of introduction, as it puts me in an awkward situation with respect to my conduct towards them.

I do not well understand a paragraph in your Edition: current; Page: [299] letter, which seems to be taken from mine to Colonel Hancock, expressive of the unwillingness of the Connecticut troops to be deemed Continental. If you did not misconceive what Col. Hancock read, he read what I never wrote; as there is no expression in any of my letters, that I can either recollect or find, that has a tendency that way; further than their unwillingness to have officers of other governments mixed in their corps, in which they are not singular, as the same partiality runs through the whole. I have in some measure anticipated the desires of the Connecticut delegates, by a kind of representation to each of the New England governments of the impracticability (in my eye) of raising our complement of men by voluntary enlistments, and submitting it to their consideration, whether, (if the powers of government are sufficiently coercive,) each town should not be called upon for a proportionate number of recruits. What they will do in the matter remains to be known. The militia, which have supplied the places of the Connecticut regiments, behave much better than I expected under our want of wood, barracks (for they are not yet done), and blankets, &c. With these, and such men as are reënlisted, I shall hope, if they will be vigilant and spirited, to give the enemy a warm reception, if they think proper to come out. Our want of powder is inconceivable. A daily waste and no supply administers a gloomy prospect.

I fear the destination of the vessels from your port is so generally known, as to defeat the end. Two men-of-war (forty guns), it is said, put into New York Edition: current; Page: [300] the other day, and were instantly ordered out, supposed to be for Virginia.

I am so much indebted for the civilities shown to Mrs. Washington on her journey hither, that I hardly know how to go about to acknowledge them. Some of the enclosed (all of which I beg the favor of you to put into the post-office) are directed to that end, and I shall be obliged to you for presenting my thanks to the commanding officers of the two battalions of Philadelphia for the honors done to her and me, as also to any others, equally entitled. I very sincerely offer you the compliments of the season, and wish you and Mrs. Reed, and your fireside, the happy return of a great many of them, being, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
26 December, 1775
Cambridge
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir.

Your favor of the 6th instant did not reach this place till Saturday afternoon. The money, which accompanied it, came seasonably, but not, as it was so long delayed, quantum sufficit, our demands at this time being peculiarly great for pay and advance to the troops; pay for their arms and blanketing, independent of the demands of the commissary and quartermaster general.

Lord Dunmore’s letters to General Howe, which very fortunately fell into my hands, and were enclosed by me to Congress, will let you pretty fully into his diabolical schemes. If, my dear Sir, that man is not Edition: current; Page: [301] crushed before spring, he will become the most formidable enemy America has; his strength will increase as a snow ball by rolling; and faster, if some expedient cannot be hit upon to convince the slaves and servants of the impotency of his designs. You will see by his letters, what pains he is taking to invite a reinforcement at all events there, and to transplant the war to the southern colonies. I do not think, that forcing his Lordship on shipboard is sufficient; nothing less than depriving him of life or liberty will secure peace to Virginia, as motives of resentment actuate his conduct, to a degree equal to the total destruction of the colony. I fear the destination of the naval armament at Philadelphia is too well known to answer the design. I have heard it spoken of in common conversation, at this place, near a fortnight ago; and the other day was told, that two men-of-war, going into the harbor of New York, supposed to be those for the relief of the Asia, were ordered and accordingly sailed immediately out, as it is imagined for Virginia.

My letters to Congress will give you the occurrences of this place. I need not repeat them, but I must beg of you, my good Sir, to use your influence in having a court of admiralty, or some power appointed to hear and determine all matters relative to captures; you cannot conceive how I am plagued on this head, and how impossible it is for me to hear and determine upon matters of this sort, when the facts, perhaps, are only to be ascertained at ports, forty, fifty, or more miles distant, without bringing the parties Edition: current; Page: [302] here at great trouble and expense. At any rate, my time will not allow me to be a competent judge of this business. I must also beg the favor of you, to urge the necessity of appointing a brigadier-general to the vacant brigade in this army. The inconvenience we daily experience for want of one is very great; much more than the want of a colonel to a regiment, for then the next officer in command does the duty; in a brigade this may not with propriety happen, and seldom or never is done with any kind of regularity. Perfectly indifferent is it to me, whom the Congress shall please to appoint to these offices; I only want it done, that business may go regularly on. My best respects to the good family you are in, and to your brothers of the delegation; and be assured, that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [303]
George Washington
Washington, George
29 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

Gentlemen,

Having never considered the four Independent Companies which have been doing duty at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham, in the same point of view, as the rest of the army, although some Orders may have gone to or for them, through the hurry of business; nor Included them in my returns to Congress, according to the Brigade Major’s report from Roxbury; I do not think myself Authorized to direct pay for them; without first laying the matter before Congress, which I shall do by inclosing an exact transcript of your representation of the case, with this single remark, that is they were not regimented Edition: current; Page: [304] and were doing duty at some distance from these Camps. I did not know whether to consider them as part of the Continental Army, and therefore had not ordered them payment heretofore.1

With respect to the other requisition contained in your resolve of the 20, I do not think myself at liberty to extend the guards of this camp beyond Squantum and Chelsea, both fit places for observation.—This was my sentiment of the matter, when the Committee did me the honor to call yesterday; but, as it appeared to be of some importance to this government, I did not care to determine upon it without asking the opinion of some of the principal Officers in this Army, whose sentiments I am happy to find coincide with my own.

This might be assigned as one, among other reasons to shew, that I did not consider these four Companies as part of the Continental troops; that there were times in the course of the past summer when I should not have suffered them to have remained Edition: current; Page: [305] at the places they were posted, if I had conceived myself vested with power to have withdrawn them.

I would not have it inferred from hence that I do not think it my duty, and with the greatest chearfulness shall undertake, to march troops if these lines are not to be exposed by it, to any place in this or the neighbouring Governments, to oppose an invasion; But whilst the body of the ministerial Troops continue in Boston, and the circumstances of this army remain as they are, it must be my first object to Guard these lines. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
31 December, 1775
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I wrote to you on the 25th instant, since which I am not honored with any of your favors. The estimate I then enclosed to you was calculated to pay the troops up to the first of January. That cannot be done for want of funds in the paymaster-general’s hands, which causes a great murmuring amongst those who are going off. The monthly expenses of this army amount to near two hundred and seventy-five Edition: current; Page: [306] thousand dollars, which I take the liberty of recommending to the observation of Congress, that their future remittances may be governed thereby.

It sometimes happens that persons would wish to deposit money in the hands of the paymaster-general, for his bills on the treasury at Philadelphia. He has hitherto declined such offers, not having authority from Congress to draw. Would it not be proper to give this power? If it should be approved of, you will please to point out the mode, that the Congress would chuse to have it done in.1

The clothing sent to the Quartermaster-general is not sufficient to put half our army into regimentals, nor is there a possibility of getting any quantity here. I have wrote to Gen’l Schuyler that I wish what was lodged at Albany could be spared for these troops, as General Montgomery would clothe the men under his command at Montreal. If this can be done, it will be of infinite service, and no time should be lost in forwarding them to this camp.

In forming the regiments for the new establishment, I thought it but justice to appoint the officers detached under Colonel Arnold to Commissions in them. Their absence at present is of very great detriment to the service, especially in recruiting. I would therefore wish if the Congress intends raising troops in or for Canada, that they could be taken in there. The sooner I have their opinion of this matter the better, that if they can be commissioned in Canada, I may appoint officers here to replace them.

Edition: current; Page: [307]

Enclosed you have a copy of a representation sent to me by the legislative body of this province respecting four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham. As they were never regimented, and were doing duty at a distance from the rest of the army, I did not know whether to consider them as a part of it; nor do I think myself authorized to direct payment for them without the approbation of Congress.

It has been represented to me that the free negroes, who have served in this army, are very much dissatisfied at being discarded. As it is to be apprehended, that they may seek employ in the ministerial army, I have presumed to depart from the resolution respecting them, and have given license for their being enlisted. If this is disapproved of by Congress, I will put a stop to it.1

Edition: current; Page: [308]

I believe Colonel Gridley expects to be continued as chief engineer in this army. It is very certain that we have no one here better qualified. He has done very little hitherto in that department; but if the Congress choose to appoint him I will take care that he pays a proper attention to it. Before I quit this subject I must remark, that the pay of the assistant engineers is so very small, that we cannot expect men of science will engage in it. Those gentlemen, who are in that station, remained under the expectation, that an allowance would be made them by the respective provinces in which they were appointed, additional to that allowed by the Congress.1

Captain Freeman arrived this day at camp from Canada. He left Quebec the 24th ultimo, in consequence of General Carleton’s proclamation, which I have the honor to send you herewith. He saw Colonel Arnold the 26th, and says that he was joined at Point aux Trembles by General Montgomery, the 1st instant; that they were about two thousand strong, and were making every preparation for attacking Edition: current; Page: [309] Quebec; that General Carleton had with him about twelve hundred men, the majority of whom are sailors; that it was his opinion the French would give up the place, if they get the same conditions, that were granted to the inhabitants of Montreal.

Captain Adams of the Warren, armed schooner, sent into Marblehead the sloop Sally, bound from Lisbon to New York with 2 pipes and 126 quarter casks of rum. This sloop was made a prize of by the Niger man of war, somewhere near Bermudas, the captain of whom put his mate and his hands on board with orders to proceed with her to Boston. The sloop and cargo belong to Mr. Peter Barberie of Perth Amboy in New Jersey.

Captains Semple and Harbeson take under their care Mr. Kirkland, who appears to be a much more illiterate and simple man than his strong recommendations bespoke him. Captain Mathis and Mr. Robinson will accompany them. The two latter were taken prisoners by Lord Dunmore,1 who was sending them to Boston, from whence there is little doubt, but that they would be forwarded to England, to which place I am credibly informed Captain Martindale and the crew of the Washington are sent; also Colonel Allen, and the prisoners taken with him in Canada. This may account for General Howe’s silence on the Edition: current; Page: [310] subject of an exchange of prisoners mentioned in my letter to him.

General Lee is just returned from his excursion to Rhode Island. He has pointed out the best method the island would admit of for its defence. He has endeavored all in his power to make friends of those that were our enemies. You have, enclosed, a specimen of his abilities in that way, for your perusal. I am of opinion that, if the same plan was pursued through every province it would have a very good effect.1

I have long had it on my mind to mention to Congress, that frequent applications had been made to me respecting the chaplains’ pay, which is too small to encourage men of abilities. Some of them, who have left their flocks, are obliged to pay the parson acting for them more than they receive. I need not point out the great utility of gentlemen, whose lives and conversation are unexceptionable, being employed for that service in the army. There are two ways of making it worth the attention of such; one is an advancement of their pay; the other, that one chaplain be appointed to two regiments. This last, I think, may be done without inconvenience.2 I beg leave to recommend this matter to Congress, whose sentiments hereon I shall impatiently expect.

Upon a farther conversation with Captain Freeman, Edition: current; Page: [311] he is of opinion, that General Montgomery has with him near three thousand men including Colonel Arnold’s. He says that Lord Pitt had received repeated orders from his father to return home; in consequence of which, he had embarked some time in October, with a Captain Green, who was master of a vessel belonging to Philadelphia. By a number of salutes in Boston harbor yesterday, I fancy Admiral Shuldham is arrived. Two large ships were seen coming in. Our enlistments now amount to nine thousand six hundred and fifty.

Those gentlemen, who were made prisoners by Lord Dunmore, being left destitute of money and necessaries, I have advanced them a hundred pounds lawful money belonging to the public, for which I have taken Captain Matthews’s draft on the treasury of Virginia, which goes enclosed. I have the honor to be, &c.1

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1776.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Since my last of the 31st ultimo, I have been honored with your favor of the 22d, enclosing sundry resolves, which shall, in matters they respect, be made the rule of my conduct. The resolution relative to the troops in Boston, I beg the favor of you, Sir, to assure Congress, shall be attempted to be put in execution the first moment I see a probability of success, and in such a way as a council of officers shall think most likely to produce it; but if this Edition: current; Page: [313] should not happen as soon as you may expect, or my wishes prompt to, I request that Congress will be pleased to advert to my situation, and do me the justice to believe, that circumstances, and no want of inclination, are the cause of delay.

It is not in the pages of history, perhaps, to furnish a case like ours. To maintain a post within musket-shot of the enemy, for six months together, without1 , and at the same time to disband one army, and recruit another, within that distance of twenty-odd British regiments, is more, probably, than ever was attempted. But if we succeed as well in the Edition: current; Page: [314] last, as we have heretofore in the first, I shall think it the most fortunate event of my whole life.

By a very intelligent gentleman, a Mr. Hutchinson from Boston, I learn, that it was Admiral Shuldham that came into the harbor on Saturday last; that two of the five regiments from Cork are arrived at Halifax; two others have sailed for Quebec (but what was become of them could not be told); and the other, the fifty-fifth, has just got into Boston. Certain it is, also, that the greater part of the seventeen regiments is arrived there. Whether we are to conclude from hence, that more than five regiments have been sent out, or that the companies of the seventeen, arrived at Boston, are part of the regiments destined for Halifax and Quebec, I know not. We also learn from this gentleman and others, that the troops, embarked for Halifax, as mentioned in my letter of the 16th, were really designed for that place, but recalled from Nantasket Road, upon advice being received of the above regiments there. I am also informed of a fleet now getting ready, under the convoy of the Scarborough and Fowey men-of-war, consisting of five transports and two bomb-vessels, with about three hundred marines, and several flat-bottomed boats. It is whispered, that they are designed for Newport, but generally thought in Boston that they are meant for Long Island; and it is probable they will be followed by more troops, as the other transports are taking in water, to lie, as others say, in Nantasket Road, to be out of the ice. A large quantity of biscuit is also baking.

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As the real design cannot with certainty be known, I submit it with all due deference to the superior judgment of Congress, whether it would not be consistent with prudence to have some of the Jersey troops thrown into New York, to prevent an evil, which would be almost irremediable, should it happen, I mean the landing of troops at that place, or upon Long Island near it.1 As it is possible you may not Edition: current; Page: [316] yet have received his Majesty’s “most gracious” speech, I do myself the honor to enclose one of many, which were sent out of Boston yesterday. It is full of rancor and resentment against us, and explicitly holds forth his royal will to be, that vigorous measures must be pursued, to deprive us of our constitutional rights and liberties. These measures, whatever they be, I hope will be opposed by more vigorous ones, and rendered unavailing and fruitless, though sanctioned and authorized by the name of majesty, a name which ought to promote the happiness of his people, and not their oppression.1 I am, Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 January, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Since my last I have received your obliging favours of the 19th and 23d ulto., and thank you for the articles of intelligence therein contained, as I also do for the buttons which accompanied the last letter, although I had got a set better, I think, made at Concord. I am exceeding glad to find that things wear a better face in Virginia than they did some time ago; but I do not think that any thing less than the life or liberty will free the colony from the effects of Lord Dunmore’s resentments and villainies.

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We are at length favored with a sight of his Majesty’s most gracious speech, breathing sentiments of tenderness and compassion for his deluded American subjects; the echo is not yet come to hand; but we know what it must be, and as Lord North said, and we ought to have believed (and acted accordingly,) we now know the ultimatum of British justice. The speech I send you. A volume of them was sent out by the Boston gentry, and, farcical enough, we gave great joy to them, (the red coats I mean,) without knowing or intending it; for on that day, the day which gave being to the new army, (but before the proclamation came to hand,) we had hoisted the union flag in compliment to the United Colonies.1 But, behold, it was received in Boston as a token of the deep impression the speech had made upon us, and as a signal of submission. So we learn by a person out of Boston last night. By this time I presume they begin to think it strange, that we have not made a formal surrender of our lines. Admiral Shuldham is arrived at Boston. The 55th and the greatest part, if not all, of the 17th regiment, are also got in there. The rest of the 5 regiments from Ireland were Edition: current; Page: [318] intended for Halifax and Quebec; those for the first, have arrived there, the others we know not where they are got to.

It is easier to conceive than to describe the situation of my mind for some time past, and my feelings under our present circumstances. Search the vast volumes of history through, and I much question whether a case similar to ours is to be found; to wit, to maintain a post against the flower of the British troops for six months together, without —, and at the end of them to have one army disbanded and another to raise within the same distance of a reinforced enemy. It is too much to attempt. What may be the final issue of the last manœuvre, time only can tell. I wish this month was well over our heads. The same desire of retiring into a chimney-corner seized the troops of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, (so soon as their time expired,) as had worked upon those of Connecticut, notwithstanding many of them made a tender of their services to continue, till the lines could be sufficiently strengthened. We are now left with a good deal less than half raised regiments, and about five thousand militia, who only stand ingaged to the middle of this month; when, according to custom, they will depart, let the necessity of their stay be never so urgent. Thus it is, that for more than two months past, I have scarcely immerged from one difficulty before I have [been] plunged into another. How it will end, God in his great goodness will direct. I am thankful for his protection to this time. We are told that we Edition: current; Page: [319] shall soon get the army completed, but I have been told so many things which have never come to pass, that I distrust every thing.

I fear your fleet has been so long in fitting, and the destination of it so well known, that the end will be defeated, if the vessels escape.1 How is the arrival of French troops in the West Indies, and the hostile appearance there, to be reconciled with that part of the King’s speech, wherein he assures Parliament, “that as well from the assurances I have received, as from the general appearance of affairs in Europe, I see no probability that the measures, which you may adopt, will be interrupted by disputes with any foreign power”? I hope the Congress will not think of adjourning at so important and critical a juncture as this. I wish they would keep a watchful eye to New York. From Captain Sears’ account, (now here,) much is to be apprehended from that quarter.

A fleet is now fitting out at Boston, consisting of five transports and two bomb-vessels, under convoy of the Scarborough and Fowey men-of-war. Three Edition: current; Page: [320] hundred, some say, others more, troops are on board, with flat-bottomed boats. It is whispered, as if designedly, that they are intended for Newport; but it is generally believed that they are bound either to Long Island or Virginia; the other transports are taking in water and a good deal of bisquet is baking, some say for the shipping to lay in Nantasket Road, to be out of the way of ice, whilst others think a more important move is in agitation. All, however, is conjecture. I heartily wish you, Mrs Reed and family, the compliments of the season, in which the ladies here and family join.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6 January, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Cooke
Governor Cooke

TO GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

I received your favor of the 1st instant, and return you my thanks for the blankets and your promise of Edition: current; Page: [321] having more procured, as they are much wanted. I did not see Mr. Hale, who brought them, nor the account, or the money should have been transmitted to you by his return. You will be pleased to draw on the quartermaster-general, and it shall be immediately paid. I have seen General Lee since his expedition, and hope Rhode Island will derive some advantage from it.

I am told that Captain Wallace’s ships have been supplied for some time by the town of Newport, on certain conditions stipulated between him and the committee. When this truce first obtained, perhaps it was right; then there might have been hopes of an accommodation taking place; but now, when every prospect of it seems to be cut off by his Majesty’s late speech; when the throne, from which we had supplicated redress, breathes forth vengeance and indignation, and a firm determination to remain unalterable in its purposes, and to prosecute the system and plan of ruin formed by the ministry against us, should not an end be put to it, and every possible method be fallen upon to prevent their getting necessaries of any kind? We need not expect to conquer our enemies by good offices; and I know not what pernicious consequences may result from a precedent of this sort. Other places, circumstanced as Newport is, may follow the example, and by that means their whole fleet and army will be furnished with what it highly concerns us to keep from them.1

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I received a letter from Governor Trumbull of the 1st instant, by which I am informed, that the Connecticut Assembly are very unanimous in the common cause; and, among others have passed an act for raising and equipping a fourth of their militia, to be immediately selected by voluntary enlistments; with such other able, effective men, as are not included in their militia rolls, who incline to enlist, to act as minute-men for their own or the defence of any of the United Colonies, and this under proper encouragements;—another act for restraining and punishing persons inimical to us, and directing proceedings therein;—no person to supply the ministerial army or Edition: current; Page: [323] navy, to give them intelligence, to enlist, or procure others to enlist, in their service, to pilot their vessels, or in any way assist them, under pain of forfeiting his estate, and an imprisonment not exceeding three years;—none to write, speak, or act against the proceedings of Congress, or their acts of Assembly, under penalty of being disarmed, and disqualified from holding any office, and be further punished by imprisonment, &c.;—for seizing and confiscating, for the use of the colony, the estates of those putting or continuing to shelter themselves under the protection of the ministerial fleet or army, or assist in carrying on their measures against us;—a resolve to provide two armed vessels, of sixteen and fourteen guns, with a spy-schooner of four, and four row-galleys;—an act exempting the polls of soldiers from taxes, for the last and ensuing campaigns;—another for encouraging the making of saltpetre and gunpowder, a considerable quantity of both Mr. Trumbull hopes to make early in the spring. He says the furnace at Middletown is smelting lead, and likely to turn out twenty or thirty tons, and that ore is plenty. They have also passed an act empowering the Commander-in-chief of the Continental army, or officers commanding a detachment, or outposts, to administer an oath and swear any person or persons to the truth of matters relative to the public service. The situation of our affairs seems to call for regulations like these, and I should think the other colonies ought to adopt similar ones, or such of them as they have not already made. Vigorous measures, and such as at another Edition: current; Page: [324] time would appear extraordinary, are now become absolutely necessary, for preserving our country against the strides of tyranny making against it.

Governor Trumbull, in his list, has not mentioned an act for impressing carriages, &c., agreeable to the recommendation of Congress. This, I hope, they have not forgotten. It is highly necessary, that such an authority should be given, under proper restrictions, or we shall be greatly embarrassed, whenever the army, or any detachment from it, may find it necessary to march from hence. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
7 January, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

Your favor of the 1 inst. I received and heartily thank you for your kind salutations — I was happy to hear of the great unanimity in your Assembly, & of the general salutary laws they passed; which shew them to be well attached to the common cause & to have taken proper measures for supporting it.

Inclosed you have the amount of lead from Crown Point, agreeable to your request. The account of the smelting furnace and your expectations to make a considerable amount of saltpetre and powder, please me much. I wish your most sanguine endeavors may be more than answered.

As to gun locks it is not in my power to furnish any. The information you had was groundless, for there were no spare ones in the Ordnance Stores, Edition: current; Page: [325] which fell into our hands, none were ever found that I have heard of, nor is there mention of them in the Invoice.

Having undoubted intelligence of the fitting out a fleet at Boston—and of the embarkation of troops from thence, which from the season of the year and other circumstances, must be destined for some expedition South of this; and having such information as I can depend upon, that the Inhabitants of Long Island, in the Colony of New York, or a great part of them are inimical to the rights and liberties of America, and from their conduct and professions have discovered an apparent inclination to assist in subjugating their fellow citizens to ministerial tyranny; there is the greatest reason to believe that this armament if not immediately designed against the City of New York, is nevertheless intended for Long island; and as it is of the utmost importance to prevent the Enemy from possessing themselves of the City of New York and the North River, which would give them the command of the country and the communication with Canada, I shall dispatch Major General Lee with orders to repair thither, with such Volunteers as are willing to join and can be expeditiously raised (having no troops to spare from hence) to put the City and fortifications on the North River in the best posture of defense the season and circumstances will admit of; and for disarming all such persons upon Long Island, and elsewhere whose conduct and declarations have rendered them justly suspected of designs unfriendly to the views of Edition: current; Page: [326] Congress.1 I have directed him to call upon the commanding officer of the Jersey troops for such assistance as he can afford, and being Informed by Captain Sears, and Mr. Woodward, who will deliver you this, and whom Genl Lee will follow in a day or two, that he apprehends 1000 or 1100 Volunteers may be readily raised in your government in the town through which Mr. Lee will pass, I beg the favor of you to interpose your good offices and interest in the matter, to encourage men to go on this important service and as expeditiously as possible for counteracting any designs our Enemies may have against us in that Quarter.—Every necessary expence attending their march and stay will be borne by the public.2 I have just receivd. advice from Chelsea, Edition: current; Page: [327] about 9 or 10 miles from this, that several ships have sailed from Nantasket road that were lying there. I shall write to the Honorable the Convention of New York by General Lee and direct his instructions to be laid before them, praying their assistance to facilitate the purposes of his going; I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
8th day of January, 1776
Cambridge
Charles Lee
Lee, Charles

TO MAJOR-GENERAL CHARLES LEE.1
INSTRUCTIONS.

Having undoubted intelligence of the fitting out of a fleet at Boston, and of the embarkation of troops from thence, which, from the season of the year and other circumstances, must be Edition: current; Page: [328] destined for a southern expedition; and having such information as I can rely on, that the inhabitants, or a great part of them, on Long Island in the colony of New York, are not only inimical to the rights and liberties of America, but, by their conduct and public profession, have discovered a disposition to aid and assist in the reduction of that colony to ministerial tyranny; and as it is a matter of the utmost importance to prevent the enemy from taking possession of the city of New York, as they will thereby command the country, and the communication with Canada; it is of too much consequence to hazard such a post at so alarming a crisis, since we find by his Majesty’s speech to Parliament, that, disregarding the petition of the united voice of America, nothing less than the total subversion of her rights will satisfy him.

You will, therefore, with such volunteers as are willing to join you, and can be expeditiously raised, repair to the city of New York; and calling upon the commanding officer of the forces of New Jersey for such assistance as he can afford, and you shall require, you are to put that city into the best posture of defence, which the season and circumstances will admit, disarming all such persons upon Long Island and elsewhere, (and if necessary otherwise securing them,) whose conduct and declarations have rendered them justly suspected of designs unfriendly to the views of Congress.1

You are, also, to inquire into the state and condition of the fortifications up the North River, and as far as shall be consistent with the orders of Congress, or not repugnant to them, to have the works guarded against surprises from a body of men, which might be transported by water near the place, and then marched in upon the back of them.

You will also endeavor to have the medicines, shirts, and blankets, now at New York, belonging to the ministerial troops, secured, and forwarded to this army. Captain Sears can give you particular information concerning them.2

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In all other matters relative to the execution of the general plan you are going upon, your own judgment (as it is impossible with propriety to give particular directions), and the advice of those whom you have reason to believe are hearty in the cause, must direct you; keeping always in view the declared intentions of Congress.

I am persuaded I need not recommend despatch in the prosecution of this business. The importance of it alone is a sufficient incitement. I would advise a dismission of the volunteers, whose necessary expenses will be borne, so soon as the service will admit of it; and that you endeavor as much as possible at all times to be in readiness to join the army, if the exigency of our affairs here should call for it. Given under my hand, at Head-Quarters, Cambridge, this 8th day of January, 1776.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
10 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Gentlemen,

In the confused and disordered state of this army, occasioned by such capital changes as have taken place of late, I have found it almost impossible to come at exact returns of the strength of our lines. Not till last night was I able to get in the whole, since the dissolution of the old army. By these I find myself weaker than I had any idea of, and under the necessity of requesting an exertion of your influence and interest to prevail upon the militia of this government, now in the pay of the Continent, to continue till the last of the month and longer, if requisite. I am assured that those of New Hampshire will not stay any longer than they engaged for, notwithstanding our weak state and the slow progress we make in recruiting, which by the last week’s report, amounts to but little more than half of our usual complement, owing it is said to the number of men going or expecting to go into the provincial service at or near their own homes.

I am more and more convinced that we shall never raise the army to the new establishment by voluntary enlistments. It is, therefore, necessary that the neighboring governments should consider in time and adopt some other expedient for effecting it.

The hurry I was in the other day, when your committee did me the honor to present a petition from a person, (whose name I have forgot,) wanting to be employed in the Continental army, prevented me from being so full on the subject as I wished.

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I shall beg leave, therefore, at this time to add, that I hope your honorable Board will do me the justice to believe, that it will give me pleasure at all times to pay a proper respect to any recommendation coming from them, and that the reason why I do not now encourage such kind of applications, as was then made, is, that the new army was arranged, as near the plan and agreeable to the orders of Congress, (although some unavoidable departures and changes have taken place,) as it was in my power to comply with; and the officers thus constituted ordered to recruit. Every attempt, therefore, of others not of this appointment must counteract, and has been of infinite prejudice to the service. They infuse ideas into the minds of men they have any influence over, that, by engaging with them, or, which is tantamount, not engaging with others, they shall be able to force themselves into the service. Of this we have numberless instances. I am, therefore, anxious to discourage every attempt of the kind, by convincing such persons, that their engaging a company will not bring them in. If such persons could once be convinced of this, the business of this army would go on more smoothly, and with much more regularity and order. In short, gentlemen, it is scarce possible for me to convey to you a perfect idea of the trouble and vexation I have met with, in getting this matter fixed upon some settled footing. One day an officer would serve; another, he would not, and so on, till I have hardly known what steps to pursue for preserving of consistency, and advancing the good of the service, which are the only objects I have in view. I have no Edition: current; Page: [332] friend whom I want to bring in, nor any person with whom I am in the least connected, that I wish to promote. I am, gentlemen, with much esteem, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
11 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Every account I have out of Boston confirms the embarkation of troops mentioned in my last, which, from the season of the year and other circumstances, must be destined for some expedition to the southward of this. I have therefore thought it prudent to send Major-General Lee to New York. I have given him letters recommendatory to Governor Trumbull, and to the Committee of Safety at New York. I have good hopes that in Connecticut he will get many volunteers, who, I have some reason to think, will accompany him on this expedition, without more expense to the continent than their maintenance. But should it be otherwise, and should they expect pay, I think it is a trifling consideration, when put in competition with the importance of the object, which is to put the city of New York, with such parts of the North River and Long Island, as to him shall seem proper, in that state of defence, which the season of the year and circumstances will admit of, so as, if possible, to prevent the enemy from forming a lodgment in that government, which, I am afraid, contains too many persons disaffected to the cause of liberty and America. I have also written to Lord Edition: current; Page: [333] Stirling to give him all the assistance that he can, with the troops under his command in the Continental service, provided it does not interfere with any orders he may receive from Congress relative to them.1

I hope the Congress will approve of my conduct in sending General Lee upon this expedition. I am sure I meant it well, as experience teaches us, that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves, than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession. The evening of the 8th. instant a party of our men under the command of Major Knowlton were ordered to go and burn some houses which lay at the foot of Bunker’s Hill, and at the head of Charlestown; they were also ordered to bring off the guard which we expected consisted of an officer and 30 men. They crossed the milldam about half after eight o’clock and gallantly executed their business, having burnt eight houses, and brought with them a sergeant and four privates of the 10th Regiment. There was but one man more there, who making some resistance they were obliged to despatch. The gun that killed him was the only one that was discharged by our men, tho’ several hundreds were Edition: current; Page: [334] fired by the enemy from within their works, but in so confused a manner, that not one of our people was hurt. Our inlistments go on very heavily.1

George Washington
Washington, George
12 January, 1776
Cambridge
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.

Sir,

Your favor of the 5th ultimo from before Quebec, enclosing the returns of your detachment, is come to hand. From the account you give of the garrison, and the state of the walls, I expect soon to hear from you within them, which will give me vast pleasure.

I am informed that there are large quantities of arms, blankets, clothing, and other military stores in that city. These are articles, which we are in great want of here; I have, therefore, written to General Montgomery, or whoever is commanding officer in that quarter, to send me as many as can be spared from thence. If you can assist in expediting them, you will much oblige me.

I understand that the Congress have it under their consideration to raise an army for the defence of Canada, on a new establishment. When I received this information, I applied to Congress to know whether it was their intention, that you and the officers in your detachment were to be appointed there, or remain as you were appointed in this army as newly arranged; to which I have not yet received their answer.

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The want of so many good officers is felt here, especially in the recruiting service, which does not go on so briskly as I could wish. I think it will be best for you to settle for the arrearages, due to your men since October last, with the paymaster of the army at your place. I do not know any better way for you or them to receive it. I am, Sir, yours, &c.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
13 January, 1776
Cambridge
James Warren
Warren, James

TO JAMES WARREN, SPEAKER ETC.

Gentlemen,

It is exceedingly painfull to me to give you so much trouble as I have, and am like to do, in the support of our lines and the arrangement of the new Army; but my difficulties must in their consequences devolve trouble on you.

To my very great surprize I find, that the whole number of arms, which have been stopped from the discharged soldiers amount to no more than 1620 and of that number no more than 120 are in store, the rest being redelivered to the recruits which have come in. I also find from the report of the recruiting officers, that few men are to be inlisted, who have arms in their hands, and that they are reduced to the alternative of either getting no men or men without arms. Unhappy situation! What is to be done, unless these governments will exert themselves in providing arms from the several Towns, or in such other manner as to them, shall seem speedy and effectual.

To account for this great deficiency would be tedious and not much to the purpose. Suffice it generally to say, that it has arisen from two causes: the badness of the arms of the Old Army, which the Inspectors and valuers of, did not think fit to detain: And to the disobedient Regiments, which in spite of every order I could issue to the contrary (even to a solemn threat of stopping the pay for the months of November and December of all those, who should carry away their arms) have, in a manner by stealth borne them away.

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I am glad to hear by a Gentleman of your Honorable body, who does me the honor to be the bearer of this letter, that you have for some time past been collecting arms at Watertown, whilst a good deal of dispatch has been used in making them elsewhere. I beg to know how many I can rely upon; as the recruits now coming in from the country will be useless without.

It is to no purpose I find, to depend upon imported arms—What you can furnish I must take in behalf of the Continent; and will upon notice, send some gentleman to receive them. Will it be prudent to apply to such of the Militia as are going away, for their arms? leaving it optional in them cannot be amiss, but will the necessity of the case justify the policy of detaining them? I ask for Information—being with great truth and esteem &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
14 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am exceedingly sorry, that I am under the necessity of applying to you, and calling the attention of Congress to the State of our Arms, which is truly alarming. Upon the dissolution of the old Army, I Edition: current; Page: [338] was apprehensive that the new, would be deficient in this instance, and that the want might be as inconsiderable as possible, I gave it in orders that the arms of such men as did not reinlist, should be (or such of them as were good) retained at the prices which should be affixed by persons appointed to Inspect and value them: and that we might be sure of them, I added, that there would be a Stoppage of pay of the months of Nov. and Decr. from those, that should carry their Firelocks away, without their being first examined.—By these precautions I hoped to have procured a considerable number; But, Sir, I find with much concern, that from the badness of the arms, and the disobedience of too many in bearing them off without a previous inspection, that very few were collected.—Neither are we to expect that many will be brought in by the new recruits—the officers who are out inlisting having reported that few men who have Arms will engage in the Service, and that they are under the disagreeable alternative of taking men without arms, or of getting none.—Unhappy situation indeed and much to be deplored! Especially when we know that we have to contend with a formidable Army, well provided of every necessary, and that there will be a most vigorous exertion of Ministerial vengence against us, as soon as they think themselves in condition for it. I hope it is in the power of Congress to afford us relief; If it is not, what must, what can be done?

Our Treasury is almost exhausted and the demands against it, very considerable; a constant supply of Edition: current; Page: [339] money to answer every claim and exigency, would much promote the good of the Service; In the common affairs of life, it is useful; in War, it is absolutely necessary and essential.—I would beg leave too, to remind you of Tents, and of their importance; hoping if an opportunity has offered, you have procured them.

I fear that our Army will not be raised to the new establishment in any reasonable time, if ever; the Inlistments go on so very slow, that they seem almost at an end.

In my letter of the 4 Inst., I wrote you, that I had received certain Intelligence from a Mr. Hutchinson and others, that 2 of the 5 Regimts from Cork, now arrived at Hallifax 1 at Boston, and the other 2 had sailed for Quebec, and had not been heard of.—I am now assured as a matter to be relyed on by four Captains of Ships who left England about the 2d of Novr, and who appear to be men of veracity, that the whole of these Regiments (except the three Companies, which arrived at Boston some time ago) when they sailed, were at Milford Haven, where they had been obliged to put in by a violent storm the 19th of October,—that they would not be able to leave it for a considerable time, being under the necessity of repairing their Vessels and taking some new ones up.—Such is the Incertainty and contradiction in what I now hear that it is not possible to know, what to believe or disbelieve.

I wrote to the General Court yesterday and to the Convention at New Hampshire immediately on being Edition: current; Page: [340] acquainted with the great deficiency in our Arms, praying that they would Interest themselves in the matter and furnish me with all in their power. Whether I shall get any or what quantity, I cannot determine having not received their answers. the same application will be made to the Governments of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

I do myself the honor to send you Sundry Newspapers I received from the above mentioned Captains, as they may be later than any you have seen, and contain some Interesting Intelligence.1

George Washington
Washington, George
14 January, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

The bearer presents an opportunity to me of acknowledging the receipt of your favor of the 30th ultimo, (which never came to my hands till last night,) and, if I have not done it before, of your other of the 23d preceding.

The hints you have communicated from time to time not only deserve, but do most sincerely and cordially meet with my thanks. You cannot render a more acceptable service, nor in my estimation give a more convincing proof of your friendship, than by a free, open, and undisguised account of every matter relative to myself or conduct. I can bear to hear of imputed or real errors. The man, who wishes to Edition: current; Page: [341] stand well in the opinion of others, must do this; because he is thereby enabled to correct his faults, or remove prejudices which are imbibed against him. For this reason, I shall thank you for giving me the opinions of the world, upon such points as you know me to be interested in; for, as I have but one capital object in view, I could wish to make my conduct coincide with the wishes of mankind, as far as I can consistently; I mean, without departing from that great line of duty, which, though hid under a cloud for some time, from a peculiarity of circumstances, may nevertheless bear a scrutiny. My constant attention to the great and perplexing objects, which continually rise to my view, absorbs all lesser considerations, and indeed scarcely allows me time to reflect, that there is such a body in existence as the General Court of this colony, but when I am reminded of it by a committee; nor can I, upon recollection, discover in what instances (I wish they would be more explicit) I have been inattentive to, or slighted them. They could not, surely, conceive that there was a propriety in unbosoming the secrets of an army to them; that it was necessary to ask their opinion of throwing up an intrenchment, forming a battalion, &c., &c. It must, therefore, be what I before hinted to you; and how to remedy it I hardly know, as I am acquainted with few of the members, never go out of my own lines, or see any of them in them.

I am exceeding sorry to hear, that your little fleet has been shut in by the frost. I hope it has Edition: current; Page: [342] sailed ere this, and given you some proof of the utility of it, and enabled the Congress to bestow a little more attention to the affairs of this army, which suffers exceedingly by their overmuch business, or too little attention to it. We are now without any money in our treasury, powder in our magazines, arms in our stores. We are without a brigadier (the want of which has been twenty times urged), engineers, expresses (though a committee has been appointed these two months to establish them), and by and by, when we shall be called upon to take the field, shall not have a tent to lie in. Apropos, what is doing with mine?

These are evils, but small in comparison of those, which disturb my present repose. Our enlistments are at a stand; the fears I ever entertained are realized; that is, the discontented officers (for I do not know how else to account for it) have thrown such difficulties or stumbling-blocks in the way of recruiting, that I no longer entertain a hope of completing the army by voluntary enlistments, and I see no move or likelihood of one, to do it by other means. In the last two weeks we have enlisted but about a thousand men; whereas I was confidently bid to believe, by all the officers I conversed with, that we should by this time have had the regiments nearly completed. Our total number upon paper amounts to about ten thousand five hundred; but as a large portion of these are returned not joined, I never expect to receive them, as an ineffectual order has once issued to call them in. Another is now gone forth, Edition: current; Page: [343] peremptorily requiring all officers under pain of being cashiered, and recruits as being treated as deserters, to join their respective regiments by the 1st day of next month, that I may know my real strength; but if my fears are not imaginary, I shall have a dreadful account of the advanced month’s pay. In consequence of the assurances given, and my expectation of having at least men enough enlisted to defend our lines, to which may be added my unwillingness of burthening the cause with unnecessary expense, no relief of militia has been ordered in, to supply the places of those, who are released from their engagements to-morrow, and on whom, though many have promised to continue out the month, there is no security for their stay.

Thus am I situated with respect to men. With regard to arms I am yet worse off. Before the dissolution of the old army, I issued an order directing three judicious men of each brigade to attend, review, and appraise the good arms of every regiment; and finding a very great unwillingness in the men to part with their arms, at the same time not having it in my power to pay them for the months of November and December, I threatened severely, that every soldier, who carried away his firelock without leave, should never receive pay for those months; yet so many have been carried off, partly by stealth, but chiefly as condemned, that we have not at this time one hundred guns in the stores, of all that have been taken in the prize-ship and from the soldiery, notwithstanding our regiments are not half complete. Edition: current; Page: [344] At the same time I am told, and believe it, that to restrain the enlistment to men with arms, you will get but few of the former, and still fewer of the latter, which would be good for any thing.

How to get furnished I know not. I have applied to this and the neighboring colonies, but with what success time only can tell. The reflection on my situation, and that of this army, produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in, on a thousand accounts; fewer still will believe, if any disaster happens to these lines, from what causes it flows. I have often thought how much happier I should have been, if, instead of accepting of a command under such circumstances, I had taken my musket on my shoulder and entered the ranks, or, if I could have justified the measure to posterity and my own conscience, had retired to the back country, and lived in a wigwam. If I shall be able to rise superior to these and many other difficulties, which might be enumerated, I shall most religiously believe, that the finger of Providence is in it, to blind the eyes of our enemies; for surely if we get well through this month, it must be for want of their knowing the disadvantages we labor under.

Could I have foreseen the difficulties, which have come upon us; could I have known, that such a backwardness would have been discovered in the old soldiers to the service, all the generals upon earth should not have convinced me of the propriety of delaying an attack upon Boston till this time. When it can now be attempted, I will not undertake to say; Edition: current; Page: [345] but thus much I will answer for, that no opportunity can present itself earlier than my wishes. But as this letter discloses some interesting truths, I shall be somewhat uneasy until I hear it gets to your hands, although the conveyance is thought safe.

We made a successful attempt a few nights ago upon the houses near Bunker’s Hill. A party under Major Knowlton crossed upon the mill-dam, the night being dark, and set fire to and burnt down eight out of fourteen which were standing, and which we found they were daily pulling down for fuel. Five soldiers, and the wife of one of them, inhabiting one of the houses, were brought off prisoners; another soldier was killed; none of ours hurt.1

Having undoubted information of the embarkation of troops, somewhere from three to five hundred, at Boston, and being convinced they are designed either for New York government (from whence we have some very disagreeable accounts of the conduct of the Tories) or Virginia, I despatched General Lee a few days ago, in order to secure the city of New York from falling into their hands, as the consequences of such a blow might prove fatal to our interests. He is also to inquire a little into the conduct of the Long-Islanders, and such others as have, by their conduct and declarations, proved themselves inimical to the common cause.

To effect these purposes, he is to raise volunteers in Connecticut, and call upon the troops of New Jersey, if not contrary to any order of Congress.

Edition: current; Page: [346]

By a ship just arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, we have London prints to the 2d of November, containing the addresses of Parliament, which contain little more than a repetition of the speech, with assurances of standing by his Majesty with lives and fortunes. The captains (for there were three or four of them passengers) say, that we have nothing to expect but the most vigorous exertions of administration, who have a dead majority upon all questions, although the Duke of Grafton and General Conway have joined the minority, as also the Bishop of Peterborough. These captains affirm confidently, that the five regiments from Ireland cannot any of them have arrived at Halifax, inasmuch as that by a violent storm on the 19th of October, the transports were forced, in a very distressful condition, into Milford Haven (Wales) and were not in a condition to put to sea when they left London, and the weather has been such since, as to prevent heavy loaded ships from making a passage by this time. One or two transports, they add, were thought to be lost; but these arrived some considerable time ago at Boston, with three companies of the 17th regiment.

Mr. Sayre has been committed to the Tower, upon the information of a certain Lieutenant or Adjutant Richardson (formerly of your city) for treasonable practices; an intention of seizing his Majesty, and possessing himself of the Tower, it is said in “The Crisis.”1 But he is admitted to bail himself in five Edition: current; Page: [347] hundred pounds, and two sureties in two hundred and fifty pounds each.

What are the conjectures of the wise ones with you, of the French armament in the West Indies? But previous to this, is there any certainty of such an armament? The captains, who are sensible men, heard nothing of this when they left England; nor does there appear any apprehensions on this score in any of the measures or speeches of administration. I should think the Congress will not, ought not, to adjourn at this important crisis. But it is highly necessary, when I am at the end of a second sheet of paper, that I should adjourn my account of matters to another letter. I shall, therefore, in Mrs. Washington’s name, thank you for your good wishes towards her, and with her compliments, added to mine, to Mrs. Reed, conclude, dear Sir, your sincere and affectionate servant.

Edition: current; Page: [348]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 January, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 5th instant, enclosing copies of General Montgomery’s and General Wooster’s letters, I received; for which I return you my thanks.1

It was from a full conviction of your zealous attachment to the cause of our country, and abilities to serve it, that I repeatedly pressed your continuance in command; and it is with much concern, Sir, that I find you have reason to think your holding the place you do, will be of prejudice and incompatible with its interest. As you are of this opinion, the part you are inclined to take is certainly generous and noble. But will the good consequences you intend be derived from it? I greatly fear they will not. I shall leave the matter to yourself, in full confidence, that in Edition: current; Page: [349] whatever sphere you move, your exertions for your country’s weal will not be wanting.

Whatever proof you may obtain, fixing or tending to support the charge against Mr. Prescott, you will please to transmit to me by the first opportunity.1 I am apt to believe the intelligence given to Dr. Wheelock, respecting Major Rogers, was not true2; but being much suspected of unfriendly views to this country, his conduct should be attended to with some degree of vigilance and circumspection.

I confess I am much concerned for General Montgomery and Colonel Arnold; and the consequences which will result from their miscarriage, should it happen, will be very alarming; I fear, not less fatal than you mention. However, I trust that their distinguished conduct, bravery, and perseverance will meet with the smiles of fortune, and put them in possession of this important fortress. I wish their force was greater; the reduction would then be certain.

I am sorry that Ticonderoga and Fort George should be left by the garrisons, and that your recruiting officers meet such ill success. It is too much the case in this quarter, and from the slow progress made in enlisting, I despair of raising an army to the new establishment. Should it be effected, it will be a long time first.

Our Caghnawaga friends are not arrived yet. I will try to make suitable provision for them during Edition: current; Page: [350] their stay, and use every means in my power to confirm their favorable disposition towards us. They will not, I am fearful, have such ideas of our strength, as I could wish. This, however, shall be strongly inculcated.1

If Quebec is in our possession, I do not see that any inconvenience will result from Mr. Gamble’s going there upon his parole2; but if it is not, however hurtful it may be to him, however disagreeable to me, to prejudice the interest of an individual, I cannot consent to his return. I am much distressed by applications of a like nature. If Mr. Gamble’s request is granted, others in the same situation will claim the same indulgence. Further, I think a partial exchange should not be made, and my proposition for a general one was rejected by Mr. Howe, or, what is the same, it was unnoticed. I could wish that his application had been to Congress. They might have complied with it, had they thought it reasonable. * * *

I am much pleased that the artillery was like to be got over the river, and am in hopes that Colonel Knox will arrive with it in a few days. It is much wanted. On reading the copy of General Wooster’s letter, I was much surprised to find, that he had granted furloughs to the Connecticut troops under his command, in preference of discharges. What advantage Edition: current; Page: [351] could he imagine they would be of to the continent, when they were at their own homes? If he could not continue them in the service they were upon, their discharges would certainly have eased the country of a considerable expense. Giving you in return, the compliments of the season, and wishing you every happiness.

I am, dear Sir, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
16 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Gentlemen,

Your several resolves, in consequence of my letters of the 10 and 15 instant have been presented to me by a committee of your honorable body. I thank you for the assurances of being zealously disposed to do every thing in your power to facilitate the recruiting of the American army; and, at the same time I assure you I do not entertain a doubt of the truth of it, I must beg leave to add, that I conceive you have mistaken the meaning of my letter of the 10th, if you suppose it ever was in my idea, that you should offer a bounty at the separate expense of this colony.

It was not clear to me, but that some coercive measures might be used on this as on former occasions, to draft men to complete the regiments upon the Continental establishment. But as this is thought unadvisable, I shall rely on your recommending to Edition: current; Page: [352] the selectmen and committees of correspondence, &c. to exert themselves in their several towns, to promote the enlistments for the American army.1

In the mean while, as there is no appearance of this service going on but slowly, and it is necessary to have a respectable body of troops here as soon as possible, to act as circumstances shall require, I must beg that you will order in, with as much expedition as the nature of the case will admit of, seven regiments, agreeable to the establishment of this army, to continue in service till the 1st of April, if required. You will be pleased to direct, that the men come provided with good arms, blankets, kettles for cooking, and if possible with twenty rounds of powder and ball.

With respect to your other resolve relative to arms, I am quite ready to make an absolute purchase of such as shall be furnished either by the colony or individuals. I am also ready to engage payment for all the arms, which shall be furnished by the recruits, Edition: current; Page: [353] if lost in the public service; but I do not know how far I could be justified in allowing for the use of them, when I know it to be the opinion of Congress, that every man shall furnish his own arms, or pay for the use of them if put into his hands. To do otherwise is an indirect way of raising the pay. I again wish, that the honorable Court could advise some method of purchasing.

I beg leave to return my thanks for the kind offer of fifty thousand pounds for the Continental use. I will accept of a loan, upon the terms mentioned, of half that sum to secure payment of the militia, whose time of service will be up the last of this month; till when I shall not have occasion to make use of the money.

I am, with great respect, &c.1
Edition: current; Page: [354]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 January, 1776
Cambridge
Matthew Thornton
Thornton, Matthew

TO MATTHEW THORNTON.1

Sir,

The alarming and almost defenceless state of our lines, occasioned by the slow progress in raising recruits for the new army, and the departure of a great number of the militia, which had been called in for their support until the 15th instant, rendered it necessary for me to summon the general officers in council, to determine on proper measures to be adopted for their preservation. For this purpose they met at Head Quarters yesterday and to day, and finding that it was with the utmost difficulty and persuasion, that such of the latter as are now here, have been prevailed on to continue till the last of the month, after which there is not the remotest probability of their staying a moment, they have judged it expedient and absolutely necessary, that thirteen regiments should be forthwith raised, equal to those of the new establishment, to be officered according to the usual mode of their respective governments; which are to repair to this camp by the last instant if possible, to be in readiness to act in such manner, till the 1st of April, as circumstances may require. Of this number they apprehend the Massachusetts should furnish seven, Connecticut four, and your government two, being agreeable to the proportion settled by Congress.

In order that each regiment may consist of a proper number of officers and men, I have enclosed you a list for their regulation, and of the Continental pay.

Edition: current; Page: [355]

I must earnestly solicit your attention and regard to arms, ammunition, blankets, kettles, and clothing, that they may come as well provided with these necessaries as possible, particularly the first; as from the amazing deficiency here I shall not have it in my power to supply them.

The situation and exigency of our affairs calling for this assistance, I have the most pleasing assurance that your honorable body will exert themselves for complying with all possible despatch.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 January, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of the 13th instant with its enclosures, and am heartily sorry and most sincerely condole with you upon the fall of the brave and worthy Montgomery, and those gallant officers and men, who have experienced a like fate.

In the death of this gentleman, America has sustained a heavy loss, having approved himself a steady friend to her rights, and of ability to render her the most essential services. I am much concerned for the intrepid and enterprising Arnold, and greatly fear, that consequences of the most alarming nature will result from this well intended but unfortunate attempt.

It would give me the greatest pleasure, if I could be the happy means of relieving our fellow citizens now in Canada, and preventing the ministerial troops Edition: current; Page: [356] from exulting long, and availing themselves of the advantages arising from this repulse. But it is not in my power. Since the dissolution of the old army, the progress in raising recruits for the new has been so very slow and inconsiderable, that five thousand militia have been called in for the defence of our lines. A great part of these have gone home again, and the rest induced to stay with the utmost difficulty and persuasion, though their going would render the holding of them truly precarious and hazardous, in case of an attack. In short I have not a man to spare.

In order that proper measures might be adopted, I called a council of general officers, and upon Mr. John Adams, and other members of influence of the General Court to attend, and laid before them your letter and proposition.1 After due consideration of their importance, they determined that the Colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut should each immediately raise a regiment to continue in service for one year, and to march forthwith to Canada, agreeably to the route proposed in your letter to Congress. This determination, with a copy of your letter and the several enclosures, will be immediately transmitted to the different governments for raising these regiments, which I have reason to believe will be directly complied with, from the assurances I have received from such of the members of the General Edition: current; Page: [357] Court as attended in council, and the general officers promising to exert their utmost interest and influence in their respective colonies. If these regiments should not be raised so soon as I could wish, yet I would willingly hope, from the accounts we have received, that Colonel Arnold and his corps will be joined by a number of men under Colonel Warner, and from Connecticut, who, it is said, marched immediately on getting intelligence of this melancholy affair. If this account be true, I trust they will be in a situation to oppose and prevent Mr. Carleton from regaining possession of what he has lost, and that, upon the arrival of the reinforcement, to be sent from these colonies, the city of Quebec will be reduced to our possession. This must be effected before the winter is entirely over, otherwise it will be exceedingly difficult, if not impracticable, as the enemy will undoubtedly place a strong garrison there. Should this desirable work be accomplished, our conquest in that quarter will be complete; but yet the loss of the brave Montgomery will ever be remembered.

It gives me pleasure to find, that you will continue in service, and afford your assistance to relieve your country from the distresses, which at present threaten her in the North.1 * * *

Edition: current; Page: [358]

None of the letters gives an account how this unfortunate affair ended. In Colonel Campbell’s letter of the 31st ultimo, the division which Col. Greene was in he seems to think was in a very disagreeable situation; and drawing it off at night, or throwing in a party to sustain it, was an object he had much in view. Here his information stops. In his letter of the 2d instant he says nothing about it; but I dread further intelligence of the matter.1

General Putnam is of opinion, that it will be better for the troops, which may be raised in the western part of Connecticut, to go to Albany, than the route you have mentioned by Number Four,2 and that you pointed out this way upon a supposition, that the reinforcement would be detached from this army. If you concur in sentiment with him, please to inform Governor Trumbull of it by letter, that he may give the necessary orders. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [359]
George Washington
Washington, George
19 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Taking it for granted, that General Schuyler has not only informed you of the fall of the brave and much-to-be-lamented General Montgomery, but of the situation of our affairs in Canada, (as related by General Wooster, Colonel Arnold, Colonel Campbell, and others,) I shall not take up much more of your time on this subject, than is necessary to enclose you a copy of his letter to me, with the result thereon, as appears by the council of war, which I immediately summoned on the occasion, and at which Mr. Adams, by my particular desire, was good enough to attend.

It may appear strange, Sir, as I had not men to spare from these lines, that I should presume, without first sending to Congress, and obtaining an express direction, to recommend to the governments of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, to raise each a regiment, on the Continental account, for this service. I wish most ardently, that the urgency of the case would have admitted of the delay. I wish, also, that the purport of General Schuyler’s letter had not, unavoidably as it were, laid me under an indispensable obligation to do it; for, having informed you in his letter, (a copy of which he enclosed me,) of his dependence on this quarter for men, I thought you might also have some reliance on my exertions. This consideration, added to my fears of the fatal consequences of delay, to an information of your Edition: current; Page: [360] having designed three thousand men for Canada, to a belief, founded chiefly on General Schuyler’s letters, that few or none of them were raised, and to my apprehensions for New York, which led me to think, that no troops could be spared from that quarter, induced me to lose not a moment’s time in throwing in a force there; being well assured, that General Carleton will improve to the utmost the advantages gained, leaving no artifices untried to fix the Canadians and Indians, (who, we find, are too well disposed to take part with the strongest,) in his interest.

If these reasons are not sufficient to justifie my conduct in the opinion of Congress, if the measure contravenes any resolution of theirs, they will please to countermand the levying and marching of the regiments as soon as possible, and do me the justice to believe, that my intentions were good, if my judgment has erred.1

The Congress will please also to observe, that the measure of supporting our posts in Canada appeared of such exceeding great importance, that the general officers, (agreeing with me in sentiment, and unwilling to lay any burden which can possibly be avoided, although it may turn out an ill-timed piece of parsimony,) have resolved, that the three regiments for Canada shall be part of the thirteen militia regiments, which were requested to reinforce this army, as appears by the minutes of another council of war, held Edition: current; Page: [361] on the 16th instant.1 I shall, being much hurried and fatigued, add no more in this letter, than my duty to Congress, and that I have the honor to be, &c. P. S. I enclose you a copy of my letter to the governments of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, also a copy of a resolution of this colony in answer to an application of mine for arms.

Since writing the above I have been informed by a message from the General Court of Massachusetts that they have a resolution upon the raising of a regiment for Canada, and appointed the field officers for it in the western parts of this government. I am also informed by express from Governor Trumbull that he and his Council of Safety had agreed upon the raising of a regiment for the same purpose which was anticipating my application to that government.

Edition: current; Page: [362]

If commissions (and they are applied for) are to be given by Congress to the three regiments going to Canada, you will please to have them forwarded, as I have none by me for the purpose.1

George Washington
Washington, George
19 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE NEW ENGLAND GOVERNMENTS.

Gentlemen,

The enclosures, herewith sent, convey such full accounts of the sad reverse of our affairs in Canada, as to render it unnecessary for me, in my present hurry, to add aught to the tale.

Your spirited colony will, I have no doubt, be sufficiently impressed with the expediency of a vigorous exertion to prevent the evils, which must follow from the repulse of our troops. It does not admit of a doubt, but that General Carleton will improve this advantage to the utmost; and, if he should be able to give another current of sentiments to the Canadians and Indians, than those they seem inclined to adopt, words are unnecessary to describe the melancholy effect, which must inevitably follow.

I am persuaded, therefore, that you will exert yourselves to the utmost to throw in the reinforcements, by the route mentioned in General Schuyler’s letter, that is now required of your colony; as the doing of it expeditiously may prove a matter of the utmost importance.

Edition: current; Page: [363]

You will perceive, by the minutes of the council of war enclosed, that the regiment, asked of you for Canada, is one of the seven applied for in my letter of the 16th instant, and that the only difference, with respect to the requisition, is the length of time, and place of service; as no good would result from sending troops to Canada, for a shorter period than the Continental army is raised for, to wit, till the 1st of January, 1777. I am, Gentlemen, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
Jany 21st, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

In the hurry of my last dispatches to you of the 19 Instt. I forgot to Intimate, that for the Encouragement of the Regimt destin’d for Canada, a months advanced pay will be allowed Officers and Soldiers by me, in behalf of the Congress—At the same time I think it but right that you should be Apprized of the Intention of this Government to advance their Regiment another month’s pay to enable the men to provide for so long and fatiguing a march, and in the mean time have something for their Families to subsist on during their absence.

I have no doubt but that this last advance will be pleasing to Congress and that the money will be speedily refunded, but as I have no authority to direct, and would not appear by any act of mine, to put those three Regmts for Canada, upon a different footg from those, which have been raising for this Edition: current; Page: [364] Army, I only give you a hint of the Intention of this Government, if you think proper, that the Regiment from your Colony may be placed upon the same footing, as I know all kind of distinctions are considered by troops with an evil and jealous Eye.

Such necessaries as are absolutely requisite for the March of this Regiment you will please to have provided upon the best terms you can, and a regular account with vouchers thereof kept, that payment may be made.

The importance of dispatch will I am persuaded, appear in so urgent and pressing a light to you, that I need add nothing on this head, but shall be glad to hear what progress you make in the business, being with the sincerest regard and esteem &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
23 January, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Sir,

I received your favor of the 16th instant, and am exceedingly sorry to hear, that Congress countermanded the embarkation of the two regiments intended against Edition: current; Page: [365] the Tories on Long Island.1 They, I doubt not, had their reasons; but to me it appears, that the period is arrived, when nothing less than the most decisive and vigorous measures should be pursued. Our enemies, from the other side of the Atlantic, will be sufficiently numerous; it highly concerns us to have as few internal ones as possible.

As Congress seem to have altered their views in this instance, and the men, which went with you from Connecticut, are upon a very different footing from what I expected, it will be right to give Congress the earliest notice of your proceeding, and to disband your troops as soon as you think circumstances will admit of it.2

In consequence of the melancholy reverse of our affairs in Canada, an application was made to me for succour, and happy should I have been, if the situation of this army could have afforded it. All I could do was to lay the matter before this and the governments of Connecticut and New Hampshire, and urge the expediency and necessity of their sending thither a reinforcement of three regiments there immediately. Mr. Trumbull and his Council of Safety had anticipated my request. The other two colonies have Edition: current; Page: [366] adopted the measure. The three regiments are now raising, and, I would willingly hope, will arrive in time to reinstate matters in that quarter, and give them a more agreeable aspect than they now have.

I shall be much obliged by your pressing Colonel McDougall to forward the shells mentioned in his letter of the 2d instant, as they are much wanted, and also to spare me some powder if he possibly can.1 You know our stock of this necessary article is small and inconsiderable, and you know, too, that we have a demand for a further supply.

The progress in raising recruits for the new army being very slow, I have applied to this colony, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, for ten regiments of militia, to continue in service till the 1st of April next, which they have granted me. As soon as they come in, and I can get provided with proper means, I am determined to attempt something. Of this I would have you take no notice.

Within a few days past several persons have come out of Boston. They all agree, that General Clinton has gone upon some expedition. Some say he has between four and five hundred men, others, part of two regiments. What his force consists of is not Edition: current; Page: [367] precisely known; but I am almost certain he has gone with some. His destination must be south of this, and very probably for New York. I thought it necessary to give you this information, that you may be on your guard, and prepared to receive him as well as you can.

I shall be glad to hear from you frequently, and to be informed of any occurrences you may think material. I am, dear Sir, with great regard, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
23 January, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Real necessity compels me to ask you, whether I may entertain any hopes of your returning to my family? If you can make it convenient, and will hint the matter to Colonel Harrison, I dare venture to say, that Congress will make it agreeable to you in every shape they can. My business increases very fast, and my distresses for want of you along with it. Mr. Harrison is the only gentleman of my family, that can afford me the least assistance in writing. He and Mr. Moylan, whose time must now be solely employed in his department of commissary, have heretofore afforded me their aid; and I have hinted to them in consequence of what you signified in some former letter, that, (as they have really had a great deal of trouble,) each of them should receive one third of your pay, reserving the other third contrary to your desire for yourself. My distress and embarrassment Edition: current; Page: [368] are in a way of being very considerably increased by an occurrence in Virginia, which will, I fear, compel Mr. Harrison to leave me, or suffer considerably by his stay. He has wrote, however, by the last post to see if his return cannot be dispensed with. If he should go, I shall really be distressed beyond measure, as I know no persons able to supply your places, (in this part of the world,) with whom I would choose to live in unbounded confidence. In short for want of an acquaintance with the people hitherward, I know of none which appear to me qualified for the office of secretary.

The business, as I hinted to you before, is considerably increased, by being more comprehensive, and at this time, (from the great changes which are happening every day) perplexed; so that you would want a good writer and a methodical man, as an assistant, or copying clerk. Such a one I have no doubt will be allowed, and the choice I leave to yourself, as he should be a person in whose integrity you can confide, and on whose capacity, care, and method you can rely. At present, my time is so much taken up at my desk, that I am obliged to neglect many other essential parts of my duty. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, for me to have persons that can think for me, as well as execute orders. This it is that pains me when I think of Mr. White’s expectation of coming into my family if an opening happens. I can derive no earthly assistance from such a man, and my friend Baylor is much such another, although as good and obliging a person as any in the world.

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As it may be essential that the pay of the undersecretary should be fixed, that you may, if you incline to return and should engage one, know what to promise him, I have wrote to Colonel Harrison and Mr. Lynch on this subject.

The interruption of the post has prevented the receipt of any letters from the southward since this day week, so that we have but little knowledge of what is passing in that quarter. The unfortunate repulse of our troops at Quebec, the death of the brave and much to be lamented General Montgomery, and wounding of Col. Arnold, will, I fear, give a very unfavorable turn to our affairs in that quarter, as I have no opinion at all of W[ooste]r’s enterprising genius.1

Immediately upon the receipt of the unfortunate intelligence, and General Schuyler’s intimation of his having no other dependence than upon me for men, I addressed Massachusetts, Connecticut, and N. Hampshire (in behalf of the Continent) for a regiment each, to be marched forthwith into Canada, and there continued, if need be, till the 1st. of January, upon the same establishment as those raising for these lines. It was impossible to spare a man from hence, as we want eight or nine thousand of our establishment, and are obliged to depend upon militia for the defence of our works: equally improper did it appear to me to wait (situated as our affairs were) Edition: current; Page: [370] for a requisition from Congress, after several day’s debate, perhaps, when in the meantime all might be lost. The urgency of the case, therefore, must apologize to Congress for my adoption of this measure. Governor Trumbull, indeed, anticipated my request, for he and his Council of Safety had voted a regiment before my request had reached him. The General Court here have also voted another, and I have no doubt of New Hampshire’s doing the like, and that the whole will soon be on their march. I have this instant received a letter from New Hampshire, in answer to mine, informing me that they have fully complied with my request of a regiment, appointed the field-officers, and will have the whole in motion as soon as possible. Col. Warner, and others, we are told, are already on their march, so that it is to be hoped, if these bodies have but a good head, our affairs may still be retrieved in Canada, before the king’s troops can get reinforced.

They are pulling down the houses in Boston as fast as possible, and we have lately accounts from thence which it is said may be relied on, that General Clinton is actually sailed from thence with a detachment (no accounts making it more than 500) for the southward; some say Virginia, others New York, but all in conjecture. Whether this is the fleet that has been making up for some time at Nantasket, or another, I cannot with certainty say. In my last I informed you, I think, of the expedition I had sent General Lee on to New York. Should Clinton steer his course thither, I hope he will meet with a formidable Edition: current; Page: [371] and proper reception. I shall conclude with informing you that we should have had a formidable work on Letchmore’s Point long ago, if it had not been for the frost, and that if Congress mean that we should do any thing this winter, no time must be lost in forwarding powder. I have ordered in militia to take advantage of circumstances, but I see no appearances as yet of a bridge. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The Commissary General being at length returned from a long and painful illness, I have it in my power to comply with the requisition of Congress in forwarding an estimate of the expence attending his office, as also that of the Quartermaster General. You will please to observe that the Commissary, by his account of the matter, has entered into no special agreement with any of the persons he has found occasion to employ (as those to whose names sums are annexed are of their own fixing) but left it to Congress to ascertain their wages: I shall say nothing therefore on this head further than relates to the proposition of Mr. Miller, to be allowed ⅛ for his trouble and the delivery of the other ⅞ of provisions, which to me appears exorbitant in the extreme, however, conformable it may be to custom and usage. I therefore think that reasonable stipends had better be fixed upon. Both the Quartermaster and Commissary Edition: current; Page: [372] generals assure me that they do not employ a single person uselessly, and as I have too good an opinion of them to think they would deceive me, I believe them.

I shall take the liberty of recommending the expediency, indeed the absolute necessity, of appointing fit and proper persons to settle the accounts of this army. To do it with precision requires time, care, and attention. The longer it is left undone, the more intricate they will be, the more liable to error, and difficult to explain and rectify; as also the persons in whose hands they are, if disposed to take undue advantage, will be less subject to detection. I have been as attentive, as the nature of my office would admit of, in granting warrants for money on the pay-master; but it would be absolutely impossible for me to go into an examination of all the accounts incident to this army, and the vouchers appertaining to them, without devoting so large a portion of my time to the business, as might not only prove injurious, but fatal to it in other respects. This ought, in my humble opinion, to be the particular business of a select committee of Congress, or one appointed by them, who, once in three months at farthest, should make a settlement with the officers in the different departments.

Having met with no encouragement from the governments of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as to my application for arms, and expecting no better from Connecticut and Rhode Island, I have, as the last expedient, sent one or two officers from each Edition: current; Page: [373] regiment into the country, with money to try if they can buy. In what manner they succeed, Congress shall be informed as soon as they return. Congress, in my last, would discover my motives for strengthening these lines with the militia; but whether, as the weather turns out exceedingly mild, (insomuch as to promise nothing favorable from ice,) and as there is no appearance of powder, I shall be able to attempt any thing decisive, time only can determine. No man upon earth wishes more ardently to destroy the nest in Boston, than I do; no person would be willing to go greater lengths than I shall, to accomplish it, if it shall be thought advisable. But if we have neither powder to bombard with, nor ice to pass on, we shall be in no better situation than we have been in all the year; we shall be worse, because their works are stronger.

I have accounts from Boston, which I think may be relied on, that General Clinton, with about four or five hundred men, has left that place within these four days. Whether this is part of the detachment, which was making up (as mentioned in my letter of the fourth instant, and then at Nantasket) or not, it is not in my power to say. If it is designed for New York or Long Island, as some think, throwing a body of troops there may prove a fortunate circumstance. If they go farther south, agreeably to the conjectures of others, I hope there will be men to receive them. Notwithstanding the positive assertions of the four captains from Portsmouth, noticed in my letter of the 14th, I am now convinced from several corroborating Edition: current; Page: [374] circumstances, the accounts of deserters and of a Lieut. Hill of Lord Percy’s regiment, who left Ireland the 5 of November, and was taken by a privateer from Newburyport, that the 17th and 55th regiments are arrived in Boston, and other troops at Halifax, agreeable to the information of Hutchinson and others. Lieut. Hill says that the transports of two regiments only were forced into Milford Haven.

Congress will think me a little remiss, I fear, when I inform them, that I have done nothing yet towards raising the battalion of marines; but I hope to stand exculpated from blame, when they hear the reason, which was, that already having twenty-six incomplete regiments, I thought it would be adding to an expense, already great, in officers, to set two entire corps of officers on foot, when perhaps we should not add ten men a week by it to our present numbers. In this opinion the general officers have concurred, which induced me to suspend the matter a little longer. Our enlistments, for the two last weeks, have not amounted to a thousand men, and are diminishing. The regiment for Canada, it is thought, will soon be filled, as the men are to choose all but their field-officers, who are appointed by the Court.

On Sunday evening, thirteen of the Caghnawaga Indians arrived here on a visit. I shall take care that they be so entertained during their stay, that they may return impressed with sentiments of friendship for us, and also of our great strength. One of them Edition: current; Page: [375] is Colonel Louis, who honored me with a visit once before.1 I have, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
27 January, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 22d enclosing Colonel Arnold’s letter of the 2d, explaining the doubt we were in respecting his detachment, is received. Happy would it have been for our cause, if that party could have got out of the city of Quebec3; as I am much afraid by the complexion of the letters from that place, that there is little hope of Arnold’s continuing the blockade without assistance from Wooster, which he is determined not to give, whether with propriety or not, I shall not at this distance undertake to decide.

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The sad reverse of our affairs in that quarter calls loudly for every exertion in your power, to restore them to the promising aspect they so lately wore. For this reason, notwithstanding you think the necessity of troops from hence is in some measure superseded, I will not countermand the order and appointment of officers, which are gone forth from this government, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, for raising a regiment each, till Congress, (who are informed of it,) shall have decided upon the measure.

I consider, that the important period is now arrived, when the Canadians and consequently their Indians must take their side. Should any indecisive operations of ours, therefore, give the bias against us, it is much easier to foresee, than to rectify, the dreadful consequences, which must inevitably follow from it. I consider, also, that the reinforcement, under the command of Colonel Warner, and such other spirited men as have left the western parts of the New England governments, is only temporary, and may fail when most wanted; as we find it next to impossible to detain men, (not fast bound,) in service, after they get a little tired of the duties of it and homesick.

These, my dear Sir, are the great outlines which govern me in this affair. If Congress mark them as strongly as I do, they will not wish to starve the cause at so critical a period. If they think differently, they will direct accordingly, and I must stand corrected for the error my zeal hath led me into.

Colonel Porter, said to be an exceedingly active man, is appointed to the command of the regiment Edition: current; Page: [377] from this government; Colonel Burrell to the one from Connecticut; and Colonel Bedel to that from New Hampshire. The two last are represented to me as men of spirit and influence; so that, from these accounts, I have no doubt of their getting into Canada in a very short time, as I have endeavored to excite the spirit of emulation. I wish most ardently, that the state of your health may permit you to meet them there. The possession of Quebec, and entire reduction of Canada this winter, so as to have leisure to prepare for the defence of it in the spring, is of such great and extensive importance to the well-being of America, that I wish to see matters under the direction,—but I will say no more, you will come at my meaning.

I am a little embarrassed to know in what manner to conduct myself with respect to the Caghnawaga Indians now here. They have, notwithstanding the treaty of neutrality, which I find they entered into with you the other day (agreeably to what appears to be the sense of Congress), signified to me a desire of taking up arms in behalf of the United Colonies. The Chief of them, and who I understand is now the first man of the nation, intends, as it is intimated, to apply to me for a commission, with the assurance of raising four or five hundred men when he returns. My embarrassment does not proceed so much from the impropriety of encouraging these people to depart from their neutrality, (accepting their own voluntary offer rather), as from the expense, which probably may follow. I am sensible that, if they do not desire to be idle, they will be for or against us. I am sensible, Edition: current; Page: [378] also, that no artifices will be left unassayed to engage them against us. Their proffered services, therefore, ought not to be rejected; but how far, with the little knowledge I have of these people’s policy and real intentions, and your want of their aid, I ought to go, is the question that puzzles me. I will endeavor, however, to please them by yielding in appearance to their demands; reserving, at the same time, the power in you to regulate their numbers and movements, of which you shall be more fully informed when any thing is fixed.1 At present what they have mentioned is a kind of out door talk. They expect and are waiting to see Col. Bedel (who promised to meet them here), before they open themselves fully.

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What can you do in compliance with Arnold’s request of mortars, &c? If Knox disfurnished you, I am almost sorry for it, as I believe I shall never get wherewithal to feed them here.

I congratulate you upon the success of your expedition into Tryon county. I hope General Lee will execute a work of the same kind on Long Island, &c. It is high time to begin with our internal foes, when we are threatened with such severity of chastisement from our kind parent without. That the Supreme Dispenser of every good may bestow health, strength, and spirit on you and your army, is the fervent wish of, dear Sir, your most affectionate and obedient servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
27 January, 1776
Cambridge
Benedict Arnold
Arnold, Benedict

TO COLONEL BENEDICT ARNOLD.

Dear Sir,

On the 17th instant I received the melancholy account of the unfortunate attack on the city of Quebec, attended with the fall of General Montgomery and other brave officers and men, and your being wounded. This unhappy affair affects me in a very sensible manner, and I sincerely condole with you upon the occasion; but, in the midst of distress, I am happy to find, that suitable honors were paid to the remains of Mr. Montgomery; and our officers and soldiers, who have fallen into their hands, were treated with kindness and humanity.1

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Having received no intelligence later than the copy of your letter of the 2d to General Wooster, I would fain hope, that you are not in a worse situation than you then were; though, I confess, I have greatly feared, that those misfortunes would be succeeded by others, on account of your unhappy condition, and the dispirited state of the officers and men. If they have not, I trust, when you are joined by three regiments now raising in this and the governments of Connecticut and New Hampshire, and two others ordered by the Congress from Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, with the men already sent off by Colonel Warner, that these misfortunes will be done Edition: current; Page: [381] away, and things will resume a more favorable and promising appearance than ever.

I need not mention to you the great importance of this place, and the consequent possession of all Canada, in the scale of American affairs. You are well apprized of it. To whomsoever it belongs, in their favor, probably, will the balance turn. If it is in ours, success I think will most certainly crown our virtuous struggles. If it is in theirs, the contest at best will be doubtful, hazardous, and bloody. The glorious work must be accomplished in the course of this winter, otherwise it will become difficult, most probably impracticable; for administration, knowing that it will be impossible ever to reduce us to a state of slavery and arbitrary rule without it, will certainly send a large reinforcement there in the spring. I am fully convinced, that your exertions will be invariably directed to this grand object, and I already view the approaching day, when you and your brave followers will enter this important fortress, with every honor and triumph attendant on victory. Then will you have added the only link wanting in the great chain of Continental union, and rendered the freedom of your country secure.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, and the possession of those laurels, which your bravery and perseverance justly merit, I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [382]
George Washington
Washington, George
28 January, 1776
Cambridge
John Manly
Manly, John

TO COMMODORE JOHN MANLY.

Sir,

I received your agreeable letter of the 26th instant, giving an account of your having taken and carried into Plymouth two of the enemy’s transports. Your conduct in engaging the eight-gun schooner, with so few hands as you went out with, your attention in securing your prizes, and your general good behavior since you first engaged in the service, merit my own and your country’s thanks.1

You may be assured, that every attention will be paid to any reasonable request of yours, and that you shall have the command of a stronger vessel of war; but as it will take up some time before such a one can be fitted out, my desire is, that you continue in the Hancock until the end of the cruise. When that is out, you will come to Head-Quarters, and we will confer together on the subject of the other ship. I wish you could engage men at Plymouth to make your complement at least forty strong. It would enable you to encounter the small tenders, that may fall in your way; though I would rather have you avoid an engagement, until you have a ship, that will place you upon a more equal footing with your enemy. Edition: current; Page: [383] I need not recommend to you to proceed again and pursue your good fortune.

I wish you could inspire the captains of the other armed schooners under your command with some of your activity and industry. Can you not appoint stations for them, where they may have the best chance of intercepting supplies going to the enemy? They dare not disobey your orders, as it is mentioned in the instructions I have given to each of them, that they are to be under your command as commodore; and as such I desire that you will give them such instructions in writing, as to you will appear proper for the good of the service. I am, Sir, wishing you a continuance of success, yours, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
30 January, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Your favors of the 6th and of the 20th instant I received yesterday, with the several resolves of Congress Edition: current; Page: [384] alluded to; for which I return you my thanks. Knowing the great importance Canada will be of to us, in the present interesting contest, and the relief our friends there stand in need of, I should be happy, were it in my power, to detach a battalion from this camp; but it cannot be done. On the 19th instant, I had the honor to write to you a letter, which will fully convey the resolutions of a council of war, and the sentiments of the general officers here, as to the propriety and expediency of sending troops from these lines, for the defence of which we have been and now are obliged to call in the militia; to which I beg leave to refer you.1 You may rest assured, that my endeavors and exertions shall not be wanting, to stimulate the governments of Connecticut and New Hampshire to raise and forward reinforcements as fast as possible; nor in any other instance that will promote the expedition.2

Edition: current; Page: [385]

I shall, in obedience to the order of Congress, though interdicted by General Howe, propose an exchange of Governor Skene1 for Mr. Lovell and his family, and shall be happy to have an opportunity of putting this deserving man, (who has distinguished his fidelity and regard to his country to be too great for persecution and cruelty to overcome,) in any post agreeable to his wishes and inclination. I do not know, that there is any particular rank annexed to the office of aid-de-camp. Generally they are captains, Edition: current; Page: [386] and rank as such; but higher rank is often given on account of particular merit and particular circumstances. Aids to the King have the rank of colonels. Whether any distinction should be made between those of your Commander-in-chief, and the other generals, I really know not. I think there ought.1

You may rely, that Connolly had instructions concealed in his saddle. Mr. Eustis,2 who was one of Lord Dunmore’s family, and another gentleman, who wishes his name not to be mentioned, saw them cased in tin, put in the tree, and covered over. He probably has exchanged his saddle, or withdrawn the papers when it was mended, as you conjecture. Those that have been discovered are sufficiently bad; but I doubt not of the others being worse, and containing more diabolical and extensive plans. I hope he will be taken proper care of, and meet with rewards equal to his merits.

I shall appoint officers in the places of those, who are in Canada, as I am fully persuaded they will wish to continue there, for making our conquest complete in that quarter. I wish their bravery and valor may be attended with the smiles of fortune.

It gives me great pleasure to hear of the measures Congress are taking for manufacturing powder. I hope their endeavors will be crowned with success. Edition: current; Page: [387] I too well know and regret the want of it. It is scarcely possible to describe the disadvantages an army must labor under, when not provided with a sufficient supply of this necessary. It may seem strange after having received about 11 tons, added to about 5 tons which I found here, and no general action has happened that we should be so deficient in this article and require more. But you will please to consider besides its being in its nature subject to waste, and whilst the men lay in bad tents was unavoidably damaged by severe and heavy rains (which could not have been prevented, unless it had been entirely withdrawn from them, and an attack hazarded against us without ammunition in their hands), that the armed vessels, our own occasional firings, and some small supplies I have been obliged to afford the seaport towns threatened with destruction, to which may be added the supply to the militia, and going off of the old troops, have occasioned and ever will a large consumption of it, and waste, in spite of all the care in the world. The king’s troops never have less than 60 rounds a man in their possession, independent of their stores. To supply an army of 20,000 in this manner would be near 400 barrels, allowing nothing for stores, artillery &c. I have been always afraid to place more than 12 or 15 rounds at a time in the hands of our men, lest any accident happening to it, we should be left destitute and be undone. I have been this particular not only to show our poverty, but to exculpate myself from even a suspicion of unnecessary waste.

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I shall inform the Paymaster general of the resolution of Congress, respecting his drafts, and the mode and amount of them.

The companies at Chelsea and Malden are and have always been regimented. It was not my intention to replace with Continental troops the independent companies at Hingham, Weymouth and Braintree. These places are exposed, but not more so than Cape Ann, Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, &c. &c. &c.

Is it the intention of Congress that the officers of the army should pay postage? They are not exempted by the resolve of the 9th. inst.

The Congress will be pleased, I have no doubt, to recollect that the 500,000 dollars now coming are but little more than enough to bring us up to the first day of this month, that tomorrow will be the last of it, and by their resolve the troops are to be paid monthly.

I wish it was in my power to furnish Congress with such a general as they desire, to send to Canada.1 Since the unhappy reverse of our affairs in that quarter, General Schuyler has informed me, that, though he had thoughts of declining the service before, he would now act. My letter of the 11th will inform them of General Lee’s being at New York. He will be ready to obey their orders, should they incline to send him; but, if I am not greatly deceived, he or some other spirited, able officer will be wanted there in the spring, if not sooner; as we have undoubted intelligence, that General Clinton has sailed with Edition: current; Page: [389] some troops. The reports of their number are various, from between four and five hundred to nineteen companies of grenadiers and light infantry. It is also imagined, that the regiments, which were to sail the 1st of December, are intended for that place or Virginia. General Putnam is a most valuable man, and a fine executive officer; but I do not know how he would conduct in a separate department. He is a younger major-general than Mr. Schuyler, who, as I have observed, having determined to continue in the service, will, I expect, repair into Canada. A copy of my letter to him on this and other subjects, I enclose to you, as it will explain my motives for not stopping the regiments from these governments.

When Captain Cochran arrives, I will give him every assistance in my power, in obedience to the orders of Congress; but I fear it will be the means of laying up our own vessels, as these people will not bear the distinction.1 Should this be the consequence, it will be highly prejudicial to us, as we sometimes pick up their provision-vessels, and may continue to distress them in this way. Last week Captain Manly took a ship and a brig bound to Boston from White Haven, with coals chiefly and some potatoes for the army. I have, for his great vigilance and industry, appointed him commodore of our little squadron; and he now hoists his flag on board the schooner Hancock.

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I congratulate you upon the recovery of Smith,1 and am exceedingly glad to hear of the measures Congress are taking for the general defence of the continent. The clouds thicken fast; where they will burst, I know not; but we should be armed at all points.

I have not succeeded in my applications to these governments for arms. They have returned for answer, that they cannot furnish any. Whether I shall be more lucky in the last resource left me in this quarter, I cannot determine, having not received returns from the officers sent out to purchase of the people. I greatly fear, that but very few will be procured in this way, as they are exceedingly scarce, and but a small part of what there are, fit for service. When they make their port, you shall be informed.

The Quarter master general has just received from General Schuyler clothing for the soldiery, amounting to about £1700 York currency. It has come very seasonably, as they are in great want, and will contribute a little to their relief.

Since writing the above, I have seen Mr. Eustis; and mentioning that nothing had been found in the tree of Connolly’s saddle, he told me there had been a mistake in the matter; that the instructions were artfully concealed on the two pieces of wood, which are on the mail-pillion of his portmanteau-saddle; that, by order of Lord Dunmore, he saw them contrived for the purpose, the papers put in, and first covered with tin, and over that with a waxed canvass cloth.2 Edition: current; Page: [391] He is so exceedingly pointed and clear in his information, that I have no doubt of its being true. I could wish them to be discovered, as I think they contain some curious and extraordinary plans. In my letter of the 24th instant, I mentioned the arrival of thirteen of our Caghnawaga friends. They honored me with a talk to-day, as did three of the tribes of St. John’s and Passamaquoddy Indians, copies of which I beg leave to enclose you. I shall write to General Schuyler respecting the tender of service made by the former, and not to call for their assistance, unless he shall at any time want it, or be under the necessity of doing it to prevent their taking the sides of our enemies.

I had the honor of writing to you on the 19th of November, and then I informed you of having engaged two persons to go to Nova Scotia on the business recommended in your letter of the 10th; and also that the state of the army would not then admit of a sufficient force being sent, for carrying into execution the views of Congress respecting the dock-yards, &c. I would now beg leave to mention, that, if the persons sent for information should report favorably of the expediency and practicability of the measure, it will Edition: current; Page: [392] not be in my power to detach any men from these lines. The situation of our affairs will not allow it. I think it would be advisable to raise them in the eastern parts of this government. If it is attempted, it must be by people from the country. A Colonel Thompson, a member of the General Court from the province of Maine, and who is well spoken of by the Court, and a Captain O’Brien have been with me. They think the men necessary may be easily engaged there, and the measure practicable, provided there are not more than two hundred British troops at Halifax. They are willing and ready to embark in the matter, upon the terms mentioned in their plan, which I enclose to you. I wish you to advert to the considerations inducing them to the expedition, as I am not without apprehension, should it be undertaken upon their plan, that the innocent and guilty will be involved in one common ruin. I presume they do not expect to receive more from the Continent, than the five or ten thousand pounds mentioned in their scheme, and to be at every expense. If we had men to spare, it might be undertaken for less than either, I conceive. Perhaps, if Congress do not adopt their proposition, they will undertake to raise men for that particular purpose, who may be disbanded as soon as it is effected, and upon the same terms that are allowed the Continental troops in general. Whatever may be the determination of Congress upon the subject, you will please to communicate it to me immediately; for the season most favorable for the enterprise is advancing fast; and we may expect in the spring, that Edition: current; Page: [393] there will be more troops there, and the measure be more difficult to execute. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
30 January, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you the 23d instant, and then informed you, that General Clinton had gone upon some expedition with four or five hundred men. There is good reason to believe, that Tryon has applied for some troops, and that he would join them with a great number of inhabitants; so that you will see the necessity of your being decisive and expeditious in your operations in that quarter. The Tories should be disarmed immediately, though it is probable that they may have secured their arms on board the King’s ships, until called upon to use them against us. However, you can seize upon the persons of the principals. They must be so notoriously known, that there will be little danger of your committing mistakes, and happy should I be if the Governor could be one of them.

Since writing the above, your favor of the 24th has come to hand, with the sundry enclosures, which I have with attention perused, and very much approve of your conduct. I sincerely wish that the letter you expect to receive from Congress may empower you to act conformable to your own and my sentiments on this occasion. If they should order differently, we Edition: current; Page: [394] must submit, as they doubtless will have good reasons for what they may determine.1

The Congress desire I should send an active general to Canada. I fancy, when they made the demand, that they did not think General Schuyler would continue in that station, which he has given me to understand, in some late letters from him, that he would. Should they not approve of the New York expedition, and think another general necessary for the northern department, it is probable they will fix on you to take the command there. I should be sorry to have you removed so far from this scene; but if the service there requires your presence, it will be a fine field for the exertion of your admirable talents. There is nothing new here. Let me hear often from you, and believe me, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [395]
George Washington
Washington, George
31 January, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

In my last, (date not recollected) by Mr. John Adams, I communicated my distresses to you on account of my want of your assistance. Since this I have been under some concern at doing of it, lest it should precipitate your return before you were ripe for it, or bring on a final resignation which I am unwilling to think of, if your return can be made convenient and agreeable. True it is, that from a variety of causes my business has been, and now is, multiplied and perplexed; whilst the means of execution is greatly contracted. This may be a cause for my wishing you here, but no inducement to your coming, if you hesitated before.

I have now to thank you for your favors of the 15th, 16th, and 20th inst., and for the several articles of intelligence, which they convey. The account given of your navy, at the same time that it is exceedingly unfavorable to our wishes, is a little provoking to me, inasmuch as it has deprived us of a necessary article, which otherwise would have been sent hither; but which a kind of fatality I fear will for ever deprive us of. In the instance of New York, we are not to receive a particle of what you expected would be sent from thence; the time and season passing away, as I believe the troops in Boston also will, before the season for taking the field arrives. I dare say they are preparing for it now, as we have undoubted intelligence of Clinton’s leaving Boston Edition: current; Page: [396] with a number of troops, (by different accounts, from four or five hundred to 10 companies of grenadiers, and nine of light infantry), believed to be designed for Long Island, or New York, in consequence of assurances from Governor Tryon of powerful aid from the Tories there.

I hope my countrymen of Virginia will rise superior to any losses the whole navy of Great Britain can bring on them, and that the destruction of Norfolk, and the threatened devastation of other places, will have no other effect, than to unite the whole country in one indissoluble band against a nation which seems to be lost to every sense of virtue, and those feelings which distinguish a civilized people from the most barbarous savages. A few more of such flaming arguments, as were exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk,1 added to the sound doctrine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet “Common Sense,” will not leave numbers at a loss to decide upon the propriety of a separation.

By a letter of the 21st instant from Wooster, I find, that Arnold was continuing the blockade of Quebec on the 19th, which, under the heaviness of our loss there, is a most favorable circumstance, and exhibits a fresh proof of Arnold’s ability and perseverance in the midst of difficulties. The reinforcements ordered to him will, I hope, complete the entire conquest of Canada this winter; and but for the loss of the gallant chief, and his brave followers, I should Edition: current; Page: [397] think the rebuke rather favorable than otherwise; for had the country been subdued by such a handful of men, it is more than probable, that it would have been left to the defence of a few, and rescued from us in the spring. Our eyes will now be open not only to the importance of holding it, but to the numbers which are requisite to that end. In return for your two beef and poultry vessels from New York, I can acquaint you that our Commodore Manly has just taken two ships from White Haven to Boston, with coal and potatoes, and sent them into Plymouth, and fought a tender (close by the light house where the vessels were taken), long enough to give his prizes time to get off, in short, till she thought it best to quit the combat, and he to move off from the men-of-war, which were spectators of this scene.

In my last I think I informed you of my sending General Lee to New York, with the intention of securing the Tories of Long Island, and to prevent, if possible, the King’s troops from making a lodgment there; but I fear the Congress will be duped by the representations from that government, or yield to them in such a manner as to become marplots to the expedition. The city seems to be entirely under the government of Tryon and the captain of the man-of-war.

Mrs. Washington desires I will thank you for the picture sent her. Mr. Campbell, whom I never saw, to my knowledge, has made a very formidable figure of the Commander-in-chief, giving him a sufficient Edition: current; Page: [398] portion of terror in his countenance.1 Mrs. Washington also desires her compliments to Mrs. Reed, as I do, and, with the sincerest regard and affection, I remain, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
1 Feby, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

My Dear Sir,

I had wrote the letter herewith enclosed before your favor of the 21st came to hand. The account given of the behavior of the men under General Montgomery, is exactly consonant to the opinion I have formed of these people, and such as they will exhibit abundant proofs of, in similiar cases whenever called upon. Place them behind a parapet, a breast-work, stone wall, or any thing that will afford them shelter, and, from their knowledge of a firelock, they will give a good account of their enemy; but I am as well convinced, as if I had seen it, that they will not march boldly up to a work, nor stand exposed in a plain; and yet, if we are furnished with the means, and the weather will afford us a passage, and we can get in men, for these three things are Edition: current; Page: [399] necessary, something must be attempted.1 The men must be brought to face danger; they cannot always have an intrenchment or a stone wall as a safeguard or shield; and it is of essential importance, that the troops in Boston should be destroyed if possible before they can be reinforced or removed. This is clearly my opinion. Whether circumstances will admit of the trial, and, if tried, what will be the event, the All-wise Disposer of them alone can tell.

The evils arising from short, or even any limited inlistment of the troops, are greater, and more extensively hurtful than any person (not an eye-witness to them) can form any idea of. It takes you two or three months to bring new men in any tolerable degree acquainted with their duty; it takes a longer time to bring a people of the temper and genius of these into such a subordinate way of thinking as is necessary for a soldier. Before this is accomplished, the time approaches for their dismissal, and you are beginning to make interest with them for their continuance for another limited period; in the doing of which you are obliged to relax in your discipline, in order as it were to curry favor with them, by which means the latter part of your time is employed in undoing what the first was accomplishing, and instead Edition: current; Page: [400] of having men always ready to take advantage of circumstances, you must govern your movements by the circumstances of your Inlistment. This is not all; by the time you have got men arm’d and equip’d, the difficulty of doing which is beyond description, and with every new sett you have the same trouble to encounter, without the means of doing it.—In short, the disadvantages are so great and apparent to me, that I am convinced, uncertain as the continuance of the war is, that Congress had better determine to give a bounty of 20, 30, or even 40 Dollars to every man who will Inlist for the whole time, be it long or short. I intend to write my sentiments fully on this subject to Congress the first leizure time I have.

I am exceeding sorry to hear that Arnold’s wound is in an unfavorable way; his letter to me of the 14th ulto. says nothing of this. I fancy Congress have given some particular direction respecting Genl. Prescott. I think they ought for more reasons than one. I am, &c.

Be so good as to send the enclosed letter of Randolph’s to the Post-office.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
8 February, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I received your favors of the 2 and 5 Inst. and agreeable to your request have ordered payment of the ballance of the expences attending the journey of the two French gentlemen to Philadelphia to be made [to] Wm. Bacon Post rider, for your use, which I hope will come safe to hand.

I am happy to hear of your having received 12.500 dollars from Congress for the troops going upon the Canada expedition, and heartily wish that no other difficulties may occur to impede their march and prevent their giving early and timely succor to our friends there, which they certainly stand in great need of.

As to replacing the money advanced by your Colony to the regiments which served the last campain, it is not in my power. It is what I did not expect and therefore have made no provision for it. I should have paid them in the same manner I did others, had I not been prevented by the Colonels, who expressed their inclination to receive the whole Edition: current; Page: [402] at one time, after the expiration of the service and on their return home. This being the case, I always imagined that the sum advanced by you, would be taken in when Congress came to form a general account against the colonies, and be applied to your credit which I presume they will shortly do, as I have wrote to them, and pointed out the necessity of having all the accounts respecting this Army adjusted and liquidated at proper periods. Had I conceived that this application for repayment would have been made to me, I should certainly have included the sum advanced by you in my estimates and taken care to have had a sufficiency of money to discharge it. But I did not. I am unprovided, and have not more than will answer the claims I was apprized of antecedent to the last day of December. They are large and numerous, and in a few days will drain our treasury of every Shilling now in it. I am exceedingly sorry that matters should be so circumstanced as to give you the least disappointment or trouble; But I doubt not Congress upon your application will refund what you have advanced, or settle it in such a way, as shall be perfectly agreeable to you.

I shall take care to have the three battallions of the militia paid which are coming here for the defence of our lines in the same manner, that the rest are when the time of their engagement expires. They certainly might have come thus far without the advance you have been obliged to give.

Having lately examined into the state of our powder and finding the deficiency to be much greater than Edition: current; Page: [403] what I had any idea of, and hearing that the militia from your Colony, and I fear from the others too, are coming without any, or with but very little, I cannot but confess my anxiety and concern to be very great. I therefore again repeat the request I made this morning, and beg and entreat your most strenuous and friendly exertions to procure what we are told is important, or such part as you possibly can, and send it to me with the utmost expedition; I am already much alarmed on account of the scarcity, and the Militia coming in without a proper supply fills me with apprehensions of the most disagreeable nature—this I would mention in confidence, as It might give great uneasiness if it was generally known and trusting that nothing in your power will be wanting to relieve us at this alarming and important crisis, I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
9 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

In compliance with the resolves of Congress, I have applied to General Howe for the exchange of Mr. Lovell. A copy of my letter and his answer thereto you have inclosed.

Captain Waters and Captain Tucker, who command two of the armed schooners, have taken and sent into Gloucester a large brigantine laden with wood, 150 butts for water and 40 suits of bedding, bound from La Havre in Nova Scotia for Boston. She is one of the transports in the ministerial service. Edition: current; Page: [404] The captain says he was at Halifax the 17th January, and that General Massey was arrived there with two regiments from Ireland.

The different prizes were all libelled immediately on receipt of the resolves of Congress pointing out the mode, but none of them yet brought to trial, owing to a difference between the law passed in this Province, and the resolutions of Congress. The General Court are making an amendment to their law by which the difficulties that now occur will be removed, as I understand it is to be made conformable to your resolves. The unavoidable delay attending the bringing the captures to trial is grievously complained of by the masters of these vessels, as well as the captors. Many of the former have applied for liberty to go away without awaiting the decision, which I have granted them.

I beg leave to call the attention of Congress to their appointing a commissary in these parts, to attend the providing of necessaries for the prisoners who are dispersed in these provinces. Complaints are made by some of them, that they are in want of bedding, and many other things; as I understand that Mr. Franks has undertaken that business, I wish he was ordered to find a deputy immediately, to see that the prisoners get what is allowed them by Congress. Also to supply the officers with money as they may have occasion. It will save me much time and much trouble.

There are yet but few companies of the militia come in. This delay will, I am much afraid frustrate Edition: current; Page: [405] the intention of their being called upon, as the season is slipping fast away when they may be of service.

The demands of the army were so very pressing before your last remittance came to hand, that I was under the necessity of borrowing £25,000 lawful money from this province. They very cheerfully lent it, and passed a vote for as much more if required. I have not repaid the sum borrowed, as I may stand in need of it before the arrival of another supply, which the demands of the commissary general, Quartermaster general, and paying off the arrearages, will very soon require.

Your esteemed favor of the 29th ultimo is just come to hand. It makes me very happy to find my conduct hath met the approbation of Congress. I am entirely of your opinion that should an accommodation take place, the terms will be severe or favorable, in proportion to our ability to resist, and that we ought to be on a respectable footing to receive their armaments in the spring. But how far we shall be provided with the means, is a matter I profess not to know under my present unhappy want of arms, ammunition and I may add men, as our regiments are very incomplete. The recruiting goes on very slow, and will I apprehend be more so, if for other service the men receive a bounty, and none is given here.

I have tried every method I could think of to procure arms for our men. They really are not to be had in these governments belonging to the public, and if some method is not fallen upon in the southern governments to supply us, we shall be in a distressed situation Edition: current; Page: [406] for want of them. There are near 2000 men now in camp without firelocks. I have wrote to the committee of New York this day, requesting them to send me those arms, which were taken from the disaffected in that government. The Congress interesting themselves in this request will doubtless have a good effect. I have sent officers into the country with money to purchase arms in the different towns; some have returned and brought in a few; many are still out, what their success will be, I cannot determine.

I was in great hopes that the expresses resolved to be established between this place and Philadelphia would ere now have been fixt. It would, in my opinion, rather save than increase the expence, as many horses are destroyed by one man coming the whole way. It will certainly be more expeditious and safer than writing by the post, or private hands, which I am often under the necessity of doing. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
9 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The purport of this letter will be directed to a single object. Through you I mean to lay it before Edition: current; Page: [407] Congress, and, at the same time that I beg their serious attention to the subject, to ask pardon for intruding an opinion, not only unasked, but, in some measure, repugnant to their resolves.

The disadvantages attending the limited enlistment of troops are too apparent to those, who are eyewitnesses of them, to render any animadversions necessary; but to gentlemen at a distance, whose attention is engrossed by a thousand important objects, the case may be otherwise.

That this cause precipitated the fate of the brave and much-to-be-lamented General Montgomery, and brought on the defeat, which followed thereupon, I have not the most distant doubt of; for, had he not been apprehensive of the troops leaving him at so important a crisis, but continued the blockade of Quebec, a capitulation, from the best accounts I have been able to collect, must inevitably have followed. And that we were not obliged at one time to dispute these lines, under disadvantageous circumstances, (proceeding from the same cause, to wit, the troops disbanding of themselves before the militia could be got in,) is to me a matter of wonder and astonishment, and proves, that General Howe was either unacquainted with our situation, or restrained by his instructions from putting any thing to hazard, till his reinforcements should arrive.

The instance of General Montgomery—I mention it, because it is a striking one,—for a number of others might be adduced proves, that, instead of having men to take advantage of circumstances, you are Edition: current; Page: [408] in a manner compelled, right or wrong, to make circumstances yield to a secondary consideration. Since the 1st of December, I have been devising every means in my power to secure these encampments; and though I am sensible that we never have, since that period, been able to act on the offensive, and at times not in a condition to defend, yet the cost of marching home one set of men, bringing in another, the havoc and waste occasioned by the first, the repairs necessary for the second, with a thousand incidental charges and inconveniences, which have arisen, and which it is scarce possible either to recollect or describe, amount to near as much, as the keeping up a respectable body of troops the whole time, ready for any emergency, would have done.

To this may be added, that you never can have a well disciplined army.

To bring men [to be] well acquainted with the duties of a soldier, requires time. To bring them under proper discipline and subordination, not only requires time, but is a work of great difficulty, and, in this army, where there is so little distinction between the officers and soldiers, requires an uncommon degree of attention. To expect, then, the same service from raw and undisciplined recruits, as from veteran soldiers, is to expect what never did and perhaps never will happen. Men, who are familiarized to danger, meet it without shrinking; whereas troops unused to service often apprehend danger where no danger is. Three things prompt men to a regular discharge of their duty in time of action; natural Edition: current; Page: [409] bravery, hope of reward, and fear of punishment. The two first are common to the untutored and the disciplined soldier; but the last most obviously distinguishes the one from the other. A coward, when taught to believe, that, if he breaks his ranks and abandons his colors, will be punished with death by his own party, will take his chance against the enemy; but a man, who thinks little of the one, and is fearful of the other, acts from present feelings, regardless of consequences.

Again, men of a day’s standing will not look forward; and from experience we find, that, as the time approaches for their discharge, they grow careless of their arms, ammunition, camp utensils, &c. Nay, even the barracks themselves have felt uncommon marks of wanton depredation, and lay us under fresh trouble and additional expense in providing for every fresh set, when we find it next to impossible to procure such articles, as are absolutely necessary in the first instance. To this may be added the seasoning, which new recruits must have to a camp, and the loss consequent thereupon. But this is not all. Men engaged for a short, limited time only, have the officers too much in their power; for, to obtain a degree of popularity in order to induce a second enlistment, a kind of familiarity takes place, which brings on a relaxation of discipline, unlicensed furloughs, and other indulgences incompatible with order and good government; by which means the latter part of the time, for which the soldier was engaged, is spent in undoing what you were aiming to inculcate in the first.

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To go into an enumeration of all the evils we have experienced, in this late great change of the army, and the expenses incidental to it, to say nothing of the hazard we have run, and must run, between the discharging of one army and enlistment of another, (unless an enormous expense of militia is incurred,) would greatly exceed the bounds of a letter. What I have already taken the liberty of saying will serve to convey a general idea of the matter; and therefore I shall, with all due deference, take the freedom to give it as my opinion, that, if the Congress have any reason to believe, that there will be occasion for troops another year, and consequently for another enlistment, they would save money, and have infinitely better troops, if they were, even at a bounty of twenty, thirty, or more dollars, to engage the men already enlisted (till January next,) and such others as may be wanted to complete the establishment, for and during the war. I will not undertake to say, that the men can be had upon these terms; but I am satisfied, that it will never do to let the matter alone, as it was last year, till the time of service was near expiring. The hazard is too great, in the first place; in the next, the trouble and perplexity of disbanding one army and raising another at the same instant, and in such a critical situation as the last was, are scarcely in the power of words to describe, and such as no man, who has experienced them once, will ever undergo again.

If Congress should differ from me in sentiment upon this point, I have only to beg that they will do me the justice to believe, that I have nothing more in Edition: current; Page: [411] view, than what to me appears necessary to advance the public weal, although in the first instance it will be attended with a capital expense; and that I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
10 February, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your obliging favors of the 28th ult. and 1st inst. are now before me, and claim my particular thanks for the polite attention you pay to my wishes in an early and regular communication of what is passing in your quarter.

If you conceive, that I took any thing wrong, or amiss, that was conveyed in any of your former Edition: current; Page: [412] letters, you are really mistaken. I only meant to convince you, that nothing would give more real satisfaction, than to know the sentiments, which are entertained of me by the public, whether they be favorable or otherwise; and I urged as a reason, that the man, who wished to steer clear of shelves and rocks, must know where they lay. I know—but to declare it, unless to a friend, may be an argument of vanity—the integrity of my own heart. I know the unhappy predicament I stand in; I know that much is expected of me; I know, that without men, without arms, without ammunition, without any thing fit for the accommodation of a soldier, little is to be done; and, which is mortifying, I know, that I cannot stand justified to the world without exposing my own weakness, and injuring the cause, by declaring my wants, which I am determined not to do, further than unavoidable necessity brings every man acquainted with them.

If, under these disadvantages, I am able to keep above water, (as it were) in the esteem of mankind, I shall feel myself happy; but if, from the unknown peculiarity of my circumstances, I suffer in the opinion of the world, I shall not think you take the freedom of a friend, if you conceal the reflections that may be cast upon my conduct. My own situation feels so irksome to me at times, that, if I did not consult the public good, more than my own tranquillity, I should long ere this have put every thing to the cast of a Dye. So far from my having an army of twenty thousand men well armed, I have been Edition: current; Page: [413] here with less than half of it, including sick, furloughed, and on command, and those neither armed nor clothed, as they should be. In short, my situation has been such, that I have been obliged to use art to conceal it from my own officers. The Congress, as you observe, expect, I believe, that I should do more than others,—for whilst they compel me to inlist men without a bounty, they give 40 to others, which will, I expect, put a stand to our Inlistments; for notwithstanding all the publick virtue which is ascrib’d to these people, there is no nation under the sun, (that I ever came across) pay greater adoration to money than they do—I am pleas’d to find that your Battalions are cloathed and look well, and that they are filing off for Canada. I wish I could say that the troops here had altered much in Dress or appearance. Our regiments are little more than half compleat, and recruiting nearly at a stand—In all my letters I fail not to mention of Tents, and now perceive that notice is taken of yr. application. I have been convinced, by General Howe’s conduct, that he has either been very ignorant of our situation (which I do not believe) or that he has received positive orders (which, I think, is natural to conclude) not to put anything to the hazard till his reinforcements arrive; otherwise there has [not] been a time since the first of December, that we must have fought like men to have maintained these Lines, so great in their extent.

The party to Bunker’s Hill had some good and some bad men engaged in it. One or two courts have been held on the conduct of part of it. To be Edition: current; Page: [414] plain, these people—among friends—are not to be depended upon if exposed; and any man will fight well if he thinks himself in no danger. I do not apply this only to these people. I suppose it to be the case with all raw and undisciplined troops. You may rely upon it, that transports left Boston six weeks ago with troops; where they are gone, unless driven to the West Indies, I know not. You may also rely upon General Clinton’s sailing from Boston about three weeks ago, with about four or five hundred men; his destination I am also a stranger to. I am sorry to hear of the failures you speak of from France. But why will not Congress forward part of the powder made in your province? They seem to look upon this as the season for action, but will not furnish the means. I will not blame them. I dare say the demands upon them are greater than they can supply. The cause must be starved till our resources are greater, or more certain within ourselves.

With respect to myself, I have never entertained an idea of an accommodation, since I heard of the measures, which were adopted in consequence of the Bunker’s Hill fight. The King’s speech has confirmed the sentiments I entertained upon the news of that affair; and, if every man was of my mind, the ministers of Great Britain should know, in a few words, upon what issue the cause should be put. I would not be deceived by artful declarations, nor specious pretences; nor would I be amused by unmeaning propositions; but in open, undisguised, and manly terms proclaim our wrongs, and our resolution to be Edition: current; Page: [415] redressed. I would tell them, that we had borne much, that we had long and ardently sought for reconciliation upon honorable terms, that it had been denied us, that all our attempts after peace had proved abortive, and had been grossly misrepresented, that we had done every thing which could be expected from the best of subjects, that the spirit of freedom beat too high in us to submit to slavery, and that, if nothing else could satisfy a tyrant and his diabolical ministry, we are determined to shake off all connexions with a state so unjust and unnatural. This I would tell them, not under covert, but in words as clear as the sun in its meridian brightness.

I observe what you say, in respect to the ardor of the chimney-corner heroes. I am glad their zeal is in some measure abated, because if circumstances will not permit us to make an attempt upon B[oston], or if it should be made and fail, we shall not appear altogether so culpable. I entertain the same opinion of the attempt now, which I have ever done. I believe an assault would be attended with considerable loss, and I believe it would succeed, if the men should behave well. As to an attack upon B[unker’s] Hill, (unless it could be carried by surprise,) the loss, I conceive, would be greater in proportion than at Boston; and, if a defeat should follow, it would be discouraging to the men, but highly animating if crowned with success. Great good, or great evil, would consequently result from it. It is quite a different thing to what you left, being by odds the strongest fortress they possess, both in rear and front.

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The Congress have ordered all captures to be tried in the courts of admiralty of the different governments to which they are sent, and some irreconcilable difference arising between the resolves of Congress, and the law of this colony, respecting the proceedings, or something or another which always happens to procrastinate business here, has put a total stop to the trials, to the no small injury of the public, as well as the great grievance of individuals. Whenever a condemnation shall take place, I shall not be unmindful of your advice respecting the hulls, &c. Would to heaven the plan you speak of for obtaining arms may succeed. The acquisition would be great, and give fresh life and vigor to our measures, as would the arrival you speak of; our expectations are kept alive, and if we can keep ourselves so, and spirits up another summer, I have no fears of wanting the needful after that. As the number of our Inlisted men were too small to undertake any offensive operation, if the circumstances of weather, &c, should favor, I ordered in (by application to this Govt., Connecticut and New Hampshire) as many regiments of militia as would enable us to attempt something in some manner or other.—they were to have been here by the first of the month, but only a few straggling companies are yet come in. The Bay towards Roxbury has been froze up once or twice pretty hard, and yesterday single persons might have crossed, I believe, from Litchmore’s Point, by picking his way;—a thaw, I fear, is again approaching.

We have had the most laborious piece of work at Edition: current; Page: [417] Lechmere’s Point, on account of the frost, that ever you saw. We hope to get it finished on Sunday. It is within as commanding a distance of Boston as Dorchester Hill, though of a different part. Our vessels now and then pick up a prize or two. Our Commodore (Manly) was very near being catched about eight days ago, but happily escaped with vessel and crew after running ashore, scuttling, and defending her.

I recollect nothing else worth giving you the trouble of, unless you can be amused by reading a letter and poem addressed to me by Mrs. or Miss Phillis Wheatley. In searching over a parcel of papers the other day, in order to destroy such as were useless, I brought it to light again. At first, with a view of doing justice to her great poetical genius, I had a great mind to publish the poem; but not knowing whether it might not be considered rather as a mark of my own vanity, than as a compliment to her, I laid it aside, till I came across it again in the manner just mentioned. I congratulate you upon your election, although I consider it as the coup de grace to my expectation of ever seeing you a resident in this camp again.1 I have only to regret the want of you, if that should be the case; and I shall do it the more feelingly, as I have experienced the good effects of your aid. I am, with Mrs. Washington’s compliments to Mrs. Reed, and my best respects, added, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.

Edition: current; Page: [418]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

Gentlemen,

Notwithstanding I have taken every method my judgement could suggest to procure a sufficient number of firelocks for the soldiers of this Army, by application to the Assemblies and Conventions of those Governments, as well as by sending Officers out with money to purchase, I am constrained by necessity to inform you, that the deficiency is amazingly great, and that there are not nigh enough to arm the troops already here— It is true that all the officers gone upon the business are not yet returned, but from the small success of those who have made report, I cannot promise myself many more. I must therefore beg leave to sollicit your kind attention to this interesting and important concern, and would submit it to your consideration whether if your honorable Court were to depute some of their Members to make applications to the different towns, they might not procure a considerable quantity. I will most cheerfully furnish them with money for the purpose or pay for them on their delivery here, as you shall think most advisable— I shall only add that I hope the exigency of our Affairs at this critical crisis will excuse this request, and my confidence of your readiness and zeal to do every thing in your power for promoting the public good and am, &c.

P. S. I have heard that there are several King’s Muskets in the Country—for every good one with a Bayonet that have not been abused I will give 12 Edition: current; Page: [419] Dollars, and in proportion for other Guns fit for service.1

George Washington
Washington, George
14 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Through you, I beg leave to lay before Congress the enclosed letter from Lord Drummond to General Edition: current; Page: [420] Robertson, which came to my hands a few days ago, in order to be sent into Boston.

As I never heard of his Lordship’s being vested with power to treat with Congress upon the subject of our grievances, nor of his having laid any propositions before them for an accommodation, I confess it surprised me much, and led me to form various conjectures of his motives, and intended application to General Howe and Admiral Shuldham for a passport for the safe conduct of such deputies, as Congress might appoint for negotiating terms of reconciliation between Great Britain and us. Whatever his intentions are, however benevolent his designs may be, I confess that his letter has embarrassed me much; and I am not without suspicion of its meaning more than the generous purpose it professes.1

I should suppose, that, if the mode for negotiation, Edition: current; Page: [421] which he points out, should be adopted (which I hope will never be thought of), it ought to have been fixed and settled previous to any application of this sort; and at best, that his conduct in this instance is premature and officious, and leading to consequences of a fatal and injurious nature to the rights of this country. His zeal and desire, perhaps, of an amicable and constitutional adjustment taking place, may have suggested and precipitated the measure. Be that as it may, I thought it of too much importance to suffer it to go in without having the express direction of Congress for that purpose; and that it was my indispensable duty to transmit to them the original, to make such interpretations and inferences as they may think right.

Messrs. Willard and Child, who were sent to Nova Scotia in pursuance of the resolve of Congress, have just returned, and made their report, which I do Edition: current; Page: [422] myself the honor to enclose. They have not answered the purposes of their commission by any means, as they only went a little way into that country, and found their intelligence upon the information of others. You will see the reasons they assign in excuse or justification of their conduct, in the report itself.

Last night a party of regulars, said to be about five hundred, landed on Dorchester Neck, and burned some of the houses there, which were of no value to us; nor would they have been, unless we take post Edition: current; Page: [423] there; they then might be of some service. A detachment went after them as soon as the fire was discovered; but before it could arrive, they had executed their plan, and made their retreat.1

Inclosed is a letter for David Franks, Esqr. from Mr. Chamier in Boston, upon the subject of victualling such of the King’s troops as may be prisoners within the limits of his contract, which I beg the favor of you to deliver him, and that proper agents may be appointed by him to see that it is done. I could wish too that Congress would fall upon some Edition: current; Page: [424] mode for supplying the officers with such money as they may really stand in need of, and depute proper persons for that purpose and furnishing the privates with such clothing as may be absolutely necessary; I am applied to and wearied by their repeated requests. In some instances I have desired the Committees to give the prisoners within their appointments what they should judge absolutely necessary for their support, as the only means in my power of relieving their distress. But I imagine that if there were persons to superintend this business, that their wants would be better attended to, and many exorbitant charges prevented and saved to the Continent, and the whole would then be brought into a proper account.1

Edition: current; Page: [425]
George Washington
Washington, George
18 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The late freezing weather having formed some pretty strong ice from Dorchester Point to Boston Neck, and from Roxbury to the Common, thereby affording a more expanded and consequently a less dangerous approach to the town, I could not help thinking, notwithstanding the militia were not all come in, and we had little or no powder to begin our operation by a regular cannonade and bombardment, that a bold and resolute assault upon the troops in Boston, with such men as we had (for it could not take many men to guard our own lines, at a time when the enemy were attacked in all quarters), might be crowned with success; and therefore, seeing no certain prospect of a supply of powder on the one hand, and a certain dissolution of the ice on the other, I called the general officers together for their opinion, (agreeably to the resolve of Congress, of the 22d of December.)

The result will appear in the enclosed council of war1; and, being almost unanimous, I must suppose Edition: current; Page: [426] it to be right; although, from a thorough conviction of the necessity of attempting something against the ministerial troops before a reinforcement should arrive, and while we were favored with the ice, I was not only ready, but willing, and desirous of making the assault, under a firm hope, if the men would have stood by me, of a favorable issue, notwithstanding the enemy’s advantage of ground, artillery, &c.

Perhaps the irksomeness of my situation may have given different ideas to me, from those which influenced the gentlemen whom I consulted, and might have inclined me to put more to the hazard, than was consistent with prudence. If it had, I am not sensible of it, as I endeavored to give it all the consideration, that a matter of such importance required. True it is, and I cannot help acknowledging it, that I have many disagreeable sensations on account of my situation; Edition: current; Page: [427] for, to have the eyes of the whole continent fixed with anxious expectation of hearing of some great event, and to be restrained in every military operation, for want of the necessary means of carrying it on, is not very pleasing, especially as the means, used to conceal my weakness from the enemy, conceals it also from our friends, and adds to their wonder.

I do not utter this by way of complaint. I am sensible that all that the Congress could do, they have done; and I should feel most powerfully the weight of conscious ingratitude, were I not to acknowledge this. But as we have accounts of the arrival of powder by Captain Mason, I would beg to have it sent on in the most expeditious manner; otherwise we shall not only lose all chance of the benefits resulting from the season, but of the militia, who are brought in at a most enormous expense, upon a presumption that we should, long ere this, have been amply supplied with powder, under the contracts entered into with the committee of Congress.

The militia contrary to an express requisition are come and coming in without ammunition. To supply then alone with 24 rounds, which is less by ⅗ths than the regulars are served with will take between fifty and 60 barrels of powder, and to complete the other troops to the like quantity will take near as much more than about 60 barrels, besides a few rounds of cannon cartridges ready filled for use. This, Sir, Congress may be assured is a true state of powder, and will, I hope, bear some testimony of my Edition: current; Page: [428] incapacity for action in such a way as may do any essential service.

February 21st. When I began this letter I proposed to have sent it by express, but recollecting that all my late letters have been as expressive of my want of powder and arms as I could paint them, and that Mr. Hooper was to set off in a day or two, I thought it unnecessary to run the Continent to the expence of an express merely to repeat what I had so often done before when I am certain that Congress knowing our necessities will delay no time that can possibly be avoided in supplying them. My duty is offered to Congress, and with great respect and esteem, I have the honor &c

P. S. Hearing of the arrival of a small parcel of powder in Connecticut I have been able to obtain 3000 weight of it, which is in addition to the 60 barrels before mentioned.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 February, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I am grieved to find that instead of Six or Eight thousand weight of powder, which I fondly expected to receive from Providence (agreeable to your Letter), that I am likely to get only 4217 lbs, Including the 3000 Weight belonging to this Province, (if to be had).

1My situation in respect to this Article is really Edition: current; Page: [429] distressing; and while common prudence obliges me to keep my want of it concealed, to avoid a discovery thereof to the Enemy; I feel the bad effect of that concealment from our friends; for not believing our distress equal to what it really is, they withhold such small supplies as are in their power to give. I am restrained in all my military movements, for want of these necessary supplies; that it is impossible to undertake any thing effectual; and whilst I am fretting at my own disagreeable situation, the world I suppose is not behind hand in censuring my inactivity.

A golden opportunity has been lost, perhaps to not be regained again, this year. The late freezing weather had formed some pretty strong ice from Dorchester to Boston Neck, and from Roxbury to the Common, which would have afforded a less dangerous approach to the town than through the lines or by water. The advantages of this, added to a thorough conviction of the importance of destroying the Ministerial troops in Boston before they can be reinforced, and to a belief that a bold and resolute assault, aided in some small degree by artillery and Mortars might be crowned with success, I proposed the attempt a day or two ago to the general officers, but they thought, and perhaps rightly, that such an enterprise in our present weak state of men (for the Militia are not yet half arrived) and deficiency of powder would be attended with too much hazard and therefore that we had better wait the arrival of the last, and then to begin a bombardment in earnest.

This matter is mentioned to you in confidence.—Your Edition: current; Page: [430] zeal, activity and attachment to the cause renders it unnecessary to conceal it from you, or our real stock of powder; which after furnishing the Militia (unfortunately coming in without and will require upwards of Fifty Barrells) and compleating our other troops to 24 rounds a man which are less by one half than the Regulars have, and having a few Rounds of Cannon Cartridges fitted for immediate use, will leave us not more than 160 Barrells in store for the greatest emergency inclusive of the 4217 lbs from Providence, if we get it.

This, my Dear Sir is melancholy! But it is a truth, and at the same time that it may serve to convey, some idea of my disagreeable feelings under a knowledge of it, will evince the necessity of vigorous exertions to throw without delay every oz. that can be procured into this camp: otherwise the great expence of sending in the Militia will be entirely sunk without any possible good resulting from it; but much evil, as they will contribute not a little to the consumption of our ammunition, &c., &c.

For want perhaps of better information, I cannot help giving it as my opinion, that at a time when our military operations are entirely at a stand for want of powder principally and arms,1 it is inconsistent Edition: current; Page: [431] with good policy to hoard up town stocks with either. Better it is to fight an Enemy at a distance, than at one’s door. Prudence, indeed, points out the expediency of providing for private as well as publick Exigencies. But if both are not to be done, I should think there can be no hesitation in the choice; as the army now raised and supported at a considerable expence can be of little use if it is not sufficient to prevent an Enemy from disturbing the quiet of the interior towns of these governments.

I am, &c.1
Edition: current; Page: [432]
George Washington
Washington, George
26 February, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I had the honor of addressing you on the 18th and 21st Instt. by Mr. Hooper, since which nothing material has occurred.

We are making every necessary preparation for taking possession of Dorchester Heights as soon as possible with a view of drawing the enemy out.—How far our expectations may be answered, time can only determine: But I should think, if any thing will induce them to hazard an engagement, It will be our attempting to fortifie these heights; as on that event’s taking place, we shall be able to command a Edition: current; Page: [433] great part of the town, and almost the whole harbor, and to make them rather disagreeable than otherwise, provided we can get a sufficient supply of what we greatly want.

Within three or four days, I have received sundry accounts from Boston of such movements there, such as taking the mortars from Bunker Hill, the putting them with several pieces of heavy ordnance on board of ships, with a quantity of bedding, the ships all taking in water, the baking a large quantity of biscuit, &c., as to indicate an embarkation of the troops from thence. A Mr. Ides who came out yesterday says that the inhabitants of the town generally believe Edition: current; Page: [434] that they are about to remove either to New York or Virginia, and that every vessel in the harbor on Tuesday last was taken up for Government’s service and two months’ pay advanced them. Whether they really intend to embark or whether the whole is a feint is impossible for me to tell. However I have thought it expedient to send an express to Genl. Lee to inform him of it, in order that he may not be taken by surprize if their destination should be against New York, and continued him on to you. If they do embark, I think the possessing themselves of that place and the North River is the object they have in view thereby securing the communication with Canada and rendering the intercourse between the Northern and Southern United Colonies exceedingly precarious and difficult. To prevent them from effecting their plan is a matter of the highest importance and will require a large and respectable army and the most vigilant and judicious exertions.

Since I wrote by Mr. Hooper some small parcels of powder have arrived from Connecticut, which will give us a little assistance.

On Thursday night, a party of our men at Roxbury made the Enemy’s out Sentries, consisting of a Corporal and two privates prisoners, without firing a gun or giving the least alarm.

I shall be as attentive to the enemies’ motions as I can, and obtain all the intelligence in my power, and if I find ’em embark, shall in the most expeditious manner detach a part of the light Troops to New York and repair thither myself if circumstances shall Edition: current; Page: [435] require it. I shall be better able to judge what to do when the matter happens; at present I can only say that I will do every thing that shall appear proper and necessary.

Your letter of the 12th Inst by Coll Bull came to hand yesterday evening, and shall agreeable to your recommendation pay proper notice to him. The supply of cash came very seasonably as our Treasury was just exhausted and nothing can be done here without it.

P. S. This letter was intended to have been sent by Express but meeting with a private conveyance the Express was countermanded.1

George Washington
Washington, George
26 February, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

I received your esteemed favor of the 14th instant, which gave me great pleasure, being impatient to hear from you. I rejoice to find that you are getting better, and could not avoid laughing at Captain Parker’s reasons for not putting his repeated threats into execution.2

Edition: current; Page: [436]

I take notice of your intended dispositions for defence, which I request you will lose no time in putting into execution, as, from many corroborating accounts I have received, the enemy seem to prepare for their departure from Boston. They have removed the two mortars from Bunker’s Hill, and carried them with a great part of their heavy brass cannon on board their ships. They have taken all the topsail vessels in the harbor into the service. They are ready watered, and their sails bent. All this show may be but a feint; but if real, and they should come your way, I wish you may be prepared to receive them. If I find that they are in earnest, and do go off, I will immediately send you a reinforcement from this camp, and, if necessary, march the main body to your assistance, as circumstances may require. I shall keep a good watch on their motions, and give you the speediest information possible.

Lechmere’s Point is now very strong; I am sending some heavy cannon thither. The platform for a Edition: current; Page: [437] mortar is preparing to be placed in the works there; another at Lamb’s Dam; and we are making the necessary disposition to possess ourselves of Dorchester Heights, which must bring them on if any thing will.1 If they do not interrupt us in that work, I shall be confirmed in my opinion, that they mean to leave the town. A little time must now determine, whether they are resolved to maintain their present ground or look out for another post. I will now return to your letter.

The account you give of our New York brethren is very satisfactory. I should be glad to know how many men you are likely to have, that you can depend upon remaining with you. I very much fear, that the sailing of Clinton will keep back those, whom you expected from Pennsylvania. Let me hear from you upon this and every thing else that concerns you, as soon and as often as you possibly can. I shall pay due attention to your recommendations of Captain Smyth and Capt. Edition: current; Page: [438] Badlam. With respect to the Canada expedition, I assure you, that it was not my intention to propose your going there. I only meant what I thought would happen, that the Congress would make you that proposal. I am now of opinion that you will have work enough upon your hands where you are; and make no doubt but your presence will be as necessary there, as it would be in Canada.1 I am glad that Colonel Ritzema is gone to Congress, and hope they will expedite an army thither, not only to preserve what we have already got, but also to possess ourselves of Quebec before it can be reinforced from Europe or elsewhere. It is an object of such vast importance, that it will be madness not to strain every sinew for effecting that purpose. I am in some pain for our little fleet, as I am informed that the Edition: current; Page: [439] Asia and Phœnix are sailed in quest of them.1 You doubtless had good reasons for the appointment you mention having made2; as it is temporary, it can have no bad effect. I am with great regard, &c.3

Edition: current; Page: [440]
George Washington
Washington, George
28 February, 1776
Cambridge
Phillis Wheatley
Wheatley, Phillis

TO MISS PHILLIS WHEATLEY.

Miss Phillis,

Your favor of the 26th of October did not reach my hands, till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important occurrences, continually interposing to distract the mind and withdraw the attention, I hope will apologize for the delay, and plead my excuse for the seeming but not real neglect. I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant lines you enclosed; Edition: current; Page: [441] and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical talents; in honor of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the poem, had I not been apprehensive, that, while I only meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public prints.

If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near head-quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favored by the Muses, and to whom nature has been Edition: current; Page: [442] so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations. I am, with great respect, your obedient humble servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [443]
George Washington
Washington, George
3 March, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

The foregoing1 was intended for another conveyance, but being hurried with some other matters, and not Edition: current; Page: [444] able to complete it, it was delayed; since which your favors of the 28th of January, and 1st and 8th of February, are come to hand. For the agreeable accounts, contained in one of them, of your progress in the manufacture of powder, and prospect of getting arms, I am obliged to you; as there is some consolation in knowing, that these useful articles will supply the wants of some part of the Continental troops, although I feel too sensibly the mortification of having them withheld from me; Congress not even thinking it necessary to take the least notice of my application for these things.

I hope in a few nights to be in readiness to take post on Dorchester, as we are using every means in our power to provide materials for this purpose; the ground being so hard froze yet, that we cannot intrench, and therefore are obliged to depend entirely upon chandeliers, fascines, and screwed hay for our redoubts. It is expected that this work will bring on an action between the King’s troops and ours.

General Lee’s expedition to New York was founded upon indubitable evidence of General Clinton’s being on the point of sailing. No place so likely for his destination as New York, nor no place where a more capital blow could be given to the interests of America than there. Common prudence, therefore, dictated the necessity of preventing an evil, which might have proved irremediable, had it happened. But I confess to you honestly, I had no idea of running the Continent to the expense, which was incurred, or that such a body of troops would go from Edition: current; Page: [445] Connecticut as did, or be raised upon the terms they were. You must know, my good Sir, that Captain Sears was here, with some other gentlemen of Connecticut, when the intelligence of Clinton’s embarkation (at least the embarkation of the troops) came to hand. The situation of these lines would not afford a detachment. New York could not be depended upon; and of the troops in Jersey we had no certain information, either of their numbers or destination. What then was to be done? Why Sears and these other gentlemen assured me, that if the necessity of the case was signified by me, and General Lee should be sent, one thousand volunteers, requiring no pay, but supplied with provisions only, would march immediately to New York, and defend the place, till Congress could determine what should be done, and that a line from me to Governor Trumbull to obtain his sanction would facilitate the measure. This I accordingly wrote in precise terms, intending that these volunteers, and such of the Jersey regiments as could be speedily assembled, should be thrown into the city for its defence, and for disarming the Tories upon Long Island, who, I understood, had become extremely insolent and daring. When, behold, instead of volunteers, consisting of gentlemen without pay, the Governor directed men to be voluntarily enlisted for this service upon Continental pay and allowance. This, you will observe, was contrary to my expectation and plan; yet, as I thought it a matter of the last importance to secure the command of the North River, I did not think it expedient to Edition: current; Page: [446] countermand the raising of the Connecticut regiments on account of the pay. If I have done wrong, those members of Congress, who think the matter ought to have been left to them, must consider my proceedings as an error of judgment, and that a measure is not always to be judged of by the event.

It is moreover worthy of consideration, that in cases of extreme necessity (as the present), nothing but decision can ensure success; and certain I am, that Clinton had something more in view by peeping into New York, than to gratify his curiosity, or make a friendly visit to his friend Mr. Tryon. However, I am not fond of stretching my powers; and if the Congress will say, “Thus far and no farther you shall go,” I will promise not to offend whilst I continue in their service.

I observe what you say in respect to my wagon. I wanted nothing more, than a light travelling-wagon, such as those of New Jersey, with a secure cover, which might be under lock and key, the hinges being on one side, the lock on the other. I have no copy of the memorandum of the articles, which I desired you to provide for me, but think one dozen and a half of camp stools, a folding table, rather two, plates, and dishes, were among them. What I meant, therefore, was, that the bed of this wagon should be constructed in such a manner, as to stow these things to the best advantage. If you cannot get them with you, I shall despair of providing them here, as workmen are scarce, and most exorbitantly high in their Edition: current; Page: [447] charges. What I should aim at is, when the wagon and things are ready (which ought to be very soon, as I do not know how soon we may beat a march), to buy a pair of clever horses, of the same color, hire a careful driver, and let the whole come off at once; and then they are ready for immediate service. I have no doubt but that the treasury, by application to Mr. Hancock, will direct payment thereof, without any kind of difficulty, as Congress must be sensible, that I cannot take the field without equipage, and after I have once got into a tent I shall not soon quit it. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [448]
George Washington
Washington, George
7 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

On the 26th ultimo I had the honor of addressing you, and then mentioned that we were making preparations for taking possession of Dorchester Heights. I now beg leave to inform you, that a council of general officers having determined a previous bombardment and cannonade expedient and proper, in order to harass the enemy and divert their attention from that quarter, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights last, we carried them on from our posts at Cobble Hill, Lechmere’s Point, and Lamb’s Dam.1 Whether they did the enemy any considerable and what injury, I have not yet heard, but have the pleasure to acquaint you, that they greatly facilitated our schemes, and would have been attended with success equal to our most sanguine expectations, had it not been for the unlucky bursting of two thirteen and three ten inch mortars, among which was the brass one taken in the ordnance brig. To what cause to attribute this misfortune, I know not; whether to any defect in them, or to the inexperience of the bombardiers.

Edition: current; Page: [449]

But to return; on Monday evening, as soon as our firing commenced, a considerable detachment of our men, under the command of Brigadier-General Thomas, crossed the neck, and took possession of the two hills, without the least interruption or annoyance from the enemy; and by their great activity and industry, before the morning, advanced the works so far as to be secure against their shot. They are now going on with such expedition, that in a little time I hope they will be complete, and enable our troops stationed there to make a vigorous and obstinate stand. During the whole cannonade, which was incessant the two last nights, we were fortunate enough to lose but two men; one, a lieutenant, by a cannon-ball taking off his thigh; the other, a private, by the explosion of a shell, which also slightly wounded four or five more.

Our taking possession of Dorchester Heights is only preparatory to taking post on Nook’s Hill, and the points opposite to the south end of Boston. It was absolutely necessary, that they should be previously fortified, in order to cover and command them. As soon as the works on the former are finished, measures will be immediately adopted for securing the latter, and making them as strong and defensible as we can. Their contiguity to the enemy will make them of much importance and of great service to us.

As mortars are essential, and indispensably necessary for carrying on our operations, and for the prosecution of our plans, I have applied to two furnaces to have some thirteen-inch ones cast with all Edition: current; Page: [450] expedition imaginable, and am encouraged to hope, from the accounts I have had, that they will be able to do it. When they are done, and a proper supply of powder obtained, I flatter myself, from the posts we have just taken and are about to take, that it will be in our power to force the ministerial troops to an attack, or to dispose of them in some way, that will be of advantage to us. I think from these posts they will be so galled and annoyed, that they must either give us battle or quit their present possessions. I am resolved that nothing on my part shall be wanting to effect the one or the other.

It having been the general opinion, that the enemy would attempt to dislodge our people from the hills, and force their works as soon as they were discovered, which probably might have brought on a general engagement, it was thought advisable, that the honorable Council1 should be applied to, to order in the militia from the neighboring and adjacent towns. I wrote them on the subject, which they most readily complied with; and, in justice to the militia, I cannot but inform you, that they came in at the appointed time, and manifested the greatest alertness, and determined resolution to have acted like men engaged in the cause of freedom.2

When the enemy first discovered our works in the morning, they seemed to be in great confusion, and, Edition: current; Page: [451] from their movements, to have intended an attack. It is much to be wished, that it had been made. The event, I think, must have been fortunate, and nothing less than success and victory on our side, as our officers and men appeared impatient for the appeal, and to possess the most animated sentiments and determined resolution. On Tuesday evening, a considerable number of their troops embarked on board of their transports, and fell down to the Castle, where part of them landed before dark. One or two of the vessels got aground, and were fired at by our people with a field-piece, but without any damage. What was the design of this embarkation and landing, I have not been able to learn. It would seem as if they meant an attack; for it is most probable, that, if they make one on our works at Dorchester at this time, they will first go to the Castle, and come from thence. If such was their design, a violent storm that night, and which lasted till eight o’clock the next day, rendered the execution of it impracticable. It carried one or two of their vessels ashore, which they have since got off.1

Edition: current; Page: [452]

In case the ministerial troops had made an attempt to dislodge our men from Dorchester Hills, and the number detached upon the occasion had been so great as to have afforded a probability of a successful attack’s being made upon Boston; on a signal given from Roxbury for that purpose, agreeably to a settled and concerted plan, four thousand chosen men, who were held in readiness, were to have embarked at the mouth of Cambridge River, in two divisions, the first under the command of Brigadier-General Sullivan, the second under Brigadier-General Greene; the whole to have been commanded by Major-General Putnam. The first division was to land at the powder-house, and gain possession of Beacon Hill and Mount Horam; the second at Barton’s Point, or a little south of it, and, after securing that post, to join the other division, and force the enemy’s gates and works at the neck, for letting in the Roxbury troops. Three floating batteries were to have preceded, and gone in front of the other boats, and kept up a heavy fire on that part of the town where our men were to land.

How far our views would have succeeded, had an opportunity offered for attempting the execution, it is impossible for me to say. Nothing less than experiment could determine with precision. The plan was thought to be well digested; and, as far as Edition: current; Page: [453] I could judge from the cheerfulness and alacrity, which distinguished the officers and men, who were to engage in the enterprise, I had reason to hope for a favorable and happy issue.

The militia, who were ordered in from the adjacent towns, brought with them three days’ provision. They were only called upon to act under the idea of an attack’s being immediately made, and were all discharged this afternoon.

I beg leave to remind Congress, that three major-generals are essential and necessary for this army; and that, by General Lee’s being called from hence to the command in Canada, the left division is without one. I hope they will fill up the vacancy by the appointment of another. General Thomas is the first brigadier, stands fair in point of reputation, and is esteemed a brave and good officer.1 If he is promoted, there will be a vacancy in the brigadier-generals, which it will be necessary to supply by the appointment of some other gentleman that shall be agreeable to Congress; but justice requires me to mention, that William Thompson, of the rifle regiment, is the first colonel in this department, and, as far as I have had an opportunity of judging, is a good officer and a man of courage. What I have said of these two gentlemen, I conceive to be my duty, at the same time acknowledging, Edition: current; Page: [454] whatever promotions are made will be satisfactory to me.

March 9th. Yesterday evening a Captain Irvine who escaped from Boston the night before with six of his crew, came to head quarters and gave the following intelligence:—

That our bombardment and cannonade caused a good deal of surprize and alarm in town, as many of the soldiery said they never heard or thought we had mortars or shells; that several of the officers acknowledged they were well and properly directed; that they made much distress and confusion; that the cannon shot for the greatest part went thro’ the houses, and he was told that one took off the legs and arms of six men lying in the barracks on the Neck; that a soldier who came from the lines there on Tuesday morning informed him that 20 men had been wounded the night before. It was reported that others were also hurt, and one of the light horse torn to pieces by the explosion of a shell. This was afterwards contradicted. That early on Tuesday morning Admiral Shuldham discovering the works our people were throwing up on Dorchester Heights, immediately sent an express to General Howe to inform him, and that it was necessary they should be attacked and dislodged from thence, or he would be under the necessity of withdrawing the ships from the harbor, which were under his command; that preparations were directly made for that purpose as it was said, and from twelve to two o’clock about 3000 men embarked on board the transport which fell down to the Castle with a design of landing on that part of Dorchester next to it, and attacking the works on the Heights at 5 o’clock next morning; that Lord Percy was appointed to command; that it was generally believed the attempt would have been made, had it not been for the violent storm which happened that night, as I have mentioned before; that he heard several of the privates and one or two sergeants say as they were embarking, that it would be another Bunker Hill affair. He further informs that the army is preparing to leave Boston, and that they will do it in a day or two; that the Edition: current; Page: [455] transports necessary for their embarkation were getting ready with the utmost expedition; that there had been great movements and confusion among the troops the night and day preceding his coming out, in hurrying down their cannon, artillery and other stores to the wharves with the utmost precipitation, and were putting ’em on board the ships in such haste that no account or memorandum was taken of them; that most of the cannon were removed from their works and embarked or embarking; that he heard a woman say, which he took to be an officer’s wife, that she had seen men go under the ground at the lines on the Neck without returning; that the ship he commanded was taken up, places fitted and fitting for officer’s to lodge, and several shot, shells and cannon already on board; that the tories were to have the liberty of going where they please, if they can get seamen to man the vessels, of which there was a great scarcity; that on that account many vessels could not be carried away and would be burnt; that many of the inhabitants apprehended the town would be destroyed, and that it was generally thought their destination is Halifax.

The account given by Captain Irvine, as to the embarkation, and their being about to leave the town, I believe true. There are other circumstances corroborating; and it seems fully confirmed by a paper signed by four of the selectmen of the town (a copy of which I have the honor to enclose to you), which was brought on yesterday evening by a flag, and delivered to Colonel Learned, by Major Bassett, of the tenth regiment, who desired it might be delivered me as soon as possible. I advised with such of the general officers upon the occasion as I could immediately assemble; and we determined it right (as it was not addressed to me, nor to any one else, nor authenticated by the signature of General Howe, or any other act obliging him to a performance of the Edition: current; Page: [456] promise mentioned on his part), that I should give it no answer; at the same time, that a letter should be returned, as going from Colonel Learned, signifying his having laid it before me; with the reasons assigned for not answering it. A copy of this is sent.1

To-night I shall have a battery thrown up on Edition: current; Page: [457] Nook’s Hill (Dorchester Point), with a design of acting as circumstances may require; it being judged advisable to prosecute our plans of fortification, as we intended before this information from the selectmen came.

It being agreed on all hands, that there is no possibility Edition: current; Page: [458] of stopping them in case they determine to go, I shall order look-outs to be kept upon all the head-lands, to discover their movements and course, and moreover direct Commodore Manly and his little Edition: current; Page: [459] squadron to dog them, as well for the same purpose, as for picking up any of their vessels, that may chance to depart their convoy. From their loading with such precipitancy, it is presumable they ’ll not be in the best condition for sea.

If the ministerial troops evacuate the town and leave it standing, I have thoughts of taking measures for fortifying the entrance into the harbor, if it shall be thought proper, and the situation of affairs will admit of it. Notwithstanding the report from Boston, that Halifax is the place of their destination, I have no doubt but that they are going to the southward, and, I apprehend, to New York. Many reasons lead to this opinion. It is in some measure corroborated by their sending an express ship there, which, on Wednesday week, got on shore and bilged at Cape Cod. The despatches, if written, were destroyed when she was boarded. She had a parcel of coal, and about four thousand cannon-shot, six carriage-guns, a swivel or two, and three barrels of powder.

I shall hold the riflemen and other parts of our troops in readiness to march at a moment’s warning, and govern my movements by the events that happen, or such orders as I may receive from Congress, which I beg may be ample, and forwarded with all possible expedition.

On the 6th inst. a ship bound from London with stores for the ministerial army, consisting of coal, porter and krout, fell in with our armed vessels, four of them in company, and was carried Edition: current; Page: [460] into Portsmouth. She had had a long passage, and of course brought no papers of a late date. The only letters of importance or the least interesting that were found, I have enclosed.

I beg leave to mention to Congress that money is much wanted. The militia from these governments engaged till the first of April, are then to be paid, and if we march from hence, the expence will be very considerable, must be defrayed, and cannot be accomplished without it. The necessity of making the earliest remittance for these purposes is too obvious for me to add more.

When I wrote that part of this letter which is antecedent to this date, I fully expected it would have gone before now by Col. Bull, not deeming it of sufficient importance to send a special messenger, but he deferred his return from time to time, and never set off till to-day. These reasons I hope will excuse the delay and be received as a proper apology for not transmitting it sooner.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 March, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

The Rumpus which every body expected to see between the Ministerialists in Boston, and our troops, has detained the bearer till this time. On Monday night I took possession of the Heights of Dorchester with two thousand men under the command of General Edition: current; Page: [461] Thomas. Previous to this, and in order to divert the enemy’s attention from the real object, and to harass, we began on Saturday night a cannonade and bombardment, which with intervals was continued through the night—the same on Sunday and on Monday, a continued roar from seven o’clock till daylight was kept up between the enemy and us. In this time we had an officer and one private killed, and four or five wounded; and through the ignorance, I suppose, of our artillerymen, burst five mortars (two thirteen inch and three ten inch) the “Congress,”1 one of them. What damage the enemy has sustained is not known, as there has not been a creature out of Boston since. The cannonade, &c., except in the destruction of the mortars, answered our expectations fully; for although we had upwards of 300 teams in motion at the same instant, carrying on our fascines, and other materials to the Neck, and the moon shining in its full lustre, we were not discovered till daylight on Tuesday morning.

So soon as we were discovered, every thing seemed to be prepared for an attack, but the tide failing before they were ready, about one thousand only were able to embark in six transports in the afternoon, and these falling down towards the Castle, were drove on shore by a violent storm, which arose in the afternoon of that day, and continued through the night; since that they have been seen returning to Boston, and whether from an apprehension that Edition: current; Page: [462] our works are now too formidable to make any impression on, or from what other causes I know not, but their hostile appearances have subsided, and they are removing their ammunition out of their magazine, whether with a view to move bag and baggage or not I cannot undertake to say, but if we had powder, (and our mortars replaced, which I am about to do by new cast ones as soon as possible) I would, so soon as we were sufficiently strengthened on the heights to take possession of the point just opposite to Boston Neck, give them a dose they would not well like.

We had prepared boats, a detachment of 4000 men, &c., &c., for pushing to the west part of Boston, if they had made any formidable attack upon Dorchester. I will not lament or repine at any act of Providence because I am in a great measure a convert to Mr. Pope’s opinion, that whatever is, is right, but I think everything had the appearance of a successful issue, if we had come to an engagement on that day. It was the 5th of March, which I recalled to their remembrance as a day never to be forgotten; an engagement was fully expected, and I never saw spirits higher, or more prevailing.1

Your favor of the 18th ultimo came to my hands by post last night, and gives me much pleasure, as I am led to hope I shall see you of my family again. The terms upon which you come will be perfectly agreeable to me, and I should think you neither candid nor friendly, if your communications on this subject Edition: current; Page: [463] had not been free, unreserved, and divested of that false kind of modesty, which too often prevents the elucidation of points important to be known. Mr. Baylor seeming to have an inclination to go into the artillery, and Colonel Knox desirous of it, I have appointed Mr. Moylan and Mr. Palfrey my aids-decamp, so that I shall, if you come, have a good many writers about me.

I think my countrymen made a capital mistake, when they took Henry out of the senate to place him in the field; and pity it is, that he does not see this, and remove every difficulty by a voluntary resignation.1 I am of opinion, that Colonel Armstrong, if he retains his health, spirits, and vigor, would be as fit a person as any they could send to Virginia, as he is senior officer to any now there, and I should think could give no offence; but to place Colonel Thompson there, in the first command, would throw every thing into the utmost confusion; for it was by mere chance that he became a colonel upon this expedition, and by greater chance that he became first colonel in this army. To take him then from another colony, Edition: current; Page: [464] place him over the heads of several gentlemen, under or with whom he has served in a low and subordinate character, would never answer any other purpose, than that of introducing endless confusion. Such a thing surely cannot be in contemplation; and, knowing the mischiefs it would produce, surely Colonel Thompson would have more sense, and a greater regard for the cause he is engaged in, than to accept of it, unless some uncommon abilities or exertions had given him a superior claim. He must know, that nothing more than being a captain of horse in the year 1759 (I think it was) did very extraordinarily give him the start he now has, when the rank was settled here. At the same time, he must know another fact, that several officers now in the Virginia service were much his superiors in point of rank, and will not I am sure serve under him. He stands first colonel here, and may, I presume, put in a very good and proper claim to the first brigade that falls vacant; but I hope more regard will be paid to the service, than to send him to Virginia.

The bringing of Colonel Armstrong into this army as major-general, however great his merit, would introduce much confusion. Thomas, if no more, would surely quit, and I believe him to be a good man. If Thomas supplies the place of Lee, there will be a vacancy for either Armstrong or Thompson; for I have heard of no other valiant son of New England waiting promotion, since the advancement of Frye, who has not, and I doubt will not, do much service to the cause; at present he keeps his room, and talks Edition: current; Page: [465] learnedly of emetics, cathartics, &c. For my own part, I see nothing but a declining life that matters him.1

I am sorry to hear of your ill-fated fleet. We had it, I suppose because we wished it, that Hopkins had taken Clinton, and his transports. How glorious would this have been! We have the proverb on our side, however, that “a bad beginning will end well.” This applies to land and sea service. The account given of the business of the commissioners from England seems to be of a piece with Lord North’s conciliatory motion last year, built upon the same foundation, and, if true that they are to be divided among the colonies to offer terms of pardon, it is as insulting as that motion2; and only designed, after stopping all intercourse with us, to set us up to view in Great Britain, as a people that will not hearken to any propositions of peace. Was there ever any thing more absurd, than to repeal the very acts, which have introduced all this confusion and bloodshed, and at the same time enact a law to restrain all intercourse with the colonies for opposing them? The drift and design are obvious; but is it possible that any sensible nation upon earth can be imposed upon by such a cobweb scheme, or gauze covering? But enough, or else upon a subject so copious I should enter upon my fifth sheet of paper. I have, if length Edition: current; Page: [466] of letter will do it, already made you ample amend for the silence which my hurry in preparing for what I hoped would be a decisive stroke, obliged me to keep. My best respects to Mrs. Reed, in which Mrs. Washington joins, concludes me, dear sir, &c.1

March 9th.—Colonel Bull’s still waiting to see a little further into the event of things gives me an opportunity of adding, that from a gentleman out of Boston, confirmed by a paper from the selectmen there, we have undoubted information of General Howe’s preparing with great precipitancy to embark Edition: current; Page: [467] his troops; for what place we know not; Halifax, it is said. The selectmen, being under dreadful apprehensions for the town, applied to General Robertson to apply to General Howe, who through General Robertson has informed them, that it is not his intention to destroy the town, unless his Majesty’s troops should be molested during their embarkation, or at their departure. This paper seems so much under covert, unauthenticated, and addressed to nobody, that I sent word to the selectmen, that I could take no notice of it; but I shall go on with my preparations as intended. The gentlemen above mentioned out of Boston say, that they seem to be in great consternation there, that one of our shot from Lamb’s Dam disabled six men in their beds, and that the Admiral upon discovering our works next morning informed the General that, unless we were dispossessed of them, he could not keep the King’s ships in the harbor; and that three thousand men, commanded by Lord Percy, were actually embarked for that purpose. Of the issue of it you have been informed before. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
13 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

In my letter of the 7th and 9th instant, which I had the honor of addressing you, I mentioned the intelligence I had received respecting the embarkation of the troops from Boston; and fully expected, before this, that the Town would have been entirely evacuuated. Edition: current; Page: [468] Although I have been deceived, and was rather premature in the opinion I had then formed, I have little reason to doubt but the event will take place in a very short time, as other accounts, which have come to hand since, the sailing of a great number of transports from the harbor to Nantasket Road, and many circumstances corresponding therewith, seem to confirm and render it unquestionable. Whether the town will be destroyed is a matter of much uncertainty; but it would seem, from the destruction they are making of sundry pieces of furniture, of many of their wagons and carts, which they cannot take with them as it is said, that it will not; for, if they intended it, the whole might be involved in one general ruin.

Holding it of the last importance in the present contest, that we should secure New York, and prevent the enemy from possessing it, and conjecturing they have views of that sort, and their embarkation to be for that purpose, I judged it necessary, under the situation of things here, to call a council of general officers to consult of such measures, as might be expedient to be taken at this interesting conjuncture of affairs. A copy of the proceedings I have the honor to enclose to you.

Agreeable to the opinion of the council, I shall detach the rifle regiment to-morrow, under the command of Brigadier-General Sullivan, with orders to repair to New York with all possible expedition; and which will be succeeded the day after by the other five in one brigade, they being all that it was thought Edition: current; Page: [469] advisable to send from hence, till the enemy shall have quitted the town. Immediately upon their departure, I shall send forward Major-General Putnam, and follow myself with the remainder of the army, as soon as I have it in my power, leaving here such a number of men, as circumstances may seem to require.

As the badness of the roads at this season will greatly retard the march of our men, I have, by advice of the general officers, written to Governor Trumbull by this express, to use his utmost exertions for throwing a reinforcement of two thousand men into New York, from the western parts of Connecticut1; and to the commanding officer there, to apply to the Provincial Convention or Committee of Safety of New Jersey, for a thousand more for the same purpose, to oppose the enemy and prevent their getting possession, in case they arrive before the troops from hence can get there; of which there is a probability, unless they are impeded by contrary winds. This measure, though it may be attended with considerable expense, I flatter myself will meet with the approbation of Congress. Past experience, and the lines in Boston and on Boston Neck, point out the propriety, and suggest the necessity, of keeping our enemies from gaining possession and making a lodgment. Edition: current; Page: [470] Should their destination be further southward, or for Halifax, (as reported in Boston,) for the purpose of going into Canada, the march of our troops to New York will place them nearer the scene of action, and more convenient for affording succour.

We have not taken post on Nook’s Hill, and fortified it, as mentioned that we should in my last. On hearing, that the enemy were about to retreat and leave the town, it was thought imprudent and unadvisable to force them with too much precipitation, that we might gain a little time and prepare for a march. To-morrow evening we shall take possession of it, unless they are gone.

As New York is of such importance, prudence and policy require that every precaution, that can be devised, should be adopted to frustrate the designs, which the enemy have of possessing it. To this end I have ordered vessels to be provided, and held ready at Norwich, for the embarkation and transportation of our troops thither. This I have done with a view not only of greatly expediting their arrival, as it will save several days’ marching, but also that they may be fresh and fit for intrenching and throwing up works of defence, as soon as they get there, if they do not meet the enemy to contend with; for neither of which would they be in a proper condition, after a long and fatiguing march in bad roads. If Wallace, with his ships, should be apprized of the measure, and attempt to prevent it by stopping up the harbor of New London, they can but pursue their march by land.

You will please to observe, that it is the opinion of Edition: current; Page: [471] the general officers, if the enemy abandon the town, that it will be unnecessary to employ or keep any part of this army for its defence; and that I have mentioned, on that event happening, I shall immediately repair to New York with the remainder of the army not now detached, leaving only such a number of men here as circumstances may seem to require. What I partly allude to is, that,—as it will take a considerable time for the removal of such a body of men, and the divisions must precede each other in such order as to allow intermediate time sufficient for them to be covered and provided for, and many things done previous to the march of the whole, for securing and forwarding such necessaries, as cannot be immediately carried, and others which it may be proper to keep here,—directions might be received from Congress respecting the same, and as many men ordered to remain for that and other purposes, as they may judge proper. I could wish to have their commands upon the subject, and in time, as I may be under some degree of embarrassment as to their views.

Congress having been pleased to appoint Colonel Thompson a brigadier-general, there is a vacancy for a colonel in the regiment he commanded, to which I would beg leave to recommend Lieutenant-Colonel Hand. I shall also take the liberty of recommending Captain Hugh Stephenson, of the Virginia riflemen, to succeed Colonel Hand, and to be appointed in his place as lieutenant-colonel, (there being no major to the regiment, since the promotion of Major Magaw to be lieutenant-colonel of one of the Pennsylvania Edition: current; Page: [472] battalions, who is gone from hence.) He is, in my opinion, the fittest person in this army for it, as well as the oldest captain in the service, having distinguished himself at the head of a rifle company all the last war, and highly merited the approbation of his superior officers.

Col. Mifflin informed me to day of his having received tent cloths from Mr. Barrell of Philadelphia, to the amount of £7500 Pennsylvania currency, and applied for a warrant for payment of it. But as our fund is low and many necessary demands against it which must be satisfied and our calls for money are and will be exceedingly great, I could not grant it, thinking it might be convenient for payment to be made in Philadelphia by your order on the treasury there. I have the honor, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [473]
George Washington
Washington, George
14 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT NEW YORK.

Sir,

I have stronger reasons, since I last wrote to you, to confirm me in my opinion, that the army under General Howe is on its departure. All their movements pronounce it; but lest it be but a feint, I must continue on my guard, and not weaken my lines too much, until I have a certainty of their departure. It is given out, that they are bound to Halifax; but I am of opinion, that New York is the place of their destination. It is the object worthy of their attention, and it is the place that we must use every endeavor to keep from them. For should they get that town, and the command of the North River, they can stop the intercourse between the northern and southern colonies, upon which depends the safety of America. My feelings upon this subject are so strong, that I would not wish to give the enemy a chance of succeeding at your place. I shall, therefore, despatch a regiment, and some independent companies of riflemen this day; and to-morrow, or as soon as it conveniently can be done, five more regiments will set out from this camp. I cannot part with more while the enemy remain in sight; but I have wrote to Governor Trumbull to send you two thousand men, as soon as he possibly can. If you can get one thousand from New Jersey, with the militia of the country called in, (if not repugnant to the will of Congress,) I think you can make a sufficient stand, until I can with the main body of this army Edition: current; Page: [474] join you; which you may depend upon will be as soon as possible, after I can with any degree of certainty tell their route. The plan of defence formed by General Lee, is from what little I know of the place, a very judicious one. I hope, nay, I dare say, it is carrying into execution with spirit and industry. You may judge from the enemy’s keeping so long possession of the town of Boston against an army superior in numbers, and animated with the noble spirit of liberty; I say, you may judge by that, how much easier it is to keep an enemy from forming a lodgment in a place, than it will be to dispossess them, when they get themselves fortified. As I have in my last told you, that the fate of this campaign, of course the fate of America, depends upon you and the army under your command, should the enemy attempt your quarter. I will dwell no more thereon, though the vast importance of the subject would make an apology for repetitions needless. I am, Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [475]
George Washington
Washington, George
19 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

It is with the greatest pleasure I inform you that on Sunday last, the 17th instant, about nine o’clock in the forenoon, the ministerial army evacuated the town of Boston, and that the forces of the United Colonies are now in actual possession thereof. I beg leave to congratulate you, Sir, and the honorable Congress, on this happy event, and particularly as it was effected without endangering the lives and property of the remaining unhappy inhabitants.1

Edition: current; Page: [476]

I have great reason to imagine their flight was precipitated by the appearance of a work, which I had ordered to be thrown up last Saturday night on an eminence at Dorchester, which lies nearest to Boston Neck, called Nook’s Hill. The town, although it has suffered greatly, is not in so bad a state as I expected to find it; and I have a particular pleasure in being able to inform you, Sir, that your house has received no damage worth mentioning. Your furniture is in tolerable order, and the family pictures are all left entire and untouched. Captain Cazneau takes charge of the whole, until he shall receive further orders from you.

As soon as the ministerial troops had quitted the town, I ordered a thousand men (who had had the Edition: current; Page: [477] smallpox), under command of General Putnam, to take possession of the heights, which I shall endeavor to fortify in such a manner, as to prevent their return, should they attempt it. But, as they are still in the harbor, I thought it not prudent to march off with the main body of the army, until I should be fully satisfied they had quitted the coast. I have, therefore, only detached five regiments, besides the rifle battalion, to New York, and shall keep the remainder here till all suspicion of their return ceases.

The situation in which I found their works evidently discovered, that their retreat was made with the greatest precipitation. They have left their barracks and other works of wood at Bunker’s Hill all standing, and have destroyed but a small part of their Edition: current; Page: [478] lines. They have also left a number of fine pieces of cannon, which they first spiked up, also a very large iron mortar; and, (as I am informed,) they have thrown another over the end of your wharf. I have employed proper persons to drill the cannon, and doubt not I shall save the most of them. I am not yet able to procure an exact list of all the stores they have left. As soon as it can be done, I shall take care to transmit it to you. From an estimate of what the quartermaster-general has already discovered, the amount will be twenty-five or thirty thousand pounds.

Part of the powder mentioned in yours of the 6th instant has already arrived. The remainder I have ordered to be stopped on the road, as we shall have no occasion for it here. The letter to General Thomas, I immediately sent to him. He desired leave, for three or four days, to settle some of his private affairs; after which, he will set out for his command in Canada.1 I am happy that my conduct in intercepting Lord Drummond’s letter is approved of by Congress. I have the honor to be, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [479]

PROCLAMATION ON THE EVACUATION OF BOSTON.

Whereas the ministerial army has abandoned the town of Boston, and the forces of the United Colonies under my command are in possession of the same; I have therefore thought it necessary for the preservation of peace, good order, and discipline, to publish the following orders, that no person offending therein may plead ignorance as an excuse for his misconduct.

All officers and soldiers are hereby ordered to live in the strictest peace and amity with the inhabitants; and no inhabitant, or other person, employed in his lawful business in the town is to be molested in his person or property, on any pretence whatever.

If any officer or soldier shall presume to strike, imprison, or otherwise ill-treat any of the inhabitants, he may depend on being Edition: current; Page: [480] punished with the utmost severity; and if any officer or soldier shall receive any insult from any of the inhabitants, he is to seek redress in a legal way, and no other.

Any non-commissioned officer or soldier, or others under my command, who shall be guilty of robbing or plundering in the town, are to be immediately confined, and will be most rigidly punished. All officers are therefore ordered to be very vigilant in the discovery of such offenders, and report their names and crime to the commanding officer in the town, as soon as may be.

The inhabitants and others are called upon to make known to the quartermaster-general, or any of his deputies, all stores belonging to the ministerial army, that may be remaining or secreted in the town; any person or persons whatsoever, that shall be known to conceal any of the said stores, or appropriate them to his or their own use, will be considered as an enemy to America, and treated accordingly.

The selectmen and other magistrates of the town are desired Edition: current; Page: [481] to return to the Commander-in-chief the names of all or any person or persons, they may suspect of being employed as spies upon the Continental army, that they may be dealt with accordingly.

All officers of the Continental army are enjoined to assist the civil magistrates in the execution of their duty, and to promote peace and good order. They are to prevent, as much as possible, the soldiers from frequenting tippling-houses, and strolling from their posts. Particular notice will be taken of such officers as are inattentive and remiss in their duty; and, on the contrary, such only as are active and vigilant will be entitled to future favor and promotion.

Given under my hand, at Head-Quarters, in Cambridge, the 21st day of March, 1776.1

George Washington
Washington, George
21 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Gentlemen,

Ere now, I was in hopes of congratulating you on the departure of the ministerial troops, not only from your capital, but country. That they still remain in the harbor, after having been five days embarked, affords matter of speculation, and, collected as their force is now, of apprehension. This circumstance, the security of Boston by a work on Fort Hill and the demolition of the lines on the Neck, and preservation of the stores for Continental use, belonging to the King by a proper search after them, rendered it indispensably necessary for me to throw some troops into the town immediately, it coming within the line of my duty. But, notwithstanding all the precaution, which I have endeavored to use, to restrain and Edition: current; Page: [482] limit the intercourse between the town and country and army for a few days, I greatly fear that the smallpox will be communicated to both.

So soon as the fleet sets sail, my attention must be turned to another quarter, and most of the Continental regiments now here must be marched off. It may be necessary, therefore, for you, Gentlemen, to consider the state of your harbor, and think of such works as may be found necessary for the defence of it, and the town also, in case another armed force, (which I by no means expect,) should be sent hither. I shall leave three or four regiments as circumstances may require for security of the stores, and throwing up works as shall be deemed necessary for the purposes above mentioned; and shall direct the officer commanding them to receive such instructions, in respect to the latter, as you may think proper to give. It has been suggested to me, that, in the town of Boston, there is a good deal of property belonging to refugees, and such other inimical persons as, from the first of the present dispute, have manifested the most unfriendly disposition to the American cause; and that part of this property is in such kind of effects, as can be easily transported, concealed, or changed. I submit to you, therefore, Gentlemen, the expediency of having an inquiry made into this matter, before it is too late for redress, leaving the decision thereupon (after the quantum, or value, is ascertained, and held in a state of durance) to the consideration of a future day. I have ordered, that no violence be offered by the soldiery, either to the Edition: current; Page: [483] property or persons of those people; wishing that the matter may be taken into consideration by your honorable body, and in such a way as you shall judge most advisable.1

The enclosed came to me a few days ago, and I beg leave to recommend the purport of it to the consideration of the Court. I shall take the liberty to add, as my opinion, that the Congress expect nothing else, than that the field-officers of the Massachusetts regiments should receive the same pay, as those of the other colonies have done; and that they expected, at the time the pay was fixed, fifteen pounds to a colonel, twelve pounds to a lieutenant-colonel, and ten pounds to a major, was the actual establishment of this government. I could wish, therefore, they were allowed it, to remove the jealousies and uneasiness Edition: current; Page: [484] which have arisen. I am, with great respect and esteem, Gentlemen, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [485]
George Washington
Washington, George
21 March, 1776
Cambridge
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I received your favour of the 18 Inst. and concur with you in opinion, that their women and children with the Tory Families will most probably goe to Halifax this is what I meant and alluded to, having never suspected that they (especially the latter) would goe to New York.

I am extreemly obliged by your friendly hint and shall ever receive them with pleasure. But I do not think that they were apprehensive of an attack from our side but rather preparing to make one; However let their designs have been what they may, I have the satisfaction to Inform you, that on Sunday morning last they totally evacuated the Town, and we are now in full possession; upon which event I beg leave to congratulate you, and more so, as the Town is in a much better situation than was expected, added to this, they have left by means of their precipitate retreat Stores of one kind & another to a pretty considerable amount, a particular detail of which or estimation of there value, I have not yet got.—Notwithstanding they have abandoned the Town, and there have been favorable winds for their departure, they are still lying with their fleet in Nantasket road, but for what purpose, is a matter of much conjecture, some suposing their Vessels to have been loaded with such hurry and confusion as to be unfit for sea and to require sundry things and arrangements to be settled previous to their goeing out; But for my own Edition: current; Page: [486] part, I cannot but suspect they are waiting for some opportunity to give us a stroke at a moment when they conceive us to be off our guard, in order to retrieve the honor they have lost, by their shamefull and scandelous retreat diminishing from that Lustre and renown which British armies were wont to boast and justly claimed as their right.—Suspecting them of such motives, I shall not detach any more of the Army than what is gone already; untill they have taken their departure and quitted the Coast.

I heartily thank you for your kind attention to my last requisition, and am glad that the Companies you have ordered are of the Militia; the trouble and inconveniences occasioned by them, being far less than what generally attend Voluntiers—Nothing but necessity and the Importance of New York to us in the present contest could have induced the application and therefore as soon as they can be spared by the arrival of our Army, they will be at Liberty to return home to their common and necessary employments except such as may chuse to Inlist and continue in Service.

In compliance with your request, I shall direct the Troops or some of them that goe from hence after the ministerial Fleet are gone, to pursue their Rout on or near the Sea Coast, If they can be accommodated with Covering and provision; that they may be ready to oppose the Enemy in case they make any attempt upon your Colony about the time of their goeing; tho that is what I do not apprehend; I rather suppose when they once set out, that they will Edition: current; Page: [487] repair to New York, or where ever bound with all posible dispatch to secure the place they are destined for by surprize, lest preparations shou’d be made to receive & prevent them. I am, Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
24 March, 1776
Cambridge

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

When I had the honor to address you on the 19th instant, upon the evacuation of the town of Boston by the ministerial army, I fully expected, as their retreat and embarkation were hurried and precipitate, that, before now, they would have departed the harbor, and been far on their passage to the place of destination. But, to my surprise and disappointment, the fleet is still in Nantasket Road. The purpose inducing their stay is altogether unknown; nor can I suggest any satisfactory reason for it. On Wednesday night last, before the whole of the fleet fell down to Nantasket, they demolished the Castle, Edition: current; Page: [488] and houses belonging to it, by burning them down, and the several fortifications. They left a great number of the cannon, but have rendered all of them, except a very few, entirely useless, by breaking off the trunnions, and those they spiked up, but may be made serviceable again; some are already done.

There are several vessels in the docks, which were taken by the enemy, some with and others without cargoes, which different persons claim as their property and right. Are they to be restored to the former owners, on making proof of their title, or to belong to the Continent, as captures made from the enemy? I wish Congress would direct a mode of proceeding against them, and establish a rule for decision. They appear to me to be highly necessary. In like manner, some of the cannon, which are in Boston, are said to have come from the Castle. Supposing them, with those remaining at the Castle, to have been purchased by and provided originally at the expense of this province, are they now to be considered as belonging to it, or to the public? I beg leave to refer the matter to the opinion of Congress, and pray their direction how I am to conduct respecting them.

It having been suggested to me, that there was considerable property &c. belonging to persons, who had, from the first of the present unhappy contest, manifested an unfriendly and inveterate disposition, in the town of Boston, I thought it prudent to write to the honorable General Court upon the subject, that it might be inquired after and secured. A copy of the letter I herewith send you, and submit it to Edition: current; Page: [489] Congress, whether they will not determine how it is to be disposed of, and as to the appropriation of the money arising from the sale of the same.

As soon as the town was abandoned by the enemy, I judged it advisable to secure the several heights, lest they should attempt to return; and, for this purpose, have caused a large and strong work to be thrown up on Fort Hill, a post of great importance, as it commands the whole harbor, and, when fortified, if properly supported, will greatly annoy any fleet the enemy may send against the town, and render the landing of their troops exceedingly difficult, if not impracticable. This work is almost done, and in a little time will be complete; and, that the communication between the town and country may be free and open, I have ordered all the lines upon the Neck to be immediately destroyed, and the other works on the sides of the town facing the country, that the inhabitants from the latter may not be impeded, but afforded an easy entrance, in case the enemy should gain possession at any future time. These matters I conceived to be within the line of my duty; of which I advised the General Court, and recommended to their attention such other measures, as they might think necessary for securing the town against the hostile designs of the enemy.

I have just got an inventory of stores and property belonging to the Crown, which the enemy left in Boston, at the Castle, and Bunker’s Hill, which I have the honor to transmit to you; and shall give strict orders, that a careful attention be had to any Edition: current; Page: [490] more that may be found. I shall take such precautions respecting them, that they may be secure, and turn to the public advantage, as much as possible, or as circumstances will admit of.

A Mr. Bullfinch from Boston who acted as clerk to Mr. —, having put into my hands a list of rations drawn the Saturday before the troops evacuated the town, I have enclosed it for your inspection. He says neither the staff officers or women are included in the list; from which it appears that their number was greater than we had an idea of.1

Major-General Ward and Brigadier-General Frye are desirous of leaving the service, and, for that purpose, have requested me to lay the matter before Congress, that they may be allowed to resign their commissions.2 The papers containing their applications you will herewith receive. These will give you a full and more particular information upon the subject, and, therefore, I shall take the liberty of referring you to them. I would mention to Congress that the Commissary of Artillery stores has informed me that whatever powder has been sent to the camp, has always come without any bill, ascertaining the number of casks or quantity. This it is probable has proceeded from forgetfulness or inattention in the persons appointed to send it, or to the negligence of those who brought it, tho’ they have declared otherwise, and that they never had any. As it may prevent in some measure embezzlements (tho’ I do not Edition: current; Page: [491] suspect any to have been made) and the Commissary will know what and how much to receive, and be enabled to discover mistakes, if any should happen, I shall be glad if you will direct a bill of parcels to be always sent in future. There have been so many accounts from England, all agreeing that Commissioners are coming to America, to propose terms for an accommodation, as they say, that I am inclined to think the time of their arrival not very far off. If they come to Boston, which probably will be the case, if they come to America at all, I shall be under much embarrassment respecting the manner of receiving them, and the mode of treatment, that ought to be used.1 I therefore pray, that Congress will give me directions, and point out the line of conduct to be pursued; whether they are to be considered as ambassadors, and, to have a pass or permit for repairing through the country to Philadelphia, or Edition: current; Page: [492] to any other place; or whether they are to be restrained in any and what manner. I shall anxiously wait their orders and, whatever they are, comply with them literally. I have the honor, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
25 March, 1776
Cambridge
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

My Dear Sir,

Since my last, things remain nearly in statu quo. The enemy have the best knack at puzzling people I ever met with in my life. They have blown up, burnt, and demolished the Castle totally, and are now all in Nantasket Road. They have been there ever since Wednesday. What they are doing, the Edition: current; Page: [493] Lord knows. Various are the conjectures. The Bostonians think their stay absolutely necessary to fit them for sea, as the vessels, neither in themselves nor their lading, were in any degree fit for a voyage, having been loaded in great haste and much disorder. This opinion is corroborated by a deserter from one of the transports, who says they have yards, booms, and bowsprits yet to fix. Others again think, that they have a mind to pass over the equinoctial gale before they put out, not being in the best condition to stand one; others, that they are a reinforcement, which I believe has arrived, as I have had an account of the sailing of fifteen vessels from the West Indies. But my opinion of the matter is, that they want to retrieve their disgrace before they go Edition: current; Page: [494] off, and I think a favorable opportunity presents itself to them. They have now got their whole force into one collected body, and no posts to guard. We have detached six regiments to New York, and have many points to look to, and, on Monday next, ten regiments of militia, which were brought in to serve till the first of April, will be disengaged.1 From former experience, we have found it as practicable to stop a torrent, as these people, when their time is up. If this should be the case now, what more favorable opening can the enemy wish for, to make a push upon our lines, nay, upon the back of our lines at Roxbury, as they can land two miles from them and pass behind? I am under more apprehension from them now than ever, and am taking every precaution I can to guard against the evil; but we have a kind of people to deal with, who will not fear danger till the bayonet is at their breast, and then they are susceptible enough of it. I am fortifying Fort Hill in Boston, and demolishing the lines on the Neck there, as they are a defence against the country only, and Edition: current; Page: [495] making such other dispositions, as appear necessary for a general defence. I can spare no more men till I see the enemy’s back fairly turned, and then I shall hasten towards New York.

You mention Mr. Webb in one of your letters for an assistant.1 He will be agreeable enough to me, if you think him qualified for the business. What kind of a hand he writes, I know not. I believe but a cramped one; latterly none at all, as he has either the gout, or rheumatism, or both. He is a man fond of company and gayety, and is of a tender constitution. Whether, therefore, such a person would answer your purpose so well as a plodding, methodical person, whose sole business should be to arrange his papers in such order as to produce any one at any instant it is called for, and capable at the same time of composing a letter, is what you have to consider. I can only add, that I have no one in view myself, and wish you success in your choice; being with great truth and sincerity, dear Sir, your affectionate servant.

P. S. I have taken occasion to hint to a certain gentleman in this camp, without introducing names, my apprehensions of his being concerned in trade. He protests most solemnly that he is not, directly nor indirectly, and derives no other profit than the Congress allows him for defraying the expenses, to wit, 5 per cent. on the goods purchased.2

Edition: current; Page: [496]
George Washington
Washington, George
24th day of March, 1776
Cambridge
Thomas Mifflin
Mifflin, Thomas

TO COLONEL THOMAS MIFFLIN, QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL.
INSTRUCTIONS.

As the motions of the enemy, and the operations of the ensuing campaign, render it indispensably necessary, that a very large body of troops should be immediately assembled at or near New York, you will immediately proceed to Norwich in Connecticut, where you will, in concert with the Brigadier-Generals Heath and Sullivan, regulate the embarkation of the brigades under their command, and settle all such matters with the commissary-general of provisions, and contracts for the transports, as may be further necessary for expediting the march of the rest of the army with the stores, artillery, and camp equipage. This being done, you will proceed without delay to New York; where your first care will be to provide barracks for the troops, firing, forage, and quarters for the general officers. Fix upon a proper house or houses for a general hospital, and stabling for the Continental draught-horses. Intrenching tools must also be immediately provided, with a sufficient quantity of joists and planks for platforms, and timber for gun-carriages; in short, every article necessary for the public service, and which your experience in the last campaign convinces you will be wanted in that now approaching.

The variety of the business of your department renders it next to impossible to point out particularly every duty of your office. Therefore, a latitude is given you in these orders and instructions, which, together with the directions and advice of the commanding general at New York, must be the rule for the future regulation of your conduct; and I shall at present only recommend, that the same integrity, zeal, diligence, and activity, which has animated your past services, may govern that which is to come. Given at Head-Quarters, in Cambridge, this 24th day of March, 1776.1

Edition: current; Page: [497]
George Washington
Washington, George

ANSWER TO AN ADDRESS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MASSACHUSETTS.

Gentlemen,

I return you my most sincere and hearty thanks for your polite address; and feel myself called upon by every principle of gratitude, to acknowledge the Edition: current; Page: [498] honor you have done me in this testimonial of your approbation of my appointment to the exalted station I now fill, and, what is more pleasing, of my conduct in discharging its important duties.

When the councils of the British nation had formed a plan for enslaving America, and depriving her sons of their most sacred and invaluable privileges, against the clearest remonstrances of the constitution, of justice, and of truth, and, to execute their schemes, had appealed to the sword, I esteemed it my duty to take a part in the contest, and more especially on account of my being called thereto by the unsolicited suffrages of the representatives of a free people; wishing for no other reward, than that arising from a conscientious discharge of the important trust, and that my services might contribute to the establishment of freedom and peace, upon a permanent foundation, Edition: current; Page: [499] and merit the applause of my countrymen, and every virtuous citizen.

Your acknowledgment of my attention to the civil constitution of this colony, whilst acting in the line of my department, also demands my grateful thanks. A regard to every Provincial institution, where not incompatible with the common interest, I hold a principle of duty and of policy, and it shall ever form a part of my conduct. Had I not learnt this before, the happy experience of the advantages resulting from a friendly intercourse with your honorable body, their ready and willing concurrence to aid and to counsel, whenever called upon in cases of difficulty and emergency, would have taught me the useful lesson.

That the metropolis of your colony is now relieved from the cruel and oppressive invasions of those, who were sent to erect the standard of lawless domination, and to trample on the rights of humanity, and is again open and free for its rightful possessors, must give pleasure to every virtuous and sympathetic heart; and its being effected without the blood of our soldiers and fellow-citizens must be ascribed to the interposition of that Providence, which has manifestly appeared in our behalf through the whole of this important struggle, as well as to the measures pursued for bringing about the happy event.

May that Being, who is powerful to save, and in whose hands is the fate of nations, look down with an eye of tender pity and compassion upon the whole of the United Colonies; may He continue to smile upon their counsels and arms, and crown them with Edition: current; Page: [500] success, whilst employed in the cause of virtue and mankind. May this distressed colony and its capital, and every part of this wide extended continent, through His divine favor, be restored to more than their former lustre and once happy state, and have peace, liberty, and safety secured upon a solid, permanent, and lasting foundation.1

George Washington
Washington, George
29th day of March, 1776
Cambridge
Major-General Putnam
Major-General Putnam

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PUTNAM.
INSTRUCTIONS.

As there are the best reasons to believe, that the enemy’s fleet and army, which left Nantasket Road last Wednesday evening, are bound to New York, to endeavor to possess that important post, and, if possible, secure the communication by Hudson’s River to Canada, it must be our care to prevent them from accomplishing their designs. To that end, I have detached Brigadier-General Heath with the whole body of riflemen and five battalions of the Continental army, by the way of Norwich in Connecticut, to New York. These, by an express arrived yesterday from General Heath, I have reason to believe are in New Edition: current; Page: [501] York. Six more battalions under General Sullivan march this morning by the same route, and will, I hope, arrive there in eight or ten days at the farthest. The rest of the army will immediately follow in divisions, leaving only a convenient space between each division, to prevent confusion and want of accommodation upon their march.

You will no doubt make the best despatch in getting to New York. Upon your arrival there, you will assume the command, and immediately proceed in continuing to execute the plan proposed by Major-General Lee, for fortifying that city and securing the passes of the East and North Rivers. If, upon consulation with the brigadier-generals and engineers, any alteration in that plan is thought necessary, you are at liberty to make it; cautiously avoiding to break in too much upon his main design, unless where it may be apparently necessary so to do, and that by the general voice and opinion of the gentlemen above mentioned.

You will meet the quartermaster-general, Colonel Mifflin, and the commissary-general, at New York. As they are both men of excellent talents in their different departments, you will do well to give them all the authority and assistance they require; and should a council of war be necessary, it is my direction they shall assist at it. Your long service and experience will, better than any particular directions at this distance, point out to you the works most proper to be first raised; and your perseverance, activity, and zeal will lead you, without my recommending it, to exert every nerve to disappoint the enemy’s designs.

Devoutly praying, that the Power, which has hitherto sustained the American arms, may continue to bless them with His divine protection, I bid you farewell. Given at Head-Quarters, in Cambridge, this 29th day of March, 1776.

George Washington
Washington, George
31 March, 1776
Cambridge
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

Your letter of the 24th ultimo was duly forwarded to this camp by Colonel Lee, and gave me the pleasure Edition: current; Page: [502] of hearing that you, my sister, and family were well. After your post is established to Fredericksburg, the intercourse by letter may become regular and certain; and whenever time, little of which I have for friendly correspondence, will permit, I shall be happy in writing to you. I cannot call to mind the date of my last to you, but this I recollect, that I have written more letters than I have received from you.

The want of arms and powder is not peculiar to Virginia.1 This country, of which doubtless you have heard large and flattering accounts, is more deficient in both than you can conceive. I have been here months together, with (what will scarcely be believed) not thirty rounds of musket cartridges to a Edition: current; Page: [503] man; and have been obliged to submit to all the insults of the enemy’s cannon for want of powder, keeping what little we had for pistol distance. Another thing has been done, which, added to the above, will put it in the power of this army to say, what perhaps no other with justice ever could say. We have maintained our ground against the enemy, under this want of powder, and we have disbanded one army, and recruited another, within musket-shot of two and twenty regiments, the flower of the British army, whilst our force has been but little if any superior to theirs; and, at last, have beaten them into a shameful and precipitate retreat out of a place the strongest by nature on this continent, and strengthened and fortified at an enormous expense.

As some account of the late manœuvres of both armies may not be unacceptable, I shall, hurried as I always am, devote a little time to it. Having received a small supply of powder, very inadequate to our wants, I resolved to take possession of Dorchester Point, lying east of Boston, looking directly into it, and commanding the enemy’s lines on Boston Neck. To do this, which I knew would force the enemy to an engagement, or subject them to be enfiladed by our cannon, it was necessary, in the first instance, to possess two heights (those mentioned in General Burgoyne’s letter to Lord Stanley, in his account of the battle of Bunker’s Hill), which had the entire command of the point. The ground at this point being frozen upwards of two feet deep, and as impenetrable as a rock, nothing could be attempted Edition: current; Page: [504] with earth. We were obliged, therefore, to provide an amazing quantity of chandeliers and fascines for the work; and, on the night of the 4th, after a previous severe cannonade and bombardment for three nights together, to divert the enemy’s attention from our real design, we removed every material to the spot, under cover of darkness, and took full possession of those heights, without the loss of a single man.

Upon their discovery of the works next morning, great preparations were made for attacking them; but not being ready before the afternoon, and the weather getting very tempestuous, much blood was saved, and a very important blow, to one side or the other, was prevented. That this most remarkable interposition of Providence is for some wise purpose, I have not a doubt. But, as the principal design of the manœuvre was to draw the enemy to an engagement under disadvantages to them, as a premeditated plan was laid for this purpose, and seemed to be succeeding to my utmost wish, and as no men seem better disposed to make the appeal than ours did upon that occasion, I can scarcely forbear lamenting the disappointment, unless the dispute is drawing to an accommodation, and the sword going to be sheathed. But, to return, the enemy thinking, as we have since learnt, that we had got too securely posted, before the second morning, to be much hurt by them, and apprehending great annoyance from our new works, resolved upon a retreat, and accordingly on the 17th embarked in as much hurry, precipitation, and confusion, Edition: current; Page: [505] as ever troops did, not taking time to fit their transports, but leaving the King’s property in Boston, to the amount, as is supposed, of thirty or forty thousand pounds in provisions and stores. Many pieces of cannon, some mortars, and a number of shot and shells are also left; and baggage-wagons and artillery-carts, which they have been eighteen months preparing to take the field with, were found destroyed, thrown into the docks, and drifted upon every shore. In short, Dunbar’s destruction of stores after General Braddock’s defeat, which made so much noise, affords but a faint idea of what was to be met with here.

The enemy lay from the 17th to the 27th in Nantasket and King’s Roads, about nine miles from Boston, to take in water from the islands thereabouts, and to prepare themselves for sea. Whither they are now bound, and where their tents will be next pitched, I know not; but, as New York and Hudson’s River are the most important objects they can have in view, as the latter secures the communication with Canada, at the same time that it separates the northern and southern colonies, and the former is thought to abound in disaffected persons, who only wait a favorable opportunity and support to declare themselves openly, it becomes equally important for us to prevent their gaining possession of these advantages; and, therefore, as soon as they embarked, I detached a brigade of six regiments to that government, and, when they sailed, another brigade composed of the same number; and to-morrow another Edition: current; Page: [506] brigade of five regiments will march. In a day or two more, I shall follow myself, and be in New York ready to receive all but the first.

The enemy left all their works standing in Boston and on Bunker’s Hill; and formidable they are. The town has shared a much better fate than was expected, the damage done to the houses being nothing equal to report. But the inhabitants have suffered a good deal, in being plundered by the soldiery at their departure. All those who took upon themselves the style and title of government-men in Boston, in short, all those who have acted an unfriendly part in the great contest, have shipped themselves off in the same hurry, but under still greater disadvantages than the King’s troops, being obliged to man their own vessels, as seamen enough could not be had for the King’s transports, and submit to every hardship that can be conceived. One or two have done, what a great number ought to have done long ago, committed suicide. By all accounts, there never existed a more miserable set of beings, than these wretched creatures now are. Taught to believe, that the power of Great Britain was superior to all opposition, and, if not, that foreign aid was at hand, they were even higher and more insulting in their opposition than the regulars. When the order issued, therefore, for embarking the troops in Boston, no electric shock, no sudden explosion of thunder, in a word, not the last trump could have struck them with greater consternation. They were at their wits’ end, and, conscious of their black ingratitude, they chose Edition: current; Page: [507] to commit themselves, in the manner I have above described, to the mercy of the waves at a tempestuous season, rather than meet their offended countrymen.

I believe I may with great truth affirm, that no man perhaps since the first institution of armies ever commanded one under more difficult circumstances, than I have done. To enumerate the particulars would fill a volume. Many of my difficulties and distresses were of so peculiar a cast, that, in order to conceal them from the enemy, I was obliged to conceal them from my friends, and indeed from my own army, thereby subjecting my conduct to interpretations unfavorable to my character, especially by those at a distance, who could not in the smallest degree be acquainted with the springs that governed it. I am happy, however, to find, and to hear from different quarters, that my reputation stands fair, that my conduct hitherto has given universal satisfaction. The addresses, which I have received, and which I suppose will be published, from the General Court of this colony, and from the selectmen of Boston upon the evacuation of the town, and my approaching departure from the colony, exhibit a pleasing testimony of their approbation of my conduct, and of their personal regard, which I have found in various other instances, and which, in retirement, will afford many comfortable reflections.

The share you have taken in the public disputes is commendable and praiseworthy. It is a duty we owe our country; a claim which posterity has upon us. Edition: current; Page: [508] It is not sufficient for a man to be a passive friend and well-wisher to the cause. This, and every other cause of such a nature, must inevitably perish under such an opposition. Every person should be active in some department or other, without paying too much attention to private interest. It is a great stake we are playing for, and sure we are of winning, if the cards are well managed. Inactivity in some, disaffection in others, and timidity in many, may hurt the cause. Nothing else can; for unanimity will carry us through triumphantly, in spite of every exertion of Great Britain, if we are linked together in one indissoluble bond. This the leaders know, and they are practising every stratagem to divide us, and unite their own people. Upon this principle it is, that the restraining bill is passed, and commissioners are coming over. The device, to be sure, is shallow, the covering thin, but they will hold out to their own people, that the acts complained of are repealed, and commissioners sent to each colony to treat with us, and that we will attend to neither of them. This, upon weak minds among us, will have its effect. They wish for reconciliation; or, in other words, they wish for peace without attending to the conditions.

General Lee, I suppose, is with you before this. He is the first officer, in military knowledge and experience, we have in the whole army. He is zealously attached to the cause, honest and well-meaning, but rather fickle and violent, I fear, in his temper. However, as he possesses an uncommon share of Edition: current; Page: [509] good sense and spirit, I congratulate my countrymen upon his appointment to that department.1 As I am now nearly at the end of my eighth page, I think it time to conclude; especially, as I set out with prefacing the little time I had for friendly correspondences. I shall only add, therefore, my affectionate regards to my sister and the children, and compliments to friends; and that I am, with every sentiment of true affection, your loving brother and faithful friend.

end of vol. iii.
1

On June 24th the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts appointed a committee to consider the steps “proper to be taken for receiving General Washington with proper respect, and to provide a house for him accordingly.” The report was made on the 25th but was not perfected until the next day. “Resolved, that Doct. Benjamin Church and Mr. Moses Gill, be a committee to repair to Springfield, there to receive Generals Washington and Lee, with every mark of respect due to their exalted characters and stations; to provide proper escorts for them, from thence, to the army before Boston, and the house provided for their reception at Cambridge; and to make suitable provision for them, in manner following, viz.: by a number of gentlemen of this colony from Springfield to Brookfield; and by another company raised in that neighborhood, from there to Worcester; and by another company, there provided, from thence to Marlborough; and from thence, by the troop of horse to that place, to the army aforesaid; and [to make suitable provision for] their company at the several stages on the road, and to receive the bills of expenses at the several inns, where it may be convenient for them to stop for refreshment, to examine them, and make report of the several sums expended at each of them, for that purpose, that orders may be taken by the Congress for the payment of them; and all innkeepers are hereby directed to make provision agreeably to the requests made by the said committee: and that General Ward be notified of the appointment of General Washington, as commander in chief of the American forces, and of the expectation we have, of his speedy arrival with Major General Lee, that he, with the generals of the forces of the other colonies, may give such orders for their honorable reception, as may accord with the rules and circumstances of the army, and the respect due to their rank, without, however, any expense of powder, and without taking the troops off from the necessary attention to their duty, at this crisis of our affairs.”

“I hope the utmost politeness and respect will be shown to these officers on their arrival. The whole army, I think, should be drawn up upon the occasion, and all the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war displayed;—no powder burned, however.John Adams to Gerry, 18 June, 1775.

The cost of escorting and entertaining the generals from Springfield to Cambridge was twenty eight pounds, five shillings and ten pence, lawful money.

The appointment of Washington was soon known in the camp at Cambridge, and preparations were made to receive him. On the 26th of June the Provincial Congress had ordered that the “President’s [of the College] house in Cambridge, excepting one room reserved for the president for his own use, be taken, cleared, prepared and furnished, for the reception of General Washington and General Lee.” On June 29th, the word of parole in Cambridge Camp was Washington, and of countersign, Virginia. July 1st the Congress directed the committee in whose charge the orders respecting the house had been placed, to “purchase what things are necessary that they cannot hire,” a matter of some delay and difficulty, as on the fifth the same committee was ordered to “complete the business.” General Washington arrived in Cambridge on Sunday, July 2d, about two o’clock in the afternoon. The first of the general orders issued is dated July 3d. On the 5th the Provincial Congress appointed some of its members to confer with Washington “on the subject of furnishing his table and know what he expects relative thereto.” Some question may have been raised on the general acceptableness of the President’s house for Washington’s purposes, as on the 6th the Congress directed the Committee of Safety to “desire General Washington to let them know if there is any house at Cambridge that would be more agreeable to him and General Lee than that in which they now are; and in that case the said Committee are directed to procure such house and put it in proper order for their reception.” The general thought a change expedient, and on the 8th the Committee of Safety directed that the house of John Vassall, subsequently known as the “Craigie house,” belonging to a refugee loyalist, should be immediately put in a proper condition for the reception of his excellency and his attendants. On the 7th the Provincial Congress directed the “committee appointed to procure a steward for General Washington” to “procure him two or three women, for cooks.” A report was made on the following, which was accepted, directing a “committee to make inquiry forthwith for some ingenious, active and faithful man to be recommended to Gen’l Washington as a steward; likewise, to procure and recommend to him some capable woman, suitable to act in the place of a housekeeper, and one or more good female servants.” Ebenezer Austin was soon after appointed steward, and remained in that capacity while the General was at Cambridge. When Washington moved into the Vassall house is uncertain, but Mr. Charles Deane, to whose careful study of the subject I am indebted for most of the above facts, conjectures it was in the month of July. On the 9th the Congress provided for supplying the General with such articles of household furniture as he had written for, and on the 15th is noted in Washington’s accounts an item for cleaning the house assigned to him for quarters. The Provincial Congress expired on the 19th, leaving the house still incompletely furnished, for its legislative successor, the House of Representatives on the 22d ordered the Committee of Safety to “complete the furnishing of General Washington’s house, and in particular to provide him four or five more beds.” See the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, September, 1872, 257.

1

“We would not presume to prescribe to your excellency, but supposing you would choose to be informed of the general character of the soldiers who compose the army, beg leave to represent, that the greatest part of them have not before seen service; and although naturally brave and of good understanding, yet, for want of experience in military life, have but little knowledge of divers things most essential to the preservation of health and even life. The youth of the army are not possessed of the absolute necessity of cleanliness in their dress and lodging, continual exercise, and strict temperance, to preserve them from diseases frequently prevailing in camps, especially among those, who, from childhood, have been used to a laborious life.”—From the Address of the Congress. The entire address is printed in Journals of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, 438.

1

“The Hon: Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam Esquires, are appointed Major Generals of the American Army, and due obedience is to be paid them as such. The Continental Congress not having compleated the appointments of the other officers in said army, nor had sufficient time to prepare and forward their Commissions; every officer is to continue to do duty in the Rank and Station he at present holds, untill further orders.

“Thomas Mifflin Esqr: is appointed by the General one of his Aid-de-Camps.—Joseph Reed Esqr is in like manner appointed Secretary to the General, and they are in future to be considered and regarded as such.

“The Continental Congress having now taken all the Troops of the several Colonies, which have been raised, or which may be hereafter raised, for the support and defence of the Liberties of America; into their Pay and Service: They are now the Troops of the United Provinces of North America; and it is hoped that all Distinctions of Colonies will be laid aside; so that one and the same spirit may animate the whole, and the only Contest be, who shall render, on this great and trying occasion, the most essential Service to the great and common cause in which we are all engaged.

“It is required and expected that exact discipline be observed, and due Subordination prevail thro’ the whole Army, as a Failure in these most essential points must necessarily produce extreme Hazard, Disorder and Confusion; and end in shameful disappointment and disgrace.

“The General most earnestly requires, and expects, a due observance of those articles of war, established for the Government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkeness; And in like manner requires & expects, of all Officers, and Soldiers, not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on divine Service, to implore the blessings of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defence.

“All Officers are required and expected to pay diligent Attention, to keep their Men neat and clean—to visit them often at their quarters, and inculcate upon them the necessity of cleanliness, as essential to their health and service. They are particularly to see, that they have Straw to lay on, if to be had, and to make it known if they are destitute of this article. They are also to take care that Necessarys be provided in the Camps and frequently filled up to prevent their being offensive and unhealthy. Proper Notice will be taken of such Officers and Men, as distinguish themselves by their attention to these necessary duties.” Orderly Book, 4 July, 1775.

“The General most earnestly recommends & requires of all the Officers, that they be exceeding diligent and strict in preventing all Invasions and Abuse of private property in their quarters, or elsewhere; he hopes, and indeed flatters himself, that every private Soldier will detest, and abhor such practices, when he considers, that it is for the preservation of his own Rights, Liberty and Property, and those of his Fellow Countrymen, that he is now called into service: that it is unmanly and sully’s the dignity of the great cause, in which we are all engaged, to violate that property, he is called to protect, and especially, that it is most cruel and inconsistant, thus to add to the Distresses of those of their countrymen, who are suffering under the Iron hand of oppression.” 5 July, 1775.

“No Soldier, belonging to these posts, or elsewhere, to be suffered to straggle at a distance from their respective parade, on any pretence, without leave from his Officers: As an unguarded Hour, may prove fatal to the whole army, and to the noble Cause in which we are engaged. The Importance of which, to every man of common understanding, must inspire every good Officer and Soldier, with the noblest Ardour and strictest attention, least he should prove the fatal Instrument of our ruin. . . .

“The General has great Reason; and is highly displeased, with the Negligence and Inattention of those Officers, who have placed as Centries, at the out-posts, Men with whose Characters they are not acquainted. He therefore orders, that for the future, no Man shall be appointed to those important Stations, who is not a Native of this Country, or has a Wife, or Family in it, to whom he is known to be attached. This order is to be consider’d as a standing one and the Officers are to pay obedience to it at their peril.” 7 July, 1775.

1

The council of war concluded that the enemy number 11,500 men; that the present posts occupied should be defended; that the American army should be raised to 22,000 men; that the Massachusetts regiments should be recruited, and the Provincial Congress should furnish a temporary reinforcement; and that the “Welch Mountains near Cambridge and in the rear of the Roxbury lines” was a suitable place for a rendezvous in case of a dissolution of the army or the positions should become untenable.

1

Resolved, That the Committee of Safety be directed to wait on General Washington, and inform him of the powers with which the Congress have vested them; and that the Committee of Supplies remain possessed of all those powers they have heretofore had; and to confer with the General with regard to the circumstances of the army, and to desire him to call in all that are out on furlough, and direct that all recruits be ordered to the camp as soon as made; and the said committee are further directed to issue their order for calling in such a number of militia from the several parts of this colony as the General shall request, not exceeding three thousand men.” Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 11 July, 1775. Washington thought that a temporary reinforcement of one thousand men, to be stationed at Medford would be sufficient for the existing exigency, and until the new levies then raising could be completed; but some intelligence from Boston received on the evening of the 12th, induced the General to decide that the proposed reinforcement could be dispensed with. “The time of harvest, the expected troops from the southward, and the repeated calls which have been made of the like nature from this Province, are strong reasons to postpone this measure, if consistent with safety.” Reed to the Provincial Congress, 12 July, 1775.

1

Read before Congress, July 19th.

2

The house and barn of Mr. Brown stood on the west side of the highway [Washington Street] near the present location of Franklin Square. On the 8th of July a party of volunteers from the Rhode Island and Massachusetts forces, under the command of Majors Tupper and Crane attacked the post and drove in the guard and set fire to the buildings, but two attempts appear to have been necessary to accomplish this. Jos. Trumbull to Eliph. Dyer, 11 July, 1775. “This was the only armed conflict between the opposing armies which took place within the original limits of Boston.” Centennial Anniversary Evacuation of Boston, 12.

1

The original line of American fortification crossed what is now Washington Street, on the line of division between Boston and Roxbury, near the present Clifton Place.

2

“Yesterday, as I was going to Cambridge, I met the Generals [Washington and Lee], who begged me to return to Roxbury again, which I did. When they had viewed the works, they expressed the greatest pleasure and surprise at their situation and apparent utility, to say nothing of the plan, which did not escape their praise.” General Knox to his wife, 6 July, 1775. “General Washington fills his place with vast ease and dignity, and dispenses happiness around him.” 9 July. “The new generals are of infinite service to the army. They have to reduce order almost from a perfect chaos. I think they are in a fair way of doing it.” 11 July.

1

Ordered, that Mr. Wilson apply to the committee of the city and liberties of Philadelphia, and request them to make diligent enquiry what quantity of duck, Russia sheeting, tow-cloth, oznaburgs and ticklenburgs can be procured in this city, and make return as soon as possible to this Congress.” Journals, July 19th.

1

Trumbull was appointed by Congress; and the naming of the other officers as well as of three brigade majors was left to Washington. Journals, July 19th.

2

General Ward wrote to the Provincial Congress on the 7th, that “great numbers in the army are almost naked for want of shirts, breeches, stockings, shoes, and other clothing; and unless they can be immediately supplied, inconceivable difficulties and distrust will accrue to the army.”

1

“We arrived here on Sunday before dinner. We found everything exactly the reverse of what had been represented. We were assured at Philadelphia that the army was stocked with Engineers. We found not one. We were assured that we should find an expert train of artillery. They have not a single gunner, and so on. So far from the men being prejudiced in favour of their own officers, they are extremely diffident in them, and seem much pleased that we are arrived. The men are really very fine fellows, and had they fair play would be made an invincible army.” Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 4 July, 1775. Lee Papers, i., 188.

“Until I visited headquarters at Cambridge, I never heard of the valor of Prescott at Bunker Hill, nor the ingenuity of Knox and Waters in planning the celebrated works at Roxbury. We were told here that there were none in our camp who understood the business of an engineer, or anything more than the manual exercise of the gun. This we had from great authority, and, for want of more certain intelligence, were obliged at least to be silent. There are many military geniuses at present unemployed and overlooked, who, I hope when the army is new modelled, will be sought after and enlisted into the service of their country. They must be sought after, for modest merit declines to push itself into public view.” Samuel Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 26 September, 1775.

1

“At the request of General Washington, Resolved, That no more commissions for the present be delivered to any officers of the Colony Army, those employed more particularly for the protection of the seacoasts, excepted.” Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 3 July, 1775.

2

A remarkable memorial in favor of General Spencer is to be found in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1585. A letter from Samuel B. Webb to Silas Deane, 11 July, 1775, throws some light on Spencer’s conduct. Collections Connecticut Historical Society, ii., 285, 288, 290.

3

“As Pomroy is now Absent, and at the distance of an hundred miles from the Army, if it can be consistent with your Excellencys Trust and the Service to retain his Commission untill you shall receive Advice from the Continental Congress, and we shall be able to prevail with Heath to make a concession Honourable to himself, and advantageous to the publick. We humbly conceive the way would be open to do Justice to Thomas.” Jas. Warren and Joseph Hawley, to Washington, 4 July, 1775.

1

Resolved, That General Thomas be appointed first brigadier-general in the army of the United Colonies, in the room of General Pomeroy, who never acted under the commission sent to him, and that General Thomas’s commission bear the same date that General Pomeroy’s did.” Journals, July 19th.

2

A general return of the army is printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1630.

1

On 10 July General Gates issued an order to be observed by the recruiting officers, who were immediately sent upon that service:—

“You are not to enlist any deserter from the Ministerial army, nor any stroller, negro, or vagabond, or person suspected of being an enemy to the liberty of America, nor any under eighteen years of age.

“As the cause is the best that can engage men of courage and principle to take up arms, so it is expected that none but such will be accepted by the recruiting officer. The pay, provision, &c., being so ample, it is not doubted but that the officers sent upon this service will, without delay, complete their respective corps, and march the men forthwith to camp.

“You are not to enlist any person who is not an American born, unless such person has a wife and family, and is a settled resident in this country. The persons you enlist must be provided with good and complete arms.” Gaines’ Mercury, July 24th.

1

Resolved, That such a body of troops be kept up in the Massachusetts Bay, as General Washington shall think necessary, provided they do not exceed twenty-two thousand men.”—Journals, July 21st. See note on p. 6.

2

“Upon my soul the materials here (I mean the private men) are [admira]ble; had they proper uniforms, arms, and proper officers, their zeal, youth, bodily strength, good humor, [and dext]erity, must make ’em an invincible army. The Rhode [Islanders] are well off in the article of officers and the young [officers of] the other Provinces are willing, and with a little time do very well. But from the old big wigs [—libera] nos Domine. The abilities of their engineers are not [transcen]dant, I really believe not a single man of them is [capable] of constructing an oven.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 20 July, 1775.

“Although in the Massachusetts part of the army there are divers brave and intrepid officers, yet there are too many, and even several colonels, whose characters, to say the least are very equivocal with respect to courage. There is much more cause to fear that the officers will fail in a day of trial, than the privates. I may venture to say, that if the officers will do their duty, there is no fear of the soldiery.”—Joseph Hawley to Washington, 5 July, 1775.

1

On the 10th Washington wrote to Benjamin Harrison, but the letter is lost and its contents can only be guessed at by Harrison’s reply, printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, ii., 1697. The more important matters are indicated by the following extracts: “Your fatigue and various kinds of trouble, I dare say are great; but they are not more than I expected, knowing the people you have to deal with by the sample we have here. . . . The want of engineers, I fear, is not to be supplied in America. Some folks here seemed much displeased at your report on that head. They affirm there are two very good ones with you—a Colonel Gridley, I think, is one. I took the liberty to say that they must be mistaken; they were certainly either not in camp, or could not have the skill they were pleased to say they had. This, in my soft way, put a stop to anything more on the subject. Indeed, my friend, I do not know what to think of some of these men; they seem to be exceeding hearty in the cause, but still wish to keep everything amongst themselves. . . . The Congress have given you the appointment of three brigade majors. Mr. Trumbull has the office you proposed for him. The appointments of the commissary of artillery, ditto of musters, and quartermaster-general, are also left to your disposal. . . . We have given the commission of first brigadier to Mr. Thomas. As Putnam’s commission was delivered, it would, perhaps have offended the old gentleman to have superceded him; the other I hope, will still act. The Congress have, from your account, a high opinion of him, and I dare say will grant anything in their power that he may hereafter require. Your hint for a remove of the Congress to some place nearer to you, will come on to-morrow. I think it will not answer your expectations if we should remove; you shall have the result in the close of this. The military chest, I hope, will be supplied soon; they begin to strike the bills this day, so that I hope some may be forwarded to you next week. . . . (21 July). The debate about our remove was taken yesterday, and determined in the negative. I proposed a committee, but could not carry it. I think the last method would have answered your purpose best, but the gentlemen could not think of parting with the least particle of their power.” (23 July.) This letter never reached Washington, being intercepted by the British. It is printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1775. When Washington was in Congress there appears to have been some talk of removing to Connecticut, (Silas Deane to his wife, 16 June, 1775), and again in September (Silas Deane to his wife, September 22).

1

At Bunker’s Hill, on the 17th of June. According to a return published by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, the loss was one hundred and forty-five killed and missing, and three hundred and four wounded. About thirty of the first number were wounded and taken prisoners. By General Gage’s official return, the killed and missing of the British were two hundred and twenty-six, and the wounded eight hundred and twenty-eight, in all one thousand and fifty four.—Almon’s Remembrancer, vol. i., pp. 99, 179.

1

“Eight transports with troops that have been at Sandy Hook since Thursday last are to sail from thence to day. Reports prevail that the men on board have mutinied, that they refused to go to Boston. Of this, however, I have not been able to get any certainty. Hand bills have been introduced amongst them to encourage them to quit on the first favorable opportunity a service which must render them odious to all honest men. Governor Tryon’s conduct has hitherto been unexceptionable, and from the information I have been able to procure, some of which I put great confidence in, I have reason to believe that the line he has chalked out for himself is such as we would wish he should hold.”—General Schuyler to Washington, 1 July, 1775.

“Notwithstanding Gov. Tryon’s plausible behavior I recommended it to you to watch him narrowly and as any unlucky Change of Affairs on our Part may produce a Change in him of his present unexceptionable conduct, I expect you will on the first Appearance of such a Change pursue the advice given in my last Letter. The like Advice I give you respecting General Haldiman who is supposed by some to have gone to New York with a Design to counteract us in that Province. . . .

“The dispersing Hand Bills amongst the Troops at New York has my most hearty Approbation and may have a good Effect here. Our Enemies have attempted nothing against us since my arrival here—they are strongly posted on Bunkers Hill & are still busy in throwing up additional Works. We have thrown up several Lines and Redoubts between Mystick River & Dorchester Point to prevent their making Way into the Country and in a few Days shall be well prepared to receive them in Case a Sortiee is attempted.—Washington to Schuyler, 10 July, 1775.

“Since I did myself the honor of addressing you the 10th. instant, nothing material has happened in the camp. From some late and authentic advices of the state of the ministerial troops and the great inconvenience of calling in the militia at this season, I have been induced for the present to waive it; but in the meantime recruiting parties have been sent through this province to fill the regiments to the establishment of the Provincial Congress. . . . The great scarcity of fresh provisions in their army has led me to take every precaution to prevent a supply. For this purpose I have ordered all the cattle and sheep to be drove from the low grounds and farms within their reach. A detachment from General Thomas’ camp on Wednesday night went over to Long Island, and brought from thence 20 cattle and a number of sheep, with about 15 laborers who had been put on by a Mr. Ray Thomas, in order to cut hay, &c. By some accident they omitted burning the hay, and returned the next day to complete it, which they effected amidst the firing of the shipping with the loss of one man killed, and another wounded. Last evening also a party of the Connecticut men [under Major Greaton] strolled down upon the marsh at Roxbury and fired upon a sentry, which drew on a heavy fire from the enemy’s lines and floating battery, but attended with no other effect than the loss of one man killed by a shot from the enemy’s lines.”—To the President of Congress, Cambridge, 14 July, 1775.

“The General observing great remissness, and neglect, in the several Guards in and about the Camp, orders the Officers commanding any Guard to turn out his Guard immediately upon the near approach of The Commander in Chief or any of the General Officers, and upon passing the Guard; The Commander in Chief is to be received with rested Arms; the Officer to salute and the Drums to beat a march. The Majors General with rested Arms, the Officer to salute and the Drums to beat two Ruffles. The Brigadiers General with rested Arms, the Officer to salute and the Drums to beat one Ruffle.—There being something awkward, as well as improper, in the General Officers being stopp’d at the outposts; ask’d for passes by the Sentries, and obliged often to send for the Officer of the Guard (who it sometimes happens is as much unacquainted with the Persons of the Generals, as the private men) before they can pass in or out: It is recommended to both Officers and Men, to make themselves acquainted with the persons of all the Officers in General Command, and in the mean time to prevent mistakes: The General Officers and their Aids-de-Camp, will be distinguished in the following manner.

“The Commander in Chief by a light blue Ribband, wore across his breast, between his Coat and Waistcoat.

“The Majors and Brigadiers General, by a Pink Ribband wore in the like manner.

“The Aids-de-Camp by a green ribband.”—Orderly Book, 14 July, 1775.

“Notwithstanding the Orders already given, the General hears with astonishment, that not only Soldiers, but Officers unauthorized, are continually conversing with the Officers and Sentrys of the Enemy; any Officer Non Commissioned Officer or Soldier, or any Person whatsoever, who is detected holding any Conversation, or carrying on any Correspondence with any of the Officers or Sentrys or the advanc’d posts of the enemy, will be immediately brought before a General Court Martial, and punished with the utmost severity. The General is alone to judge of the propriety of any intercourse with the enemy and no one else is to presume to interfere.” 15 July, 1775.

“The Continental Congress having earnestly recommended, that ‘Thursday next the 20th Instant, be observed by the Inhabitants of all the English Colonies upon this Continent; as a Day of public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; that they may with united Hearts & Voice, unfeinedly confess their Sins before God, and supplicate the all wise and merciful disposer of events, to avert the Desolation and Calamities of an unnatural War:’ The General orders, that Day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the proclamation of the Continental Congress: It is therefore strictly enjoin’d on all Officers and Soldiers, (not upon duty) to attend Divine Service, at the accustomed places of worship, as well in the Lines, as the Encampments and Quarters; and it is expected, that all those who go to worship, do take their Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements, & are prepared for immediate Action if called upon. If in the Judgment of the Officers, the Works should appear to be in such forwardness as the utmost security of the Camp requires, they will command their men to abstain from all Labour upon that solemn day.

“It was with much surprise and concern that the General in passing along the New Hampshire Lines yesterday, observed a most wanton, mischievous, and unprofitable Abuse of property, in the Destruction of many valuable Trees, which were standing along the side of the road, out of the way of our works or guns, he therefore orders, that an effective stop be put to such practices for the future, or severe punishment will fall upon the Transgressors of this order.”—Orderly Book, 16 July, 1775.

1

Governor Trumbull was one of the firmest patriots and best men, that his country has produced. He was at this time sixty-five years old, having been born in the year 1710, yet no man engaged with more zeal and activity in the common cause. So true was he to the principles of liberty, and such was the confidence of his fellow citizens in his talents and integrity, that, although first appointed Governor in 1769, several years before the breaking out of the war, he was constantly chosen with great unanimity to the same station till the end of the revolution, when, at the age of seventy-three, he declined a further election. His services were of very great importance throughout the whole war, not only in regulating the civil affairs of Connecticut, but in keeping alive a military ardor among the people, and thus promoting efficiency and promptness of action in the forces contributed from time to time by that State. Governor Trumbull had written to Washington:

“Suffer me to join in congratulating you, on your appointment to be General and Commander-in-chief of the troops raised or to be raised for the defence of American liberty. Men, who have tasted of freedom, and who have felt their personal rights, are not easily taught to bear with encroachments on either, or brought to submit to oppression. Virtue ought always to be made the object of government; justice is firm and permanent.

“His Majesty’s ministers have artfully induced the Parliament to join in their measures, to prosecute the dangerous and increasing difference between Great Britain and these colonies with rigor and military force; whereby the latter are driven to an absolute necessity to defend their rights and properties, by raising forces for their security. The honorable Congress have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme Director of all events has caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist amongst us. Now, therefore, be strong and very courageous. May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his divine providence on you, give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain.”

In reply Washington wrote on July 18th: “Allow me to return you my sincere thanks, for the kind wishes and favorable sentiments expressed in yours of the 13th instant. As the cause of our common country calls us both to an active and dangerous duty, I trust that Divine Providence, which wisely orders the affairs of men, will enable us to discharge it with fidelity and success. The uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people has raised you to deserved eminence. That the blessings of health, and the still greater blessing of long continuing to govern such a people, may be yours, is the sincere wish of, Sir, your, &c.”

1

I am unable to trace this paper. Washington’s letter was intended to counteract Spencer’s effort to secure precedence over Putnam.

2

“If after what has happened, the Enemy in Revenge of their late Loss, should dare to attempt forcing our Lines, The Army may be assured, that nothing but their own Indolence and Remissness, can give the least hope of success to so rash an Enterprise: It is therefore strongly recommended to the Commanding Officers of Corps, Guards and Detachments; that they be assiduously alert in parading their Men, at their several posts, half an hour before day break, and remain there, untill the Commanding Officers think proper to dismiss them:

“The General hears with Astonishment, the very frequent applications, that are made to him, as well by Officers as Soldiers for Furloughs: Brave Men, who are engaged in the noble Cause of Liberty; should never think of removing from their Camp, while the Enemy is in sight, and anxious to take every Advantage, any Indiscretion on our side may give them: The General doubts not, but the Commanding Officers of Corps will anticipate his wishes, and discourage those under them, from disgracefully desiring to go home, untill the Campaign is ended.”—Orderly Book, July 18, 1775.

1

Two companies were added to each regiment of the colony before Boston and the army of observation was placed under the command of Washington. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, vii., 354, 355.

1

“It is with inexpressible Concern that the General upon his first Arrival in the army, should find an Officer sentenced by a General Court Martial to be cashier’d for Cowardice—A Crime of all others, the most infamous in a Soldier, the most injurious to an Army, and the last to be forgiven; inasmuch as it may, and often does happen, that the Cowardice of a single Officer may prove the Distruction of the whole Army. The General therefore (tho’ with great Concern, and more especially, as the Transaction happened before he had the Command of the Troops) thinks himself obliged for the good of the service, to approve the Judgment of the Court Martial with respect to Capt: John Callender, who is hereby sentenced to be cashiered. Capt: John Callender is accordingly cashiered and dismissd: from all farther service in the Continental Army as an Officer.

“The General having made all due inquiries, and maturely consider’d this matter is led to the above determination not only from the particular Guilt of Capt Callenders, but the fatal Consequences of such Conduct to the army and to the cause of america.

“He now therefore most earnestly exhorts Officers of all ranks to shew an Example of Bravery and Courage to their men; assuring them that such as do their duty in the day of Battle, as brave and good Officers, shall be honor’d with every mark of distinction and regard; their names and merits made known to the General Congress and all America: while on the other hand, he positively declares that every Officer, be his rank what it may, who shall betray his Country, dishonour the Army and his General, by basely keeping back and shrinking from his duty in any engagement; shall be held up as an infamous Coward and punish’d as such, with the utmost martial severity; and no connections, Interest, or Intercessions in his behalf will avail to prevent the strict execution of Justice.”—Orderly Book, 7 July, 1775.

1

“I am informed by his Excellency that the idea of colony troops is to be abolished, and that the whole army is to be formed into brigades, and the generals to be appointed by the Congress. . . . I wish that good and able men may be the objects of the Continental choice, rather than subjects of particular interests.” General Greene. Life of Greene, i., 103, 104.

2

“Regularity and due Subordination, being so essentially necessary, to the good Order and Government of an Army, and without it, the whole must soon become a Scene of disorder and confusion. The General finds it indispensibly necessary, without waiting any longer for dispatches from the General Continental Congress, immediately to form the Army into three Grand Divisions, and of dividing each of those Grand Divisions into two Brigades: He therefore orders that the following Regiments vizt—

Genl Wards, Gen Thomas’s, Col Fellows, Col Cottons, Col Danielsons, Col Dad Brewer’s, compose one Brigade, and be under the Command of Brigadier General Thomas; that Genl Spencers, Col Parsons, Col Walkers, Col I. Reads, Col Learneards, Independents, compose another Brigade, to be commanded by Brigadier Genl Spencer: That these two Brigades compose the right wing or division of the army; and be under the command of Major General Ward, and remain at Roxbury, and its Southern dependencies. That Col Starks, Col Poors, Col Reeds—New Hampshire; Col Nixons, Col. Mansfield, Col Doolittles—Massachusetts, be formed into another Brigade under the Command of Brigadier General Sullivan, and posted on Winter hill. That Col Varnums, Col Hitchcocks, Col Churchs—Rhode Island; Col Whitecombes, Col Gardners, Col I. Brewers, Col Littles—Massachusetts, be formed into another Brigade, and commanded by Brigadier Genl Green, and posted upon Prospect Hill; and these two Brigades compose the left wing or second division of the army under the Command of Major Genl Lee. That Genl Putnams, Col Glovers, Col Fryes, Col Bridges, Col Woodbridges, Col Serjeants, be formed into another Brigade, under the Command of the Senior Officer therein, and until the pleasure of the Continental Congress be known; These two Brigades to be under the Command of Major Genl Putnam, also a Corps-de-reserve, for the defence of the several posts, north of Roxbury, not already named.

“The arrangement now ordered to take place, is to be made as speedily as possible, and the Majors Generals are to see it done accordingly, some inconveniences may arise to certain Individuals by this change, but as the good of the service requires it to be made an alert and ready compliance is expected.” Orderly Book, 22 July, 1775.

1

See Journals, July 27th.

1

By a vote of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (April 26th), Mr. Richard Derby of Salem was empowered to fit out his vessel, as a packet, to carry intelligence of the Lexington battle to England, and all charges were to be paid by the colony. It was commanded by Captain John Derby, who arrived in London on the 29th of May, having taken with him several copies of the Essex Gazette, in which was contained the first published account of the affair at Lexington and Concord. This was reprinted and circulated in London the day after his arrival and gave the first notice of that event to the English public. Captain Derby was summoned before the Privy Council, the ministry having received no despatches from General Gage confirming such a report. Nor did his letters arrive till eleven days afterwards, although the vessel conveying them sailed four days previous to the departure of Captain Derby. Great excitement was produced throughout England, and the clamor grew loud against the ministers, because it was presumed that they concealed the official accounts, and wished to keep the people in ignorance. On the 10th of June, however, as soon as General Gage’s official report reached Whitehall, it was published.—Journal of Massachusetts Provincial Congress.—MS. Papers in the State Paper Office, London.

Captain Derby took with him the original affidavits of the people in Lexington and Concord respecting the battle, and a letter from the Provincial Congress to Dr. Franklin, agent in England for Massachusetts. These identical papers are now in the Library of Harvard University. When Captain Derby arrived in London Dr. Franklin had sailed for America, and he was at sea when the affair at Lexington took place. The papers were, therefore, handed to Arthur Lee, who was Dr. Franklin’s successor. He retained them, and recently they have been deposited in the Library of the university, with other manuscripts, by Mr. R. H. Lee, of Virginia.

1

“Captain Darby’s accounts differ very essentially from the newspapers he brought. He says the general sentiment is against us, and even the London merchants who have petitioned, are at heart our enemies, which the ministry well know. The commencement of hostilities was the wonder of a day, and then little thought of. Stocks only fell 1½ per cent., which they often do on the slightest alarm. A minister never dreads a fall till it gets to 8 per cent.”—Joseph Reed to Pettit, “Life of Reed,” i., 117, 118.

“The news from America occasioned a great stir among us yesterday. . . . Gage’s account is not yet arrived. He sent his letters by a merchant ship laden with goods. The Bostonians sent their story by a ship in ballast, the master of which brought no letters whatever, but appeared in London yesterday morning with the account you will see printed, and a London Evening Post extraordinary was published last night to spread the alarm. It is strange to see the many joyful faces upon this event, thinking, I conclude, that Rebellion will be the means of changing the Ministry. . . . I have seen no Ministers, but I have seen Governor Hutchinson, and he agrees with me in opinion, and says the hurry they were in of sending a ship express from Salem convinces him that the story is misrepresented for purposes of the faction there.”—Lord George Germaine to General Irwin, 30 May, 1775.

“We have received an account through the channel of a private ship sent on purpose, as we conceive, by the Provincial Congress assembled in Massachusetts Bay, of a skirmish between a detachment of the King’s troops and some rebel provincials in the neighborhood of Boston. This account, as you will readily believe, is made up with a view of creating alarm here, and answer the ends of faction; but as we have not yet any intelligence from General Gage, I can only say, with great satisfaction, that it has failed of its object, and has had no other effect than to excite that just indignation that every honest man feels at the measures adopted in North America for supporting by acts of open rebellion, a resistance to the laws and authority of this kingdom.”—Earl of Dartmouth to Governor Franklin, 7 June, 1775.

April 29. May 29. June 28.
Bank stock 142¼ 142¾ 141¾
Four per cents 91⅛ 91 90⅜
Three per cent. consols 89⅛ 89 Shut.
South sea stock 99½ 99 Shut.
1

A party of American troops, under Major Vose, set fire to the light-house, which stood on an island about nine miles from Boston. It was considered an enterprise of some merit, as a British man-of-war was stationed within a mile of the place. “Some of the brave men who effected this with their lives in their hands have just now applied to me to know whether it [what they captured at the light House] was to be considered as plunder or otherwise. I was not able to determine this matter, but told them that I would lay the matter before your excellency.”—Heath to Washington, 21 July, 1775.

1

Mr. Hancock had written: “I must beg the favor, that you will reserve some berth for me, in such department as you may judge most proper; for I am determined to act under you, if it be to take the firelock and join the ranks as a volunteer.” In reply Washington wrote from Cambridge, 21 July: “I am particularly to acknowledge that part of your favor of the 10th instant, wherein you do me the honor of determining to join the army under my command. I need certainly make no professions of the pleasure I shall have in seeing you. At the same time I have to regret, that so little is in my power to offer equal to Colonel Hancock’s merits, and worthy of his acceptance. I shall be happy in every opportunity to show the regard and esteem with which I am, &c., &c.” The company of Cadets in Boston had been commanded by Mr. Hancock, with the rank of Colonel. He was dismissed from that command by General Gage. A curious correspondence on the subject is contained in the Boston Gazette, August 29th, 1774. It does not appear that he joined the army under Washington in any military capacity, as above proposed.

2

Taken from Reed, Life of Reed, i, 109.

1

“As the Continental Army have unfortunately no Uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise, from not being able always to distinguish the Commissioned Officers, from the non Commissioned, and the non Commissioned from the private; it is desired that some Badges of Distinction may be immediately provided, for Instance, the Field Officers may have red or pink colour’d Cockades in their Hatts: the Captains yellow or buff; and the Subalterns green. They are to furnish themselves accordingly—The Serjeants may be distinguished by an Epaulette, or stripe of red Cloth, sewed upon the right shoulder; the Corporals by one of green.”—Orderly Book, 23 July, 1777.

“You will, I presume, before this letter gets to hand, hear of my appointment to the command of the Continental army. I arrived at this camp the 2d instant.

“You must, no doubt, also have heard of the engagement on Bunker’s Hill the 17th ultimo; but as I am persuaded you will have a very erroneous account transmitted of the loss sustained on the side of the Provincials, I do assure you, upon my word, that our loss, as appears by the returns made to me since I came here, amounts to no more than one hundred and thirty-nine killed, thirty-six missing, and two hundred and seventy-eight wounded; nor had we, if I can credit the most solemn assurances of the officers, who were in the action, above one thousand five hundred men engaged on that day. The loss on the side of the ministerial troops, as I am informed from good authority, consisted of one thousand and forty-three killed and wounded, whereof ninety-two were officers.

“Enclosed I send you a second address from the Congress to the inhabitants of Great Britain; as also a declaration setting forth the causes and necessity of their taking up arms.”—Washington to George William Fairfax, 25 July, 1775.

“In my hurry, yesterday, I forgot the principal thing I had in view, when I sat down to write to you, and that was, to inform you of the indispensable necessity you must now be under of appointing another Attorney. The nature of the business I am now engaged in (which alone is full sufficient to engross the time and attention of any one Man) and the distance I am removed from your business, as well as my own, puts it absolutely out of my power to be of any further service to you in Virginia: It is a duty incumbent on me, therefore, to inform you of this circumstance, that you may, without delay, appoint some other Attorney to manage your Affairs; as it would be folly in the extreme, in me, to undertake to conduct your business at the distance of 600 Miles, when it is utterly out of my power (but by means of a third person) to Order and direct my own.”—Washington to George William Fairfax, 26 July, 1775.

1

Gage in July found from a census of the city population, 6,573 civilians, and an army of 13,500.

2

A goldsmith, Rolston, came out from Boston and reported “that the distress of the troops increases fast, their beef is spent, their malt and cider all gone; all the fresh provisions they can procure, they are obliged to give to the sick and wounded . . . that last week a poor milch cow was killed in town and sold for a shilling sterling a pound.”—Pennsylvania Journal, 2 August, 1775.

1

When Parliament assembled in November, 1774, the opposition was largely in the minority and what strength it had was much weakened by divisions. It was known that New England was in a state of rebellion, while the violent conduct of local committees in other colonies was creating a prejudice against moderate councils. As early as November 18th the King wrote to Lord North that “blows must decide whether they are to be subjects to this country or independent.” “We must either master them,” he wrote the next day, “or totally leave them to themselves and treat them as aliens.” In his address to Parliament he declared his resolution to withstand every attempt to weaken or impair the supreme authority of the legislature over all his dominions, the maintenance of which he considered essential to the dignity, safety, and welfare of the Empire.—Adolphus, History of England, ii., 158. These sentiments were adopted by the Parliament, and the Ministry could always count upon handsome majorities for their measures. On May 26th the Parliament was prorogued, the King making a temperate speech in which he expressed the most perfect satisfaction with the conduct of that body at such an important crisis.

1

“But on Tuesday three men of war and six transports sailed out of Boston harbour and stood a course about E. S. E. One Grover, who came out of Boston the same evening informed the officer at one of the outposts that the transports had on board 600 men, and were bound to Block Island, Fisher Island, and Long Island, to plunder them and bring off what cattle they may find. This fellow returned again into Boston under such suspicious circumstances that it has led me to doubt the truth of his intelligence. A deserter who came in afterwards informs me that it was given out in the camp they were either gone for Indians or fresh provisions, and that each transport had but twenty men on board. Upon this intelligence I immediately wrote to Governor Cooke of Rhode Island and to General Wooster, that they might take proper precautions for removing the cattle off those islands, and to prevent any surprise. As we are confirmed by every account in the great scarcity of fresh provisions in the enemies camp, and particularly by this deserter, who says they have had none since the battle of Lexington, it is very probable this voyage may be only intended for a supply. But as it may possibly be otherwise, I thought it best to transmit the intelligence to the honorable Congress, that they may either forward it to the southward, or take any other step which they may judge proper. Since writing the above three more deserters have come out, which makes four in twenty-four hours. Their accounts correspond with those of the first who came out.”—Washington to the President of Congress, Cambridge, 27 July, 1775.

“Yesterday a Deputation from the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire attended me with a Request that three Companies raised in their Province and now posted on Connecticut River at and between the two Colonies commanded by Capts. Timothy Rudle, James Osgood and John Parker might be continued for the Security of the Frontiers of that Province on the continental Establishment: As it did not appear to me that their request could be complied with and as I apprehend you may have more immediate Occasion for them than I have, I thought it proper to give you the earliest Notice where they are that if you think proper you may order them to join the Troops under your Command. In which Case you will please write to Matthew Thornton Esqr President of the Provincial Congress. Each Company consists of 65 Men including Officers and are reported to me as able bodied stout active Fellows used to the woods capable of any Duty and having an Acquaintance with Canada—But you will please to remember that they must continue under their own Officers to whom they are attached and subject only to superior Command.—We have had no Transaction of any Consequence since I wrote you last. Our Army is in good Health and Spirits well supplied with all kinds of Provisions. The Situation of the Enemy is directly the Reverse and we have Reason to think Desertions will be very great. Four have come out within the last 24 Hours.”—Washington to Schuyler, 27 July, 1775.

1

“One striking circumstance upon the first view of it [Lee’s letter] is that the rebels are more alarmed at the report of engaging the Indians than at any other measure. And I humbly think this letter alone shows the expediency of diligently preparing and employing that engine.”—Burgoyne to Lord North, in Fonblanque’s Political and Military Episodes, p. 178.

“The steps which you say the rebels have taken for calling in the assistance of the Indians, leave no room to hesitate upon the propriety of our pursuing the same measure. For this purpose I inclose to you a letter to Colonel Johnson, containing His Majesty’s commands for engaging a body of Indians.”—Lord Dartmouth to General Gage, August, 1775. The letter referred to is probably that printed in Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, viii., 596. A journal of Johnson’s transactions with the Indians from May to November, 1775, is printed in the same collection, p. 658.

1

“The unhappy controversy which has subsisted between the officers at Ticonderoga relative to the command, has, I am informed, thrown every thing into vast confusion: troops have been dismissed, others refused to serve, if this or that man commands.; the sloop is without either captain or pilot, both of which are dismissed or come away. . . . A very considerable waste or embezzlement [of provisions] has occurred.”—Schuyler to the President of Congress, 11 July, 1775. “Unfortunately not one earthly thing has been done to enable me to move hence. I have neither boats sufficient, nor any materials prepared for building them. The stores I ordered from New York are not yet arrived: I have therefore not a nail, no pitch, no oakum, and want a variety of articles indispensably necessary . . . An almost equal scarcity of ammunition subsists, no powder having yet come to hand; not a gun carriage for the few proper guns we have, and as yet very little provision; two hundred troops less than by my last return, these badly, very badly, armed indeed, and one poor armorer to repair their guns.”—Schuyler to Congress, 21 July, 1775.

1

Gage was at this time considering the expediency of removing his force to New York, regarding Boston as “the most disadvantageous place for all operations, particularly when there is no diversion of the rebel forces, but all are collected into one point. Was this army in New York, that Province might, to all appearance be more easily reduced, and the friends of government be able to raise forces to join the troops.”—Gage to Earl of Dartmouth, 24 July, 1775.

So the ministry were beginning to look to New York as the proper center for operations, not only for military reasons, but also to recover the attachment and fidelity of that province.—Earl of Dartmouth to Governor Tryon, 1 July, 1775, and to Gen. Gage, 2 August, 1775. Washington suspected such a movement was on foot as early as August 10th, and warned the New York Congress.

2

In House of Representatives July 29, 1775—Resolved, that Doctr Church, Mr. Woodbridge and Mr. Sewall, with such as the Honble Board shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington, & inform him of the distress’d Situation of the Inhabitants of the Eastern parts of the Colony; and know of him, if he can, Consistent with his Instructions, and the General Service, order a Detachment there, to prevent the Enemy from Ravaging the Country, and plundering the Inhabitants of their Cattle, Sheep, Wood &c; to Supply—themselves.

1

This letter may not have satisfied the General, Court, for the Council on August 2d, ordered Mr. Greenleaf, Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Palmer to wait upon the General, and “to request him to inform this Board of the extent of the powers delegated to him by the Honorable Continental Congress.”

2

Connecticut had recently determined to send fourteen hundred additional men to the camp. These were called new levies. “As the season is now advanced and the enemy considerably reinforced, we have the utmost reason to expect any attack that may be made will not be much longer delayed. I should, therefore, think it highly necessary the new raised troops should join the army with all possible expedition.”—Washington to Governor Trumbull, July, 1775.

1

“The situation of the army as to ammunition is by no means what it ought to be. We have great reason to expect the enemy very soon intends to bombard our lines, and our stock of powder is so small as in a great degree to make our heavy artillery useless.”—To the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 4 Aug., 1775. At a council held at Cambridge, August 3, 1775, the general communicated letters respecting the state of the ammunition which appears to be far short of the return made some time ago. The whole stock of the army at Roxbury and Cambridge and the adjacent posts consisting of only 90 bbls or thereabouts.

It was proposed to make an attempt on the magazine at Halifax where there is reason to suppose there is a great quantity of powder. The question was agreed to by a great majority, and a detachment for this enterprise consisting of 300 men was ordered.

Also to endeavor to collect a supply from the neighboring provinces of New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

“On the 3d of August a council was held at head quarters, and it was found that, owing to a mistake in the report of the Massachusetts committee, instead of four hundred and eighty-five quarter-casks of powder in the magazine, as had been supposed, there were only thirty-five half barrels, or not half a pound a man. When Washington heard the report he was so much struck by the danger ‘that he did not utter a word for half an hour; every one else was equally surprised. Messengers were despatched to all the southern colonies to call in their stores.’ ”—1 Greene, Greene, 109, 110. Sullivan to New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 5 August, 1775. The subject was reflected in the general orders of the 4th:—

“It is with indignation and shame to general observers, that notwithstanding the repeated orders which have been given to prevent the firing of guns, in and about the camp, that it is daily and hourly practised; that contrary to all orders, straggling soldiers do still pass the guard, and fire at a distance, where there is not the least probability of hurting the enemy, and where no other end is answered, but to waste ammunition, expose themselves to the ridicule of the enemy, and keep their own camps harrassed by frequent and continual alarms, to the hurt of every good soldier, who is thereby disturbed of his natural rest, and will at length never be able to distinguish between a real and a false alarm.

“For these reasons, it is in the most peremptory manner forbid any person or persons whatsoever, under any pretence, to pass the out guard, unless authorized by the commanding officer of that part of the lines, signified in writing, which must be shown to the officer of the guard as they pass. Any person offending in this particular, will be considered in no other light than as a common enemy, and the guard will have orders to fire upon them as such. The commanding officer of every regiment is to direct that every man in his regiment, is made acquainted with orders, to the end that no one may plead ignorance, and that all may be apprized of the consequence of disobedience. The colonels of regiments and commanding officers of corps, to order the rolls of every company to be called twice a day, and every man’s ammunition examined at evening roll calling, and such as are found to be deficient to be confined. The guard are to apprehend all persons firing guns near their posts, whether townsmen or soldiers.”—Orderly Book.

1

“A committee was appointed to act during the recess of the General Assembly, with full powers; and among them they were ‘particularly empowered to employ the two armed vessels in the service of this colony, or either of them, in such a manner, and upon such voyage as they shall think conducive to the public interest.”—Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, vii., 365.

2

Mr. Bancroft says John Brown.

1

“When any plunder is taken from the Enemy (not excepted by the Continental Articles of war) such plunder must be all surrender’d to the Commanding Officer, and as soon as convenient after his arrival at Head Quarters, public Notice must be made, that an Auction will be held in the front of the Encampment for the sale thereof the next day at noon, and the money arising therefrom, is to be equally divided between the Officers and Men, that took it. This Order is not to be construed to extend, to permitting unlawful and irregular plundering; as any Officer, or Soldier, who shall be found guilty thereof, will be punished with the greatest severity.”—Orderly Book, 3 August, 1775.

1

Congress directed that a commission as colonel should be issued to Col. Gridley.

1

general return of the united colonies commanded by genl washington, july 29th, 1775.

Massachusetts Bay regiments 26, & 4 Independt companies. Connecticut regiments 3. New Hamshire regiments 3. Rhode Island regiments 3.

Total of present commisioned officers, 30 Colonels. 31 Lt. Colonels. 35 Majors. 289 Captains. 511 Lieutenants. 73 Ensigns. Total of present Staff officers 14 Chaplains. 34 Adjutants. 35 2d Masters. 35 Surgeons. 30 Masters—Total of non commissioned officers, 1202 Serjeants. 612 Drums and fifes. Rank and file present fit for duty, 13899. Sick present 1330. Sick absent, 1690—on furlough. 287. On Command 692. Total rank and file 16898—Wanting to compleat, 124 Serjeants. 105 Drums and fifes. 2079 privates. Colo Sargents regiment not included in the above return.

1

Joseph Trumbull. The plan is reproduced in Winsor’s “History of Boston,” II., 80.

1

The Indian’s name was Louis. “He has all along appeared friendly to the New England people, is very intelligent, and has the character among the Indian traders of an honest fellow, who has always stood by and made good his word.”—Col. John Hurd to the New Hampshire Congress, 27 July, 1775.

1

Jacob Bayley (1728-1816), served in the French and Indian war; in 1776 commenced the military road designed to run from the Connecticut River to St. Johns (Canada), afterwards known as the Hazen road. He was commissary-general during a part of the Revolution, and held a commission from New York.

2

Arnold had written to the Continental Congress on 13 June, that this tribe of Indians were determined not to assist the king’s troops, and had decreed death to any member who should violate that conclusion.

1

Read before Congress, Sept. 13th. Congress had adjourned on August 1 to meet on September 5th, but from the small attendance on that day a further adjournment was made to September 13th. The many important questions raised by Washington were such as Congress did not feel competent to pass upon without more definite information. To secure this it appointed a committee, consisting of Mr. Franklin, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. Lynch, to go to the camp and consult with the General.—Journal, September 29th and 30th.

1

A delegate from New York to the Continental Congress.

1

The original is in the possession of Mr. George Haven Putnam, who has kindly given me a copy.

1

“It has been intimated to the general, that some officers, under pretence of giving furloughs to men recovering from sickness, send them to work upon their farms for their own private emolument, at the same time that the public is taxed with their pay, if not with their provisions. These insinuations being but obliquely made, the general is unwilling to believe that any officer can be so lost to all sense of honor as to defraud the public in so scandalous a manner, and, therefore, does not at present pay any further regard to the insinuation than to declare that he will show no favor to any officer who shall be found guilty of such iniquitous practices; but will do his utmost endeavors to bring them to exemplary punishment, and the disgrace due to such mal-conduct.”—Orderly Book, August 8th.

1

“It is a matter of exceeding great concern to the General to find, that at a time when the united efforts of America are exerting in defence of the common rights and liberties of mankind, that there should be in an army constituted for so noble a purpose, such repeated instances of officers, who lost to every sense of honor and virtue, are seeking by dirty and base means, the promotion of their own dishonest gain, to the eternal disgrace of themselves and dishonor of their country. Practices of this sort will never be overlooked, whenever an accusation is lodged; but the authors brought to the most exemplary punishment.”—Orderly Book, 10 August, 1775.

2

“We have had no occurrence in the camp for several days worthy of notice; but by some advices from Boston, and several concurring circumstances, we have great reason to suspect a part or the whole of the ministerial troops, are about to remove. New York is the place generally talked of as their destination. I give you the intelligence as it came to me, but do not vouch for its authenticity.”—Washington to New York Provincial Congress 10 August, 1775.

1

“Cambridge, August 9, 1775. We waited on General Washington, who I have the pleasure to inform you is much beloved and admired for his polite condescension and noble deportment. His appointment to the chief command has the general suffrage of all ranks of people here, which I think is no bad omen.”—Extract of a letter from a Philadelphian. Pennsylvania Gazette, August 23, 1775.

2

Col. Thompson had proposed to raise a force of one thousand men, and a fleet of four armed vessels and eight transports; to proceed to Windsor, captivate the Tories, make all the proselytes possible, and then proceed to Halifax and destroy the King’s dockyard, if thought proper.

1

The orders of the 12th announced the appointment of Stephen Moylan to be Muster Master General, and of the 14th, that of major Thomas Miffln, to be Quarter Master General. On the 15th, Edmund Randolph and George Baylor are named aides-de-camp to the commander-in-chief.

1

“We sent in yesterday a most serious message to Gage, but I cannot give you a copy without G. Washington’s consent.”—Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 12 August, 1775. The reply was written, save the last paragraph, by General Burgoyne:—

Thomas Gage
Gage, Thomas
13 August, 1775
Boston

“To the glory of civilized nations, humanity and war have been compatible; and compassion to the subdued is become a general system. Britons ever preeminent in mercy, have outgone common examples, and overlooked the criminal in the captive. Upon these principles your prisoners, whose lives by the law of the land are destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and kindness, and more comfortably lodged than the King’s troops in the hospitals; indiscriminately it is true, for I acknowledge no rank, that is not derived from the King.

“My intelligence from your army would justify severe recrimination. I understand there are of the King’s faithful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, laboring, like negro slaves, to gain their daily subsistence, or reduced to the wretched alternative, to perish by famine or take arms against their King and country. Those who have made the treatment of the prisoners in my hands, or of your other friends in Boston, a pretence for such measures, found barbarity upon falsehood.

“I would willingly hope, Sir, that the sentiments of liberality, which I have always believed you to possess, will be exerted to correct these misdoings. Be temperate in political disquisition; give free operation to truth, and punish those who deceive and misrepresent; and not only the effects, but the causes, of this unhappy conflict will be removed. Should those, under whose usurped authority you act, control such a disposition, and dare to call severity retaliation, to God, who knows all hearts, be the appeal for the dreadful consequences. I trust that British soldiers, asserting the rights of the state, the laws of the land, the being of the constitution, will meet all events with becoming fortitude. They will court victory with the spirit their cause inspires; and, from the same motive, will find the patience of martyrs under misfortune.

“Till I read your insinuations in regard to ministers, I conceived that I had acted under the King, whose wishes, it is true, as well as those of his ministers, and of every honest man, have been to see this unhappy breach for ever closed; but, unfortunately for both countries, those who long since projected the present crisis, and influence the councils of America, have views very distant from accommodation. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Thomas Gage.
George Washington
Washington, George
George Washington, Esq.

“On the day after General Gage’s letter was received, Mr. Reed wrote, by order of the Commander-in-Chief to the Council of Massachusetts, directing rigorous and retaliatory measures to be adopted towards the prisoners, though in a few days the order was revoked, and they were directed to show ‘every indulgence and civility to the prisoners, so long as they demean themselves with decency and good manners. As they have committed no hostility against the people of this country, they have a just claim to mild treatment; and the General does not doubt that your conduct towards them will be such as to compel their grateful acknowledgment that Americans are as merciful as they are brave.’ ”—Reed, Life of Reed, i., 115.

1

General Gage wrote to the minister on August 17th that the ships had collected and brought in 1,300 sheep and 100 oxen—a very seasonable supply. “We owe it,” wrote Burgoyne to Lord George Germaine, “to the transports arrived and sent out by General Gage, and not to any assistance from the fleet.”

The complaints against Admiral Graves, the commander of the fleet, were loud and general. Burgoyne ridiculed his inactivity and “Quaker-like scruples”; W. Eden spoke of him as “a corrupt admiral without any shadow of capacity”; and as early as July 28th, the King wrote to Lord North: “I do think the Admiral’s removal as necessary, if what is reported is founded, as the mild General’s” (Gage). Captain Montague, who served under Graves, and was a prejudiced witness, wrote to the Earl of Dunmore on 9 August: “The G—l and A—l on bad terms, the latter universally, despised, his character prostituted in the basest manner, totally ignorant of the business he is employed on: he only turns his mind to find out ways of promoting his nephews.”

1

In consequence of the resolve of Congress (June 27th), authorizing General Schuyler to take possession of St. John’s and Montreal, as soon as he should find it practicable, he had been making preparations for such an enterprise. He wrote to General Washington the 31st of July, from Ticonderoga:

“Since my last, I have been most assiduously employed in preparing materials for building boats to convey me across the Lake. The progress has hitherto been slow, as with few hands I had all the timber to cut, and mills to repair for sawing the plank; and my draft cattle extremely weak for want of feed, the drought having scorched up every kind of herbage. I have now one boat on the stocks, which I hope will carry near three hundred men. Another is putting up to-day. Provisions of the bread kind are scarce with me, and, therefore, I have not dared to order up a thousand men, that are at Albany, lest we should starve here.”

2

Printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 12.

3

“We have several St. Francis Indians here, very friendly, and well disposed to our interests. They are about 45 leagues from Quebec, and are the savages we had the most reason to fear. All Carleton’s plans to stimulate them and the Canadians against us have ended in shame and disappointment.”—Reed to Bradford, 21 August, 1775.

“Yesterday Sen-night arrived at the camp in Cambridge, Swashan, the Chief, with four other Indians of the St. François tribe, conducted thither by Mr. Reuben Colburn, who has been honorably recompensed for his trouble. The above Indians came hither to offer their service in the cause of American liberty, have been kindly received, and are now entered the service. Swashan says he will bring one half of his tribe and has engaged 4 or 5 other tribes if they should be wanted. He says the Indians of Canada in general, and also the French, are greatly in our favor, and determined not to act against us.”—Pennsylvania Gazette, 30 August, 1775.

1

Morgan and his company of riflemen from Virginia arrived in camp on the 6th.

2

“Upon the application of Dr. Franklin to this Board for a quantity of gunpowder for the use of the troops under the command of Col. Schuyler, Resolved, that 2,244½ lbs. of gunpowder now in magazine, under the care of Mr. Robert Towers, be immediately sent, and that a proper team be provided to take said powder, and to be attended on the road by Thomas Aply, until he receives orders from Col. Schuyler.” Towers reported that he had delivered to Aply, 382 lbs. of musket powder and 1,754 lbs. of cannon powder, which were sent forward on August 10th.—Penn. Council of Safety, 300, 301. The powder reached Albany on the 21st.

1

In a letter of the 6th of August, General Schuyler complains of the tardiness of the New York Provincial Congress in raising men. He says: “Not a man from this colony has yet joined me, except those raised and paid by the Committee of Albany; nor have I yet received the necessary supplies, which I begged the New York Provincial Congress to send me, as long ago as the 3d of last month, and which the Continental Congress had desired them to do.”

As soon as Ticonderoga was taken, the Albany Committee enlisted men to aid in holding that post. Two hundred and five men of this description were in service, when General Schuyler took command. Connecticut had sent a thousand troops under Colonel Hinman, who succeeded Ethan Allen and Arnold in the command, which he retained till the arrival of General Schuyler. By a mutual stipulation, Connecticut was to furnish troops, and New York provisions.—See Life of Gouverneur Morris, vol. i., pp. 53-60. Journal of the N. Y. Prov. Congress for June and July, 1775.

2

Journals of Congress, 1 July, 1775.

3

General Carleton, Governor of Canada.

1

Genl. Schuyler soon after met a number of the Indians of the Six Nations and opened negotiations for a treaty. The Indians held back, being apprehensive that they would be asked to take up arms in the American cause. As it was a family quarrel, they said, they would not interfere, but remain neuter. “That Governor Carleton and his agents are exerting themselves to procure savages to act against us I have reason to believe from the various accounts I have received, but I do not believe he will have any success with the Canada tribes, tho’ I make no doubt he is joined by some of the more remote Indians, who, I believe, will assist him, and who have already served him as scouts from St. Johns. I should, therefore, not hesitate one moment to employ any Indians that might be willing to join us.”—Schuyler to Washington, 27 August, 1775.

1

“General Washington’s letter I think a very good one, but Gage certainly deserved a still stronger one, such as it was before it was softened.”—Charles Lee to Benja. Rush, 10 October, 1775. I am unable to trace any copy or draft other than that printed. General Washington’s first letter to General Gage (August 11th), and his answer, were published by the British government in the London Gazette, about six weeks after they were written; but the above reply was withheld.—Remembrancer, vol. i., p. 179; ii., 60. The three letters were published together by order of Congress in October.

1

“The word Powder in a letter sets us all a tiptoe. We have been in a terrible situation, occasioned by a mistake in a return; we reckoned upon three hundred quarter casks and had but thirty-two barrels—not above nine cartridges to a man to the whole army, but the late supply from Philadelphia has relieved us. All our heavy artillery was useless, and even now we are compelled to a very severe economy. I suppose the Congress have directed a committee to forward any that may arrive. If they have not, those gentlemen who will do this necessary service will perform the most essential their country requires. It damps our spirits; we are just in the situation of a man with little money in his pocket, he will do twenty mean things to prevent his breaking in upon his little stock. We are obliged to bear with the rascals on Bunker’s Hill when a few shot now and then in return would keep our men attentive to their business, and give the enemy alarms.”—Reed to Bradford, 24 August, 1775.

1

From the collection of Dr. John S. H. Fogg, of Boston, to whom I am indebted for a copy.

2

This letter is in reply to the following. It relates merely to the camp at Charlestown, then under the command of General Howe, and not to the British lines generally.

William Howe
Howe, William
22 August, 1775
Charlestown
Sir,

“The men under your command, having repeatedly fired upon the officers of his Majesty’s troops, before they were returned to the outworks of this camp from parleys, that have been brought on by your desire, I am to request all further intercourse between the two camps may be at an end your own letters excepted, which will be received, if you are pleased to send them by a drummer. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,

“W. Howe.
1

Edmund Randolph.

1

That Washington exercised this prerogative freely is shown by the record of the courts martial of the next few days. On September 2d, Captain Edward Crafts was ordered to be reprimanded for “using abusive language to his Major”; on the 5th, Captain Moses Hart was found guilty of “drawing for more provisions than he was entitled to, and for unjustly confining and abusing his men”; Captain Perry, on the 8th, was found guilty of “permitting persons to pass the lines on Boston Neck”; on the 11th, Ensign Brown was convicted of “absenting from his regiment without leave”; on the 13th, thirty-three men were tried for “disobedient and mutinous behavior” and found guilty, while on the 5th, a Col. Mansfield was convicted for “remissness and backwardness in the execution of his duty on the late engagement on Bunkers hill” and a soldier was sentenced to receive thirty lashes for “disobedience of orders and damning his officers.” On the following day Sergeant Finley was found guilty of “expressing himself disrespectfully of the Continental association, and drinking General Gage’s health,” and was to be “deprived of his arms and accoutrements, put in a horse cart, with a rope round his neck, and drummed out of army and rendered forever incapable of serving in the Continental army.”

1

For a perfect copy of this interesting letter I gladly acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Joseph Packard, Jr., of Baltimore, who communicated it to me voluntarily, making the favor the more acceptable. A curious use is made of a part by Pollard in his First Year of the War, 1862, 383, 384. R. H. Lee is probably to be held accountable for the mutilated version of the letter that Sparks used, as in his life of Richard Henry Lee he omitted nearly all that Sparks did.

To this part of the letter Mr. Lee replied as follows:

“I am greatly obliged to you for your favor of August the 29th, and you may be assured I shall pay great attention to it. When I mentioned securing the entrance of the harbor of Boston, it was more in the way of wishing it could be done, than as conceiving it very practicable. However, the reasons you assign are most conclusive against the attempt. I assure you, that so far as I can judge from the conversation of men, instead of there being any, who think you have not done enough, the wonder seems to be, that you have done so much. I believe there is not a man of common sense, and who is void of prejudice, in the world, but greatly approves the discipline you have introduced into the camp; since reason and experience join in proving, that, without discipline, armies are fit only for the contempt and slaughter of their enemies. Your labors are no doubt great, both of mind and body; but if the praise of the present and future times can be any compensation, you will have a plentiful portion of that. Of one thing you may certainly rest assured, that the Congress will do every thing in their power to make your most weighty business easy to you.

“I think you could not possibly have appointed a better man to his present office than Mr. Mifflin. He is a singular man, and you certainly will meet with the applause and support of all good men by promoting and countenancing real merit and public virtue, in opposition to all private interests and partial affection.”

1

In Congress.

2

The appointment of John Parke was announced in the orders of August 16th. In 1786 a volume of his poems was published in Philadelphia: The Lyric Works of Horace translated into English Verse, to which are added a number of Original Poems. By a Native of America.

1

“Some advantages arose to our Colony by the Congress adopting the army raised in New England the last spring; but among other circumstances attending it, this was one, namely, that it being now a Continental army, the gentlemen of all the Colonies had a right to and put in for a share in behalf of their friends in filling up the various offices. By this means, it was thought, that military knowledge and experience as well as the military spirit, would spread through the colonies; and besides, that they would all consider themselves the more interested in the success of our army, and in providing for its support. But then there was less room for persons belonging to the Colonies which had first raised the army, who were well worthy of notice. Many of our friends were discontented, who did not advert to this as the true cause why they were not promoted.”—Samuel Adams to Joseph Palmer, April, 1776. From the collection of Dr. John S. H. Fogg.

1

An attack on the Indian town of Kittaning, in Pennsylvania, September 8, 1756. A silver medal and piece of plate were presented to Colonel Armstrong, by the Corporation of Philadelphia, for his bravery and good conduct on this occasion. An intimacy of many years’ standing subsisted between him and Washington.

2

He had been at the siege of Louisburg, and was taken prisoner at Fort William Henry.

3

Sept. 21, 1775.—The Congress proceeded to the election of a brigadier-general, and the ballots being determined, it was found that Colonel Armstrong and Colonel Fry had an equal number of votes.—MS. Journal of Congress. Col. Fry did not receive his appointment till January, 1776.

1

Plowed Hill, now known as Mount Benedict.

2

Simpson, of Pennsylvania. “This young man was visited and consoled during his illness, by General Washington in person, and by most of the officers of rank belonging to the army.”—Wilkinson, Memoirs, i., 17.

1

On Tuesday last [i.e. from Aug. 31st] a letter from General Wooster to the New York Provincial Congress, written from Oyster Ponds on August 27th, was published and circulated as a hand bill through the city [N. Y.] In it is found the following sentence taken from a letter from Washington to Wooster, August 23d: “Yesterday I received advice from Boston, that a number of transports have sailed on a second expedition, for fresh provisions. As they may pursue the same course, only advancing farther, we think Montaug Point, or Long Island, a very probable place of their landing; I have therefore thought best to give you the earliest intelligence; but I do not mean to confine your attention or vigilance to that place; you will please to extend your views as far as the mischief may probably extend.”

2

General Wooster had been stationed with a regiment of Connecticut troops at Haerlem. Recently he had gone over to Long Island, at the request of the New York Provincial Congress, with four hundred and fifty men, for the purpose of protecting the inhabitants of that quarter from the threatened depredations of the British from Boston, who were sent out to procure from the island cattle and other provisions, which were accessible to their boats. Three companies had been raised on Long Island, as a part of the regiments voted by the New York Congress, which were placed on the Continental establishment. General Schuyler had ordered these companies to the northward; and as the people were thus left exposed to the ravages of the enemy, General Wooster wrote to the Commander-in-chief:

“The inhabitants here think that had General Schuyler known their very exposed situation he would not have ordered the companies away. The New York Congress suppose they have no right to counteract his orders. They might, indeed, have sent to him, and received an answer in season; but they are so refined in their policy, have so many private views to answer, and take such infinite pains to keep out of the plain path, conscious perhaps of their own superior wisdom, that they do nothing like other people.”—General Wooster to Washington, 29 August, 1775.

1

General Wooster replied on the 28th of September, at Haerlem.—“I returned to this place immediately upon the receipt of your favor of the 2d instant; and, in pursuance of an order from the Continental Congress, I shall this afternoon embark with all the troops under my command for Albany, there to wait the orders of General Schuyler.”

“If it [the fleet from Boston] has not yet arrived, we may conclude it has sailed to the eastward; if it has arrived, the issue will be known immediately; so that in either case the continuance of the new raised levies along the coast is unnecessary. You will, therefore, on receipt of this be pleased to order them to march immediately to this camp, directing the commanding officer, at the same time, to give me two or three days’ notice of the time, in which the troops will arrive, that suitable accommodations may be prepared. Their presence is the more necessary, as I may in confidence inform you, that I am about to detach one thousand or twelve hundred men on an expedition into Canada, by way of Kennebec River; from which I have the greatest reason to expect, either that Quebec will fall into our hands a very easy prey, or such a diversion be made as will open an easy passage to General Schuyler.

“We are now so well secured in our late advanced post on the hill, that the enemy have discontinued their cannonade. The men continue in good health and spirits.”—Washington to Governor Trumbull, 2 September, 1775.

“A detachment consisting of two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, thirty subalterns, thirty sergeants, thirty corporals, four drummers, two fifers, and six hundred and seventy six privates, to parade tomorrow morning at eleven o’clock, upon the common, in Cambridge, to go upon command with Col. Arnold of Connecticut; one company of Virginia rifle-men and two companies from Col. Thompson’s Pennsylvania rifle-men, to join the above detachment. . . . As it is imagined the officers and men sent from the regiments, both here and at Roxbury, will be such volunteers as are active woodsmen, and well acquainted with batteaus, so it is recommended that none but such will offer themselves for this service.”—Orderly Book, September 5th.

2

In a letter to Governor Cooke, dated the 4th of August, it has been seen, that Washington suggested to him a plan for procuring powder from Bermuda. Two small armed vessels had already been fitted out by Rhode Island, and put under the command of Captain Abraham Whipple, with the design of protecting the bay and coast of that province from the depredations of the enemy. The plan was approved by the Governor and Committee of that province, and Captain Whipple agreed to engage in the affair, provided General Washington would give him a certificate under his own hand, that, in case the Bermudians would assist the undertaking, he would recommend to the Continental Congress to permit the exportation of provisions to those islands from the colonies; the captain pledging himself at the same time, that he would make no use of such a paper, unless he should be opposed by the inhabitants.

Captain Whipple sailed in the larger of the Rhode Island vessels, manned with sixty-one seamen. The vessel was manned by the agency of the Rhode Island Committee, and at the charge of that province. At this time a packet from England was daily expected at New York. It was thought desirable to intercept that packet, and Governor Cooke ordered Captain Whipple to cruise for it off the harbor of New York fourteen days, and, if he should not fall in with it during that period, then to proceed immediately on his voyage to Bermuda. But he had scarcely sailed from Providence, before an account appeared in the newspapers of one hundred barrels of powder having been taken from Bermuda, by a vessel supposed to be from Philadelphia, and another from South Carolina. The facts were such, as to make it in the highest degree probable, that this was the same powder, which Captain Whipple had gone to procure. General Washington and Governor Cooke were both of opinion, that it was best to countermand his instructions. The other armed vessel of Rhode Island was immediately despatched in search of the captain, with orders, that, when he had finished the cruise in search of the packet, he should return to Providence. But it was too late. Captain Whipple had heard of the arrival of the packet at New York, and proceeded on his voyage to Bermuda.

He put in at the west end of the island. The inhabitants were at first alarmed, supposing him to command a King’s armed vessel, and the women and children fled into the country; but, when he showed his commission and instructions, they treated him with cordiality and friendship. They had assisted in removing the powder, which was made known to General Gage, and he had sent a sloop of war to take away all the superfluous provisions from the island. They professed themselves hearty friends to the American cause, but as Captain Whipple was defeated in the object of his voyage he speedily returned to Providence.—Gov. Cooke’s MS. Letters.

Soon afterwards the inhabitants of Bermuda petitioned Congress for relief, representing their great distress, in consequence of the non-importation agreement, which deprived them of the supplies, that usually came from the colonies. In consideration of their being friendly to the cause of America, it was resolved by Congress, that provisions in certain quantities might be exported to them.—Journals of Congress, Nov. 22d.

“August 26. A letter was this day received by Capt. George Ord of the Lady Catharine, from Henry Tucker, chairman of the Deputies of the several Parishes of Bermuda, enclosing an account for 1182 lbs. gunpowder, shipped by him on board said vessel, amounting to £161. 14. 8 that currency.”—Penn. Council of Safety, 321.

1

“I need not mention to you the vast importance of gaining Intelligence of the Enemy’s Motives and Designs as early as possible—The great saving to the Continent both of Blood and Money. A Detection of our secret & most dangerous Enemies with innumerable other Advantages would result from the Interception of their Correspondence at this Juncture. I have therefore thought proper to propose to you the seizing the Mail by the next Packet. She is hourly expected from England—her Force of Men and Guns inconsiderable: none but swivels and only manned with 18 Men. If the Vessel proposed to go to Bermudas should cruise for a few Days off Sandy Hook—I have no doubt she would fall in with her. In which Case she might with little or no Delay land the Mail in order to be forwarded to me and proceed on her Voyage. But if there any material Objections to this Mode, I am still so anxious upon the Subject that I would have it tried with another Vessel at the continental Expense and will for that End direct that any Charge which shall accrue in this Service shall be paid by the Paymaster here upon being duly liquidated. It will be necessary that some Person well acquainted with the Packets should be on Board our Vessel or the stopping inward bound Vessels indiscriminately will give the Alarm and she may be apprized of her Danger. The Choice of a proper officer with the Care of providing a suitable Vessel &c. I must leave to you. Should it meet with the desired Success there can be no Doubt the Honble. Continental Congress will distinguish & reward the Officers & Men who shall have done so essential a Service. Nor shall I fail in making known to them how much the publick Service is indebted to you for your Zeal & Activity on all Occasions.”—Washington to Deputy-Governor Cooke, 6 September, 1775.

“As the remoteness of some of the regiments from Head Quarters renders it difficult to send invitations to the officers, the Commander in chief requests that, for the future, the field officer of the day, the officer of his own guard, and the adjutant of the day, consider themselves invited to dine at Head Quarters, and this general invitation they are desired to accept accordingly.”—Orderly Book, September 6th.

1

The council of war met, in conformity with this notice, on the 11th of September, and after duly considering the proposition, and the reasons assigned, it was unanimously agreed, that, “considering the state of the enemy’s lines, and the expectation of soon receiving some important advices from England, it was not expedient to make the attempt.”

“The situation of the king’s troops and that of the rebels is nearly the same as when I had the honor of writing you last. They are entrenched upon every advantageous spot, and we are so strongly posted here that we wish to tempt them to attack us, which if they do not shortly do, perhaps we may try our fortune against them; but we are so well prepared upon these heights [Charlestown] that it would be imprudent to attack them before we give up their coming to us.”—Sir William Howe to Governor Legge, 4 September, 1775.

“Our situation is a consummation of inertness and disgrace. You will be told we are on the point of removing the blockade: I believe we are; and I doubt not the troops will recover their reputation. I am confident of their future ascendency, but we have not a magazine of any sort, nor any provision or preparation whatever that can enable an army to advance twenty miles, nor do I see a possibility of remedying these defects now, except by great and sudden exertions in England.”—Burgoyne to a friend, August, 1775.

1

“From the accounts General Schuyler gave us of the state of his army, I tremble for him in his expedition against St. Johns. He wants almost every thing necessary for the equipment of an army. He complains much of the dilatoriness of the York committee. His great dependence is upon the neutrality of the Canadians; if they do not assist Gov. Carleton, Schuyler has numbers sufficient to rout, badly disciplined and accoutred as they are.”—Journal of Tench Tilghman, 31 August, 1775. Tilghman was in Albany, acting as Secretary to the Indian Commissioners.

1

See Journals of Congress, 18 July, 1775.

1

General Gage writes to Governor Legge (Nova Scotia) that 1500 men had marched from Cambridge “intended for Canada.”

1

Sparks said that this paper was printed in hand-bills before Arnold left Cambridge, with the view of having the copies distributed as soon as he should arrive in Canada, but it appears to have been sent after him.

“I should be glad the manifestos might be forwarded on by him [the express], if not sent. . . . P. S. Since writing the foregoing I have received a letter from Col. Reed with the manifestos.” Benedict Arnold to Washington, Fort Weston, 25 Sept. 1775. Schuyler had already drawn up and sent into Canada a declaration announcing the approach of the American army, and calling upon Canadians to join it.

1

This expedition was placed in charge of Valentine Crawford. The instructions prepared by Washington are in his own writing, and are given in full, as they afford a striking example of his extreme care in matters of business. They did not fall under my notice until the earlier volume was in print, or they would have appeared in their proper position chronologically.

George Washington
Washington, George
30 March, 1774

“You are to proceed without loss of time to your own settlement on Youghiogany, and there, if it is not already done, provide such, and so much provision, as you shall think necessary to take down with you to my lands on the Ohio. You are also to provide canoes for transporting of these provisions, the tools, and the workmen.

“You are to engage three good hands as laborers, to be employed in this business; you are to get them upon the best terms you can, and have them bound in articles to serve till the first of December, duely and truely, at the expiration of which time they shall receive their wages. Provisions and tools will be found them, but nothing else.

“You are also to engage a good hunter upon the best terms you can, for the purpose of supplying you with provisions. Let him have the skins, as I suppose he will engage the cheaper for it. Engage him either altogether for hunting, or to hunt and work as occasion requires, that there may be no dispute about it afterwards; so in like manner let every man else know what it is he has to trust to, that no disputes may arise thereafter. And the best way to prevent this, is to let all your hirelings know that they are not to consider this or that as their particular business, but to turn their hands to every thing, as the nature of the business shall require.

“As much depends upon your getting to the land early, in order that as much ground may be cleared, and put into corn as possible before the season is too far advanced, I do most earnestly request you to delay no time in prosecuting your trip down; and that as much ground as possible may be got in order for corn, and planted therewith, I would have you delay building and fencing until the season is too late for planting, and employ your whole force for clearing.

“Begin this operation at and on the upper tract and clear five acre fields, in handsome squares upon every other lot along the river bank (leaving the trees next the river standing, as a safeguard against freshets and ice). These fields may be so near together as to answer small tenements of about 100 acres in a lot, in case you cannot get them surveyed. In short, allow each lot a breadth of about one hundred rods upon the river, running back for quantity agreeably to the plots given you.

“The same sized lots, that is lots of the same breadth upon the river, may be laid upon all the other tracts, and five acre fields cleared upon every other one, as above. But after the season has got too late for planting corn, then at each of these fields build a house, sixteen feet by 18, with an outside chimney, the lower part to be of logs (with diamond corners) and to be covered with three feet shingles. Also inclose and fence your corn at this time, or before, if necessary.

“You may then, that is after building houses to the fields already cleared, and fencing them in, carry your clearing, building and fencing, regularly on together, in the manner above described.

“After the