Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Advanced Search

George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777) [1890]

1450.05_tp
Title Page
1450.05_toc
Original Table of Contents or First Page

Edition used:

George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. V (1776-1777). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2403

Available in the following formats:
EBook PDF 1.39 MB This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty.
Facsimile PDF 20.6 MB This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book.
HTML 1.31 MB This version has been converted from the original text. Every effort has been taken to translate the unique features of the printed book into the HTML medium.
Simplified HTML 1.31 MB This is a simplifed HTML format, intended for screen readers and other limited-function browsers.

About this Title:

Vol. 5 covers November 1776 to July 1777 and includes letters and papers.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

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. V.
1776-1777
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

Of this Letter-press Edition

750 Copies have been Printed for Sale

No._____

January, 1890

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
THE WRITINGS of GEORGE WASHINGTON
COLLECTED AND EDITED by WORTHINGTON CHAUNCEY FORD
Vol. V.
1776-1777
NEW YORK AND LONDON
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS The Knickerbocker Press
1890
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

Press of

G. P. Putnam’s Sons

New York

Edition: current; Page: [v]

CONTENTS OF VOL. V.

  • 1776.
    • To the President of Congress, November 6th . . page 1

      Sudden movement of the enemy—Council of war—Probable intentions of the British—The approaching dissolution of the army.

    • To Governor Livingston, November 7th . . . 7

      Enemy gone to Kingsbridge—Urgent call for more troops—Stock and supplies near the water.

    • To Major-General Greene, November 8th . . . 9

      Inefficacy of river obstructions—Doubt as to holding Mount Washington—Enemy’s intention to penetrate New Jersey—Removal of stores.

    • To the President of Congress, November 8th . . 11

      M. Laytaniac and the French gentlemen.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, November 9th . . 12

      Return of Major Stewart’s servant—Delay in effecting the exchange of prisoners—Confinement of officers in common gaols—Stragglers.

    • To Major-General Lee, November 10th . . . 14

      Instructions.

    • To Governor Trumbull, November 10th . . . 17

      Commissioners to arrange officers and recruit men—Evils of an additional State bounty—Equality of pay necessary.

    • To the President of Congress, November 11th . . 19

      Officers for recruiting—Militia about to retire from service—Movements and intentions of the two armies—Advance pay voted by Massachusetts and Connecticut—Its fatal tendency.

    • To Major-General Heath, November 12th . . 22

      Instructions.

    • To the President of Congress, November 14th . . 24

      Passage of the river by troops—Movements and designs of the enemy—Major Stewart’s servant—Necessity of field artillery; of engineers—The case of Mr. Trumbull—Exchange of prisoners.

      Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • To Major-General Lee, November 16th . . . 30

      Resolutions of Congress respecting the recruiting of the new army—Attack upon and surrender of Fort Washington—Securing the pass through the Highlands.

    • To the President of Congress, November 16th . . 33

      The affair at Fort Washington.

    • To John Augustine Washington, November 19th . 36

      Manœuvres of the British—Surrender of Fort Washington—A most unfortunate affair—The fort held contrary to his wishes—States inattentive to recruiting the army—Evils of short enlistments urged upon Congress.

    • To the President of Congress, November 19th . . 41

      The British loss at Fort Washington—Fort Lee becomes of no importance—Removal of stores—A small army at his disposal—American prisoners in New York—Money for the paymaster-general—Capture of Fort Lee—Retreat into Jersey.

    • To Major-General Lee, November 21st . . . 45

      Landing of the British at Dobbs Ferry and taking of Fort Lee—Action in matter of Rhode Island officers approved—Ordered to cross the river—Reasons.

    • To Governor Livingston, November 21st . . . 49

      Movements of the army.

    • To Major-General Lee, November 24th . . . 52

      Loss of the mail—Necessity of guarding the passes of the Highlands—Route of march suggested—Clothing the army.

    • To Major-General Lee, November 27th . . . 54

      Weakness of his army—Plan of the enemy.

    • To the President of Congress, November 30th . . 54

      Militia from Philadelphia—The retreat to Brunswick—Flying-camp forces about to retire—Advance of the enemy—Guarding the ferries.

    • To the Board of War, November 30th . . . 58

      The stores of the Hancock and Adams—Impropriety of enlisting prisoners of war.

    • To Governor Livingston, December 1st . . . 60

      Progress of the enemy—Difficulties met in calling out men.

    • To Major-General Lee, December 1st . . . 62

      Reduction of the army—Urges his speedy march.

      Edition: current; Page: [vii]
    • To the President of Congress, December 2d . . 63

      At Princeton—General Lee’s march—The passes of the Highlands.

    • To the President of Congress, December 3d . . 64

      Arrival at Trenton—No word from Lee—Reinforcements expected.

    • To the President of Congress, December 5th . . 66

      Movements and designs of the two armies—Impropriety of depending on militia, and necessity for a larger standing army.

    • To the President of Congress, December 6th . . 69

      To set out for Princeton—Howe’s proclamation—Governor Franklin’s exchange.

    • To the President of Congress, December 8th . . 71

      The British designs apparent—No certain intelligence of Lee—His slow march cannot be accounted for.

    • To the President of Congress, December 9th . . 72

      The Delaware crossed—The enemy seeking a ferry—The security of Philadelphia the next object—Putnam sent down.

    • To Major-General Lee, December 10th . . . 74

      Pressing urgency of the situation—Intelligence—To bring, if possible, the Jersey militia.

    • To Lund Washington, December 10th . . . 77

      The unfavorable situation—Capture of Lee—Without a new army the game is pretty well up.

    • To the President of Congress, December 11th . . 80

      The enemy at Bordentown—Intelligence by a prisoner—Enemy without boats—General Lee.

    • To the President of Congress, December 12th . . 82

      Impolicy of publishing resolve against leaving Philadelphia—Intelligence—Means of preventing the British advance inadequate—Payment of officers.

    • To Governor Trumbull, December 12th . . . 86

      Movements of the British—Disaffection in New Jersey—Reinforcements from Philadelphia—The new army—Disposition of the New England regiments.

    • To the President of Congress, December 13th . . 89

      Removal of the army to Trenton Falls—Position of the brigades, flying camp, and militia—Armstrong to recruit.

      Edition: current; Page: [viii]
    • To Major-General Gates, December 14th . . . 91

      The retreat—Let there be no delay in marching to join him—With united forces the enemy may be checked.

    • To Brigadier-Generals Lord Stirling, Mercer, Stephens, and De Fermoy, December 14th . . 92

      Instructions.

    • To Governor Trumbull, December 14th . . . 93

      Position of the armies—The situation to the eastward—Arnold ordered to New London—Lack of public spirit and virtue of the people—Necessity for a stroke upon the enemy.

    • To Major-General Lee, December 14th . . . 96

      Surprise expressed at the doubts of Lee—Boats at Tinicum Ferry—Fatal results of the loss of Philadelphia.

    • To the Council of Safety of Pennsylvania, December 15th . . . . . . . . . 97

      Capture of Lee—Disaffection in the country—Disarming proposed—Militia prospects—The enemy about to go into winter-quarters.

    • To the President of Congress, December 15th . . 100

      Unhappy fate of Lee—Movements of the enemy.

    • To the President of Congress, December 16th . . 101

      The new army—Militia not to be depended on—Augmentation of battalions proposed—Nothing to be expected of Jersey—Clothing of the troops.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, December 17th . . 104

      Exchange of prisoners—Lists of such as are wanted to be sent in.

    • To Major-General Heath, December 18th . . . 106

      Massachusetts militia to be sent forward—To be used to guard the passes of the Highlands—Designs of the enemy to defeat recruiting.

    • To John Augustine Washington, December 18th . 109

      Movements of the two armies—Conduct of the Jerseys most infamous—Accursed policy of short enlistments and dependence on militia.

    • To the President of Congress, December 20th . . 112

      Corps of artillery and of engineers—Pay of artillerists inadequate—Need of greater powers in the commander-in-chief—No lust after power—Militia and short enlistments the origin of all Edition: current; Page: [ix] our misfortunes—The new army—Officers to recruit—Plans for the campaign to be determined—Commissary of prisoners wanted—Evils and dangers of existing loose system—The commanding officer overburdened with work—General officers needed—Promotions—Col. Knox—Needs of the army—Its movements—Gen. Lincoln.

    • To Major-General Heath, December 21st . . . 122

      Troops from the east.

    • To Colonel Joseph Reed or Colonel John Cadwalader, December 23d . . . . . . . 126

      The attack upon Trenton—Cadwalader’s rank.

    • To the President of Congress, December 24th . . 128

      His distresses—Few re-enlistments; causes—Howe’s intentions—Appointment of officers—Need of money—His letter-books.

    • To the President of Congress, December 27th . . 132

      The success at Trenton.

    • To the President of Congress, December 29th . . 136

      A second passage of the Delaware to be attempted—Movement of troops—Unhappy failure of Generals Ewing and Cadwalader to cross—Prisoners—General Lee.

  • 1777.
    • To the President of Congress, January 1st . . 139

      Acknowledges the increased powers conferred by Congress—Eastern troops retained by bounty—Position of the armies—New Jersey militia—No return of troops possible.

    • To a Committee of Congress, January 1st . . 143

      Hard money—Effects of the Trenton affair—Recruits—Disposition of Hessian prisoners—Increased powers.

    • To the President of Congress, January 5th . . 146

      Movement of British—Affair of the Assanpink—Surprise of Princeton—Losses—An attack on Brunswick intended—Good conduct of the militia.

    • To Major-General Putnam, January 5th . . . 151

      The Princeton affair—Instructions.

    • To Major-General Heath, January 5th . . . 152

      The American successes—Instructions.

    • To the President of Congress, January 7th . . 154

      General Mercer still alive—Movements of the enemy—Desertion of the militia.

      Edition: current; Page: [x]
    • To Major-General Lincoln, January 7th . . . 155

      Directions to move upon New York.

    • To Lieutenant-Colonel Antill, January 8th . . 156

      To hasten recruiting.

    • To Lieutenant-General Earl Cornwallis, January 8th, 158

      Protection of convoys of money and stores.

    • To Colonel George Baylor, January 9th . . . 158

      To command a regiment of horse and appoint his own officers—Character of officers—Horses and uniforms.

    • To Governor Trumbull, January 10th . . . 161

      Money for recruiting—Wishes to threaten New York—Princeton—Retreat of British.

    • To Colonel Nathaniel Gist, January 11th . . . 163

      Instructions.

    • To the President of Congress, January 12th . . 164

      Exchange of General Lee—In event of failure retaliation will be enforced—Heath moving towards New York.

    • To Lord Howe, January 13th . . . . . 166

      Cruel treatment of naval prisoners—Retaliation may become necessary—An exchange proposed.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, January 13th . . 168

      The case of General Lee—Cruel treatment of American prisoners—Enlistment of prisoners.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 14th . . . . . 170

      Putnam’s movements inexplicable—The arrangement of troops—British surgeon.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 15th . . . . . 172

      General Putnam—Mercer.

    • To Major-General Heath, January 17th . . . 174

      Stroke against Staten Island suggested.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, January 18th . . 175

      The enemy abandoning New Jersey—Dayton’s regiment at Ticonderoga—Garrisons for the Lake forts.

    • To Major-General Heath, January 19th . . . 177

      Diversion against New York.

    • To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, January 19th, 179

      Creditable conduct of militia—About to return home—Urgency of retaining them in service—Reduced condition of the army.

      Edition: current; Page: [xi]
    • To the President of Congress, January 19th . . 181

      The army melting away—Heath hovering around New York—Efforts to recruit.

    • To Governor Cooke, January 20th . . . . 183

      Forces for local service—Necessity of completing Continental regiments.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, January 20th . . 186

      Proposing an officer in New York to supply prisoners—Mr. Pintard named for the position.

    • To John Parke Custis, January 22d . . . . 187

      Evils of short enlistments—Illiberal opinions in Virginia on eastern troops—Business affairs.

    • To the President of Congress, January 22d . . 190

      Foraging party defeated and stores taken—Rumored capture of Fort Independence—Want of arms—General officers—Suggestions—Virginia light dragoons.

    • To Joseph Reed, January 23d . . . . . 195

      Continuing in service—Coalition of parties in Pennsylvania—As to complimenting Pennsylvania Executive—Generals wishing to be popular at the expense of others—Howe’s manœuvres—A brush with the enemy.

    • To Governor Trumbull, January 24th . . . 198

      Completing the Continental battalions—Diversion on the side of New York.

    • To Governor Livingston, January 24th . . . 200

      Suggesting a militia law—Law against plundering.

    • Proclamation to Those Who had Accepted Protection of General Howe, January 25th . . . 202

    • To the President of Congress, January 26th . . 203

      Assisting New York—Complaints against the hospital service—Obstructions in North River—Commissary of forage and wagon master—Maps of the country—Capture of Fort Independence not accomplished—Recruiting office of Adjutant-General and Major Morris.

    • To Major-General Sullivan, January 28th . . . 208

      Position at Scotch Plains.

    • To the Governor of North Carolina, January 31st . 210

      Countenance and protection given to deserters.

    • To Governor Trumbull, February 1st . . . 211

      Release of prisoners—Bounties for recruits.

      Edition: current; Page: [xii]
    • To Major-General Heath, February 3d . . . 213

      Disappointment at his want of success against Fort Independence—Reinforcements still coming from New York—Forage parties of the British.

    • To Major-General Heath, February 3d . . . 217

      Conduct censured by others as too cautious—The summons idle and farcial—The fort may still be taken by surprise.

    • To the President of Congress, February 5th . . 218

      M. Pellisier—Gist instructed to bring some Cherokee Indians—Outrages of the British and Hessian troops in New Jersey—Movements of the enemy—Skirmish near Brunswick—The smallpox—Suggests the obligation of an oath.

    • To Brigadier-General Arnold, February 6th . . 223

      Proposed attack on Rhode Island.

    • To Brigadier-General Parsons, February 8th . . 225

      Proposed descent upon Long Island.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, February 9th . . 227

      Meeting Carleton’s army—Formation of the northern army—Prejudices and jealousies among the troops.

    • To Governor Trumbull, February 10th . . . 229

      Inoculation for small-pox.

    • To Brigadier-General Knox, February 11th . . 230

      Troops from Massachusetts—Laboratories.

    • To Brigadier-General Maxwell, February 12th . . 233

      On enforcing oath.

    • To the President of Congress, February 14th . . 236

      Foraging parties—Massachusetts forces—Laboratory and cannon-foundry—Troops for Ticonderoga—Clothier-General—Money needed.

    • To the President of Congress, February 20th . . 240

      Enemy about to make some push—Capture of some loyalists on Lawrence’s Island.

    • To Governor Trumbull, February 20th . . . 243

      Baggage of the British officers who are prisoners—Impolicy of allowing them in country—An immediate exchange to be proposed.

    • To the President of Congress, February 20th . . 244

      Proposals of Faneuil to raise a French corps—Impossibility of finding employment for the French officers—Suggestions for disposing of them.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
    • To Joseph Reed, February 23d . . . . . 247

      His commission—Command of the horse—Prisoners—Col. Griffin—Horses—Plan for the prevention of desertion—The return of Congress.

    • To John Augustine Washington, February 24th . 251

      Howe of no enterprise—Skirmishing between scouts and foraging parties—Parricides—Strength of the army—Desertion a growing evil.

    • To Patrick Henry, February 24th . . . . 253

      Mr. Walker’s errand—His position.

    • To the Council of Massachusetts Bay, February 28th, 254

      Treatment of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell—Impolicy of harsh measures.

    • To the President of Congress, March 1st . . . 257

      Resolutions respecting General Lee—Retaliation impolitic—Lee’s treatment misrepresented—Difficulties of effecting exchanges—Charges of partiality.

    • To Robert Morris, March 2d . . . . . 262

      Invites an unreserved correspondence—Howe’s intentions and movements—His letters to Congress intended to convey the true situation—Lee’s request might have been gratified—The resolutions concerning Campbell—Congress ignorant of the real state of affairs.

    • To Governor Trumbull, March 3d . . . . 268

      Additional bounties—Clothing for the Connecticut troops—Inoculation—Want of arms.

    • To Brigadier-General Andrew Lewis, March 3d . 270

      Disappointment that he was not made a brigadier-general—Trusts he will not resign.

    • To Lieutenant-Colonel Robert H. Harrison, March 4th . . . . . . . . . 273

      Instructions.

    • To the President of Congress, March 6th . . . 274

      A letter from General Lee—The exchange of Lee and retaliation.

    • To Governor Trumbull, March 6th . . . . 275

      Militia needed—No dependence to be placed on militia of the southern governments—Future condition of the army.

    • To Major-General Gates, March 10th . . . 278

      Wishes him to be adjutant-general—Treatment of prisoners.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
    • To Brigadier-General Wooster, March 11th . . 280

      An injudicious retreat—The case of Stanton.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, March 12th . . . 281

      Necessity of concentrating force—Philadelphia the object of the enemy—Too large a force sent to Ticonderoga—Peekskill a better point of concentration—Junction of eastern and southern troops necessary for operations.

    • To the President of Congress, March 14th . . 285

      Resolution of Congress—Impossibility of executing it with the means available—Necessity for the new levies—Brigadiers—The hospital plan—Pay of regimental surgeons and mates—Want of money.

    • To Major-General Sullivan, March 15th . . . 289

      Imagined slights—Separate commands.

    • To Major-General Greene, March 18th . . . 291

      Instructions.

    • To Major-General Mifflin, March 18th . . . 292

      Wishes to purchase some brood mares.

    • To Robert Alexander, March 20th . . . . 293

      Completing a purchase of land.

    • To Governor Trumbull, March 23d . . . . 294

      Charge for prisoners—New levies—System of raising men in Massachusetts—Rumored employment of Russians by the British—Loyalist correspondence.

    • To the President of Congress, March 29th . . . 296

      Expedition against Peekskill—Indians.

    • To Elias Boudinot, April 1st . . . . . 299

      Offers position of commissary of prisoners—To procure intelligence one of the duties.

    • To Governor Cooke, April 3d . . . . . 301

      Arrival of arms—Effects of extravagant bounties—Number of enemy on Rhode Island overrated—Plans of the British and insufficiency of American force to meet them—State forces and Continental defence.

    • To Brigadier-General Arnold, April 3d . . . 304

      His omission from list of promotions—Advises against hasty action—No reason for a court of inquiry, because no charges made—Principle adopted by Congress in promotions.

    • To Brigadier-General Parsons, April 3d . . . 305

      Laxness of recruiting officers—Opening of the campaign—Deficiency of troops—Arrangement of regiments in brigades.

      Edition: current; Page: [xv]
    • Proclamation Respecting Deserters, April 6th . . 307

    • To General Heard, April 7th . . . . . 308

      Proportion of officers to men—Control of the brigadiers over militia—Returns.

    • To Colonel Reed or Colonel Cox, April 7th . . 310

      In regard to Smith, an American spy.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, April 9th . . . 311

      On the illiberal performance of Lieutenant-Colonel Walcott—Alleged violation of agreement for exchange of prisoners—Dying men sent out—Agreement founded on general principles of mutual compensation and reward—Usage of prisoners by British unjustifiable—Treatment of Major-General Lee—His proposed exchange—The charge of delay—Conclusion.

    • To Major-General Heath, April 10th . . . 318

      On demand of Massachusetts for the new arms—Appointment of brigade-majors.

    • To Brigadier-General Mifflin, April 10th . . . 320

      On employing spies.

    • To the President of Congress, April 12th . . . 321

      Prospects of an army being ready to take the field—Difficulties in raising men—Recommends Dr. John Cochran.

    • To Governor Trumbull, April 12th . . . . 325

      Correspondence with the enemy and furnishing them with supplies.

    • To Governor Henry, April 13th . . . . 327

      Slow recruiting service—Short enlistments the source of every misfortune—The evils enumerated—Small-pox.

    • To the President of Congress, April 18th . . . 330

      Surprising a picket guard—Embarkation of British from Rhode Island—Unfair practices in exports from Philadelphia—Money—Resolutions on filling vacancies.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, April 24th . . . . 335

      Arthur Lee’s message—Plan of campaign—Attack upon British force in Rhode Island—Surgeon’s mates—Position of France—Recruiting abuses—Exemption of laborers in iron works.

    • To Brigadier-General Glover, April 26th . . . 339

      Against his declining an appointment.

    • To Doctor James Craik, April 26th . . . . 340

      Wishes him to accept an appointment.

      Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
    • To Major-General Lincoln, April 27th . . . 342

      Amazing desertion of troops and its cause—Regularity of pay.

    • To Brigadier-General McDougall, April 28th . . 343

      Expedition against Danbury.

    • To the President of Congress, April 28th . . . 345

      Hastening recruits to the eastward—British marauding expedition against Danbury—Measures of defence defeated by prevailing languor and supineness.

    • To Colonel Alexander Spotswood, April 30th . . 349

      A personal guard.

    • To the President of Congress, May 5th . . . 350

      Arnold’s promotion—Carleton on the lake—Bounty offered by British to deserters—The losses at Danbury.

    • To Brigadier-General McDougall, May 7th . . 352

      Fort Montgomery—Arnold ordered to Peekskill—Branding of arms.

    • To Governor Trumbull, May 11th . . . . 354

      The Danbury expedition—No attack on Connecticut to be anticipated—Uncertainty of the enemy’s plans—Can detach no troops.

    • To Major-General Greene, May 12th . . . 357

      Instructions.

    • To the President of Congress, May 12th . . . 359

      Officers withholding the pay of the soldiers—Regulation of the paymasters—Auditors suggested—Weakness of the army—Militia—Skirmish near Piscataway.

    • To the President of Congress, May 12th . . . 362

      Introducing General Arnold—He proposes to resign.

    • To Monsieur Malmedy, May 16th . . . . 363

      Pretensions to rank based upon an appointment of a State—Distinction between a Continental and a State appointment.

    • To the President of Congress, May 16th . . . 367

      Commissions for brigadiers—Claims of the French gentlemen—Attack of tories.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, May 17th . . . . 369

      Applications of foreigners—How are they to be treated?—Bad policy of disgusting natives by preferring foreigners—Too high expectations raised—Artillery officers and engineers an exception.

      Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
    • To Governor Henry, May 17th . . . . . 371

      Insufficient reinforcements compel choice between militia or draughting—Indiscriminate drafts or system of substitutes—Disadvantages of either plan—Suggestions—Law against deserters.

    • To Brigadier-General Parsons, May 17th . . . 374

      Troops must be sent to Peekskill—Measures for recruiting—Proposed expedition to Long Island inexpedient.

    • To Major-General Gates, May 19th . . . . 376

      Charges of partiality—The question of tents.

    • To Brigadier-General McDougall, May 23d . . 378

      Uniform training—Broken paroles.

    • To James Warren, May 23d . . . . . 379

      No efforts too great for the exigency of the situation—Monopoly repealed—No apprehension of an invasion of Massachusetts—The Continental army should take precedence of a local force—Supernumerary regiments suggested.

    • To Governor Trumbull, May 23d . . . . 383

      Deficient regiments—Army of observation about the White Plains—No stores can be spared—Reported death of Tryon.

    • To the President of Congress, May 24th . . . 386

      The office of adjutant-general—Pickering accepts the appointment—Col. Lee’s character—Defence of the passes in the Highlands—Cables for a boom in the river—The command of the light-horse—Intelligence—Col. Harrison’s artillery regiment.

    • To Major-General Putnam, May 25th . . . 390

      Proposing a surprise of the enemy at Kingsbridge—Details.

    • To Governor Trumbull, May 26th . . . . 392

      Intentions of the enemy—Reasons against dividing army.

    • To Major-General Greene, May 27th . . . . 393

      Absence of the commissary-general—Intelligence from the enemy.

    • To the President of Congress, May 28th . . . 394

      Correspondence with General Howe—Disputes arising from the exchange—Ambiguous terms—Campbell’s treatment—Incidents.

    • To Brigadier-General Parsons, May 29th . . . 397

      The expedition of Lieutenant-Colonel Meigs against Long Island—Importance of defending Highland passes—Prevents detachment of troops to Connecticut.

      Edition: current; Page: [xviii]
    • To Governor Henry, May 31st . . . . . 399

      Sailing of the enemy’s fleet—Its destination and objects unknown—Suggests measures of defence—Operations by detachments likely to prove most effective—Arrival of transports at New York—Filling the Virginia regiments.

    • To the President of Congress, May 31st . . . 401

      Ducoudray and his demands—The labors of General Knox—Injustice of displacing Knox.

    • To Richard Henry Lee, June 1st . . . . 403

      The foreign applicants—Ducoudray and Knox—Howe’s proclamation—Completing the regiments.

    • To the President of Congress, June 3d . . . 407

      The question of persons who had been misled into joining the enemy—Proposed offer of amnesty—Discrimination to be made—Offer to be communicated secretly rather than by an act of public authority.

    • To the President of Congress, June 5th . . . 411

      Resolution applying to the French officers—Question of dating the commissions—Officers now in artillery should not be displaced—Proposed new corps for the foreigners—Obstacles to giving them command.

    • To Appolos Morris, June 6th . . . . . 415

      Advises him to leave the country.

    • To Colonel Samuel B. Webb, June 7th . . . 416

      Strictures on his drawing clothing for his men—Conduct highly offensive.

    • To the President of Congress, June 8th . . . 418

      Approval of his conduct in proposed cartel—The matter of chaplains—Intelligence—Removal of stores from Philadelphia.

    • To John Augustine Washington, June— . . 420

      Movements of the enemy—Howe’s general inactivity a matter of surprise—Small-pox and its treatment—Impolitic law restraining inoculation in Virginia—The affair at Danbury.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, June 10th . . . 423

      No compromise possible from letters—Charge of exciting popular delusion—Treatment of prisoners—Variance between accounts—Supplies of provisions—British prisoners in American hands—Agents for prisoners—Mortality in the army—Return of prisoners in a dying condition—General Lee—Still desirous for an exchange on liberal and impartial principles—Campbell’s situation.

      Edition: current; Page: [xix]
    • To Joseph Reed, June 14th . . . . . 432

      Returns thanks for friendly and affectionate sentiments—The Lee letter—Hopes he will accept appointment.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, June 16th . . . 433

      Intelligence from Canada—Howe begins his march—Massing the army in New Jersey.

    • To Major-General Arnold, June 17th . . . 435

      Position of the armies summarized—The intention of the enemy to destroy the army and gain possession of Philadelphia—Animation of the people.

    • To M. Danmours, June 19th . . . . . 438

      Policy of France—The affair at Danbury—Movements of the British.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, June 20th . . . 441

      Amsbury’s evidence—The suggested plan hardly practicable—Letter to Sullivan—New England troops.

    • To the President of Congress, June 20th . . . 444

      Retreat of Howe to Brunswick—Uncertainty as to the meaning—Activity of militia a probable cause—Rule of promotion determined.

    • To the President of Congress, June 22d . . . 447

      Brunswick evacuated and the British retired to Amboy—Attack on their rear.

    • To Joseph Reed, June 23d. (See under January 23d.) 449

    • To the President of Congress, June 25th . . . 450

      Losses of the enemy in their retreat—Measures taken to annoy the British—Misfortune of orders to Maxwell having miscarried.

    • To the President of Congress, June 28th . . . 452

      Advance of the enemy—The design and the effect.

    • To John Augustine Washington, June 29th . . 454

      Movements of the two armies.

    • To Governor Trumbull, July 2d . . . . 456

      Exchange of prisoners—Demand for arms cannot be complied with—Reasons—The British out of New Jersey—Possible operations against the Highlands.

    • To the President of Congress, July 2d . . . 461

      Intelligence from the northern army—Uncertainty of the real intentions of the British—Alternatives and the consequences of each—Confusion in the issuing commissaries’ department—Needs of the military chest—Look-outs on Delaware Bay.

      Edition: current; Page: [xx]
    • To Major-General Lee, July 4th . . . . 464

      Lord Drummond’s parole—Inexpedient and unnecessary to reopen the discussion of his acts.

    • To Governor Rutledge, July 5th . . . . 465

      Attack upon St. Augustine—Manœuvres of the two armies—Uncertainties.

    • To Major-General Sullivan, July 6th . . . . 468

      Proposed attack on Bergen.

    • To Governor Trumbull, July 7th . . . . 469

      Doubts as to intentions of British—No arms to the southward.

    • To the President of Congress, July 10th . . . 472

      Intelligence from the north—Requests that Arnold be sent there—The army to move.

    • To Major-General Putnam, July 12th . . . 476

      Reinforcements for the northern army—Howe’s movements—Measures of defence—British vessels in the Sound.

    • To Ducoudray, July 13th . . . . . . 478

      Heavy ordnance to be recast—Advantages to be gained—Necessity for light pieces—Cannon detained at Springfield—Du Plessis not the adviser of the step—Cannot recognize Ducoudray in an official capacity until instructions are received from Congress.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 13th . . . 483

      Supplies—Mystery surrounding the movements of St. Clair.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 15th . . . 484

      Evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence unexplained—No room for despair—Intentions of Howe—Evacuation of Fort George regarded as unnecessary.

    • To Lieutenant-General Howe, July 16th . . . 487

      Exchange of Prescott for Lee proposed.

    • To Governor Trumbull, July 17th . . . . 488

      Events at the northward—Exchange of Lee for Prescott—Directions for guarding the latter.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 18th . . . 489

      Arnold to join the northern army—His claim of rank to be waived—The conduct of St. Clair should be investigated—His acts condemned by all ranks of people—Council of war at Ticonderoga received—Supplies sent up—No more troops can be detached from the main army.

    • To the Massachusetts and Connecticut Brigadier-Generals, July 18th . . . . . . 492

      To march with the militia to Saratoga—Arnold to command.

      Edition: current; Page: [xxi]
    • To the Committee of Congress, July 19th . . . 493

      Completing the Continental regiments—Methods of recruiting suggested—The question of feeding the army—Disease and mortality the consequence of a lack of proper articles—Soap—Clothing—Indiscriminate giving of rank—Settlement of accounts—Geographer—A travelling press—Disposition of the French officers—Punishment of skulking spies.

    • To Major-General Heath, July 19th . . . . 500

      The attitude of France—Discrepancy in returns of forces at Ticonderoga

    • To the President of Congress, July 22d . . . 502

      Embarrassments respecting the intended operations of General Howe—Necessity of look-outs at the Capes of Delaware—Movements of detachments.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 22d . . . 504

      Burgoyne’s movements calculated to ruin him—Urges exertions to arouse the people—Policy of evacuating Fort George—Necessity for harmony—Lines a trap.

    • To Lord Stirling, July 24th . . . . . 507

      Movements of the army—Boats to be provided—Number of the British fleet—Uncertainty of intelligence.

    • To Major-General Schuyler, July 24th . . . 508

      Disappointed in number of militia—No reinforcements can be sent from the main army—Manning the artillery—Number of the enemy—Disadvantages they must labor under—General Lincoln—A body of men to be stationed about the Grants—Arnold suggested for command at Fort Schuyler.

    • To Major-General Putnam, July 25th . . . 512

      New orders for disposing the troops—An intercepted letter from Howe to Burgoyne.

    • To the President of Congress, July 25th . . . 515

      Exchange of Lee for Prescott—British command of the water an amazing advantage—Suggests calling out the militia—Intelligence and movements of the army.

    • To Major-General Gates, July 30th . . . . 518

      State of uncertainty and position of the army—Howe’s abandoning of Burgoyne inexplicable.

    • To Governor Trumbull, July 31st . . . . 520

      Evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence—An inquiry to be held—No more detachments from Peekskill to the northern army—British fleet off the capes of Delaware—Lincoln and Arnold sent to the northern army to quiet militia.

Edition: current; Page: [1]

THE WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.

1776.

George Washington
Washington, George
6 November, 1776
White Plains

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.1

Sir,

I have the honor to inform you, that on yesterday morning the enemy made a sudden and unexpected movement from the several posts they had taken in Edition: current; Page: [2] our front. They broke up their whole encampments the preceding night, and have advanced towards Kingsbridge and the North River. The design of this manœuver is a matter of much conjecture and speculation, and cannot be accounted for with any Edition: current; Page: [3] degree of certainty. The grounds we had taken possession of were strong and advantageous, and such as they could not have gained without much loss of blood in case an attempt had been made. I had taken every possible precaution to prevent their outflanking Edition: current; Page: [4] us; which may have led to the present measure. They may still have in view their original plan, and, by a sudden wheel, try to accomplish it. Detachments are constantly out to observe their motions, and to harass them as much as possible.

In consequence of this movement I called a council of general officers to-day, to consult of such measures as should be adopted in case they pursued their retreat to New York; the result of which is herewith transmitted.1 In respect to myself, I cannot indulge an idea that General Howe, supposing he is going to New York, means to close the campaign, and to sit down without attempting something more. I think it highly probable, and almost certain, that he will make a descent with a part of his troops into Jersey; and, as soon as I am satisfied, that the present manœuver is real and not a feint, I shall use every means in my power to forward a part of our force to counteract his designs; nor shall I be disappointed if he sends a detachment to the southward for the purpose of making a winter campaign. From the information I have received, there is now a number of transports at Red Hook, with about three thousand troops on board. Their destination, as given out, is to Rhode Island; but this seems altogether improbable for various reasons; among others, the season is much against it. In the southern States they will find it Edition: current; Page: [5] milder, and much more favorable for their purposes. I shall take the liberty of mentioning, that it may not be improper to suggest the probability of such a measure to the Assemblies and Conventions in those States, that they may be on their guard, and of the propriety of their establishing and laying up magazines of provisions and other necessaries in suitable places. This is a matter of exceeding importance, and what cannot be too much attended to.

From the approaching dissolution of the army, and the departure of the new levies, which is on the eve of taking place, and the little prospect of levying a new one in time, I have wrote to the eastern States, by the unanimous advice of the general officers, to forward supplies of militia in the room of those that are now here, and who, it is feared, will not be prevailed on to stay any longer than the time they are engaged for. The propriety of this application, I trust, will appear, when it is known that not a single officer is yet commissioned to recruit, and when it is considered how essential it is to keep up some show of force and shadow of an army.1 I expect the Edition: current; Page: [6] enemy will bend their force against Fort Washington, and invest it immediately. From some advices, it is an object that will attract their earliest attention.

I am happy to inform you, that, in the engagement on Monday se’nnight, I have reason to believe our loss was by no means so considerable as was conjectured at first. By some deserters and prisoners we are told, that of the enemy was tolerably great; some accounts make it about four hundred in killed and wounded; all agree that among the former there was a Colonel Carr of the thirty-fifth regiment. The force that will be sent to Jersey after I am satisfied Edition: current; Page: [7] of Mr. Howe’s retreat, in addition to those now there, according to my present opinion, will make it necessary for me to go with them, to put things in a proper channel, and such a way of defence as shall seem most probable to check the progress of the enemy, in case they should attempt a descent there, or a move towards Philadelphia. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 November, 1776
White Plains
Governor Livingston
Governor Livingston

TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON.

Sir,

On Tuesday morning the enemy broke up their encampments, which were in front of our lines, after having remained there several days without attempting any thing. They have gone towards the North River and Kingsbridge. This sudden and unexpected movement is a matter of much speculation. Some suppose they are going into winter-quarters, and will sit down in New York, without doing more than investing Fort Washington. I cannot subscribe Edition: current; Page: [8] wholly to this opinion myself. That they will invest Fort Washington is a matter of which there can be no doubt; and I think there is a strong probability, that General Howe will detach a part of his force to make an incursion into the Jerseys, provided he is going to New York. He must attempt something on account of his reputation; for what has he done as yet with his great army?1

Persuaded that an expedition to the Jerseys will succeed his arrival in New York with a detachment of his army, as soon as I can be satisfied, that the present manœuver is a real retreat and not a feint, I shall throw over a body of our troops, with the utmost expedition, to assist in checking his progress. At the same time, I beg leave to recommend to your consideration the propriety and necessity, that some measures should be taken to place your militia on the best footing possible, and that a part of them may be in readiness to supply the place of the troops, denominated new levies, from your State, whose term of service will presently expire. Your vigilance and attention, I know, will not be wanting in any instance. Yet, there is one thing more I will take the liberty to mention; that is, that the inhabitants, contiguous to the water, should be prepared to remove their stock, grain, effects, and carriages upon the earliest notice. If they are not, the calamities, Edition: current; Page: [9] which they will suffer, will be beyond all description, and the advantages derived to the enemy immensely great. They have treated all here without discrimination; the distinction of Whig and Tory has been lost in one general scene of ravage and desolation. The article of forage is of great importance to them, and not a blade should remain for their use. What cannot be removed with convenience should be consumed without the least hesitation. These several matters I thought it my duty to suggest to you, not doubting but you will give them such attention as they may seem to deserve; and that your own good judgment will point out many more necessary regulations, adapted to the exigency of our affairs. I do not know the state of the barracks about Elizabethtown, Amboy, and Brunswic. They may be exceedingly necessary to cover our troops. I think, therefore, it would be advisable to have them examined, and that you should direct such necessary repairs to be made as they may require. I have the honor to be, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
8 November, 1776
Major-General Greene
Major-General Greene

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GREENE.

Sir,

The late Passage of three Vessels up the North River, (which we have just recd. advice of), is so plain a Proof of the Inefficacy of all the Obstructions we have thrown into it, that I cannot but think it will fully justify a Change in the Disposition, which has Edition: current; Page: [10] been made. If we cannot prevent Vessels from passing up, and the Enemy are possessed of the surrounding country, what valuable Purpose can it answer to attempt to hold a Post, from which the expected Benefit cannot be had? I am therefore inclined to think, that it will not be prudent to hazard the Men and Stores at Mount Washington; but, as you are on the spot, leave it to you to give such orders, as to evacuating Mount Washington, as you may judge best, and so far revoking the order given to Colonel Magaw to defend it to the last.

The best accounts obtained from the enemy assure us of a considerable movement among their boats last evening; and so far as can be collected from the various sources of intelligence, they must design a penetration into Jersey, and to fall down upon your post. You will therefore immediately have all the stores &c, removed, which you do not deem necessary for your defence; and as the enemy have drawn great relief from the forage and provisions, which they have found in the country, and which our tenderness spared, you will do well to prevent their receiving any fresh supplies there, by destroying it, if the inhabitants will not drive off their stock and remove the hay and grain, &c. in time. Experience has shown, that a contrary conduct is not of the least advantage to the poor inhabitants, from whom all their effects of every kind are taken, without distinction and without the least satisfaction.

Troops are filing off from hence as fast as our situation and circumstances will admit, in order to be Edition: current; Page: [11] transported over the river with all expedition. I am, &c.1

P. S. I need not suggest to you the necessity of giving General Mercer early information of all circumstances, that he may move up to your relief with what troops he has.

George Washington
Washington, George
8 November, 1776
White Plains

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Gentlemen,

I have been favored with yours of the 31st ulto. by Monsr. Laytaniac, and must take the liberty of referring you to my former Letters upon the subject of providing for the French Gentlemen who shall incline to enter the service of the States. To me there Edition: current; Page: [12] appears that one of two modes must be adopted: they must either be appointed to places in some of the regiments, or formed into a distinct Corps. The former was advised as the most eligible in Respect to the Gentlemen who were here before. It requires time to form an accurate opinion of the merits of an officer, and the present situation of the Army, will not allow me to pay a particular attention to Monsr. Laytaniac, or such notice as he may wish to receive, or I to give. Nor is there any way of making his stay here agreeable. I have &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
9 November, 1776
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

Yesterday evening I received the favor of your letter of the 8th instant. Major Stewart’s servant having never represented himself as a person not enlisted in your army, he was considered as a prisoner of war, and sent as such to Jersey. But upon your information, that he was not in the capacity of a soldier, Edition: current; Page: [13] I will give immediate directions for him to be brought back, that he may return to his master. This servant was charged with a letter of a private and delicate nature; but Major Stewart may be assured the contents neither were nor shall be permitted to transpire.

I regret that it has not been in my power to effect the proposed exchange of prisoners before this time. As soon as the proposition was agreed to, I wrote to the Governors and Conventions of the different States, where the prisoners were, to have them collected and sent to the most convenient places in the neighborhood of the two armies. Their dispersed situation, for their better accommodation, has been the reason of the delay; at least I cannot ascribe it to any other cause. It has not arisen, Sir, from any design on my part; and I am persuaded the difficulty of drawing them together must be evident to you, especially as it was early suggested in some of my former letters. As to the charge of your officers being confined in common gaols, I had hoped that you were satisfied by my assurances on this head before. It is not my wish, that severity should be exercised towards any, whom the fortune of war has thrown or shall throw into our hands. On the contrary, it is my desire, that the utmost humanity should be shown them. I am convinced, the latter has been the prevailing line of conduct to prisoners. There have been instances, in which some have met with less indulgence, than could have been wished, owing to a refractory conduct and a disregard of paroles. If there are other instances, Edition: current; Page: [14] in which a strict regard to propriety has not been observed, they have not come to my knowledge, and if you will be pleased to point them out, and to particularize the names of the officers, the earliest inquiry shall be made into the complaint, and the cause removed, if any exists.

With respect to the stragglers, who have lately fallen into our hands, I cannot, upon the best consideration, discern how the agreement subsisting between us is affected by sending them to places from whence they may be easily collected upon a general exchange. That the custom of war requires, or that the interest of an army would admit of a daily exchange of prisoners, are points on which we are so unhappy as to differ in sentiment. The opportunities of conveying intelligence, and many other consequences flowing from such an intercourse, seem so very obvious, that, upon further reflection, I flatter myself you will think with me on this subject. But if otherwise, it might have been exemplified on your part in the immediate return of such stragglers from our army, as have fallen into your hands, which would have justified an expectation of a similar conduct from us. I am, Sir with great respect, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
10th day of November, 1776
White Plains
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Sir,

The late movement of the Enemy, and the probability of their having designs upon the Jerseys, (confirmed by sundry accounts from deserters and prisoners,) rendering it necessary to throw a Edition: current; Page: [15] body of troops over the North River, I shall immediately follow, and the command of the army, which remains, (after General Heath’s division marches to Peekskill,) devolving upon you,

I have to request

That you will be particularly attentive that all the intrenching and other tools (excepting those in immediate use) be got together, and delivered to the Quarter Master General, or Major Reed, who heretofore has been intrusted with them.

That you will direct the commanding officer of Artillery, to exert himself, in having the Army well supplied with Musket Cartridges; for this purpose a convenient place at a distance, should be fixed on, that the business may go on uninterrupted.

That no troops who have been furnished, with Arms, Accoutrements, or Camp utensils, be suffered to depart the Camp, before they have delivered them, either to the Commissary of Stores or the Quarter Master General, (or his Assistant) as the case may be, taking receipts therefor, in exoneration of those which they have passed. In a particular manner let the tents be taken care of, committed to the Quarter Master General’s care.

A little time now must manifest the Enemy’s designs, point out to you the measures proper to be pursued by that part of the army under your command. I shall give no directions, therefore, on this head, having the most entire confidence in your Judgment and military exertions. One thing, however, I will suggest, namely, that as the appearance of embarking troops for the Jerseys may be intended as a feint to weaken us, and render the strong post we now hold more vulnerable, or if they find that troops are assembled with more expedition and in greater numbers, than they expected, on the Jersey shore to oppose them; I say, as it is possible, from one or the other of the motives, that they may yet pay the army under your command a visit, it will be unnecessary, I am persuaded, to recommend to you the propriety of putting this post, if you stay at it, into a proper posture of defence, and guarding against surprises. But I would recommend it to your consideration, whether, under the suggestion above, your retiring to Croton Bridge, and some strong post still more easterly covering the other passes through the Highlands, may not be more advisable, than to run the hazard of an attack with unequal numbers. At any rate, I think all your baggage Edition: current; Page: [16] and stores, except such as are necessary for immediate use, ought to be to the northward of Croton River. In case of your removal from hence I submit to the consideration of yourself and the General Officers with you, the propriety of destroying the Hay, to prevent the Enemy from reaping the benefit of it. You will consider the post at Croton’s (or Pines) Bridge as under your immediate care, as also that lately occupied by General Parsons and the other at Wright’s mill; the first, I am taught to believe is of consequence, and the other two can be of little use, while the Enemy hover about the North River and upon our right flank.

General Wooster, of the State of Connecticut, and, by order of the Governor, commanding several regiments of militia, is now I presume in or about Stamford; they were to receive orders from me, and they are to of course do it from you. There are also some other regiments of Connecticut militia, who came out with General Saltonstall, and annexed to General Parsons’s brigade; and others, whom you must dispose of as occasion and circumstances shall require; but as, by the late returns, many of those regiments are reduced to little more than a large company, I recommend the discharge of all such supernumerary officers, and the others annexed to some Brigade. As the Season will soon oblige the Enemy to betake themselves to winter-quarters, and will not permit our troops to remain much longer in tents, it may be well to consider in time where magazines of provisions and forage should be laid in for the army on the East side Hudson’s River. Peekskill, or the neighborhood, would, I should think, be a very advantageous post for as many as can be supported there. Croton Bridge may possibly be another good deposit, or somewhere more easterly for the rest, as the Commissary and Quartermaster &c may assist in pointing out.

It may not be amiss to remind you, for it must (as it ought) to have some influence on your deliberations and measures, that the Massachusetts militia stand released from their Contract the 17th this Instant, & that the Connecticut militia are not engaged for any fixed period, &, by what I can learn, begin to grow very impatient to return, and few indeed of whom are left. If the Enemy should remove the whole or the greater part of their force to the West side of Hudson’s River, I have no doubt of your following, Edition: current; Page: [17] with all possible despatch, leaving the militia & Invalids to cover the frontiers of Connecticut in case of need. Given at Head-Quarters, near the White Plains, this 10th day of November, 1776.1

George Washington
Washington, George
10 November, 1776
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was yesterday evening favored with a call by the gentlemen appointed Commissioners from your State to arrange your officers, and to adopt some line of conduct for recruiting the quota of men, which you are to furnish. In discussing this subject, the gentlemen informed me, that your Assembly, to induce Edition: current; Page: [18] their men to enlist more readily into the service, had passed a vote advancing their pay twenty shillings per month, over and above that allowed by Congress. It is seldom, that I interfere with the determinations of any public body, or venture to hold forth my opinion contrary to the decisions, which they form; but, upon this occasion, I must take the liberty to mention, especially as the influence of that vote will be general and Continental, that, according to my ideas and those of every general officer I have consulted, a more mistaken policy could not have been adopted, or one that, in its consequences, will more effectually prevent the great object, which Congress have in view, and which the situation of our affairs so loudly calls for, the levying a new army. That the advance, allowed by your State, may be the means of raising your quota of men sooner than it otherwise would, perhaps may be true; but, when it is considered, that it will be an effectual bar to the other States, in raising the quotas exacted from them, when it is certain, that, if their quotas could be made up without this advance coming to their knowledge, the moment they come to act with troops, who receive a higher pay, jealousy, impatience, and mutiny will immediately take place, and occasion desertions, if not a total dissolution of the army,—it must be viewed as injurious and fatal point of light. That troops will never act together, in the same cause and for different pay, must be obvious to every one. Experience has already proved it in this army. That Congress will take up the subject, and make the advance Edition: current; Page: [19] general, is a matter of which there can be but little probability, as the addition of a suit of clothes, to the former pay of the privates, was a long time debated before it could be obtained. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
11 November, 1776
Peekskill

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have only time to acknowledge, the honor of your Letter of the 5th Inst and its several Inclosures and to inform you that agreeable to the resolves of Congress, I shall use every measure in my power, that the moving and present confused state of the army will admit of, for to appoint officers for recruiting. You will have been advised, before this, of the arrival of Commissioners from Massachusetts. Others have come from Connecticut; but, from the present appearance of things, we seem but little if any nearer levying an army. I had anticipated the resolve respecting the militia, by writing to the eastern States and to the Jerseys, by the advice of my general officers, and from a consciousness of the necessity of getting in a number of men if possible, to keep up the appearance of our army. How my applications will succeed, the event must determine. I have little or no reason to expect, that the militia now here will remain a day longer than the time they first engaged for. I have recommended their stay, and requested it in general orders. General Lincoln and the Massachusetts Commissioners are using their interest with Edition: current; Page: [20] those from that State; but, as far as I can judge, we cannot rely on their staying.1

I left White Plains about eleven o’clock yesterday; all peace then. The enemy appeared to be preparing for their expedition to Jersey, according to every information. What their designs are, or whether their present conduct is not a feint, I cannot determine. The Maryland and Virginia troops under Lord Stirling have crossed the river, as have part of those from the Jerseys; the remainder are now embarking. The troops, judged necessary to secure the several posts through the Highlands, have also got up. I am going to examine the passes, and direct such works as may appear necessary; after which, and making the best disposition I can of things in this quarter, I intend to proceed to Jersey, which I expect to do to-morrow.2

The Assemblies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, to induce their men more readily to engage in the service, have voted an advance pay of twenty shillings per month, in addition to that allowed by the Congress to privates. It may perhaps be the means of their levying the quotas exacted from them Edition: current; Page: [21] sooner, than they could otherwise have been raised; but I am of opinion, a more fatal and mistaken policy could not have entered their councils, or one more detrimental to the general cause. The influence of the vote will become Continental, and materially affect the other States in making up their levies. If they could do it, I am certain, when the troops come to act together, that jealousy, impatience, and mutiny would necessarily arise. A different pay cannot exist in the same army. The reasons are obvious, and experience has proved their force in the case of the eastern and southern troops last spring. Sensible of this, and of the pernicious consequences, that would inevitably result from the advance, I have prevented the Commissioners from proceeding, or publishing their terms, till they could obtain the sense of Congress upon the subject, and remonstrated against it in a letter to Governor Trumbull. I am not singular in opinion; I have the concurrence of all the general officers, of its fatal tendency.1 I congratulate you and Congress upon the news from Ticonderoga, and that General Carleton and his army have been obliged to return to Canada without attempting any thing. I have the honor to be, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [22]
George Washington
Washington, George
12th day of November, 1776
Peekskill
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.
INSTRUCTIONS.

The uncertainty with respect to the designs of the enemy renders any disposition of our army at this time a little unsettled; but, for the present your Division with such troops as are now at Forts Constitution, Montgomery and Independence, are to be under your command, and remain in this quarter for the security of the above posts, and the passes through the Highlands from this place, and the one on the west side of Hudson’s River. Colonel Tash’s regiment is meant to be included in this command.

Unnecessary it is for me to say any thing to evince the importance of securing the land and water communication through these passes, or to prove the indispensable necessity of using every exertion in your power to have such works erected for the defence of them as your own judgment, assisted by that of your Brigadiers and the Engineer, may shew the expediency of.

To form an accurate judgment of the proper places to fortify in order effectually to secure the two land passes above-mentioned through the Highlands, requires a considerable degree of attention and knowledge of the roads and ways leading through the hills. These you must get from information and observation as my stay here will not allow me to give any direction on this head with precision.

You will not only keep in view the importance of securing these passes, but the necessity of doing it without delay, not only from the probability of the enemy’s attempting to seize them, but from the advanced season, which will not admit of any spade work after the frost (which may be daily expected) sets in. Lose not a moment’s time, therefore, in choosing the grounds on the east and west side of the river, on which your intended works are to be erected. Let your men designed for each post be speedily allotted, and by your presence, and otherwise, do every thing to stimulate the officers (respectively commanding at each) to exert themselves in forwarding them.

The cheapest kind of barracks must be erected, contiguous to these places where no covering now is for the men. These may, I should think be built of logs, and made warm at very little Edition: current; Page: [23] cost. In apportioning your men to the different posts, (those to be established, as well as those already fixed on the river), I advise your keeping the corps as much as possible together, and also desire that in this allotment you will consult your officers, and such gentlemen as have it in their power (from their superior knowledge of the country) to afford you good advice.

Independent of the barracks, which may be found necessary for the men at the posts before-mentioned, I should think others ought to be built at such places in this neighborhood as the Quartermaster-General and Engineer shall point out, as this must from the nature of it, be considered in an important point of view, and as well adapted for winter quarters for part of the army as any other place can be.

If, contrary to the general received opinion, General Howe’s remove to Dobb’s Ferry was only intended as a feint to draw off part of our force from the place which we last occupied, and should [he] make an attempt upon General Lee, you are to give him all the aid you can, taking care at the same time to keep Guard in the posts and passes you occupy. For the speedy and regular punishment of officers, you are hereby authorized and empowered, whilst you remain in a separate camp, to hold general courts-martial, and carry the judgments of them into execution in all cases whatsoever.

Be particularly careful of all intrenching tools, tents (seeing that the bottoms of them are not covered with dirt), and above all take care that no discharged soldier is suffered to carry away any of the public arms or accoutrements. Apply to the commissary of stores for a list of those things furnished to the respective Colonels of regiments, and see that they account for them before the men are dismissed. In like manner should every thing had of the Quartermaster-General be delivered up.

Keep persons employed in making of cartridges, and be particularly attentive that the stores are taken care of, and the powder kept from receiving damage. Also, prevent the soldiery from committing any kind of waste and injuries to private or public property.

The men which composed the detachment under Colonel Lasher are all to join their respective corps immediately. Given at Headquarters at Peekskill, this 12th day of November, 1776.

Edition: current; Page: [24]
George Washington
Washington, George
14 November, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have the honor to inform you of my arrival here yesterday, and that the whole of the troops belonging to the States, which lay south of Hudson’s River, and which were in New York government, have passed over to this side, except the regiment lately Colonel Smallwood’s, which I expect is now on their march. That they may be ready to check any incursions, the enemy may attempt in this neighborhood, I intend to quarter them at Brunswic, Amboy, Elizabethtown, Newark, and about this place, unless Congress should conceive it necessary for any of them to be stationed at or more contiguous to Philadelphia. In such case they will be pleased to signify their pleasure. There will be very few of them after the departure of those, who were engaged for the Flying Camp, and which is fast approaching. The disposition I have mentioned seems to me well calculated for the end proposed, and also for their accommodation.

The movements and designs of the enemy are not yet understood. Various are the opinions and reports on this head. From every information, the whole have removed from Dobb’s Ferry towards Kingsbridge; and it seems to be generally believed on all hands, that the investing of Fort Washington is one object they have in view; but that can employ but a small part of their force. Whether they intend a southern expedition, must be determined by time; Edition: current; Page: [25] to me there appears a probability of it, and which seems to be favored by the advices we have that many transports are wooding and watering.1 General Greene’s Letter would give you the substance of the intelligence brought by Mr. Mersereau from Staten Island in this instance, which he received before it came to me. Enclosed you have copies of two letters from General Howe, and of my answer to the first of them. The letter alluded to, and returned in his last, was one from myself to Mrs. Washington, of the 25th ultimo, from whence I conclude that all the letters, which went by the Boston express, have come to his possession.2

Edition: current; Page: [26]

You will also perceive that Genl. Howe has requested the return of Peter Jack, a servant to Major Stewart to which I have consented as he was not in the military line, and the requisition agreable to the custom of War. This servant having been sent to Philadelphia with the Waldeckers and other prisoners, I must request the favor of you to have him conveyed to Genl. Greene by the earliest opportunity in order that he may be returned to his master.1

Before I conclude, I beg leave, not only to suggest, but to urge the necessity of increasing our field artillery very considerably. Experience has convinced me, as it has every gentleman of discernment in this army, that, while we remain so much inferior to the enemy in this instance, we must carry on the war under infinite disadvantages, and without the smallest probability of success. It has been peculiarly owing to the situation of the country, where their operations have been conducted, and to the rough and strong grounds we possessed ourselves of, and over which Edition: current; Page: [27] they had to pass, that they have not carried their arms, by means of their artillery, to a much greater extent. When these difficulties cease, by changing the scene of action to a level, champaign country, the worst of consequences are justly to be apprehended. I would, therefore, with the concurrence of all the officers, whom I have spoke to upon the subject, submit to the consideration of Congress, whether immediate measures ought not to be taken for procuring a respectable train. It is agreed on all hands, that each battalion should be furnished at least with two pieces, and that a smaller number than a hundred of three pounds, fifty of six pounds, and fifty of twelve pounds, should not be provided, in addition to those we now have. Besides these, if some eighteen and twenty-four pounders are ordered, the train will be more serviceable and complete. The whole should be of brass, for the most obvious reasons; they will be much more portable, and not half so liable to burst; and, when they do, no damage is occasioned by it, and they may be cast over again. The sizes before described should be particularly attended to; if they are not, there will be great reason to expect mistakes and confusion in the charges in time of action, as it has frequently happened in the best regulated armies. The disparity between those I have mentioned, and such as are of an intermediate size, is difficult to discern. It is also agreed, that a regiment of artillerists, with approved and experienced officers, should be obtained if possible, and some engineers of known reputation and abilities. I am sorry Edition: current; Page: [28] to say, too ready an indulgence has been given to several appointments in the latter instance, and that men have been promoted, who seem to me to know but little if any thing of the business. Perhaps this Train, &c, may be looked upon by some as large and expensive. True, it will be so; but when it is considered that the Enemy, having effected but little in the course of the present Campaign, will use their utmost efforts to subjugate us in the next, every consideration of that sort should be disregarded, and every possible preparation made to frustrate their unjust and wicked attempts. How they are to be procured, is to be inquired into. That we cannot provide them among ourselves or more than a very small proportion, so trifling as not to deserve our notice, is evident; therefore I would advise with all imaginable deference, that without any abatement of our own in formal exertions, application should be immediately made to such powers as can and may be willing to supply them. They cannot be obtained too early, if soon enough, and I am told they may be easily had from France and Holland.1

Mr. Trumbull, the Commissary General has frequently mentioned to me of late, the inadequacy of his pay to his trouble, and the great risk he is subject to on account of the large sums of money which pass thro his hands. He has stated his case with a view of laying it before Congress and obtaining a more adequate compensation. My sentiments upon the Subject are already known, but yet I shall take the Edition: current; Page: [29] liberty to add, that I think his complaint to be well founded and that his pay considering the important duties and risks of his Office by no means sufficient, and that the footing he seems to think it should be upon himself appears just and reasonable.

A proposition having been made long since to General Howe, and agreed to by him, for an exchange of prisoners, in consequence of the resolutions of Congress to that effect, I shall be extremely happy if you will give directions to the committees, and those having the charge of prisoners in the several States south of Jersey, to transmit me proper lists of the names of all the commissioned officers, and of their ranks and the corps they belong to; also the number of non-commissioned and privates, and their respective regiments. You will perceive by his letter, he supposes me to have effected some delay, or to have been unmindful of the proposition I had made.

I propose to stay in this neighborhood a few days, to which time I expect the designs of the enemy will be more disclosed, and their incursions be made in this quarter, or their investiture of Fort Washington, if they are intended.1

I have the honor to be, &c.2
Edition: current; Page: [30]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 November, 1776
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

You will see by the enclosed Resolves, that Congress have entered into some new regulations respecting the Enlistment of the new army, and reprobating the measures adopted by the State of Massachusetts Bay for raising their Quota of men. As every possible exertion should be used for recruiting the army as speedily as may be, I request that you immediately publish, in orders, that an allowance of a Dollar and one-third of a Dollar will be paid to the officers for every Soldier they shall enlist, whether in or out of camp. Also, that it will be optional in the Soldier to enlist during the continuance of the War, or for three years, unless sooner discharged by Congress. In the former case, they are to receive all such bounty and pay as have been heretofore mentioned in orders; those who engage for the latter time, that of three years, are not to receive the bounty in land. That no mistakes may be made, you will direct the recruiting officers, from your division, to provide two distinct enlisting rolls; one for those to sign who engage during the war; the other for those who enlist for Edition: current; Page: [31] three years, if their service shall be so long requested.1

I am sorry to inform you, that this day about twelve o’clock, the enemy made a general attack upon Edition: current; Page: [32] our lines about Fort Washington, which having carried, the garrison retired within the fort. Colonel Magaw finding there was no prospect of retreating across the River, surrendered the post. We do not yet know the loss of killed and wounded on either side; but I imagine it must have been pretty considerable, as the engagement, at some parts of the lines, was of long continuance and heavy; neither do I know the terms of capitulation. The force of the garrison, before the attack, was almost two thousand men.

Before I left Peekskill, I urged to General Heath the necessity of securing the pass through the Highlands next to the river, as well on that as this side, and to the forts above; but as the preserving of these and others which lie more easterly, and which are equally essential, is a matter of the last importance, I must beg you to turn your attention that way, and to have such measures adopted for their defence as your judgment shall suggest to be necessary. I do not mean to advise abandoning your present post contrary to your own opinion, but only to mention my ideas of the importance of those passes, and that you cannot give too much attention to their security, by having works erected in the most advantageous places for that purpose.

I am, dear Sir, &c.1

P. S. The enclosed Letter for Governor Trumbull, you will please to transmit by the 1st opportunity.

Edition: current; Page: [33]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 November, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Since I had the honor of addressing you last, an important event has taken place, of which I wish to give you the earliest intelligence. The preservation of the passage of the North River was an object of so much consequence, that I thought no pains or expense too great for that purpose; and, therefore, after sending off all the valuable stores, except such as were necessary for its defence, I determined, agreeable to the advice of most of the general officers, to risk something to defend the post on the east side, called Mount Washington. When the army moved up in consequence of General Howe’s landing at Frog’s Point, Colonel Magaw was left on that command, with about twelve hundred men, and orders given to defend it to the last. Afterwards, reflecting upon the smallness of the garrison, and the difficulty of their holding it, if General Howe should fall down upon it with his whole force, I wrote to General Greene, who had the command on the Jersey shore, directing him to govern himself by circumstances, and to retain or evacuate the post as he should think best, and revoking the absolute order to Colonel Magaw to defend the post to the last extremity. General Greene, struck with the importance of the post, and the discouragement, which our evacuation of posts must necessarily have given, reinforced Colonel Magaw with detachments from several regiments of Edition: current; Page: [34] the Flying Camp, but chiefly of Pennsylvania, so as to make up the number about two thousand.

In this situation things were yesterday, when General Howe demanded the surrender of the garrison, to which Colonel Magaw returned a spirited refusal.1 Immediately upon receiving an account of this transaction, I came from Hackinsac to this place, and had partly crossed the North River when I met General Putnam and General Greene, who were just returning from thence, and informed me that the troops were in high spirits, and would make a good defence; and, it being late at night, I returned. Early this morning Colonel Magaw posted his troops partly in the lines thrown up by our army on our first coming thither from New York, and partly on a commanding hill lying north of Mount Washington, (the lines being all to the southward). In this position the attack began about ten o’clock, which our troops stood, and returned the fire in such Edition: current; Page: [35] a manner as gave me great hopes that the enemy was entirely repulsed. But at this time a body of troops crossed Haerlem River in boats, and landed inside of the second lines, our troops being then engaged in the first. Colonel Cadwalader, who commanded in the lines, sent off a detachment to oppose them; but they, being overpowered by numbers, gave way; upon which, Colonel Cadwalader ordered his troops to retreat in order to gain the fort. It was done with much confusion; and the enemy crossing over came in upon them in such a manner, that a number of them surrendered.

At this time the Hessians advanced on the north side of the fort in very large bodies. They were received by the troops posted there with proper spirit, and kept back a considerable time; but at length they were also obliged to submit to a superiority of numbers, and retire under the cannon of the fort. The enemy, having advanced thus far, halted, and immediately a flag went in, with a repetition of the demand of the fortress, as I suppose.1 At this time I sent a billet to Colonel Magaw, directing him to hold out, and I would endeavor this evening to bring off the garrison, if the fortress could not be maintained, as I did not expect it could, the enemy being possessed of the adjacent ground. But, before this reached him, he had entered too far into a treaty to retract; after which, Colonel Cadwalader told another Edition: current; Page: [36] messenger, who went over, that they had been able to obtain no other terms than to surrender as prisoners of war.1 In this situation matters now stand. I have stopped General Beall’s and General Heard’s brigades, to preserve the post and stores here, which, with the other troops, I hope we shall be able to effect. I do not yet know the numbers killed or wounded on either side; but, from the heaviness and continuance of fire in some places, I imagine there must have been considerable execution. The loss of such a number of officers and men, many of whom have been trained with more than common attention, will, I fear, be severely felt; but, when that of the arms and accoutrements is added, much more so; and must be a further incentive to procure as considerable a supply as possible for the new troops, as soon as it can be done. I am, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
19 November, 1776
Hackinsac
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

At the White Plains, the enemy advanced a second time upon us, as if they meant a general attack; but, finding us ready to receive them, and upon such ground as they could not approach without loss, they filed off and returned towards New York. As it was conceived, that this manœuver was made with a design Edition: current; Page: [37] to attack Fort Washington, or to throw a body of troops into the Jerseys, or, what might be still worse, aim a stroke at Philadelphia, I hastened over to this side, with about five thousand men, by a circuitous march of about sixty-five miles, which we were obliged to take, on account of the shipping that opposed the passage at all the lower ferries. But I did not arrive in time to take measures to save Fort Washington, though I got here myself a day or two before it surrendered, which happened on the 16th instant, after making a defence of about four or five hours only. We have no particular account of the loss on either side, or of the circumstances attending this matter. The whole garrison, after being driven from the outer lines, and returning within the fort, surrendered themselves prisoners of war, but have given me no account of the terms. By a letter, which I have just received from General Greene at Fort Lee, I am informed, that “one of the train of artillery came across the river last night on a raft. By his account, the enemy have suffered greatly on the north side of Fort Washington. Colonel Rawlings’s regiment (late Hugh Stephenson’s) was posted there, and behaved with great spirit. Colonel Magaw could not get the men to man the lines, otherwise he would not have given up the fort.”

This is a most unfortunate affair, and has given me great mortification; as we have lost not only two thousand men that were there, but a good deal of artillery, and some of the best arms we had. And what adds to my mortification is, that this post, after the Edition: current; Page: [38] last ships went past it, was held contrary to my wishes and opinion, as I conceived it to be a hazardous one; but, it having been determined on by a full council of general officers, and a resolution of Congress having been received strongly expressive of their desire, that the channel of the river, which we had been laboring to stop for a long time at that place, might be obstructed, if possible, and knowing that this could not be done, unless there were batteries to protect the obstruction, I did not care to give an absolute order for withdrawing the garrison, till I could get round and see the situation of things, and then it became too late, as the fort was invested. Upon the passing of the last ships, I had given it as my opinion to General Greene, under whose care it was, that it would be best to evacuate the place; but, as the order was discretionary, and his opinion differed from mine, it unhappily was delayed too long, to my great grief; as I think General Howe, considering his army and ours, would have had but a poor tale to tell without it, and would have found it difficult, unless some southern expedition may prove successful, to reconcile the people of England to the conquest of a few pitiful islands, none of which were defensible, considering the great number of ships, and the power they have by sea to surround and render them unapproachable.1

It is a matter of great grief and surprise to me to find the different States so slow and inattentive to that essential business of levying their quotas of men. Edition: current; Page: [39] In ten days from this date, there will not be above two thousand men, if that number, of the fixed established regiments on this side of Hudson’s River to oppose Howe’s whole army, and very little more on the other to secure the eastern colonies and the important passes leading through the Highlands to Albany, and the country about the Lakes.1 In short, it is impossible for me, in the compass of a letter, to give you any idea of our situation, of my difficulties, and of the constant perplexities and mortifications I meet with, derived from the unhappy policy of short enlistments, and delaying them too long. Last fall, or winter, before the army, which was then to be raised, was set about, I represented in clear and explicit terms the evils, which would arise from short enlistments, the expense which must attend the raising an army every year, the futility of such an army when raised; and, if I had spoken with a prophetic spirit, I could not have foretold the evils with more accuracy than I did. All the year since, I have been pressing Congress to delay no time in engaging men upon such terms as would insure success, telling them that the longer it was delayed the more difficult it would prove. But the measure was not commenced Edition: current; Page: [40] till it was too late to be effected, and then in such a manner, as to bid adieu to every hope of getting an army, from which any services are to be expected1; the different States, without regard to the qualifications of an officer, quarelling about the appointments, and nominating such as are not fit to be shoeblacks, from the local attachments of this or that member of Assembly.2

I am wearied almost to death with the retrograde motion of things, and I solemnly protest, that a pecuniary reward of twenty thousand pounds a year would not induce me to undergo what I do; and after all, perhaps, to lose my character, as it is impossible, under such a variety of distressing circumstances, to conduct matters agreeably to public expectation, or even to the expectation of those, who employ me, as they will not make proper allowances for the difficulties their own errors have occasioned.

I am glad to find by your last letter, that your family are tolerably well recovered from the indisposition they labored under. God grant you all health and happiness. Nothing in this world would contribute Edition: current; Page: [41] so much to mine, as to be once more fixed among you in the peaceable enjoyment of my own vine and fig-tree. Adieu, my dear Sir; remember me affectionately to my sister and the children, and give my compliments to those, who inquire after your sincerely affectionate brother.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 November, 1776
Hackensack

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have not been yet able to obtain a particular account of the unhappy affair of the 16th; nor of the terms on which the garrison surrendered. The intelligence that has come to hand, is not so full and accurate as I could wish. One of the artillery, and whose information is most direct, who escaped on Sunday night, says, the enemy’s loss was very considerable, especially in the attack made above the Fort by the division of Hessians that marched from Kingsbridge, and where Lieut. Colo. Rawlings, of the late Colo. Stevenson’s Regiment, was posted. They burnt yesterday one or two houses on the Heights and contiguous to the Fort, and appeared by advices from General Greene, to be moving in the evening their main body down towards the City. Whether they will close the Campaign without attempting something more, or make an incursion into Jersey, must be determined by the events themselves.

As Fort Lee was always considered as only necessary in conjunction with that on the east side of the River, to preserve the communication across, and to Edition: current; Page: [42] prevent the enemy from a free navigation, it has become of no importance by the loss of the other, or not so material as to employ a force for its defences. Being viewed in this light, and apprehending that the stores there would be precariously situated, their removal has been determined on to Bound Brook, above Brunswick, Prince Town, Springfield and Acquankinac Bridge, as places that will not be subject to sudden danger in case the enemy should pass the River, and which have been thought proper, as a repository for some of our stores of provisions and forage.

The troops belonging to the Flying Camp, under Genls. Heard and Beall, with what remains of Genl. Ewing’s brigade, are now at Fort Lee, where they will continue till the stores are got away. By the time that is effected, their term of enlistment will be near expiring, and if the enemy should make a push in this quarter, the only troops that there will be to oppose ’em, will be Hand’s, Hazlet’s, the Regiments from Virginia, and that lately Smallwood’s,—the latter greatly reduced by the losses it sustained on Long Island, &c, and sickness. Nor are the rest by any means complete. In addition to these, I am told there are a few of the Militia of this State, which have been called in by Governor Livingston. I shall make such a disposition of the whole at Brunswick, and at the intermediate posts as shall seem most likely to guard against the designs of the enemy, and to prevent them making an irruption, or foraging with detached parties.

Edition: current; Page: [43]

The inclosed letter from Cols. Miles and Atlee will shew Congress the distressed situation of our prisoners in New York, and will become greater every day by the cold, inclement Season that is Approaching. It will be happy if some expedient can be adopted by which they may be furnished with necessary blankets and cloathing. Humanity and the good of the service require it. I think the mode suggested by these gentlemen for establishing a credit, appears as likely to succeed, and as eligible as any that occurs to me. It is probable, many articles that may be wanted, can be obtained there, and upon better terms than elsewhere. In respect to provision their allowance perhaps is as good as the situation of General Howe’s stores will admit of. It has been said of late, by deserters and others, that they were rather scant.

By a letter from the paymaster general of the 17th, he says there will be a necessity that large and early remittances should be made him. The demands, when the Troops now in service, are dismissed, will be extremely great; besides the bounty to recruits will require a large supply and he adds that the Commissary General has informed him, that between this and the last of December he shall have occasion for a million of dollars.

21st—The unhappy affair of the 16th has been succeeded by further misfortunes. Yesterday morning a large body of the Enemy landed between Dobb’s Ferry and Fort Lee.1 Their object was evidently Edition: current; Page: [44] to inclose the whole of our troops and stores that lay between the North and Heckenseck Rivers, which form a very narrow neck of land. For this purpose they formed and marched as soon as they had ascended the high ground towards the Fort. Upon the first information of their having landed and of their movements, our men were ordered to meet them, but finding their numbers greatly superior and that they were extending themselves to seize on the passes over the River, it was thought prudent to withdraw our men, which was effected and their retreat secured. We lost the whole of the cannon that was at the Fort, except two twelve pounders, and a great deal of baggage—between two and three hundred tents, about a thousand barrells of flour and other stores in the Quarter Master’s department. This loss was inevitable. As many of the Stores has been removed as circumstances and time would admit of; the Ammunition had been happily got away. Our present situation between Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, being exactly similar to our late one, and our force here by no means adequate to an opposition that will promise the smallest probability of success, we are taking measures to retire over the waters of the latter, where the best disposition will be formed that circumstances will admit of.

By Colo. Cadwalader, who has been permitted by Genl. Howe to return to his friends,1 I am informed Edition: current; Page: [45] the surrender of the garrison on the 16th was on the common terms, as prisoners of War; the loss of the Hessians about Three hundred privates and Twenty seven officers, killed and wounded, about Forty of the British troops and two or three officers. The loss on our side but inconsiderable. * * *

Your favor of the 16th was duly received. My Letter to the Board of War on the subject of the return of the Waldeckers I presume you will have seen.1

George Washington
Washington, George
21 November, 1776
Hackinsac
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear General,

It must be painful to you, as well as to us, that I have no news to send you, but of a melancholy Nature. Yesterday morning the Enemy landed a large Body of Troops below Dobbs’s Ferry, and advanced very rapidly to the Fort called by your Name. I immediately went over, and, as the Fort was not tenable on this side, and we were in a narrow neck of land, the passes out of which the enemy were attempting to seize, I directed the Troops, consisting of Beall’s, Heard’s, the remainder of Ewing’s brigades, and some other Parts of broken Regiments, to move over to the West Side of Hackinsac River. A considerable Quantity of Stores and some artillery have fallen into the enemy’s hands. We have no account of their movements this morning. But as this country is almost Edition: current; Page: [46] a dead flat, and we have not an intrenching tool, and not above three thousand men, and they much broken and dispirited, not only with our ill success, but the loss of their tents and baggage, I have resolved to avoid any attack, though by so doing I must leave a very fine country open to their ravages, or a plentiful storehouse from which they will draw voluntary supplies.

Your favor of the 19th is just come to hand. I approve of your step with respect to the Rhode Island officers, as I am unacquainted with their Merits, I was obliged to leave the Determination of the matter much to Genl. Greene, hoping I confess, that he would make an Arrangement acceptable to his Countrymen; however I am satisfied with what you have done and must leave it upon that footing.

With respect to your situation, I am very much at a loss what now to determine. There is such a change of circumstances since the date of your letter, as seems to call for a change of measures. Your post undoubtedly will answer some important purposes; but whether so many or so great as your removal, is well worthy of consideration. You observe, that it prevents a fine, fertile country from affording them supplies; but now they have one much more so, and more contiguous. They have already traversed a part of that country, leaving little behind them. Is it probable they will return? If not, the distance must be too great in winter time to render it effectually serviceable. Upon the whole, therefore, I am of opinion, and the gentlemen about me concur in it, Edition: current; Page: [47] that the public interest requires your coming over to this side of the Hudson, with the Continental troops, leaving Fellows’s and Wadsworth’s brigades to take care of the stores during their short stay, at the expiration of which I suppose they will set out for home.1

My reasons for this measure, which I think must have weight with you, are, that the enemy are evidently changing the seat of war to this side of the North River, that this country therefore will expect the Continental army to give them what support they can, and, failing in this, they will cease to depend upon or support a force, from which no protection is given to them. It is therefore of the utmost importance, that at least an appearance of force should be made, to keep this province in the connexion with the others. If that should not continue, it is much to be feared, that its influence on Pennsylvania would be very considerable, and more and more endanger our public interest. Unless therefore some new event should occur, or some more cogent reason present itself to the contrary, I would have you move over by the easiest and best passage. I am sensible your numbers will not be large, and that perhaps it may not be agreeable to the troops. As to the first, report will exaggerate them and preserve an appearance of an army, which will at least have an effect to encourage the desponding here; and as to the other, you will doubtless represent to them, that in duty Edition: current; Page: [48] and gratitude their service is due, wherever the enemy make the greatest impression, or seem to intend so to do. * * *1

Edition: current; Page: [49]
George Washington
Washington, George
21 November, 1776
Aquackenonk Bridge
Governor Livingston
Governor Livingston

TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON, NEW JERSEY.

Sir,

I have this moment arrived/at this place with General Beall’s and General Heard’s brigades from Maryland and Jersey, and part of General Ewing’s1 from Pennsylvania. Three other regiments, left to guard Edition: current; Page: [50] the passes upon Hackinsac River, and to serve as covering parties, are expected up this evening. After the unfortunate loss of Fort Washington, it was determined to evacuate Fort Lee in a great measure, as it was in a manner useless in obstructing the passage of the North River, without the assistance of Fort Washington. The ammunition and some other stores were accordingly removed; but, before we could effect our purpose, the enemy landed yesterday morning, in very considerable numbers, about six miles above the fort. Their intent evidently was to form a line across, from the place of their landing to Hackinsac Bridge, and thereby hem in the whole garrison between the North and Hackinsac Rivers. However, we were lucky enough to gain the bridge before them; by which means we saved all our men, but were obliged to leave some hundred barrels of flour, most of our cannon, and a considerable parcel of tents and baggage.

Finding we were in the same danger of being pent up between Hackinsac and Passaic Rivers, that we had been between the North and Hackinsac; and finding the country, from its levelness and openness, unfit for making a stand, it was determined to draw the whole of our force over to this side of the river, where we can watch the operations of the enemy, without danger of their surrounding us or making a lodgment in our rear. But, as our numbers are still very inadequate to that of the enemy, I imagine I shall be obliged to fall down towards Brunswic, and form a junction with the troops, already in that Edition: current; Page: [51] quarter, under the command of Lord Stirling. As the term of the enlistment of the Flying Camp, belonging to Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, is near expiring, it will occasion so great a diminution of my army, that I submit it to your judgment, whether it would not be proper for you to call together such a number of militia, as, in conjunction with the troops I shall have left, will serve to cover the country and stop the progress of the enemy, if they should attempt to penetrate. If the weather continues favorable, I am apprehensive that they will attempt to make amends for the slowness of their operations at the beginning of the campaign. I have the honor to be, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [52]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 November, 1776
Newark
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

By the negligent and infamous conduct of the post rider, the Eastern mail of Friday was brought to Hackensac and there stopped to fall into the hands of the enemy. Supposing it may have contained some letters from you of a public nature, I have thought it proper to give you the earliest notice, that you may guard against any advantages the enemy may expect to derive from the accident.

I perceive by your letter to Col. Reed, that you have entirely mistaken my views in ordering troops from Gen. Heath’s division to this quarter. The posts and passes in the Highlands are of such infinite importance that they should not be subjected to the least possible degree of risk. Col. Reed’s second letter will have sufficiently explained my intention upon this subject, and pointed out to you that it was your division which I wanted and wish to march. As the enemy have possessed themselves of the usual route of Dobbs Ferry and Hackensac, it will be Edition: current; Page: [53] necessary for you to choose some back way in which you and your troops may come secure. I doubt not they will try to intercept you if this precaution is not used, and therefore have been induced to mention it. I would also mention the necessity of my hearing frequently from you in the course of your march, in order to a due regulation of matters, and that I may know how to conduct myself. I am &c.

P. S. I have received your favor of the 20th and feel with you the distresses of the army for want of necessary cloathing and covering. I have pointed this out to Congress several times. How to remedy it, I know not. From the number of prizes taken at the eastward, I should suppose the troops from thence could have been much better provided with necessaries than from the more southern States, where they have not the same advantages of an open navigation.1

Edition: current; Page: [54]
George Washington
Washington, George
27 November, 1776
Newark
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

I last night received the favor of your Letter of the 25th. My former Letters were so full and explicit, as to the necessity of your marching as early as possible, that it is unnecessary to add more on that Head. I confess I expected you would have been sooner in motion. The force here, when joined by yours, will not be adequate to any great opposition. At present it is weak; and it has been more owing to the badness of the weather, that the enemy’s progress has been checked, than to any resistance we could make. They are now pushing this way; part of ’em have passed the Passaic. Their plan is not entirely unfolded, but I shall not be surprised, if Philadelphia should turn out the object of their movement. The distress of the troops for want of cloathes I feel much; but what can I do? Having formed an enterprise against Rogers, &c., I wish you may have succeeded. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
30 November, 1776
Brunswic

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have been honored with your favor of the 26th, and with the enclosures, by which I perceive the Edition: current; Page: [55] measures that have been adopted for forwarding a reinforcement of militia. Their arrival is much to be wished, the situation of our affairs being truly alarming, and such as demands the earliest aids.1 As General Mifflin’s presence may have a happy influence on the disposition and temper of many of the Associators, I shall not direct his return so long as he can be done without, and till it becomes indispensably necessary.2 On Thursday morning I left Newark, and arrived here yesterday with the troops that were there. It was the opinion of all the generals, who were with me, that a retreat to this place was requisite, and founded in necessity, as our force was by no means sufficient to make a stand, with the least probability of success, against an enemy much superior in numbers, and whose advanced guards were entering the town by the time our rear got out. It was the wish of all to have remained there longer, and to have halted before we came thus far; but, upon due consideration of our strength, the circumstances attending the enlistment of a great part of our little force, and the frequent advices, that the enemy were embarking or about to embark another detachment for Staten Island, with a view of landing Edition: current; Page: [56] at Amboy to coöperate with this, which seemed to be confirmed by the information of some persons, who came from the island, that they were collecting and impressing all the wagons they could find, it was judged necessary to proceed till we came here, not only to prevent their bringing a force to act upon our front and rear, but also that we might be more convenient to oppose any troops they might land at South Amboy, which may be conjectured to be an object they had in view. This conjecture, too, had probability and some advices to support it.1

I hoped we should meet with large and early succors by this time; but as yet no great number of the militia of this State has come in; nor have I much reason to expect, that any considerable aid will be derived from the counties, which lie beyond this river, and in which the enemy are. Their situation will prevent it in a great measure from those parts where they are, provided the inclinations of the people were good. Added to this, I have no assurances, that more than a very few of the troops composing the Flying Camp will remain after the time of their engagement is out; so far from it, I am told, that some of General Ewing’s brigade, who stand engaged to the 1st of January, are now going away. If those go whose service expires this day, our force will be reduced to a mere handful. From intelligence received this morning, one division of the enemy was Edition: current; Page: [57] advanced last night as far as Elizabethtown, and that some of their quartermasters had proceeded about four or five miles on this side, to provide barns for their accommodation. Other accounts say another division, composed of Hessians, are on the road through Springfield, and are reported to have reached that place last night. I do not know how far their views extend; but I doubt not, that they mean to push every advantage resulting from the small number and state of our troops. I early began to forward part of the stores from this place towards Philadelphia. Many are gone; the rest we are moving, and hope to secure. I am, &c.1

P. S. I have wrote to Govr. Livingston who is exerting himself to throw in every assistance and to have guards placed at the ferries to prevent the return of the soldiers who are not discharged.2

Edition: current; Page: [58]
George Washington
Washington, George
30 November, 1776
Brunswic

TO THE BOARD OF WAR.

Gentlemen,

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 18th 19th and 23d Instant, which from the unsettled Situation of our Affairs, I have not been able to answer before.

That of the 18th incloses a List of Stores taken in the Hancock and Adams Continental Ship, and carried into Dartmouth in New England, with a Resolve of Congress to deliver the Muskets, Powder, Lead and Flints to my order. As the other Articles of the Cargo will be full as useful to the army, as those included in the Resolve, I would advise, that Directions be given, to have the whole Cargo removed from Dartmouth to some secure place in the Neighborhood of Philadelphia and there deposited till called for. It is by no means proper that so great a Quantity of military stores should be lodged with the Army especially at present, as we know not today where we shall be obliged to remove tomorrow, and that will in all probability be the Case, while the Enemy continue with a Light Army, on this side of the North River.1

Edition: current; Page: [59]

In answer to that part of yours of the 19th, in which you ask my advice as to the propriety of enlisting prisoners of war, I would just observe, that, in my opinion, it is neither consistent with the rules of war, nor politic; nor can I think, that, because our enemies have committed an unjustifiable action, by enticing, and in some instances intimidating, our men into their service, we ought to follow their example. Before I had the honor of yours on this subject, I had determined to remonstrate to General Howe on this head. As to those few, who have already enlisted, I would not have them again withdrawn and sent in, because they might be subjected to punishment; but I would have the practice discontinued in future. If you will revert to the capitulation of St. John’s and Chamblee, you will find an express stipulation against the enlisting of the prisoners taken there. I remarked that the enlistment of prisoners was not a politic step. My reason is this, that in time of danger I have always observed such persons most backward, for fear, I suppose, of falling into the hands of their former masters, from whom they expect no mercy; and this fear they are apt to communicate to their fellow-soldiers. They are also most ready to desert when any action is expected, hoping, by carrying intelligence, to secure their peace.1 I met Captain Hesketh on the road; and, as Edition: current; Page: [60] the situation of his family did not admit of delay, I permitted him to go immediately to New York, not having the least doubt but General Howe will make a return of any officer of equal rank, who shall be required. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
1 December, 1776
Brunswic
Governor Livingston
Governor Livingston

TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON.

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you yesterday; but, as from every information of the motions of the enemy, their intent seems plainly directed through this State, and then on to Philadelphia, I cannot help calling on you, in the most urgent manner, and begging you to fall upon proper means to draw forth the strength of your province to my support. The enemy’s advanced parties were last night at Bonhamtown, four miles on this side of Woodbridge.1 They are impressing wagons and horses, and collecting cattle and sheep; which is a further proof of their intent to march a considerable distance. Unless my force, therefore, is considerably augmented, it will be impossible for me to make any stand at this place, when the enemy advance, as I have not, including General Williamson’s militia, (say 1,000) more than four thousand men. The militia from the counties of Morris and Edition: current; Page: [61] Sussex turn out slowly and reluctantly, whether from the want of officers of spirit to encourage them, or your summons not being regularly sent to them, I cannot say; but I have reason to believe, that there has been a deficiency in both cases. Designing men have been purposely sent among them, to influence some and intimidate others; and, unless gentlemen of spirit and character will appear among them, and rouse them, little can be expected. I wrote to General Williamson last night, and pressed him to exert himself; but, I have reason to believe, he has not the confidence of the people so much as could be wished. My accounts of the reinforcements, to be expected from Pennsylvania, are very encouraging; but, from the distance and necessary delays attending a sudden march, I cannot look for them under a week or ten days; in which time the enemy will have reached the Delaware; at least if not opposed by more than my present numbers. General Lee is on his march down to join me; but, if the enemy should throw in a body of men between us, he will be obliged to make a considerable circuit to avoid them. The boats and craft, all along the Delaware side, should be secured; particularly the Durham boats used for the transportation of produce down the river. Parties should be sent to all the landings, to have them removed to the other side, hauled up, and put under proper guards. One such boat would transport a regiment of men. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [62]
George Washington
Washington, George
1 December, 1776
Brunswic
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

The enemy are advancing, and have got as far as Woodbridge and Amboy, and, from information not to be doubted, they mean to push for Philadelphia. The force I have with me is infinitely inferior in numbers, and such as cannot give or promise the least successful opposition. It is greatly reduced by the departure of the Maryland Flying Camp men, and by sundry other causes.1 I must entreat you to hasten your march as much as possible, or your arrival may be too late to answer any valuable purpose. Your Edition: current; Page: [63] route, nor the place to join me, I cannot particularize. In these respects you must be governed by circumstances, and the intelligence you receive, let the former be secure. I hope to meet a considerable reinforcement of Pennsylvania Associators. It is said they seem spirited upon this occasion.

I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
2 December, 1776
Princeton

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I arrived here this morning with our troops between Eight and nine o’Clock, when I received the Honor of your Letter of the 1st with its inclosures. When the Enemy first landed on this side the North River, I apprehended that they meant to make a push this way, and knowing that the force which I had was not sufficient to oppose ’em, I wrote to Genl. Lee to cross with the Several Continental Regiments in his division, and hoped he would have arrived before now; by some means or other he has been delayed. I suppose he has passed the River, as his Letter of the 26th ulto. mentioned that he had marched a brigade the day before, and should follow the next himself.1 The remainder of the Troops, I conceived necessary to guard the several passes thro’ the Highlands; nor do I think they can be called from thence, their number is very small, being reduced to very few by the departure of the Troops who stood engaged till the 30th ulto. * * * I have &c.

Edition: current; Page: [64]
George Washington
Washington, George
3 December, 1776
Trenton

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I arrived here myself yesterday morning, with the main body of the army, having left Lord Stirling with two brigades at Princeton and that neighborhood, to watch the motions of the enemy and give notice of their approach. I am informed, that they had not entered Brunswic yesterday morning at nine o’clock, but were on the opposite side of the Rariton. Immediately on my arrival here, I ordered the removal of all the military and other stores and baggage over the Delaware; a great quantity is already got over; and as soon as the boats come up from Philadelphia, we shall load them; by which means I hope to have every thing secured this night and to-morrow, if we are not disturbed. After being disencumbered of my baggage and stores, my future situation will depend entirely upon circumstances.

I have not heard a word from General Lee since the 26th of last month; which surprises me not a little, as I have despatched daily expresses to him, desiring to know when I might look for him. This makes me fearful, that my letters have not reached him. I am informed by report, that General St. Clair has joined him, with three or four regiments from the northward. To know the truth of this, and also when I may expect him, and with what numbers, I have this minute despatched Colonel Stewart, General Edition: current; Page: [65] Gates’s aid-de-camp, to meet General Lee and bring me an account.1 I look out earnestly for the reinforcement from Philadelphia. I am in hopes, that, if we can draw a good head of men together, it will give spirits to the militia of this State, who have as yet afforded me little or no assistance; nor can I find that they are likely to do much. General Heard has just informed me, that a person, on whose veracity he can depend, has reported to him that on Sunday last he counted a hundred and seventeen sail of ships going out of the Hook. You may depend upon being advised instantly of any further movement in the enemy’s army or that of mine. I have the honor to be, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [66]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 December, 1776
Trenton

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

As nothing but necessity obliged me to retire before the enemy, and leave so much of the Jerseys unprotected, I conceive it my duty, and it corresponds with my inclination, to make head against them so soon as there shall be the least probability of doing it with propriety. That the country might in some measure be covered, I left two brigades consisting of the five Virginia regiments and that of Delaware, containing in the whole about twelve hundred men fit for duty, under the command of Lord Stirling and General Stephen,1 at Princeton, till the baggage and stores could cross the Delaware, or the troops under their respective commands should be forced from thence. I shall now, having removed the greatest part of the above articles, face about with such troops as are here fit for service, and march back to Princeton, and there govern myself by circumstances and the movements of General Lee. At any event, the enemy’s progress may be retarded by this means, if they intend to come Edition: current; Page: [67] on, and the people’s fears in some measure quieted, if they do not. Sorry I am to observe, however, that the frequent calls upon the militia of this State, the want of exertion in the principal gentlemen of the country, or a fatal supineness and insensibility of danger, till it is too late to prevent an evil that was not only foreseen but foretold, have been the causes of our late disgraces.

If the militia of this State had stepped forth in season (and timely notice they had), we might have prevented the enemy’s crossing the Hackinsac, although without some previous notice of the time and place it was impossible to have done this at the North River. We might with equal probability of success have made a stand at Brunswic on the Rariton. But as both these rivers were fordable in a variety of places, being knee-deep only, it required many men to defend the passes; and these we had not. At Hackinsac our force was insufficient, because a part was at Elizabethtown, Amboy, and Brunswic, guarding a coast, which I thought most exposed to danger; and at Brunswic, because I was disappointed in my expectation of militia, and because on the day of the enemy’s approach (and probably the occasion of it) the term of the Jersey and Maryland brigades’ service expired; neither of which would consent to stay an hour longer.

These, among ten thousand other instances, might be adduced to show the disadvantages of short enlistments, and the little dependence upon militia in times of real danger. But, as yesterday cannot be recalled, Edition: current; Page: [68] I will not dwell upon a subject, which, no doubt, has given much uneasiness to Congress, as well as extreme pain and anxiety to myself. My first wish is, that Congress may be convinced of the impropriety of relying upon the militia, and of the necessity of raising a larger standing army, than what they have voted. The saving in the article of stores, provisions, and in a thousand other things, by having nothing to do with militia unless in cases of extraordinary exigency, and such as could not be expected in the common course of events, would amply support a large army, which, well officered, would be daily improving, instead of continuing a destructive, expensive, and disorderly mob. I am clear in the opinion, that if forty thousand men had been kept in constant pay since the first commencement of hostilities, and the militia had been excused from doing duty during that period, the Continent would have saved money. When I reflect on the losses we have sustained for want of good troops, the certainty of this is placed beyond a doubt in my mind. In such a case, the militia, who have been harassed and tired by repeated calls upon them, and farming and manufactures in a manner suspended, would, upon any pressing emergency, have run with alacrity to arms; whereas, the cry now is, “they may be as well ruined in one way as another”; and with difficulty they are obtained. I mention these things to show, that, in my opinion, if any dependence is placed in the militia another year, Congress will be deceived. When danger is a little removed from them, they will not turn out at all. Edition: current; Page: [69] When it comes home to them, the well-affected, instead of flying to arms to defend themselves, are busily employed in removing their families and effects, whilst the disaffected are concerting measures to make their submission, and spread terror and dismay all around, to induce others to follow their example. Daily experience and abundant proofs warrant this information.

I shall this day reinforce Lord Stirling with about twelve hundred men, which will make his number about two thousand four hundred. To-morrow I mean to repair to Princeton myself, and shall order the Pennsylvania troops, who are not yet arrived, except part of the German battalion and a company of light infantry, to the same place.

By my last advices, the enemy are still at Brunswic; and the account adds, that General Howe was expected at Elizabethtown with a reinforcement, to erect the King’s standard, and demand a submission of this State. I can only give this as a report, brought from the enemy’s camp by some of the country people. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6 December, 1776
Trenton

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have not received any intelligence of the enemy’s movements since my letter of yesterday. From every information, they still remain at Brunswic, except some of their parties, which are advanced a Edition: current; Page: [70] small distance on this side. To-day I shall set out for Princeton myself, unless something should occur to prevent me, which I do not expect. By a letter of the 4th Inst. from a Mr. Caldwell, a clergyman, and a staunch friend to the cause, who has fled from Elizabethtown, and taken refuge in the mountains about ten miles from hence, I am informed, that General or Lord Howe was expected in that town to publish pardon and peace. His words are: “I have not seen his proclamation, but can only say he gives sixty days of grace, and pardons from the Congress down to the committee. No one man in the continent is to be denied his mercy.” In the language of this good man, “The Lord deliver us from his mercy!”1

Your letter of the 3d, by Major Livingston, was duly received. Before it came to hand, I had written to General Howe about Governor Franklin’s exchange, but am not certain whether the letter could not be recovered. I despatched a messenger instantly for that purpose.2 I have the honor to be, &c.3

Edition: current; Page: [71]
George Washington
Washington, George
8 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Colonel Reed would inform you of the intelligence, which I first met with on the road from Trenton to Princeton yesterday.1 Before I got to the latter, I received a second express informing me, that, as the enemy were advancing by different routes, and attempting by one to get in the rear of our troops, which were there, and whose numbers were small, and the place by no means defensible, they had judged it prudent to retreat to Trenton. The retreat was accordingly made, and since to this side of the river. This information I thought it my duty to communicate as soon as possible, as there is not a moment’s time to be lost in assembling such force as can be collected; and as the object of the enemy cannot now be doubted in the smallest degree. Indeed, I shall be out in my conjecture, for it is only conjecture, if the late embarkation at New York is not for Delaware River, to coöperate with the army under the immediate command of General Howe, who, I am informed from good authority, is with the British troops and his whole force upon this route.

I have no certain intelligence of General Lee, although I have sent frequent expresses to him, and lately Colonel Humpton, to bring me some accurate accounts of his situation. I last night despatched Edition: current; Page: [72] another gentleman to him, Major Hoops, desiring he would hasten his march to the Delaware, in which I would provide boats, near a place called Alexandria, for the transportation of his troops. I cannot account for the slowness of his march.1 In the disordered and moving state of the army, I cannot get returns; but, from the best accounts, we had between three thousand and three thousand five hundred men, before the Philadelphia militia and German battalion arrived; they amount to about two thousand. I have, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
9 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I did myself the honor of writing to you yesterday, and informing you that I had removed the troops to this Side of the Delaware, soon after the Enemy made their Appearance; and their van entered, just as our rear guard quitted.

We had removed all our stores except a few boards. From the best information, they are in two bodies, Edition: current; Page: [73] one at and near Trenton, the other some Miles higher up, and inclining towards Delaware; but whether with intent to cross there, or throw themselves between General Lee and me is yet uncertain.

I have this Morning detached Lord Stirling and his brigade to take post at the different landing places, and prevent them from stealing a march upon us from above; for I am informed if they cross at Corrils Ferry or thereabouts, they are as near to Philadelphia as we are here.

From several accounts I am led to think, that the enemy are bringing boats with them. If so, it will be impossible for our small force to give them any considerable opposition in the passage of the river; indeed they make a feint at one place, and, by a sudden removal, carry their boats higher or lower before we can bring our cannon to play upon them. Under these circumstances, the security of Philadelphia should be our next object. From my own remembrance, but more from information, for I never viewed the ground, I should think that a communication of lines and redoubts might soon be formed from the Delaware to the Schuylkill on the north entrance of the city, the lines to begin on the Schuylkill side, about the heights of Springatebury, and run eastward to Delaware, upon the most advantageous and commanding grounds. If something of this kind is not done, the enemy might, in case any misfortune should befall us, march directly in, and take possession. We have ever found that lines, however slight, are very formidable to them; they would at least give a check till the people could recover from the fright and consternation, Edition: current; Page: [74] that naturally attend the first appearance of an enemy.

In the mean time, every step should be taken to collect a force, not only from Pennsylvania, but from the neighboring States. If we can keep the enemy from entering Philadelphia, and keep the communication by water open for supplies, we may yet make a stand, if the country will come to our assistance till our new levies can be collected. If the measure of fortifying the city should be adopted, some skilful person should immediately view the grounds, and begin to trace out the lines and works. I am informed there is a French engineer of eminence in Philadelphia at this time; if so, he will be the most proper.1

I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. I have just recd. the enclosed from Genl. Heath. General Mifflin is this moment come up, and tells me, that all the military stores yet remain in Philadelphia. This makes the immediate fortifying of the city so necessary, that I have desired General Mifflin to return to take charge of the stores; and have ordered Major-General Putnam immediately down to superintend the works and give the necessary directions.2

George Washington
Washington, George
10 December, 1776
Trenton Falls
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

I last night received your favor by Colonel Humpton, and were it not for the weak and feeble state of Edition: current; Page: [75] the force I have, I should highly approve of your hanging on the rear of the enemy, and establishing the post you mention; but when my situation is directly the opposite of what you suppose it to be, and when General Howe is pressing forward with the whole of his army (except the troops that were lately embarked, and a few besides left at New York), to possess himself of Philadelphia, I cannot but request and entreat you, and this too by the advice of all the general officers with me, to march and join me with your whole force with all possible expedition. The utmost exertions, that can be made, will not be more than sufficient to save Philadelphia. Without the aid of your force I think there is but little if any prospect of doing it. I refer you to the route, Major Hoops would inform you of.

The enemy are now extended along the Delaware at several places. By a prisoner, who was taken last night, I am told, that at Pennington there are two battalions of infantry, three of grenadiers, the Hessian grenadiers, the forty-second of Highlanders, and two others. Their object doubtless is to pass the river above us, or to prevent your joining me. I mention this, that you may avail yourself of the information. Do come on; your arrival may be happy, and, if it can be effected without delay, it may be the means of preserving a city, whose loss must prove of the most fatal consequence to the cause of America. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [76]

P. S. Pray exert your influence, and bring with you all the Jersey militia you possibly can. Let them not suppose their State is lost, or in any danger, because the enemy are pushing through it. If you think General St. Clair, or General Maxwell, would be of service to command them, I would send either.1

Edition: current; Page: [77]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 December, 1776
Lund Washington
Washington, Lund

TO LUND WASHINGTON.

Dear Lund,

* * * * * *

I wish to Heaven it was in my power to give you a more favorable account of our situation than it is. Our numbers, quite inadequate to the task of opposing that part of the army under the command of General Howe, being reduced by sickness, desertion, and political deaths (on or before the first instant, and having no assistance from the militia), were obliged to retire before the enemy, who were perfectly well informed of our situation, till we came to this place, where I have no idea of being able to make a stand, as my numbers, till joined by the Edition: current; Page: [78] Philadelphia militia, did not exceed three thousand men fit for duty. Now we may be about five thousand to oppose Howe’s whole army, that part of it excepted which sailed under the command of Gen. Clinton. I tremble for Philadelphia. Nothing, in my opinion, but Gen. Lee’s speedy arrival, who has been long expected, though still at a distance (with about three thousand men), can save it. We have brought over and destroyed all the boats we could lay our hands on upon the Jersey shore for many miles above and below this place; but it is next to impossible to guard a shore for sixty miles, with less than half the enemy’s numbers; when by force or strategem they may suddenly attempt a passage in many different places. At present they are encamped or quartered along the other shore above and below us (rather this place, for we are obliged to keep a face towards them) for fifteen miles. * * *

December 17, ten miles above the Falls.

* * * I have since moved up to this place, to be more convenient to our great and extensive defences of this river. Hitherto, by our destruction of the boats, and vigilance in watching the fords of the river above the falls (which are now rather high), we have prevented them from crossing; but how long we shall be able to do it God only knows, as they are still hovering about the river. And if every thing else fails, will wait till the 1st of January, when there will be no other men to oppose them but militia, none of which but those from Philadelphai, mentioned Edition: current; Page: [79] in the first part of the letter, are yet come (although I am told some are expected from the back counties). When I say none but militia, I am to except the Virginia regiments and the shattered remains of Smallwood’s, which, by fatigue, want of clothes, &c., are reduced to nothing—Weedon’s, which was the strongest, not having more than between one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty men fit for duty, the rest being in the hospitals. The unhappy policy of short enlistments and a dependence upon militia will, I fear, prove the downfall of our cause, though early pointed out with an almost prophetic spirit! Our cause has also received a severe blow in the captivity of Gen. Lee. Unhappy man! Taken by his own imprudence, going three or four miles from his own camp, and within twenty of the enemy, notice of which by a rascally Tory was given a party of light horse seized him in the morning after travelling all night, and carried him off in high triumph and with every mark of indignity, not even suffering him to get his hat or surtout coat. The troops that were under his command are not yet come up with us, though they, I think, may be expected to-morrow. A large part of the Jerseys have given every proof of disaffection that they can do, and this part of Pennsylvania are equally inimical. In short, your imagination can scarce extend to a situation more distressing than mine. Our only dependence now is upon the speedy enlistment of a new army. If this fails, I think the game will be pretty well up, as, from disaffection and want of spirit and fortitude, the inhabitants, Edition: current; Page: [80] instead of resistance, are offering submission and taking protection from Gen. Howe in Jersey. * * * I am &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
11 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

After I had wrote you yesterday, I received certain information that the Enemy after repairing Crosswicks Bridge, had advanced a party of about five hundred to Borden Town. By their taking this route, it confirms me in my opinion, that they have an intention to land between this and Philadelphia as well as above, if they can procure boats for the purpose. I last night directed Commodore Seymour to station all his gallies between Bordentown and Philadelphia, to give the earliest intelligence of any appearance of the Enemy on the Jersey Shore.2

I yesterday rode up the river about 11 miles to Lord Stirling’s post, where I found a prisoner of the 42d Regiment who had been just brought in. He informs me, that Lord Cornwallis was at Penny Town with two battalions of grenadiers and three of light infantry, all British, the Hessian grenadiers, the 42d Highland Regiment, and two other battalions, the names of which he did not remember. He knew nothing of the reasons of their being assembled Edition: current; Page: [81] there, nor what were their future intentions; but I last night received information from my Lord Stirling, which had been brought in by his Scouts, which in some measure accounts for their being there. They had made a forced march from Trenton on Sunday night to Coryell’s Ferry in hopes of surprising a sufficient number of boats to transport them, but finding themselves disappointed, had marched back to Penny Town, where they remained yesterday. From their several attempts to seize boats, it does not look as if they had brought any with them, as I was at one time informed. I last night sent a person over to Trenton to learn whether there was any appearance of building any, but he could not perceive any preparations for a Work of that kind. So that I am in hopes, if proper Care is taken to keep all the craft out of their way, they will find the crossing Delaware a matter of considerable Difficulty.

I received another Letter from General Lee last Evening. It was dated at Chatham (which I take to be near Morris Town) the 8th of this month, he had then received my Letter sent by Major Hoops, but seemed still inclined to hang upon the Enemy’s rear, to which I should have no objection, had I a sufficient force to oppose them in front; but as I have not at present, nor do I see much probability of further reinforcement, I have wrote to him in the most pressing terms, to join me with all Expedition.1

Edition: current; Page: [82]
George Washington
Washington, George
12 December, 1776
Trenton Falls

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I last night received the favor of Mr. Thomson’s letter, enclosing the proceedings of Congress, of the 11th instant. As the publication of their resolve, in my opinion, will not lead to any good end, but, on the contrary, may be attended with some bad consequences, I shall take the liberty to decline inserting it in this day’s orders. I am persuaded, if the subject is taken up and reconsidered, that Congress will concur with me in sentiment. I doubt not, but there are some, who have propagated the report; but what if they have? Their remaining in or leaving Philadelphia must be governed by circumstances and events. If their departure should become necessary, it will be right; on the other hand, if there should not be a necessity for it, they will remain, and their continuance will show the report to be the production of calumny and falsehood. In a word, Sir, I conceive it a matter, that may be as well disregarded; and that the removal or staying of Congress, depending entirely upon events, should not have been the subject of a resolve.1

Edition: current; Page: [83]

The intelligence we obtain respecting the movements and situation of the enemy is far from being so certain and satisfactory, as I could wish, though every probable means in my power, and that I can devise, are adopted for that purpose.

The latest I have received was from Lord Stirling last night. He says that two grenadiers of the Ines-killing Regiment, who were taken and brought in by some Countrymen, inform that Gens. Howe, Cornwallis, Vaughan, &c., with about 6000 of the flying army, were at Penny Town waiting for pontoons to come up, with which they mean to pass the river near the Blue Mounts, or at Coryells Ferry, they believe the latter. That the two battalions, of guards now at Brunswick and the Hessian Grenadiers, Chasseurs Edition: current; Page: [84] and a regiment or two of British troops are at Trenton. Captain Miller, of Colonel Hand’s regiment also informs me, that a body of the Enemy were marching to Burlington on yesterday morning. He had been sent over with a strong scouting party, and at daybreak fell in with their advanced guards, consisting of about 400 Hessian troops, who fired upon him before they were discovered, but without any loss, and obliged him to retreat with his party, and to take boat. The number of the whole he could not ascertain, but they appeared to be considerable. Captain Miller’s account is partly confirmed by Commodore Seymour who reports that four or five hundred of the Enemy had entered the town.

Upon the whole there can be no doubt, but that Philadelphia is their object, and that they will pass the Delaware as soon as possible. Happy should I be, if I could see the means of preventing them; at present I confess I do not. All military writers agree, that it is a work of great difficulty, nay impracticable, where there is any extent of coast to guard. This is the case with us; and we have to do it with a force, small and inconsiderable, and much inferior to that of the enemy. Perhaps Congress have some hope and prospect of reinforcements. I have no intelligence of the sort, and wish to be informed on the subject. Our little handful is daily decreasing by sickness and other causes; and, without aid, without considerable succors and exertions on the part of the people, what can we reasonably look for, or expect, but an event that will be severely felt by Edition: current; Page: [85] the common cause, and that will wound the heart of every virtuous American, the loss of Philadelphia? The subject is disagreeable; but yet it is true. I will leave it, wishing that our situation may become such as to do away the apprehensions, which at this time seem to fill the minds of too many, and with too much justice. By a letter from General Heath, dated at Peekskill, the 8th, I am advised that Lieutenant-Colonel Vose was then there with Greaton’s, Bond’s, and Porter’s regiments, amounting in the whole to between five and six hundred men, who were coming this way. He adds, that Generals Gates and Arnold would be at Goshen that night, with Stark’s, Poor’s, and Read’s regiments; but for what purpose, he does not mention.

The enclosed extract of a Letter which I received last night contains intelligence of an agreeable nature. I wish to hear its confirmation by the arrival of the several prizes. That with Clothing and arms will be an invaluable acquisition.

I shall be glad to be advised of the mode I am to observe in paying the Officers, whether they are to be allowed to draw the pay lately established and from what time or how long they are to be paid under the old establishment. A pay roll which was presented yesterday being made up for the New, has given rise to these propositions. Upon my objecting to it, I was told that Congress or the Board of War, had established the precedent by paying the 6th Regiment of Virginia troops commanded by Colo. Buckner, agreeable to the latter, as they came thro’ Philadelphia. I have the honor, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [86]
George Washington
Washington, George
12 December, 1776
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was a few days ago favored with yours of the 30th of last month; and this is the first opportunity, that has afforded me the pleasure of answering it. The event has shown, that my opinion of General Howe’s intentions to make an excursion into Jersey was not ill founded. Immediately after the reduction of Fort Washington, he threw a body of men, consisting of about six thousand, over the North River, with an intention to surprise the garrison of Fort Lee; but they withdrew before he could accomplish his purpose. Finding the few troops I had with me insufficient to oppose the enemy, and knowing that my numbers would still be diminished by the expiration of the service of the Flying Camp men from Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, which would take place on the last day of November, it was determined to retreat as far as Brunswic, where I hoped to receive a reinforcement from the militia of the State of New Jersey, sufficient to check the further progress of the enemy. But in this I was cruelly disappointed. The inhabitants of this State, either from fear or disaffection, almost to a man, refused to turn out; and I could not bring together above one thousand men; and even on these very little dependence was to be put. My numbers were now reduced to three thousand men, and that of the enemy considerably increased by fresh reinforcements. I had sent General Mifflin down to Philadelphia, to raise what Edition: current; Page: [87] force he could in that province, and to send them on with all speed to my assistance. I fell down myself to Trenton, in order to wait for supplies, hoping that such numbers would come on from Pennsylvania as would enable me to turn upon the enemy, and recover most of the ground, which they had gained. General Mifflin was very successful with the militia of Philadelphia, who turned out in a very spirited manner, and he immediately marched about fifteen hundred men up to Trenton; but the remainder of the province continues in a state of supineness; nor do I see any likelihood of their stirring to save their own capital, which is undoubtedly General Howe’s great object.1

The Delaware now parts the two armies; and nothing hinders the passage of the enemy, but the want of boats, which we have been lucky enough to secure. General Lee is still in the rear of the enemy, with about four thousand men, with whom he is on his march to join me. If he can effect this junction, our army will again make a respectable appearance, and such as, I hope, will disappoint the enemy in their plan upon Philadelphia. I sent down General Putnam, a few days ago, to begin upon some works for the defence of that city, upon the salvation of which Edition: current; Page: [88] our cause almost depends. I am informed, that the enlistment of the new army goes on very successfully to the eastward and southward. Little or nothing can be expected from New York or Jersey, which are, for the most part, in the hands of the enemy. Every thing must depend upon the regular force we can bring into the field in the spring; for I find, from fatal experience, that militia serve only to delude us.

As my distance from the eastern governments makes me ignorant of their present circumstances, I will not undertake to direct the disposition of the four regiments, you have ordered to be raised till the 15th of March. I would only recommend, if they can be spared, that they should march and take post at the Highlands and at the forts upon the North River, as much depends still upon keeping possession of the upper part of that river. I highly approve of your plan for supplying your new army with necessaries. Our old one has suffered considerably for the want of some such wholesome regulations; and you may depend upon my giving due countenance to such a commendable scheme. I am, with great truth and sincerity, Sir, yours, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [89]
George Washington
Washington, George
13 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The apparent designs of the enemy being to avoid this ferry, and land their troops above and below us, have induced me to remove from this place the greater part of the troops, and throw them into a different disposition on the river; whereby, I hope not only to be more able to impede their passage, but also to avoid the danger of being inclosed in this angle of the river. And notwithstanding the extended appearances of the Enemy on the other side, made at least in part, to divert our Attention from any particular point, as well as to harrass us by fatigue, I cannot divest myself of the opinion, that their principal design is to ford the river somewhere above Trenton; to which design I have had particular respect in the new arrangement, wherein I am so far happy as to have the Concurrence of the general officers at this place.

Four Brigades of the Army under Generals Lord Edition: current; Page: [90] Stirling, Mercer, Stephen and DeFermoy extend from Yardley’s up to Coryells Ferry, posted in such a manner as to guard every suspicious part of the river and to afford assistance to each other in case of attack. Genl. Ewing with the Flying Camp of Pennsylvania, and a few Jersey troops, under General Dickinson, are posted from Yardley’s Ferry down to the ferry opposite Bordentown. Colo. Cadwalader, with the Pennsylvania Militia, occupies the ground above and below the mouth of Neshaminy River as far down as Dunk’s Ferry, at which place Colonel Nixon is posted with the 3d Battalion of Philadelphia. A proper quantity of the artillery is appointed to each brigade, and I have ordered small redoubts to be thrown up opposite every place where there is a possibility of fording.

I shall remove further up the River to be near the Main Body of my Small Army, with which every possible opposition shall be given to any further approach of the Enemy towards Philadelphia.

As Genl. Armstrong has a good deal of influence in this State and our present force is small and inconsiderable, I think he cannot be better employed than to repair to the Counties where his interest lies to animate the people, promote the recruiting Service and encourage the Militia to come in. He will also be able to form a proper Judgment of the places suitable for magazines of provision to be collected. I have requested him to wait upon Congress on this subject, and if Genl. Smallwood should go to Maryland on the same business, I think it would have a Edition: current; Page: [91] happy effect. He is popular and of great influence, and I am persuaded would contribute greatly to that States furnishing her Quota of men in a little time. He is now in Philadelphia. I have &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 December, 1776
Keith’s
Major-General Gates
Major-General Gates

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GATES.

Dear Sir,

Before this comes to hand, you will have heard of the melancholy situation of our affairs. I do not mean now to detail our misfortunes. With a handful of men, compared to the enemy’s force, we have been pushed through the Jerseys, without being able to make the smallest opposition, and compelled to pass the Delaware. General Howe is now on the other side, and beyond all question means, if possible, to possess himself of Philadelphia. His troops are extended from Pennington to Burlington; the main body, from the best advices, at the former, and within the neighborhood of Trenton. I wish it were in my power to tell you, that appearances were much against him; at present I confess they are not. But few of the militia of this State have yet come out, except those belonging to the city, nor have I any great hope of their assistance, unless we can collect a respectable force; in such case perhaps they will turn out and afford their aid. I have heard, that you are coming on with seven regiments. This may have a happy effect, and let me entreat you not to delay a moment in hastening to Pittstown. You will advise me of Edition: current; Page: [92] your approaches, and of the time you expect to be there, that I may meet you with an express, and inform you of your destination, and such further movements as may be necessary.

I expect General Lee will be there this evening or to-morrow, who will be followed by General Heath and his division. If we can draw our forces together, I trust, under the smiles of Providence, we may yet effect an important stroke, or at least prevent General Howe from executing his plans. Philadelphia is now the object of our care; you know the importance of it, and the fatal consequences, that must attend its loss. I am persuaded no aid, which you can give, will be withheld a single instant; your arrival may be a most happy circumstance. The Congress have adjourned to Baltimore, but previously resolved that Philadelphia should be defended to the last extremity. Lord Stirling is going over to meet General Lee, and concert with him a plan of operations. I wish you could be there, and would advise you not to wait the slow march of your troops. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 December, 1776
Keith’s
Lord Stirling
Stirling, Lord
Brigadier-General Mercer
Brigadier-General Mercer
Brigadier-General Stephen
Brigadier-General Stephen
Brigadier-General de Fermoy
Brigadier-General de Fermoy

TO BRIGADIER-GENERALS LORD STIRLING, MERCER, STEPHEN, AND DE FERMOY.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Lest the enemy should in some degree avail themselves of the knowledge (for I do not doubt but they are well informed of every thing we do), I did not care to be so particular in the general orders of this day, as I mean to be in this letter to you. As much time, then, would be lost, should the enemy attempt crossing Edition: current; Page: [93] the river at any pass within your guard, in first sending you notice, and in the troops to wait for orders what to do, I would advise you to examine the whole river from the upper to the lower guard of your district; and, after forming an opinion of the most probable crossing-places, have those well watched, and direct the regiments or companies most convenient to repair, as they can be formed, immediately to the point of attack, and give the enemy all the opposition they possibly can. Every thing in a manner depends upon the defence at the water’s edge. In like manner, one brigade is to support another, without loss of time, or waiting for orders from me. I would also have you fix upon some central spot convenient to your brigade, but in the rear a little, and on some road leading into the back road to Philadelphia, for your unnecessary baggage, wagons, and stores; that, in case your opposition should prove ineffectual, these things may not fall [into the enemy’s hands] but be got off, and proceed over Neshaminy Bridge towards Germantown, agreeably to the determination of the board of officers the other day.

Let me entreat you to find out some person, who can be engaged to cross the river as a spy, that we may, if possible, obtain some knowledge of the enemy’s situation, movements, and intention. Particular inquiry to be made by the person sent, if any preparations are making to cross the river; whether any boats are building, and where; whether any are coming over land from Brunswic; whether any great collection of horses is made, and for what purpose. Expense must not be spared in procuring such intelligence, and it will readily be paid by me. We are in a neighborhood of very disaffected people. Equal care therefore should be taken, that one of these persons does not undertake the business in order to betray us. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 December, 1776
Bucks County
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was last night favored with yours of the 6th instant. In a letter, which I did myself the pleasure Edition: current; Page: [94] to write to you two days ago, I gave you a full account of my present situation, and of the occurrences, which have happened since I left the neighborhood of Fort Lee. The want of the means of transportation has hitherto hindered the enemy from making any attempt to cross the Delaware; and, I hope, unless the course of the season entirely changes, that the weather will soon prevent their making use of boats, if they should build them.

Your situation at the eastward is alarming; and I wish it were in my power to afford you that assistance, which is requisite.1 You must be sensible, that it is impossible for me to detach any part of my small army, when I have an enemy far superior in numbers to oppose. But I have immediately countermanded the march of General Heath’s division, who were coming down from Peekskill. It is ordered to return again to that place, and hold itself ready to move, as occasion may require. General Lee’s division is so necessary to support this part of the army, that without its assistance we must inevitably be overpowered, and Philadelphia lost. I have ordered General Arnold, who was on his way down from Ticonderoga, immediately to repair to New London, or wherever his presence will be most necessary. The troops, who came down with him and General Gates, are already, from the advices I have received, so far advanced towards this army, that to countermand Edition: current; Page: [95] them now would be losing the small remainder of their services entirely, as the time of their enlistment would expire before they could possibly reach you; whereas, by coming on they may, in conjunction with my present force, and that under General Lee, enable us to attempt a stroke upon the forces of the enemy, who lie a good deal scattered, and to all appearances in a state of security. A lucky blow in this quarter would be fatal to them, and would most certainly rouse the spirits of the people, which are quite sunk by our late misfortunes.

In the interval between the dissolution of the old and the enlistment of the new army, we must put our dependence on the public spirit and virtue of the people, who, I am sorry to say, have manifested but too small a regard to their rights and liberties in the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the citizens of Philadelphia excepted. But I hope such a spirit still exists among your people, as will convince these bold invaders, that, although they may by a superior naval force take possession of your seaport towns, yet, that they cannot penetrate and overrun your country with impunity.

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, Sir, &c.

P. S. I have just received a letter from General Heath of the 10th instant, in which he informs me, that his division was to cross the North River on that day; so that they must be at Morristown by this time, which is but fifty miles from hence. Upon this consideration, I have changed my intention of countermanding Edition: current; Page: [96] him, for the same reasons as are given in my letter above, respecting the troops under Generals Gates and Arnold.

George Washington
Washington, George
14 December, 1776
Keith’s
Major-General Lee
Major-General Lee

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.

Dear Sir,

I last night received your letter of the 11th instant by Major Dehart. I am much surprised, that you should be in any doubt respecting the route you should take, after the information you have had upon that head, as well by letter, as from Major Hoops, who was despatched for the purpose. A large number of boats was procured, and is still retained at Tinicum, under a strong guard, to facilitate your passage across the Delaware. I have so frequently mentioned our situation, and the necessity of your aid, that it is painful to me to add a word upon the subject. Let me once more request and entreat you to march immediately for Pittstown, which lies on the route that has been pointed out, and is about eleven miles from Tinicum Ferry. That is more on the flank of the enemy, than where you are. Advise me of the time you will arrive there, that a letter may be sent to you about your further destination, and such other movements as may be necessary.

The enclosed for Generals Gates and Arnold you will forward by an officer without delay. The former I have requested to come on with the regiments under his command with all possible expedition; the latter to go to the eastward, in consequence of the intelligence Edition: current; Page: [97] received from Governor Trumbull. Part of the enemy have advanced as far as Burlington, and their main body, from the best information, is in the neighborhood of Trenton and at Pennington. The Congress have adjourned from Philadelphia to meet at Baltimore, on the 20th instant, and, sensible of the importance of the former, have directed it to be defended to the utmost extremity to prevent the enemy from possessing it. The fatal consequences that must attend its loss are but too obvious to every one. Your arrival may be the means of saving it. Nothing but a respectable force, I am certain from melancholy experience, can induce the militia to come in and give their aid. The Roebuck and a sloop of war have arrived in Delaware Bay, and from the last advices were lying not far within the Capes. I have wrote to General Heath to proceed with his troops to Pittstown, where I hope to hear of the arrival of General Gates with the regiments that are with him in a short time, if my information is true. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
15 December, 1776
Bucks County

TO THE COUNCIL OF SAFETY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Gentlemen,

With the utmost regret, I must inform you of the loss our army has sustained by the captivity of General Edition: current; Page: [98] Lee, who was made a prisoner on the morning of the 13th by a party of seventy of the enemy’s light-horse, near a place called Vealtown, in the Jerseys. For the particulars, I refer you to the enclosed from General Sullivan. The spirit of disaffection, that appears in this country, I think deserves your serious attention. Instead of giving any assistance in repelling the enemy, the militia have not only refused to obey your general summons and that of their commanding officers, but, I am told, exult at the approach of the enemy, and on our late misfortunes. I beg leave, therefore, to submit to your consideration, whether such people are to be trusted with arms in their hands. If they will not use them for us, there is the greatest reason to apprehend they will against us, if opportunity offers. But, even supposing they claimed a right of remaining neuter, in my opinion we ought not to hesitate a moment in taking their arms, which will be so much wanted in furnishing the new levies. If such a step meet your approbation, I leave to you to determine upon the mode. If you think fit to empower me, I will undertake to have it done as speedily and effectually as possible. You must be sensible, that the utmost secrecy is necessary, both in your deliberations on, and in the execution of, a matter of this kind; for, if the thing should take wind, the arms would presently be conveyed beyond our reach, or rendered useless.

Your favors of the 13th and 14th Inst. are this moment come to my hands. I am glad to find from the Edition: current; Page: [99] latter that the militia of Lancaster county are in motion; and I am in hopes, that General Mifflin’s appearance in the different counties will have as good an effect as it had in Philadelphia. I have received information, that the body of the enemy, which lay at Pennington under Lord Cornwallis, moved this morning back towards Princeton. If so, it looks as if they were going into winter-quarters; and this corresponds with the account brought last night by a prisoner, a servant belonging to General Vaughan’s family, who says, that he heard his master talk of going soon into winter-quarters. The troops, who lay at Trenton, are likewise filing off towards Allentown and Bordentown with their baggage, which makes me conjecture they are taking the road to South Amboy. I have a number of small parties out to make discoveries; and, if the motions of the enemy are really such as I have mentioned above, I shall soon have information of it. In the mean time, my troops are so stationed, as to prevent them from crossing the river at any place without our knowledge. But I am in great hopes, that the disappointment in boats and the lateness of the season, which now begins to put on the face of winter, will prevent their making any attempt on Philadelphia till spring. This, however, should not in the least slacken your exertions in making the necessary preparations for the fortification and defence of the city by land and water; for you may be assured that will be their first and great object in the spring. I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [100]
George Washington
Washington, George
15 December, 1776
Keith’s

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

About one o’clock to-day I received a Letter from Genl. Sullivan, a Copy of which you have inclosed. I will not comment on the melancholy intelligence, which it contains, only adding, that I sincerely regret Genl. Lee’s unhappy fate, and feel much for the loss of my Country in his Captivity.

In respect to the Enemy, they have been industrious in their attempts to procure Boats and small craft, but as yet their efforts have not succeeded. From the latest advices that I have of their movements by some prisoners and others, they appear to be leaving Trenton and to be filing off towards Princeton and Allen Town. What their designs are, whether they mean to retreat or only a feint, cannot be determined.1 I have parties out to watch their motions, and to form if possible, an accurate opinion of their plans. Our force since my last, has received no augmentation; of course by sickness and other causes, has diminished; but I am advised by a letter from the Council of Safety which just came to hand, that Cols. Burd and Galbraeth are marching with their Battalion of Militia and also that some small parties are assembling in Cumberland County.2

Edition: current; Page: [101]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 December, 1776
Keith’s

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

In a late letter, which I had the honor of addressing you, I took the liberty to recommend, that more battalions should be raised for the new army, than what had been voted. Having fully considered the matter, I am more and more convinced, not only of the propriety, but of the necessity of the measure. That the enemy will leave nothing unessayed, in the course of the next campaign, to reduce these States to the rule of a most lawless and insufferable tyranny, must be obvious to every one; and that the militia are not to be depended on, or aid expected from them but in cases of the most pressing emergency, is not to be doubted. The first of these propositions is unquestionable, and fatal experience has given her sanction to the truth of the latter. Indeed, their lethargy of late, and backwardness to turn out at this alarming crisis, seem to justify an apprehension, that Edition: current; Page: [102] nothing can bring them from their homes. For want of their assistance, a large part of Jersey has been exposed to ravage and to plunder; nor do I know that Pennsylvania would share a better fate, could General Howe effect a passage across the Delaware with a respectable force. These considerations have induced me to wish, that no reliance, except such as may arise from necessity, should ever be had in them again; and to make further mention to Congress of the expediency of increasing their army. I trust the measure will meet with their earliest attention.

Had I leisure and were it necessary, I could say much upon this head; but, as I have not, and the matter is well understood, I will not add much. By augmenting the number of your battalions, you will augment your force; the officers of each will have their interest and influence; and, upon the whole, their numbers will be much greater, though they should not be complete. Added to this, from the present confused state of Jersey, and the improper appointment of officers in many instances, I have little or no expectation that she will be able to raise all the troops exacted from her, though I think it might be done, were suitable spirited gentlemen commissioned, who would exert themselves, and encourage the people, many of whom (from a failure in this instance, and who are well disposed) are making their submission. In a word, the next will be a trying campaign; and as all that is dear and valuable may depend upon the issue of it, I would advise, that nothing should be omitted, that shall seem necessary Edition: current; Page: [103] to our success. Let us have a respectable army, and such as will be competent to every exigency. I will also add, that the critical situation of our affairs, and the dissolution of our present force, now at hand, require, that every nerve and exertion be employed for recruiting the new battalions. One part of General Howe’s movements at this time, I believe, is with a design to distract us and prevent this business. If the inclemency of the weather should force him into winter-quarters, he will not remain there longer than necessity shall oblige him; he will commence his operations in a short space of time; and in that time our levies must be made up, to oppose him, or I fear the most melancholy of all events must take place. * * *

The Cloathing of the Troops is a matter of infinite importance, and if it could be accomplished, would have a happy effect. Their distresses are extremely great, many of ’em being entirely naked and most so thinly clad as to be unfit for service. I must entreat Congress to write to the Agents and Contractors upon this subject, that every possible supply may be procured and forwarded with the utmost expedition. I cannot attend to the business myself, having more than I can possibly do besides.1

Edition: current; Page: [104]
George Washington
Washington, George
17 December, 1776
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

I would beg leave to recall your attention to the proposition for the exchange of prisoners, in the several letters I have lately written on that subject, and to inform you, that I have not received such officers in exchange as were requested by me. I am persuaded, Sir, that this mistake has arisen from Mr. Edition: current; Page: [105] Commissary Loring’s1 zeal to facilitate the business; but I would at the same time desire that you would give him orders, whenever any of your officers are sent in by me, not to send others in exchange, till he is furnished with a list from me, of such as I would choose to prefer, which shall always be done as soon as possible. For as the prisoners seldom pass my head-quarters on their way, it is not in my power to transmit such lists by them, without occasioning their delay. If this mode is not complied with in future, I shall be under the disagreeable necessity of stopping others from going in, as my ideas and expectations are by no means answered by what has happened.2

Edition: current; Page: [106]

I enclose you a list of 7 officers who were sent in from Bristol on the 14th and of two Officers and two privates who accompany the present flag. As the remainder of all those who were in the state of Pennsylvania are on the Road and expected here daily, I shall defer making a demand of those I would chuse in Exchange till the whole come up.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 December, 1776
Bucks County
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

By a letter just received from the State of Massachusetts, (copy of which you have enclosed) I find that they had ordered six thousand militia to be immediately raised, and appointed the place of rendezvous at Danbury in Connecticut, where they are to meet General Lincoln, who is to take the command. Edition: current; Page: [107] You will perceive from the tenor of the letter, that the appearance of the men of war and transports off the coast of New England did not seem to alter their intention of sending the militia forward; but I am inclined to think, if the descent should really be made, they will find employ for them nearer home. If this considerable reinforcement should arrive with you, I do not know how you could better employ them, or render more essential service to the cause, than, after keeping a sufficient force to guard the passes of the Highlands, by throwing such a number over into Jersey, as would cover the upper parts of that province, and afford such support and assistance to the well affected, as would encourage them to join you and keep the enemy within straiter bounds than they are at present. You may depend, that the great end they have in view is to spread themselves over as much country as they possibly can, and thereby strike a damp into the spirits of the people, which will effectually put a stop to the new enlistment of the army, on which all our hopes depend, and which they will most vigorously strive to effect. To carry this plan into execution, they have already extended themselves as far westward as the Delaware, and if the whole of your army continues on the east side of Hudson’s River, they will have possession of all the country between that river and the Delaware, which includes the whole province of Jersey and part of New York. As soon as you find yourself in a situation to send a force into the upper parts of Jersey, I would have you immediately communicate your intentions Edition: current; Page: [108] to the people, with assurances that you will be ready to back and support them in any movements, which they may make in your favor. I am certain, that the defection of the people in the lower part of Jersey has been as much owing to the want of an army to look the enemy in the face, as to any other cause, though to be sure neither cost nor pains has been spared to influence them against us.

Whatever steps you take in this affair, I would wish you to consult and coöperate with General Lincoln, of whose judgment and abilities I entertain a very high opinion. I would just add, that your attention should likewise be paid to the country between Peekskill and Kingsbridge, by affording some protection and countenance to the people there, from whom you may draw supplies and perhaps some men for the new army. Particular attention should be paid to the bridge at Croton River, which secures your front. I enclose to you a letter for General Lincoln, which please to forward to him wherever he may be. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [109]
George Washington
Washington, George
18 December, 1776
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

Owing to the number of letters I write, the recollection of any particular one is destroyed, but I think my last to you was by Colonel Woodford, from Hackinsac. Since that time, and a little before, our affairs have taken an adverse turn, but not more than was to be expected from the unfortunate measures, which had been adopted for the establishment of our army. The Retreat of the Enemy from the White Plains led me to think, that they would turn their thoughts to the Jerseys, if no farther, and induced me to cross the North River with some of the Troops, in order if possible to oppose them. I expected Edition: current; Page: [110] to have met at least five thousand men of the Flying Camp and militia; instead of which I found less than one half of that number, and no disposition in the Inhabitants to afford the least aid. This being perfectly well known to the Enemy, they threw over a large body of Troops, which pushed us from place to place, till we were obliged to cross the Delaware with less than three thousand men fit for duty, owing to the dissolution of our force by short Enlistments; the Enemy’s numbers, from the best accounts, exceeding ten or twelve thousand men.

Before I removed to the south side of the river, I had all the Boats and other Vessels brought over, or destroyed, from Philadelphia upwards for seventy miles, and, by guarding the Fords, I have, as yet, baffled all their attempts to cross. But, from some late movement of theirs, I am left in doubt whether they are moving off for Winter-Quarters, or making a feint to throw us off our guard. Since I came on this side, I have been joined by about two thousand of the city militia, and I understand, that some of the country militia, (from the back counties,) are on their way. But we are in a very disaffected part of the Province; and, between you and me, I think our affairs are in a very bad situation; not so much from the apprehension of General Howe’s army, as from the defection of New York, Jerseys, and Pennsylvania. In short, the conduct of the Jerseys has been most Infamous. Instead of turning out to defend their country, & affording aid to our army, they are making their submissions as fast as they can. If the Jerseys had given us any support, we might have made a Edition: current; Page: [111] stand at Hackinsac, and after that at Brunswic; but the few militia, that were in arms, disbanded themselves & left the poor remains of our army to make the best we could of it.

I have no doubt but General Howe will still make an attempt upon Philadelphia this winter. I see nothing to oppose him a fortnight hence, as the time of all the troops, except those of Virginia reduced (almost to nothing,) and Smallwood’s Regiment of Maryland, equally as bad, will expire in less than that time. In a word, my dear Sir, if every nerve is not strained to recruit the new army with all possible expedition, I think the game is pretty near up, owing, in a great measure, to the insidious arts of the Enemy, and disaffection of the colonies before mentioned, but principally to the accursed policy of short enlistments, and placing too great a dependence on the militia, the evil consequences of which were foretold fifteen months ago, with a spirit almost Prophetic. Before this reaches you, you will no doubt have heard of the captivity of General Lee. This is an additional misfortune, and the more vexatious, as it was by his own folly and Imprudence, (and without a view to answer any good,) he was taken, going three miles out of his own camp, and within twenty of the enemy to lodge, a rascally Tory rid in the night to give notice of it to the enemy, who sent a party of light-Horse that seized and carried him, with every mark of triumph and indignity.

You can form no idea of the perplexity of my situation. No man, I believe, ever had a greater choice of difficulties, and less means to extricate himself from Edition: current; Page: [112] them. However, under a full persuasion of the justice of our cause, I cannot entertain an Idea, that it will finally sink, tho’ it may remain for some time under a cloud.

My love and sincere regards attend my sister and the family, with compliments to all inquiring friends. With every sentiment of friendship, as well as love, I am your most affectionate brother.1

George Washington
Washington, George
20 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have waited with much impatience to know the determination of Congress on the propositions, made some time in October last, for augmenting our corps of artillery,2 and establishing a corps of engineers. The time is now come, when the first cannot be delayed without the greatest injury to the safety of these States; and, therefore, under the resolution of Congress bearing date the 12th instant, at the repeated instance of Colonel Knox, and by the pressing advice of all the general officers now here, I have ventured to order three battalions of artillery to be immediately recruited. These are two less than Colonel Knox recommends, as you will see Edition: current; Page: [113] by his plan enclosed; but then this scheme comprehends all the United States, whereas some of the States have corps already established, and these three battalions are indispensably necessary for the operations in this quarter, including the northern department.

The pay of our artillerists bearing no proportion to that in the English and French service, the murmuring and dissatisfaction thereby occasioned, the absolute impossibility, as I am told, of getting them upon the old terms, and the unavoidable necessity of obtaining them at all events, have induced me, also by advice, to promise officers and men, that their pay shall be augmented twenty-five per cent, or that their engagements shall become null and void. This may appear to Congress premature and unwarrantable. But, Sir, if they view our situation in the light it strikes their officers, they will be convinced of the utility of the measure, and that the execution could not be delayed till after their meeting at Baltimore. In short, the present exigency of our affairs will not admit of delay, either in council or the field; for well convinced I am, that, if the enemy go into quarters at all, it will be for a short season. But I rather think the design of General Howe is to possess himself of Philadelphia this winter, if possible; and in truth I do not see what is to prevent him, as ten days more will put an end to the existence of our army. That one great point is to keep us as much harassed as possible, with a view to injure the recruiting service and hinder a collection of stores and other necessaries for Edition: current; Page: [114] the next campaign, I am as clear in, as I am of my existence. If, therefore, we have to provide in the short interval and make these great and arduous preparations, every matter that in its nature is self-evident is to be referred to Congress, at the distance of a hundred and thirty or forty miles, so much time must necessary elapse, as to defeat the end in view.

In may be said, that this is an application for powers that are too dangerous to be entrusted. I can only add, that desperate diseases require desperate remedies; and I with truth declare, that I have no lust after power, but I wish with as much fervency as any man upon this wide-extended continent for an opportunity of turning the sword into the ploughshare. But my feelings, as an officer and a man, have been such as to force me to say, that no person ever had a greater choice of difficulties to contend with than I have. It is needless to add, that short enlistments, and a mistaken dependence upon militia, have been the origin of all our misfortunes, and the great accumulation of our debt. We find, Sir, that the enemy are daily gathering strength from the disaffected. This strength, like a snow-ball by rolling, will increase, unless some means can be devised to check effectually the progress of the enemy’s arms. Militia may possibly do it for a little while; but in a little while, also, and the militia of those States, which have been frequently called upon, will not turn out at all; or, if they do, it will be with so much reluctance and sloth, as to amount to the same thing. Instance New Jersey! Witness Pennsylvania! Could Edition: current; Page: [115] any thing but the river Delaware have saved Philadelphia? Can any thing (the exigency of the case indeed may justify it) be more destructive to the recruiting service, than giving ten dollars’ bounty for six weeks’ service of the militia, who come in, you cannot tell how, go, you cannot tell when, and act, you cannot tell where, consume your provisions, exhaust your stores, and leave you at last at a critical moment?

These, Sir, are the men I am to depend upon, ten days hence; this is the basis, on which your cause will and must for ever depend, till you get a large standing army sufficient of itself to oppose the enemy. I therefore beg leave to give it as my humble opinion, that eighty-eight battalions are by no means equal to the opposition you are to make, and that a moment’s time is not to be lost in raising a greater number, not less, in my opinion and the opinion of my officers, than a hundred and ten. It may be urged that it will be found difficult enough to complete the first number. This may be true, and yet the officers of a hundred and ten battalions will recruit many more men, than those of eighty-eight. In my judgment this is not a time to stand upon expense; our funds are not the only object of consideration. The State of New York have added one battalion (I wish they had made it two) to their quota. If any good officers will offer to raise men upon Continental pay and establishment in this quarter, I shall encourage them to do so, and regiment them when they have done it. If Congress disapprove Edition: current; Page: [116] of this proceeding, they will please to signify it, as I mean it for the best. It may be thought that I am going a good deal out of the line of my duty, to adopt these measures, or to advise thus freely. A character to lose, an estate to forfeit, the inestimable blessing of liberty at stake, and a life devoted, must be my excuse.

I have heard nothing of the light-horse from Virginia, nor of the regiment from the Eastern Shore.1 I wish to know what troops are to act in the different departments, and to have those from the southward, designed for this place, ordered on as fast as they shall be raised. The route should be pointed out by which they are to march; assistant commissaries and quartermasters stationed upon the communication, to supply their wants; the first or second officer of each battalion should forward them, and the other should come on, receive, and form them at their place of destination. Unless this is immediately set about, the campaign, if it should be closed, will be opened in the spring before we have any men in the field. Every exertion should be used to procure tents; a clothier-general should be appointed without loss of time for supplying the army with every article in that way; he should be a man of business and abilities. A commissary of prisoners must be appointed to attend the army; for want of an officer of this kind, the exchange of prisoners has been conducted in a most shameful and injurious manner. We have had them from all quarters pushed into our camps at the Edition: current; Page: [117] most critical junctures, and without the least previous notice. We have had them travelling through the different States in all directions by certificates from committees, without any kind of control; and have had instances of some going into the enemy’s camp without my privity or knowledge, after passing in the manner before mentioned. There may be other officers necessary, whom I do not recollect at this time, and who, when thought of, must be provided; for this, Sir, you may rely on, that the commanding officer, under the present establishment, is obliged to attend to the business of so many different departments, as to render it impossible to conduct that of his own with the attention necessary; than which nothing can be more injurious.

In a former letter, I intimated my opinion of the necessity of having a brigadier for every three regiments, and a major-general to every three brigades, at most. I think no time is to be lost in making the appointments, that the arrangements may be consequent. This will not only aid the recruiting service, but will be the readiest means of forming and disciplining the army afterwards, which, in the short time we have to do it, is of amazing consequence. I have labored, ever since I have been in the service, to discourage all kinds of local attachments and distinctions of country, denominating the whole by the greater name of American, but I have found it impossible to overcome prejudices; and, under the new establishment, I conceive it best to stir up an emulation; in order to do which, would it not be Edition: current; Page: [118] better for each State to furnish, though not to appoint, their own brigadiers? This, if known to be part of the establishment, might prevent a good deal of contention and jealousy; and would, I believe, be the means of promotions going forward with more satisfaction, and quiet the higher officers.

Whilst I am speaking of promotions, I cannot help giving it as my opinion, that, if Congress think proper to confirm what I have done with respect to the corps of artillery, Colonel Knox, at present at the head of that department (but who, without promotion, will resign), ought to be appointed to the command of it, with the rank and pay of brigadier. I have also to mention, that, for want of some establishment in the department of engineers agreeably to the plan laid before Congress in October last, Colonel Putnam, who was at head of it, has quitted, and taken a regiment in the State of Massachusetts. I know of no other man tolerably well qualified for the conducting of that business. None of the French gentlemen, whom I have seen with appointments in that way, appear to me to know any thing of the matter. There is one in Philadelphia, who, I am told, is clever; but him I have never seen. I must also once more beg leave to mention to Congress the expediency of letting promotions be in a regimental line. The want of this has already driven some of the best officers, that were in your army, out of the service. From repeated and strict inquiry I am convinced, that you can adopt no mode of promotion that will be better received, or that will give more general satisfaction. I wish therefore to have it announced.

Edition: current; Page: [119]

The casting of cannon is a matter, that ought not to be one moment delayed; and, therefore, I shall send Colonel Knox to put this in train, as also to have travelling-carriages and shot provided, and laboratories established, one in Hartford, and another in York. Magazines of provisions should also be laid in. These I shall fix with the commissary. As our great loss last year proceeded from a want of teams, I shall direct the quartermaster-general to furnish a certain number to each regiment to answer the common purposes thereof, that the army may be enabled to remove from place to place differently from what we have done, or could do, this campaign. Ammunition-carts, and proper carts for intrenching tools, should also be provided, and I shall direct about them accordingly. Above all, a store of small arms should be provided, or men will be of little use. The consumption and waste of these, this year, have been great. Militia and Flying-Camp men coming in without them were obliged to be furnished, or become useless. Many of these threw their arms away; some lost them, whilst others deserted, and took them away. In a word, although I used every precaution to preserve them, the loss has been great; and this will for ever be the case, in such a mixed and irregular army as ours has been.

If no part of the troops already embarked at New York has appeared in Virginia, their destination doubtless must be to some other quarter; and that State must, I should think, be freed from any invasion, if General Howe can be effectually opposed in this. I therefore enclose a memorandum, given me Edition: current; Page: [120] by Brigadier Stephen of Virginia, which Congress will please to adopt in the whole, in part, or reject, as may be consistent with their plans and intelligence.

That division of the army, lately under the command of General Lee, now of General Sullivan, is just upon the point of joining us. A strange kind of fatality has attended it. They had orders on the 17th of November to join, now more than a month. General Gates, with four eastern regiments, is also near at hand; three others from those States were coming on, by his order, by the way of Peekskill, and had joined General Heath, whom I had ordered on with Parsons’s brigade, to join me, leaving Clinton’s brigade and some militia, that were at Forts Montgomery and Constitution, to guard these important passes of the Highlands. But the Convention of the State of New York seemed to be much alarmed at Heath’s coming away, a fleet appearing off New London, and some part of the enemy’s troops retiring towards Brunswic, induced me to countermand the order for the march of Parsons’s brigade, and to direct the three regiments from Ticonderoga to halt at Morristown in New Jersey (where I understand about eight hundred militia had collected), in order to inspirit the inhabitants, and, as far as possible, to cover that part of the country. I shall send General Maxwell this day to take the command of them, and, if to be done, to harass and annoy the enemy in their quarters, and cut off their convoys. The care and vigilance, which were used in securing the boats on this river, have hitherto baffled every attempt of the enemy to cross; but, from concurring reports and Edition: current; Page: [121] appearances, they are waiting for ice to afford them a passage.

Since writing the foregoing I have received a letter from Governor Cooke of Rhode Island, of which the enclosed is a copy.1 Previous to this, and immediately upon the first intelligence obtained of a fleet’s going through the Sound, I despatched orders to Generals Spencer and Arnold to proceed without delay to the eastward. The first I presume is gone. The latter, not getting my letter till he came to a place called Easton, was, by advice of General Gates, who also met my letter at the same place, induced to come on hither before he proceeded to the eastward. Most of our brigadiers are laid up. Not one has come on with the division under General Sullivan, but they are left sick at different places on the road.

By accounts from the eastward, a large body of men had assembled in Rhode Island from the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut. I presume, but I have no advice of it, that the militia ordered from the first to rendezvous at Danbury, six thousand in number, under the command of Major-General Lincoln, for supplying the place of the disbanded men of that State in the Continental army, will now be ordered to Rhode Island. In speaking of General Lincoln, I should not do him justice, were I not to add, that he is a gentleman well worthy of notice in Edition: current; Page: [122] the military line. He commanded the militia from Massachusetts last summer, or fall rather, and much to my satisfaction, having proved himself on all occasions an active, spirited, sensible man. I do not know whether it is his wish to remain in the military line, or whether, if he should, any thing under the rank he now holds in the State he comes from would satisfy him. How far an appointment of this kind might offend the Continental brigadiers, I cannot undertake to say; many there are, over whom he ought not to be placed; but I know of no way to discriminate. Brigadier Reed of New Hampshire does not, I presume, mean to continue in the service; he ought not, as I am told, by the severity of the smallpox, he is become both blind and deaf. I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. Generals Gates and Sullivan have this instant come in. By them I learn, that few or no men are recruited out of the regiments coming on with them, and that there is very little reason to expect, that these regiments will be prevailed upon to continue after their term of service expires. If militia then do not come in, the consequences are but too evident.1

George Washington
Washington, George
Dec. 21st, 1776
Keith’s
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

I have been favored with yours of the 13th inst., and wish you may have succeeded in your intended scheme to dislodge the enemy from Hackinsac Bridge.

Edition: current; Page: [123]

In my letter of the 18th I transmitted you a copy of a letter from the Council of the Massachusetts Bay, advising that six thousand men were coming from that State, under General Lincoln, to supply the place of the militia which had returned home, and of their troops, whose time of Service will soon expire. At the time of writing, I thought it probable that their reinforcement might be ordered to the State of Rhode Island, in case of an invasion, and which I find has actually taken place; and therefore did not so strenuously urge that it should be sent here. Indeed, I had then hopes, from the information I had received, that a large proportion of the eastern troops who were marching to join me had re-enlisted; but to my great distress and mortification, I find the report to have been without the least foundation, and that in the course of a few days I am to be left with a handful of men. I therefore request, that if these troops have come on to Peekskill, and also the four batallions which I am advised by Governor Trumbull have been raised in Connecticut to serve till the 15th of March next, that, after securing the passes and fortifications in the Highlands, with a sufficient number (which I should imagine need not exceed twelve or fifteen hundred men at farthest,) besides the force which I apprehend will be provided for the purpose by the Convention of New York you will forward on all the rest with the utmost expedition to join such troops as I may be able to collect for the defence of Philadelphia. That city is now the object of the enemy’s designs. Let me entreat you Edition: current; Page: [124] to impress the officers and men with a due sense of its importance in the present contest for our liberty, and that without their speedy and early arrival it may be lost. I am persuaded these considerations will be duly regarded and urge them on to every possible exertion. As yet, but few succors belonging to this State have come in, nor do I hear that many are in motion.1 When they have heard that other States Edition: current; Page: [125] are applied to, and pushing in aids for their defence, perhaps they will arouse from that lethargy which now keeps them back against the most pressing calls of interest. In a word, Sir, my situation, and that of our cause, is critical, and truly alarming. Without vigorous exertions and early succors I do not see what reasonable hope there will be to preserve Philadelphia Edition: current; Page: [126] from falling into the enemy’s hands. They will attempt to possess it as soon as the Delaware is so frozen as to admit of their passage. Appearances and many concurring reports agree in this.

I have received yours of the 15th, and am happy to hear of your success at Hackinsac. The stores you got will be of great service.

By a letter just received from General McDougall, I find he has been much indisposed, and is now at Morristown. I intend to write him to return to Peekskill to conduct matters in that department with General George Clinton requesting you and General James Clinton to come on with the eastern troops which I have mentioned, if they have arrived at Peekskill, and it should be necessary for him to come.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant.
George Washington
Washington, George
23 December, 1776
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph
John Cadwalader
Cadwalader, John

TO COLONEL JOSEPH REED, OR COLONEL JOHN CADWALADER,1 AT BRISTOL.

Dear Sir,

The bearer is sent down to know whether your plan was attempted last night, and if not to inform you, that Christmas-day at night, one hour before day, is the time fixed upon for our attempt on Trenton. For Heaven’s sake, keep this to yourself, as the discovery of it may prove fatal to us; our numbers, sorry I am to say, being less than I had any conception of; but necessity, dire necessity, will, nay Edition: current; Page: [127] must, justify any attempt. Prepare, and, in concert with Griffin, attack as many of their posts as you possibly can with a prospect of success; the more we can attack at the same instant, the more confusion we shall spread, and greater good will result from it. If I had not been fully convinced before of the enemy’s designs, I have now ample testimony of their intentions to attack Philadelphia, so soon as the ice will afford the means of conveyance.1

As the colonels of the Continental regiments might kick up some dust about command, unless Cadwalader is considered by them in the light of a brigadier, which I wish him to be. I desired General Gates, who is unwell, and applied for leave to go to Philadelphia, Edition: current; Page: [128] to endeavor, if his health would permit him, to call and stay two or three days at Bristol in his way. I shall not be particular; we could not ripen matters for our attack, before the time mentioned in the first part of this letter; so much out of sorts, and so much in want of every thing, are the troops under Sullivan, &c. Let me know by a careful express the plan you are to pursue. The letter herewith sent, forward on to Philadelphia; I could wish it to be in time for the southern post’s departure, which will be I believe by eleven o’clock to-morrow. I am, dear Sir, &c.

P. S. I have ordered our men to be provided with three days’ provisions ready cooked, with which and their blankets they are to march; for if we are successful, which Heaven grant, and the circumstances favor, we may push on. I shall direct every ferry and ford to be well guarded, and not a soul suffered to pass without an officer’s going down with the permit. Do the same with you.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 December, 1776

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

That I should dwell upon the subject of our distresses, cannot be more disagreeable to Congress than it is painful to myself. The alarming situation, to which our affairs are reduced, impels me to the measure. Inquiry and investigation, which in most cases serve to develope and point out a remedy, in ours present more and greater difficulties. Till of Edition: current; Page: [129] late, I was led to hope from report, that no inconsiderable part of the troops composing the regiments that were with General Lee, and those from Ticonderoga under General Gates, had enlisted again. This intelligence, I confess, gave me reason to expect, that I should have, at the expiration of the present year, a force somewhat more respectable, than what I find will be the case.

Having examined into the state of those regiments, I am authorized to say from the information of their officers, that but very few of the men have enlisted. Those, who have, are of the troops from Ticonderoga, and were permitted to visit their friends and homes, as part of the terms on which they would re-engage. In respect to those, who marched with General Lee, I cannot learn that any have. Their refusal, I am told, has not proceeded more from an aversion to the service, or any fixed determination not to engage again, than from their wishes to return home, the non-appointment of officers in some instances, the turning out of good and appointing of bad in others, and the incomplete or rather no arrangement of them, a work unhappily committed to the management of their States; nor have I the most distant prospect of retaining them a moment longer than the last of this month, notwithstanding the most pressing solicitations and the obvious necessity for it. By the departure of these regiments I shall be left with five from Virginia, Smallwood’s from Maryland, a small part of Rawlings’s, Hand’s from Pennsylvania, a part of Ward’s from Connecticut, Edition: current; Page: [130] and the German battalion, comprising in the whole at this time from fourteen to fifteen hundred effective men. This handful, and such militia as may choose to join me, will then compose our army.1

When I reflect upon these things, they fill me with much concern, knowing that General Howe has a number of troops cantoned in the towns bordering on and near the Delaware, and his intentions to pass, as soon as the ice is sufficiently formed, to invade Pennsylvania and to possess himself of Philadelphia if possible. To guard against his designs, and the execution of them, shall employ my every exertion; but how is this to be done? As yet but few militia have gone to Philadelphia, and they are to be our support at this alarming crisis. Had I entertained a doubt of General Howe’s intentions to pass the Delaware, on the dissolution of our army, and as soon as the ice is made, it would now be done away. An intercepted letter from a gentleman of Philadelphia, who has joined the enemy, to his friend and partner in the city, declares that to be their design, that the army would be there in ten or twenty days from the 16th instant, the time of his writing, if the ice should Edition: current; Page: [131] be made; it advises him by no means to remove their stores, as they would be safe.

The obstacles, which have arisen to the raising of the new army, from the mode of appointing the officers, induce me to hope, if Congress resolve on an additional number of battalions to those already voted, that they will devise some other rule by which the officers, especially the field-officers, should be appointed. In case an augmentation should be made to the eastern regiments, a deviation from the former mode will operate more strongly as to them than to other battalions, because there have been many more officers in service from those States, than the regiments voted to be raised would admit of; by which means several deserving men could not have been provided for, had the utmost pains been used for the purpose; and many others of merit have been neglected in the late appointments, and those of little worth and less experience put in their places or promoted over their heads. This has been the case with many of the best officers.

The enclosed letter from the paymaster-general will show the state of the military chest, and the necessity of a large and immediate supply of cash. The advances to the officers, for bounty, and the recruiting service, are great; besides the regiments, at the expiration of this month, will require payment of their claims. At the same time it will show the injustice of the clamors, made by some of the officers respecting their pay, and the abuses, that have resulted from an attention to them. Whenever they Edition: current; Page: [132] have not been paid, it was because their abstracts were not made up. I have the honor, &c.

P. S. If the public papers have been removed from Philadelphia, I hope those which I sent by Lieutenant Colonel Reed,1 before we left New York, have not been forgot. If they have not, I beg the favor of you to break open the chest, and send me the several letter books, sealed up, having frequent occasion to refer to ’em.

George Washington
Washington, George
27 December, 1776
Newtown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the success of an enterprise, which I had formed against a detachment of the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday morning. The evening of the 25th I ordered the troops intended for this service to parade back of McKonkey’s Ferry,2 that they might begin to pass as soon as it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw them all over, with the necessary artillery, by twelve o’clock, and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the morning, the distance being about nine miles. But the quantity of ice, made that night, impeded the passage of the boats so much, that it was three o’clock before the artillery could all be got over; and near four, before the troops took up their line of march. This made me despair of surprising the town, as I Edition: current; Page: [133] well knew we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke. But as I was certain there was no making a retreat without being discovered and harassed on repassing the river, I determined to push on at all events. I formed my detachment into two divisions, one to march by the lower or river road, the other by the upper or Pennington road. As the divisions had nearly the same distance to march, I ordered each of them, immediately upon forcing the out-guards, to push directly into the town, that they might charge the enemy before they had time to form.

The upper division arrived at the enemy’s advanced posts exactly at eight o’clock; and in three minutes after, I found, from the fire on the lower road, that the division had also got up. The out-guards made but small opposition, though, for their numbers, they behaved very well, keeping up a constant retreating fire from behind houses. We presently saw their main body formed; but, from their motions, they seemed undetermined how to act. Being hard pressed by our troops, who had already got possession of their artillery, they attempted to file off by a road on their right, leading to Princeton. But, perceiving their intention, I threw a body of troops in their way, which immediately checked them. Finding from our disposition, that they were surrounded, and that they must inevitably be cut to pieces if they made any further resistance, they agreed to lay down their arms. The number that submitted in this manner was twenty-three officers and eight hundred and eighty-six men. Colonel Rahl, the Edition: current; Page: [134] commanding officer, and seven others were found wounded in the town. I do not exactly know how many were killed; but I fancy not above twenty or thirty, as they never made any regular stand. Our loss is very trifling indeed, only two officers and one or two privates wounded.

I find that the detachment of the enemy consisted of the three Hessian regiments of Anspach, Kniphausen, and Rahl, amounting to about fifteen hundred men, and a troop of British light-horse; but, immediately upon the beginning of the attack, all those, who were not killed or taken, pushed directly down the road towards Bordentown. These would likewise have fallen into our hands, could my plan have been completely carried into execution. General Ewing was to have crossed before day at Trenton Ferry, and taken possession of the bridge leading out of town; but the quantity of ice was so great, that, though he did every thing in his power to effect it, he could not get over. This difficulty also hindered General Cadwalader from crossing with the Pennsylvania militia from Bristol. He got part of his foot over; but, finding it impossible to embark his artillery, he was obliged to desist. I am fully confident, that, could the troops under Generals Ewing and Cadwalader have passed the river, I should have been able with their assistance to drive the enemy from all their posts below Trenton. But the numbers I had with me being inferior to theirs below me, and a strong battalion of light infantry being at Princeton above me, I thought it most prudent to return the Edition: current; Page: [135] same evening with the prisoners and the artillery we had taken. We found no stores of any consequence in the town.1

In justice to the officers and men, I must add, that their behavior upon this occasion reflects the highest honor upon them. The difficulty of passing the river in a very severe night, and their march through a violent storm of snow and hail, did not in the least abate their ardor; but, when they came to the charge, each seemed to vie with the other in pressing forward; and were I to give a preference to any particular corps, I should do great injustice to the others. Colonel Baylor, my first aid-de-camp, will have the honor of delivering this to you; and from him you may be made acquainted with many other particulars. His spirited behavior upon every occasion requires me to Edition: current; Page: [136] recommend him to your particular notice. I have the honor to be, &c.1

P. S. Inclosed you have a particular list of the Prisoners, Artillery and other stores.2

George Washington
Washington, George
29 December, 1776
Newtown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am just setting out to attempt a second passage over the Delaware, with the troops that were with me on the morning of the 26th. I am determined to effect it if possible; but know that it will be attended with much fatigue and difficulty on account of the ice, which will neither allow us to cross on foot, nor give us an easy passage with boats. General Cadwalader crossed from Bristol on the 27th, and, by his letter of yesterday, was at Bordentown with about eighteen hundred men.3 In addition to these, General Mifflin sent over five hundred from Philadelphia on Friday, three hundred yesterday evening from Burlington, and will Edition: current; Page: [137] follow to-day with seven or eight hundred more. I have taken every precaution in my power for subsisting the troops, and shall, without loss of time, and as soon as circumstances will admit of it, pursue the enemy in their retreat, try to beat up more of their quarters, and, in a word, adopt in every instance such measures as the exigency of our affairs requires, and our situation will justify.

Had it not been for the unhappy failure of Generals Ewing and Cadwalader in their attempts to pass, on the night of the 25th, and if the several concerted attacks could have been made, I have no doubt that our views would have succeeded to our warmest expectations. What was done occasioned the enemy to leave their several posts on the Delaware with great precipitation. The peculiar distresses to which the troops, who were with me, were reduced by the severities of cold, rain, snow, and storm; the charge of the prisoners they had taken, and another reason that might be mentioned, and the little prospect of receiving succors on account of the season and situation Edition: current; Page: [138] of the river, would not authorize a further pursuit at that time. Since transmitting the list of prisoners, a few more have been discovered and taken in Trenton; among them a lieutenant-colonel and a deputy-adjutant-general, the whole amounting to about a thousand. I have been honored with your letter of the 23d, and its several enclosures, to which I shall pay due attention. A flag goes in this morning with a letter to General Howe, and another to General Lee. For the latter, Mr. Robert Morris has transmitted a bill of exchange, drawn by two British officers, for a hundred and sixteen pounds, nine shillings, and three pence, on Major Small, for money furnished them in South Carolina, which I trust will be paid. This supply is exclusive of the sum you have resolved to be sent to him, and which Mr. Morris will procure in time.

I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. I am under great apprehensions about obtaining proper supplies of provisions for our Troops. I fear it will be extremely difficult if not impracticable, as the Enemy from every account, has taken and collected every thing they could find.1

Edition: current; Page: [139]

1777.

George Washington
Washington, George
1 January, 1777
Trenton

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Your resolves of the 27th ultimo were transmitted to me last night by Messrs. Clymer, Morris, and Walton.2 The confidence, which Congress have honored me by with these proceedings, has a claim to my warmest acknowledgments. At the same time I beg leave to assure them, that all my faculties shall be employed to direct properly the powers they have been pleased to vest me with, and to advance those objects, and only those, which gave rise to this honorable Edition: current; Page: [140] mark of distinction. If my exertions should not be attended with the desired success, I trust the failure will be imputed to the true cause, the peculiarly distressed situation of our affairs, and the difficulties I have to combat, rather than to a want of zeal for my country, and the closest attention to her interest, to promote which has ever been my study.1

On Monday morning I passed the Delaware myself; the whole of our troops and artillery not till yesterday, owing to the ice, which rendered their passage extremely difficult and fatiguing. Since their arrival, we have been parading the regiments whose term of service is now expired, in order to Edition: current; Page: [141] know what force we should have to depend on, and how to regulate our views accordingly. After much persuasion, and the exertions of their officers, half or a greater proportion of those from the eastward have consented to stay six weeks on a bounty of ten dollars. I feel the inconvenience of this advance, and I know the consequences which will result from it; but what could be done? Pennsylvania had allowed the same to her militia; the troops felt their importance, and would have their price. Indeed, as their aid is so essential, and not to be dispensed with, it is to be wondered, they had not estimated it at a higher rate. I perceive that Congress, apprehensive of this event, had made unlimited provision for it.1

Edition: current; Page: [142]

General Mifflin is at Bordentown with about eighteen hundred men, and General Cadwalader at Crosswicks with about the same number. We are now making our arrangements, and concerting a plan of operations, which I shall attempt to execute as soon as possible, and which I hope will be attended with some success. As to the number and situation of the enemy, I cannot obtain certain intelligence; but, from the accounts most to be relied on, they have collected the principal part of their force, from Brunswic and the neighboring posts, at Princeton, where they are throwing up some works. The number there is reported to be from five to six thousand; and it is confidently said they have sent the chief part of their baggage to Brunswick. It is added, that General Howe landed at Amboy a day or two ago with a thousand light troops, and is on his march from thence.

I have sent into different parts of Jersey men of influence to spirit up the militia, and I flatter myself that the many injuries they have received will induce some to give their aid. If what they have suffered does not rouse their resentment, they must not possess the common feelings of humanity. To oppression, ravage, and a deprivation of property, they have had the more mortifying circumstance of insult added; after being stripped of all they had without the least Edition: current; Page: [143] compensation, protections have been granted them for the free enjoyment of their effects.

I have the honor to be, with due respect, &c.

P.S. I have not been able to procure returns of our force owing to our situation; I suppose that about Two or three & Twenty hundred passed with me, which number is now reduced to Fifteen or Sixteen hundred. No Estimate of our force can be formed from the number of Regiments; many of ’em by reason of sickness cannot turn out more than a hundred men.1

George Washington
Washington, George
1 January, 1777
Trenton
Robert Morris
Morris, Robert
George Clymer
Clymer, George
George Walton
Walton, George

TO ROBERT MORRIS, GEORGE CLYMER, AND GEORGE WALTON, A COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.

Gentlemen,

I have the honor and pleasure of acknowledging your favors of the 28th and 31st December, and Mr. Morris’s of the 30th and 31st.

Edition: current; Page: [144]

The messenger delivered me the two parcels of hard money, which I suppose will turn out right, not having had time to count it. The sum that is lodged at Ticonderoga shall be ordered down, provided the commander in the northern department finds no better use for it there, than I can make of it here.

The accounts you give me in yours of the 28th ulto. of the good effects, that are likely to flow from our success at Trenton, add not a little to the satisfaction I have felt on that occasion. You are pleased to pay me many personal compliments, as if the merit of that affair was due solely to me; but I assure you, the other general officers, who assisted me in the plan and execution, have full as good right to your encomiums as myself. We are devising such measures, as I hope, if they succeed, will add as much or more to the distress of the enemy, than their defeat at Trenton, and I promise myself the greatest advantages from having engaged a number of the eastern troops to stay six weeks beyond their time of enlistment, upon giving a bounty of ten dollars. This I know is a most extravagant price, when compared to the time of service; but the example was set by the State of Pennsylvania, with repect to their militia, and I thought it no time to stand upon trifles, when a body of firm troops, inured to danger, was absolutely necessary to lead on the more raw and undisciplined. I shall know this day how many of Colonel Glover’s regiment are willing to continue in the land service. I don’t expect many will be prevailed upon to stay, and I will endeavor to procure Edition: current; Page: [145] the rest for the purpose of fitting out the frigates upon the best terms I can.1

The future and proper disposition of the Hessian prisoners struck me in the same light in which you view it; for which reason I advised the Council of Safety to separate them from their officers, and canton them in the German counties. If proper pains are taken to convince them how preferable the situation of their countrymen, the inhabitants of those counties, is to theirs, I think they may be sent back in the spring so fraught with a love of liberty and property too, that they may create a disgust to the service among the remainder of the foreign troops, and widen that breach, which is already opened between them and the British.

Yours of the 31st of last month enclosed to me sundry resolves of Congress, by which I find they have done me the honor to entrust me with powers, in my military capacity, of the highest nature and almost unlimited in extent. Instead of thinking myself freed from all civil obligations, by this mark of their confidence, I shall constantly bear in mind, that as Edition: current; Page: [146] the sword was the last resort for the preservation of our liberties, so it ought to be the first thing laid aside, when those liberties are firmly established. I shall instantly set about making the most necessary reforms in the army; but it will not be in my power to make so great a progress, as if I had a little leisure time upon my hands. Mr. Morris has my sincere thanks for the advice and assistance he promises to give Commissary Wharton, and I beg he would remind him, that all his exertions will be necessary to support an army in this exhausted country.

I have the honor to be, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
5 January, 1777
Pluckemin

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have the honor to inform you, that, since the date of my last from Trenton, I have removed with the army under my command to this place. The difficulty of crossing the Delaware, on account of the ice, made our passage over it tedious, and gave the enemy an opportunity of drawing in their several cantonments, and assembling their whole force at Princeton. Their large pickets advanced towards Edition: current; Page: [147] Trenton, their great preparations, and some intelligence I had received, added to their knowledge, that the 1st of January brought on a dissolution of the best part of our army, gave me the strongest reasons to conclude, that an attack upon us was meditating.

Our situation was most critical, and our force small. To remove immediately was again destroying every dawn of hope, which had begun to revive in the breasts of the Jersey militia; and to bring those troops, who had first crossed the Delaware and were lying at Crosswicks under General Cadwalader, and those under General Mifflin at Bordentown, (amounting in the whole to about three thousand six hundred) to Trenton, was to bring them to an exposed place. One or the other, however, was unavoidable. The latter was preferred, and they were ordered to join us at Trenton, which they did, by a night-march, on the 1st instant. On the 2d, according to my expectation, the enemy began to advance upon us; and, after some skirmishing, the head of their column reached Trenton about four o’clock, whilst their rear was as far back as Maidenhead. They attempted to pass Sanpink Creek,1 which runs through Trenton, at different places; but, finding the fords guarded, they halted, and kindled their fires. We were drawn up on the other side of the creek. In this situation we remained till dark, cannonading the enemy, and receiving the fire of their field-pieces, which did us but little damage.

Edition: current; Page: [148]

Having by this time discovered, that the enemy were greatly superior in number, and that their design was to surround us, I ordered all our baggage to be removed silently to Burlington soon after dark; and at twelve o’clock after renewing our fires, and leaving guards at the bridge in Trenton, and other passes on the same stream above, marched by a roundabout road to Princeton, where I knew they could not have much force left, and might have stores. One thing I was certain of, that it would avoid the appearance of a retreat (which was of consequence, or to run the hazard of the whole army being cut oft), whilst we might by a fortunate stroke withdraw General Howe from Trenton, and give some reputation to our arms. Happily we succeeded. We found Princeton about sunrise, with only three regiments and three troops of light-horse in it, two of which were on their march to Trenton. These three regiments, especially the two first, made a gallant resistance, and, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, must have lost five hundred men; upwards of one hundred of them were left dead on the field; and, with what I have with me and what were taken in the pursuit and carried across the Delaware, there are near three hundred prisoners, fourteen of whom are officers, all British.

This piece of good fortune is counterbalanced by the loss of the brave and worthy General Mercer, Colonels Hazlet and Potter, Captain Neal of the artillery, Captain Fleming, who commanded the first Virginian regiment, and four or five other valuable Edition: current; Page: [149] officers, who, with about twenty-five or thirty privates, were slain in the field. Our whole loss cannot be ascertained, as many, who were in pursuit of the enemy (who were chased three or four miles), are not yet come in. The rear of the enemy’s army lying at Maidenhead, not more than five or six miles from Princeton, was up with us before our pursuit was over; but, as I had the precaution to destroy the bridge over Stony Brook, about half a mile from the field of action, they were so long retarded there, as to give us time to move off in good order for this place. We took two brass field-pieces; but, for want of horses, could not bring them away. We also took some blankets, shoes, and a few other trifling articles, burned the hay, and destroyed such other things, as the shortness of the time would admit of.1

My original plan, when I set out from Trenton, was, to push on to Brunswic; but the harassed state Edition: current; Page: [150] of our troops, many of them having had no rest for two nights and a day, and the danger of losing the advantage we had gained by aiming at too much, induced me, by the advice of my officers, to relinquish the attempt. But, in my judgment, six or eight hundred fresh troops upon a forced march would have destroyed all their stores and magazines, taken (as we have since learned) their military chest, containing seventy thousand pounds, and put an end to the war. The enemy, from the best intelligence I have been able to get, were so much alarmed at the apprehension of this, that they marched immediately to Brunswic without halting, except at the bridges (for I also took up those on Millstone, on the different routes to Brunswic), and got there before day.

From the best information I have received, General Howe has left no men either at Trenton or Princeton. The truth of this I am endeavoring to ascertain, that I may regulate my movements accordingly. The militia are taking spirits, and, I am told, are coming in fast from this State; but I fear those from Philadelphia will scarcely submit to the hardships of a winter campaign much longer, especially as they very unluckily sent their blankets with their baggage to Burlington. I must do them the justice however to add, that they have undergone more fatigue and hardship, than I expected militia, especially citizens, would have done at this inclement season. I am just moving to Morristown, where I shall endeavor to put them under the best cover I can.1 Edition: current; Page: [151] Hitherto we have been without any; and many of our poor soldiers quite barefoot, and ill clad in other respects. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 January, 1777
Pluckemin
Major-General Putnam
Major-General Putnam

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PUTNAM.

Dear General,

Fortune has favored us in an attack on Princeton. General Howe advanced upon Trenton, which we evacuated in the evening of the 2d of this instant, and drew up the troops on the south side of Mill Creek, and continued in that position until dark, then marched for Princeton, which we reached next morning by about nine o’clock. There were three regiments quartered there of British troops, which we attacked and routed. The number of the killed, wounded, and taken prisoners amounts to about five or six hundred. We lost several officers and about thirty privates. General Mercer is badly wounded, if not mortally. After the action we immediately marched for this place. I shall remove from hence to Morristown, there shall wait a few days and refresh the troops, during which time I shall keep a strict Edition: current; Page: [152] watch upon the enemy’s motions. They appear to be panic-struck, and I am in some hopes of driving them out of the Jerseys. It is thought advisable for you to march the troops under your command to Crosswicks, and keep a strict watch upon the enemy in that quarter. If the enemy continue at Brunswic, you must act with great circumspection, lest you meet with a surprise. As we have made two successful attacks upon the enemy by way of surprise, they will be pointed with resentment and if there is any possibility of retaliating, they will attempt it. You will give out your strength to be twice as great as it is. Forward on all the baggage and scattered troops belonging to this division of the army, as soon as may be.

You will keep as many spies out as you will see proper. A number of horsemen, in the dress of the country, must be constantly kept going backwards and forwards for this purpose, and if you discover any motion of the enemy, which you can depend upon, and which you think of consequence, let me be informed thereof as soon as possible by express.

I am, dear General, yours, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
5 January, 1777
Pluckemin
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Sir,

We have made a successful attack upon Princeton, Genl. Howe advanced upon Trenton, we evacuated the Town and lay on the other side of Mill Creek, Edition: current; Page: [153] until dark, then stole a march and attacked Princeton about nine o’clock in the morning; There was three Regiments quartered there, the killed, wounded and taken prisoners, amounts to about 500.

The enemy are in great consternation; and as the panic affords us a favorable opportunity to drive them out of the Jerseys, it has been determined in council, that you should move down towards New York with a considerable force, as if you had a design upon the city. That being an object of great importance, the enemy will be reduced to the necessity of withdrawing a considerable part of their force from the Jerseys, if not the whole, to secure the city. I shall draw the force on this side of the North River together at Morristown, where I shall watch the motions of the enemy, and avail myself of every favorable circumstance. You will retain four thousand of the militia coming on from the New England governments for the expedition. You will act with great precaution, but avail yourself of every favorable opportunity of attacking the enemy, when you can do it to advantage. General Lincoln must cross the North River and come on with the remainder of the militia to Morristown. Leave a sufficient guard at the Highlands. You will also have so many boats collected together, or in such a manner, as you may always avail yourself of them, if it be found expedient for your troops, or any part of them, to cross the North River at Dobbs’s Ferry, or at any other of the landings. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [154]
George Washington
Washington, George
7 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am happy to inform you that the account of Genl Mercer’s death, transmitted in my last, was premature tho’ it was mentioned as certain by many who saw him after he was wounded. By intelligence from Princeton yesterday evening, he was alive, and seemed as if he would do well; unhappily he is a prisoner. Had it not been for the information I had of his death, I would have tried to have brought him away, tho’ I believe it could not have been effected. The enemy have totally evacuated Trenton and Princeton, and are now at Brunswic and the several posts on the communication between that and Hudson’s River, but chiefly at Brunswic. Their numbers and movements are variously reported, but all agree that their force is great. There have been two or three little skirmishes between their parties and some detachments of the militia, in which the latter have been successful and made a few prisoners. The most considerable was on Sunday morning, near Springfield, when eight or ten Waldeckers were killed and wounded, and the remainder of the party, thirty-nine or forty, made prisoners, with two officers, by a force not superior in number and without receiving the least damage.

The severity of the season has made our troops, especially the militia, extremely impatient, and has reduced the number very considerably. Every day more or less leave us. Their complaints, and the Edition: current; Page: [155] great fatigue they have undergone, induced me to come to this place, as the best calculated, of any in this quarter, to accommodate and refresh them. The situation is by no means favorable to our views, and as soon as the purposes are answered for which we came, I think to remove, though I confess I do not know how we shall procure covering for our men elsewhere. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 January, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Lincoln
Major-General Lincoln

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LINCOLN.

Dear Sir,

I am glad to hear by yours of the 4th instant, that you had arrived at Peekskill, and I hope from the measures you have taken to hasten up your troops, that they will soon be all with you. General Heath will communicate mine of this date to you, by which you will find, that the greatest part of your troops are to move down towards New York, to draw the attention of the enemy to that quarter, and if they do not throw a considerable body back again, you may in all probability carry the city, or at least blockade them in it. I believe they are not prepared for the latter; for, as they have for some time past made themselves sure of holding Jersey, they have not taken proper precautions to establish large magazines at any one place. I leave it entirely to the determination of you and General Heath, whether you shall continue on the east side of Hudson’s River, or come in with the troops that are to join me. I Edition: current; Page: [156] have only to beg of you to be as expeditious as possible in moving forward, for the sooner a panic-struck enemy are followed, the better. If we can oblige them to evacuate Jersey, we must drive them to the utmost distress; for, as I mentioned above, they have depended upon the supplies from that province for their winter support. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
8 January, 1777
Morristown
Edward Antill
Antill, Edward

TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL EDWARD ANTILL.

Sir,

I received yours of the 2d instant from Baltimore; in answer to which, I have only to desire you to call, upon all your officers, who are upon recruiting service, to exert themselves as much as possible in filling their companies, and sending their recruits forward to some general place of rendezvous, that they may be armed, equipped, and got into service with as much expedition as possible. As you and Colonel Hazen had the nomination of your own officers, by virtue of your commissions, I shall have no objection to any gentleman of good character, that you may Edition: current; Page: [157] think fit to appoint. I would only mention to you, that Mr. Burwell has already got a company in the Virginia artillery, and therefore you had better fill up the place you intended for him with some other person. If going to Virginia yourself will be of any service, I certainly shall have no objection to it.1 I am, Sir, yours, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [158]
George Washington
Washington, George
8 January, 1777
Morristown
Lieutenant-General Earl Cornwallis
Cornwallis, Lieutenant-General Earl

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL EARL CORNWALLIS.

My Lord,

Your Lordship’s Favor of yesterday was delivered to me by the officer, who met your flag of truce. You may be assured, that no molestation will be offered to the convoy of money and stores, which General De Heister means to send to the Hessians taken at Trenton, or to the surgeon with medicines for the wounded at Princeton, by any part of the regular army under my command. But I cannot answer for the militia, who are resorting to arms in most parts of this State, and exceedingly exasperated at the treatment they have met with, from both Hessian and British troops. I therefore thought it most advisable to direct Captain Barry, the bearer of this, to give a safe conduct to the Hessian baggage as far as Philadelphia, and the surgeon and medicines to Princeton. I have no objection to the Hessian sergeant and twelve men’s attending their baggage, till it is delivered to their countrymen; but cannot consent to their carrying their arms, as I think none but bad consequences can ensue from such a measure.

I am, with due respect, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
9 January, 1777
Morristown
George Baylor
Baylor, George

TO COLONEL GEORGE BAYLOR.

Dear Baylor,

Your letter of the 1st from Baltimore came to my hands this day. Your desires of commanding a regiment of horse I cheerfully yield to, because it is the Edition: current; Page: [159] recommendation of Congress, your own wish, and my desire. As nothing contributes so much to the constitution of a good regiment, as a good corps of officers, and no method so likely to obtain these, as leaving the choice in a great measure to the gentleman, who is to reap the honors or share the disgrace arising from their behavior, I shall vest you with the power of nominating the officers of your own regiment, except the field-officers and those of the troop commanded by Geo: Lewis, which I shall annex to your regiment, instead of Sheldon’s, and except a lieutenancy in some troop for Starke. When I talk of giving you the nomination of the officers, I would have it understood, that I reserve to myself a negative upon a part or the whole, if I have reason to suspect an improper choice.

I earnestly recommend to you to be circumspect in your choice of officers. Take none but gentlemen; let no local attachments influence you; do not suffer your good nature, when an application is made, to say yes, when you ought to say no; remember, that it is a public, not a private cause, that is to be injured or benefited by your choice; recollect, also, that no instance has yet happened of good or bad behavior in a corps in our service, that has not originated with the officers. Do not take old men, nor yet fill your corps with boys, especially for captains. Colonel Landon Carter some time ago recommended a grandson of his to me. If he still inclines to serve, and a lieutenancy would satisfy him, make him the offer of it. I have wrote to a Major Clough to accept the majority of your regiment. He is an experienced Edition: current; Page: [160] officer in the horse service, and a gentlemanlike man as far as I have seen him. The lieutenant-colonel I have not yet absolutely fixed on, though I have a person in my eye. For further instructions refer to Mr. Harrison, who will furnish you with a copy of those given to Colonel Sheldon. One hundred and twenty dollars will be allowed you, as the average price of the horses. The money for these and your accoutrements you must call upon Congress for; and I have to entreat, that you will not delay a moment, that can be avoided, in preparing to take the field early. You must be upon your mettle, for others are engaged in the same service, and will exert themselves to the utmost to outdo you. I am very sincerely yours, &c.

I can say nothing respecting your uniform, as that will depend upon the Cloth to be had. Mr. James Mease of Philadelphia is appointed Clothier General to the Army, and to him you must apply for this Article; where you will be able to get proper Saddles, I know not, if Maryland and Virginia, together with Lancaster and York could furnish you perhaps it would be better than to depend upon Philadelphia, as it is likely there may be a run upon that city, for more than it can furnish in a short time, let me hear frequently from you.1

Edition: current; Page: [161]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 January, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I am honored with your favor of the 23d last month. I hope the Congress have, in consequence of your application, ordered up a supply of money for the county to the new enlisted troops in your State; but lest they should not have done it, I shall order Colonel Palfrey to send what cash he can spare to the Deputy-Pay Master at Peekskill, to be applied to the use of the recruiting service to the eastward. He some little time ago sent a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to Peekskill to be distributed by General Heath among the recruiting officers. If that sum should not be expended some money may be drawn from thence. In the mean time I must beg the favor of you to advance the necessary sums out of the treasury of your State, assuring you it shall be refunded as early as possible.

I am very happy to hear that your Assembly have it in contemplation to send a body of troops forward to serve till your regular enlistments can be completed. Nothing can be more distressing to the enemy or serviceable to me than an army hanging Edition: current; Page: [162] upon the rear of New York, to move forward as circumstances may require. Their wishes and views are certainly towards Philadelphia; and valuable as the acquisition of that city would be, it would be paying too dear a price for it, were they to give up New York to a force that might be thrown into it after their army had moved southward.

Our success at Trenton has been followed by another lucky blow at Princetown on the 3d instant. I lay with about five thousand men at Trenton. The enemy advanced a superior force down upon me from Princetown on the second. Not choosing to risk an engagement there, I decamped as soon as it was dark and marched along their flank to Princetown, which lay directly in their rear. I arrived there by break of day and found three regiments of British troops ready drawn up to march to Trenton. We immediately attacked them, and in a short time put them completely to the rout. We have already taken three hundred prisoners, and the country people are daily bringing in stragglers. Their loss upon the whole will amount to at least five hundred. The enemy confounded at this unexpected stroke in their rear, and fearing that their baggage at Brunswick would fall into our hands, marched back in the greatest hurry from Trenton to Brunswick where their main body now lays. They have called in all their outposts, so that their late possession of the greatest part of Jersey is reduced to the compass of a very few miles. They evacuated Elizabeth Town with so much precipitation that we made one hundred prisoners Edition: current; Page: [163] and took the baggage of the regiments, besides a quantity of provisions.

These successes, though comparatively small, have greatly inspirited the inhabitants of this State and Pennsylvania; and I am in great hopes if we can once put the enemy into winter quarters, and get some little leisure that our affairs may be put in such a train and upon such a footing as will insure success the next campaign.

I have the honor to be, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
11th day of January, 1777
Morristown
Nathaniel Gist
Gist, Nathaniel

TO COLONEL NATHANIEL GIST.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Whereas the honorable Continental Congress, by a resolve of the 27th ultimo, have appointed sixteen battalions more to be raised, in addition to eighty-eight voted in September last, and have authorized me to nominate and commission the officers for the same, know you, that I, reposing the utmost confidence in your abilities and attachment to the United States of America, by virtue of the power aforesaid, do constitute and appoint you a colonel of one of the said battalions, giving and granting you authority, by and with the advice of your other field-officers, to appoint all officers under the rank of field-officers necessary for the same, nevertheless reserving to myself the right of ratifying or rejecting such appointments; and, as many good officers may have been overlooked in the new appointments by the committees of the several States assigned for the discharge of that business, it is my wish, that you give a preference to such of them, as you know to be deserving of notice.

I do hereby require and enjoin you, forthwith to take measures for recruiting such battalion, in the most expeditious manner, to serve for the term of three years, or during the continuance of the war with Great Britain, and upon such pay, bounties, and allowances, Edition: current; Page: [164] as have been resolved on by Congress for the eighty-eight battalions aforesaid.

Given at Head-Quarters at Morristown, this 11th day of January, 1777.1

George Washington
Washington, George
12 Jan., 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am honored with yours of the 6th, enclosing several resolves of Congress respecting an exchange to be proposed between General Lee and the Hessian field-officers taken at Trenton. Colonel Rahl died the day after the action; and we left one of the majors so ill of his wounds, that I am in doubt of his recovery. I can however make an offer of all that remain, in exchange for General Lee, except one whom you order to be proposed by Colonel Allen. If the offer is rejected by General Howe, I shall think myself then at liberty to remonstrate to him on his treatment of General Lee. If he will not exchange him, he should at least admit him to his parole, as we Edition: current; Page: [165] have ever done to their prisoners, who have fallen into our hands. I understand from undoubted authority, that they intend to try the General by a court-martial, as a deserter from their service, pretending that his resignation was never accepted. But I shall inform General Howe, that, if any such step is taken under so shallow and illegal a pretext, and their sentence should extend either to affect his life or liberty, they may depend upon the most severe and adequate retaliation upon our part.1

The enemy have made no move since my last. By every account, they begin to be distressed, particularly for forage, of which there is little or none remaining in the small circle they possess, except salt hay. By letters from General Heath, of the 9th, he was beginning to move down towards Kingsbridge with the troops from New England. This must add to the distress of the enemy, who will, by this measure, be deprived of the subsistence they formerly drew from Westchester and the counties to the northward of York Island.2

Edition: current; Page: [166]
George Washington
Washington, George
13 January, 1777
Lord Howe
Howe, Lord

TO LORD HOWE.

My Lord,

I am sorry that I am under the disagreeable necessity of troubling your Lordship with a letter, almost wholly on the subject of the cruel treatment, which our officers and men, in the naval department, who are unhappy enough to fall into your hands, receive on board the prison-ships in the harbour of New York. Without descending to particulars, I shall ground my complaint upon the matter contained in the enclosed paper, which is an exact copy of an account of the usage of the prisoners, delivered to Congress by a Captain Gamble, lately a prisoner himself in New York. If this account be true, of which I have no reason to doubt, as Captain Gamble is said to be a man of veracity, I call upon your Lordship to say, whether any treatment of your officers and seamen has merited so severe a retaliation. I am bold to say, it has not. So far from it, that the officers and seamen, taken on board armed ships, have been treated with the greatest humanity, and not forced to enter on board any of our public or private vessels of war; and those, taken in the merchant service, have been immediately set at liberty.

From the opinion I have ever been taught to entertain of your Lordship’s humanity, I will not suppose, that you are privy to proceedings of so cruel and unjustifiable a nature; and I hope, that, upon making the proper inquiry, you will have the matter so regulated, that the unhappy creatures, whose lot is captivity, Edition: current; Page: [167] may not in future have the miseries of cold, disease, and famine added to their other misfortunes. You may call us rebels, and say that we deserve no better treatment; but, remember, my Lord, that, supposing us rebels, we still have feelings equally as keen and sensible as loyalists, and will, if forced to it, most assuredly retaliate upon those, upon whom we look as the unjust invaders of our rights, liberties, and properties. I should not have said thus much, but my injured countrymen have long called upon me to endeavor to obtain a redress of their grievances; and I shall think myself as culpable as those, who inflict such severities upon them, were I to continue silent.

I enclose your Lordship a list of the captain and crew of an armed boat belonging to Georgia, taken by the Rover, a man-of-war, Captain Stanhope. There are a sufficient number of prisoners in Georgia, belonging to your navy, to make an exchange. If the measure meets your approbation, it will be very agreeable to both parties. I lately sent in Lieutenant Boger, who belonged to the Liverpool frigate. Captain Bellew of the same frigate took a Captain Burke, and sent him into New York for the express purpose of having him exchanged for Boger. I should therefore be glad to have Captain Burke sent out. There are two captains of merchantmen, by the name of Bell and Getshius, on board the Whitley prison-ship. If your Lordship will grant them their liberty upon parole, I will engage to send two British masters in exchange for them. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [168]
George Washington
Washington, George
13 January, 1777
Morristown
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

I am directed by Congress to propose an exchange of five of the Hessian field-officers, taken at Trenton, for Major-General Lee; or, if this proposal should not be acceded to, to demand his liberty upon parole, within certain bounds, as has ever been granted to your officers in our custody. I am informed, from good authority, that your reason for keeping him hitherto in stricter confinement than usual is, that you do not look upon him in the light of a common prisoner of war, but as a deserter from the British service, as his resignation was never accepted of and that you intend to try him by a court-martial as such. I will not undertake to determine how far this doctrine may be justifiable among yourselves, but I must give you warning, that Major-General Lee is looked upon as an officer belonging to, and under the protection of, the United Independent States of America, and that any violence which you may commit upon his life or liberty, will be severely retaliated upon the lives or liberties of the British officers, or those of their foreign allies, at present in our hands.1

I am sorry, that I am again under the necessity of Edition: current; Page: [169] remonstrating to you upon the treatment, which our prisoners continue to receive in New York. Those, who have lately been sent out, give the most shocking account of their barbarous usage, which their miserable, emaciated countenances confirm. How very different was their appearance from that of your soldiers, who have been lately returned to you, after a captivity of twelve months; and whether this difference in appearance was owing to a difference of treatment, I leave it to you, or any impartial person, to determine. I would beg, that some certain rule of conduct towards prisoners may be settled; if you are determined to make captivity as distressing as possible to those whose lot it is to fall into it, let me know it, that we may be upon equal terms, for your conduct must and shall mark mine.

If a real scarcity of the articles of provisions and fuel, at this inclement season, is the cause that our prisoners are debarred them, common humanity points Edition: current; Page: [170] out a mode, which is, of suffering them to go home under parole, not to serve during the war, or until an equal number are released by us for them. Most of the prisoners, who have returned home, have informed me, that they were offered better treatment, provided they would enlist into your service. This, I believe, is unprecedented; and what, if true, makes it still more unnecessary for me to apologize for the freedom of expression, which I have used throughout this letter. But it would be criminal in me to be silent, were such abuses, when made known to me, left unrepresented by me.1 I am, with due respect, Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
Jany. 14, 1777
Morris Town
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

I very much approve of your visiting Genl. Putnam, as I cannot acc’t for his remaining at Crosswicks Edition: current; Page: [171] instead of removing to Princeton, as I have desired in several of my Letters.

I would have him keep nothing at Princeton (except two or three days’ provisions) but what can be moved off at an hour’s warning—in that case if good Scouting Parties are kept constantly out, no possible damage can happen to the Troops, under his Command; who are to retreat, in case they are compelled to leave Princeton, towards the mountains, so as to form a junction with the army under my immediate Command. This will serve as a direction to him in removing the stores if any yet remain at Princeton.

I would have no time lost in drawing the Flour from the Mills on Millstone, least the Enemy should attempt & avail themselves of it.—I would also have Genl. Putnam draw his Forage as much as possible from the Vicinity of Brunswick, that the Enemy may thereby be distressed. The inhabitants of that district should be compelled to bring it in.—

The two Companies under Command of Col. Durkee, aided by the militia in that Quarter should be constantly harassing the Enemy about Bound Brook and the Westroad side of Brunswick (Rariton I mean)—I have directed Genl. Sullivan to do the like on the quarter next him.

Particular attention should be paid to the Surgeon sent by Lord Cornwallis (by my consent) to take charge of their wounded at Princeton. He will more than probably, convey a true account of your numbers (which ought to be a good deal magnified) at Princeton; and give other useful knowledge of your situation. If therefore, the wounded are in a condition Edition: current; Page: [172] to remove, would it not be best to send them to Brunswick with the Surgeon? If any of them or their attendants, have been considered, and properly were Prisoners to us, for an equal number to be demanded in lieu.

I have inclosed Genl. Howe a copy of Mr. Yates’s declaration, and have remonstrated sharply on the treatment of our Prisoners.—What have you done with the Negro you apprehended? The waggon with the ammunition and match-coats, I am obliged to you for taking care of. It is not yet arrived.—In what manner did Col. Quick’s militia leave the Rangers?—In the field?—run away? If so, they ought to be punished, or sham’d.

I recollect of my approving of Windway laying off the Roads between Brunswick and Amboy.—I must beg the favor of Colo. Cox, in your absence, to continue the pursuit after Intelligence.—Would it not be well for the Militia under Colo. Malcom to unite with the Rangers for the purpose of keeping out constant scouts to annoy and harass the Enemy in manner before mentioned?—I ask for information, as I would not suffer a man to stir beyond their Lines, nor suffer them to have the least Intercourse with the Country. I am, Dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
Jan: 15th 1777
Morris Town
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

The enclosed was intended to have gone by the Express who brought me your last Letter.—He came in the Evening of the 13th, was desired to call early Edition: current; Page: [173] next morning, and I have never seen or heard of him since.

Many days ago I wrote to Genl. Putnam supposing him to be at Princeton to have the stores rescued from the hands of the Militia who had borne them off, and had no doubt but he had done it.—What in the name of Heaven can he be doing at Crosswicks I know not, after my repeated wishes to hear of him at Princeton. Surely he is there by this time.—In that case desire him from me, to use every possible means to recover the stores and bring the authors to punishment; especially Colo. Chambers to whom I have written on this subject.

I will speak to the Quarter Master Genl. for a person to be sent on this business but apprehend from what I heard him say yesterday, that he has nobody to spare not being able to carry on his business here for want of Biddle and Mifflin who are both absent [and] sick.

If the Militia cannot be prevail’d upon to restrain the Foraging parties and to annoy and harass the Enemy in their excursions, and upon a march they will be of very little use to us, as I am sure they can never be brought fairly up to an attack in any serious matter.

When you see Genl. Mercer, be so good as to present my best wishes to him—and congratulations (if the state of his health will admit of it) on his recovery from death. You may assure him that nothing but the confident assertion to me that he was either dead—or within a few minutes of dying, and that he was put into as good a place as I could Edition: current; Page: [174] remove him to, prevented my seeing him after the action and pursuit at Princeton.

My Compliments also if you please to Colo. Cox, from whom I shall expect a continuation of such Intelligence as occurs & he is able to procure. Yours, &c.

P. S. The letter to Colo. Chambers you will have sent—it is open for your perusal.1

George Washington
Washington, George
17 Jan., 1777
Morristown
General Heath
General Heath

TO GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

Captain Bell, of Philadelphia, a very intelligent and credible person, made his escape from New York about ten days ago. He informs me that there were no troops upon Long Island but Delancey’s brigade, and not more than one thousand men upon York Island, all the rest having joined the army now in Jersey; and that transports were gone up the Sound to bring back the troops from Rhode Island, in order to make a junction of their whole army, to endeavor to give us a total defeat. This I think by Edition: current; Page: [175] no means improbable. Now, if you could get any certain information of their strength within the Island (which I think may be done by sending in persons who have taken protections), and should not find it to exceed what Captain Bell reports, a stroke might be struck before they are reinforced from Rhode Island, that would ruin them.

This is a matter of such consequence, that I would have you spare neither pains nor expense to gain intelligence. We have heard that they were building sleds in New York, which I suppose are for drawing wood this winter; but it would be well for your Spies to learn what use they are really intended for.

I have directed Generals Spencer and Arnold to follow the enemy if they leave Rhode Island and fall down the Sound again. I am, dear Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
18 January, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

It is some time since I had the pleasure of writing to, or receiving a letter from you. The weight of business, which has lain upon both our hands, has, I dare say, hindered us from writing letters, but when absolutely necessary. The enemy, by two lucky strokes at Trenton and Princeton, have been obliged to abandon every part of Jersey except Brunswic and Edition: current; Page: [176] Amboy, and the small tract of country between them, which is so entirely exhausted of supplies of every kind, that I hope, by preventing them from sending their foraging parties to any great distance, to reduce them to the utmost distress, in the course of this winter.

Colonel Dayton arrived from the northward a few days ago. He informs me, that the time of most of his regiment expires in February, but that they are extremely anxious to get down to this part of the country, where many of them have families and connexions, who they suppose must have suffered many hardships, as the enemy were for some time in possession of the country, and committed every kind of depredation upon the inhabitants. He thinks, if they were brought down here, before they are discharged, that most of them might be induced to enlist for the war, which would be a thing to be wished for, as I am told they are a fine body of men, and well acquainted with this country, which will in all probability be the scene of action next campaign. I would not give Colonel Dayton any kind of promise to withdraw the regiment from Ticonderoga one day before their time expires, without consulting you, and I do it now, only for the reasons before mentioned.1

Edition: current; Page: [177]

I shall be glad to hear from you, upon the subject of garrisoning the forts upon the Lakes, against the next campaign, both as to the number of men and the time that they ought to be there. I should think, that the levies from Massachusetts and New Hampshire had better be ordered there, as it is more convenient for them than the troops of any other State to march to that quarter. I wish to be informed of the number and state of the public arms to the northward, as I suppose many of the disbanded troops left theirs behind them.

I am, dear Sir, with great regard, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
19 January, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

By this time you must have discovered what effect your movement towards New York has occasioned. If the city, on the one hand, is not left so destitute Edition: current; Page: [178] of troops, as to afford you an easy conquest of it, nor so strengthened, as to leave the enemy weak in this State, the end of your expedition is not answered, and the junction of your troops with these under my command, after leaving sufficient guards at the forts and passes of the Highlands, becomes indispensably necessary. I have therefore to desire, that you will be preparing boats at some convenient place for crossing the North River, in order that no time may be lost, if it should become, as I believe it shortly will, absolutely necessary for a junction of the forces. I cannot in this place assign you my reasons for this opinion, but I desire, if your prospects are not such as I hoped for on that side, that you will prepare for a remove, and pay strict and diligent obedience to the order when you receive it, as much may depend on despatch. In the mean while, continue to procure and give me every possible information of the enemy’s strength and situation. I am, Sir, yours, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [179]
George Washington
Washington, George
19 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE COUNCIL OF SAFETY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Gentlemen,

The readiness, which the militia of Pennsylvania have shown by engaging in the service of their country, at an inclement season of the year, when my army was reduced to an handful of men, and our affairs in the most critical situation, does great honor to them and to your State. But, although they have contributed greatly to the success, which has lately attended our arms, I must inform you, that with pain I hear they have determined to return home. Most of the city militia have determined to stay some days longer; they must then be discharged, as I am well informed they are generally in want of almost every necessary. I must depend chiefly this winter on the militia, to enable me to act offensively, or even to make a stand; and therefore sincerely wish they could have been prevailed upon to serve, till they could have been relieved by the troops now raising by the Continent.

There now is the fairest opportunity of totally destroying the British army, or at least of delaying their operations in the spring, till we may be prepared to oppose them by regular forces. As it is a matter of the highest importance, that your militia should be Edition: current; Page: [180] put on such a footing, as will fully answer the exigency of our affairs at this time, I do most earnestly recommend, that such spirited and effectual measures be adopted as will soonest accomplish this great and necessary work. As there is not the least doubt at present, that the principal object of the enemy is to get possession of the city of Philadelphia, it is absolutely necessary, that every person able to bear arms, except such as are conscientiously scrupulous against it in every case, should give their personal service, and, whenever a part of the militia is required only, either to join the army, or find a man in their place. In order to effect this, I beg you will order the whole militia of your State to be enrolled and completely equipped, that one half at least may proceed to join the army with all possible expedition: those, who have done their tour of duty already, to be excused; but those, that have not, should be obliged to come forth, or hire a proper person in their place, and to remain till the 1st of April, unless sooner discharged by the Commander-in-chief. You may be assured, that nothing but the united efforts of every State in America can save us from disgrace and too probably from ruin. The army is much reduced since we left Trenton; and the many that will be discharged in a few days will so weaken our force, that it will be impossible to oppose the enemy with success, should they advance towards us; or do any essential service, if they should move towards Philadelphia. As I cannot expect our situation can long be a secret to the enemy, there is no doubt, but they will avail Edition: current; Page: [181] themselves of it, and take advantage of our weakness. When any of your militia are coming forward, I beg you will inform them, that the time, for which they engage to serve, is to begin when they join the army. The want of a regular, well-established government in your State has greatly obstructed the public service. I therefore recommend, that some authority be immediately exerted to draw forth your whole strength. I have the honor to be, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The fluctuating state of an army composed chiefly of militia bids fair to reduce us to a situation, in which we were some little time ago; that is, of scarce having any army at all, except reinforcements speedily arrive. One of the battalions from the city of Philadelphia goes home to-day, and the other two only remain a few days longer by courtesy. The time for which a county brigade under General Mifflin came out is expired, and they stay from day to day by dint of solicitation, their numbers much reduced by desertions. We have about eight hundred of the eastern Continental troops remaining, of twelve or fourteen hundred who at first agreed to stay; part engaged to the last of this month, and part to the middle of next. The five Virginia regiments are reduced to a handful of men, as are Colonel Hand’s, Smallwood’s, and the German battalion. A few days ago General Edition: current; Page: [182] Warner arrived with about seven hundred Massachusetts militia engaged to the 15th of March.

Thus you have a sketch of our present army, with which we are obliged to keep up appearances before an enemy already double in numbers, and who from every account are withdrawing their troops from Rhode Island, to form a junction of their whole army, and make another attempt either to break up ours, or penetrate towards Philadelphia; a thing by no means difficult now, as the ice affords an easy passage over the Delaware. I do not yet know what effect General Heath’s moving down towards New York will have. Yesterday morning a considerable firing was heard, which seemed to be about Kingsbridge. I am in hopes, that his appearance in that quarter with a pretty large force will oblige them to withdraw part of theirs from Jersey, to secure the city of New York, which, by late accounts, is weakly garrisoned. General Heath has all the eastern and New York militia with him, except the small brigade under General Warner, that I mentioned before, one regiment of Connecticut, stopped at Providence in Rhode Island, and a number, how many I do not know, requested by General Schuyler to be sent to Ticonderoga. If it should appear, that they are regardless of the diversion made by General Heath, and persist in their plan of drawing their whole army together in Jersey, I must order him over with all his troops, except as many as are necessary to garrison the forts and guard the passes in the Highlands.

I have ordered away every officer, that could be spared, some to recruit, and some to collect the scattered Edition: current; Page: [183] men of the different regiments, who are dispersed almost over the continent; for, of the vast numbers sent to the hospitals at different times, few ever returned after they got well. As militia must be our dependence till we can get the new army raised and properly arranged, I must entreat you to continue your endeavors with the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to turn out every man they possibly can, and for some time longer than they have generally stipulated for. If they agree for a month or any limited time, it should commence from the time they actually join the army, and not from the time they leave their homes; otherwise the marching backwards and forwards consumes the term of engagement. I think these demands of aid should be made as quietly as the nature of the case will admit, especially at this time when we are deceiving our enemies with false opinions of our numbers; for, to boast of our superiority in that respect on one hand, and to call publicly on the people for assistance on the other, is an impropriety too glaring; indeed, it has been already noticed in some publications that I have seen from New York. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
20 January, 1777
Morristown
Governor Cooke
Governor Cooke

TO GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

I am exceedingly sorry to hear, that your State have ordered several battalions to be raised for the defence of the State only, and this before proper Edition: current; Page: [184] measures are taken to fill the Continental regiments. You cannot be insensible how unequal any one State is, unconnected with the others, to defend itself, if the enemy makes a descent against it with any considerable part of their force. Neither have you the least reason to think, you would derive less protection from the troops, if they were raised upon the Continent’s account, than on that of the State. If each State was to prepare for its own defence, independent of each other, they would all be soon conquered, one by one. Our success must depend upon a firm union and a strict adherence to the general plan. Other measures may produce a partial relief, but never can remove the principal evil.

You must be sensible, the season is fast approaching, when a new campaign will open; nay, the former is not yet closed, neither do I intend it shall be, unless the enemy quits the Jerseys. It is of the last importance to the interest of America, that the new regiments be speedily levied. It would give me an opportunity in the fore part of the campaign, before the enemy can collect their force, or receive any reinforcement from home, to give them a fatal stab. Such a blow in the fore part of the season might terminate the campaign to great advantage. I am sure, the necessity of having the Continental regiments immediately completed are too obvious to need any further arguments. I hope the powers of government are such, as to complete the new levies by draft, if they cannot be filled seasonably by voluntary enlistments. Edition: current; Page: [185] Necessity obliges me to call upon you, as I shall upon every other State, in the most pressing terms, to complete, without delay, your proportion of the eighty-eight battalions. I am confident, the raising the two regiments at the expense of the State, before the Continental regiments are complete, can answer no valuable purpose. If the enemy make a descent upon Rhode Island with any considerable force, the opposition of two regiments will be inconsiderable. If they only infest the coast with their ships, the militia would answer a much better purpose, and at a far less expense. I must confess, I am ignorant of the reasons, that induced the Assembly to adopt the measure; neither can I conceive of the use and policy of the scheme. I wish it may not be productive of more injury than benefit, by introducing innovations and changes, that must retard the filling the Continental regiments, and, consequently, prejudice the general interest, which every State must have an eye to; and the obligation on you is stronger than on any one else, being the most exposed and the least capable of making a separate defence.

Our affairs here are in a very prosperous train. Within a month past, in several engagements with the enemy, we have killed, wounded, and taken prisoners between two and three thousand men. I am very confident, the enemy’s loss here will oblige them to recall their force from your State. If I am properly supported, I hope to close the campaign gloriously for America. I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [186]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 January, 1777
Morristown
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

I take the liberty to propose the establishment of an officer to reside in New York, under parole to transmit no intelligence but what belongs to his office; whose business it shall be, to provide necessaries for such prisoners as fall into your hands. Perhaps the establishment of such an officer, with proper credits, may put a stop to the many complaints, which I am daily under the necessity of hearing; some probably, without foundation, and others arising from the want of many things, which you are not obliged to furnish the prisoners. The gentleman, I would beg leave to recommend as a proper agent, is Mr. Lewis Pintard, the bearer, a person well known in New York, and of long-established reputation as a considerable merchant.1 The Council of Safety of Pennsylvania have desired liberty, when the weather permits, of sending a vessel, under a flag, with a supply of meat and flour for our prisoners in New York. I shall be glad to be favored with your answer, and am, with due respect, Sir, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [187]
George Washington
Washington, George
January 22, 1777
Morris Town
John Parke Custis
Custis, John Parke

TO JOHN PARKE CUSTIS.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the seventh came to my hands a few days ago, and brought with it the pleasing reflection of your still holding me in remembrance.

The misfortune of short enlistments, and an unhappy dependance upon militia, have shown their baneful influence at every period, and almost upon every occasion, throughout the whole course of this war. At no time, nor upon no occasion, were they ever more exemplified than since Christmas; for if we could but have got in the militia in time, or prevailed upon those troops whose times expired (as they generally did) on the first of this instant, to have continued (not more than a thousand or twelve Edition: current; Page: [188] hundred agreeing to stay) we might, I am persuaded, have cleared the Jerseys entirely of the enemy. Instead of this, all our movements have been made with inferior numbers, and with a mixed, motley crew, who were here to-day, gone to-morrow, without assigning a reason, or even apprizing you of it. In a word, I believe I may with truth add, that I do not think that any officer since the creation ever had such a variety of difficulties and perplexities to encounter as I have. How we shall be able to rub along till the new army is raised, I know not. Providence has heretofore saved us in a remarkable manner, and on this we must principally rely. Every person in every state should exert himself to facilitate the raising and marching the new regiments to the army with all possible expedition.

Edition: current; Page: [189]

I have never seen (but heard of) the resolve you mentioned, nor do I get a paper of Purdie’s1 once a month. Those who want faith to believe the account of the shocking wastes committed by Howe’s army—of their ravaging, plundering, and abuse of women—may be convinced to their sorrow, perhaps, if a check can not be put to their progress.

It is painful to me to hear of such illiberal reflections upon the eastern troops as you say prevails in Virginia. I always have, and always shall say, that I do not believe that any of the states produce better men, or persons capable of making better soldiers, but it is to be acknowledged that they are (generally speaking) most wretchedly officered. To this, and this only, is to be attributed their demerits. The policy of those states has been, to level men as much as possible to one standard. The distinction, therefore, between officers and soldiers, * * * and that hunger and thirst after glory which2 * * * This is the true secret, and we have found, that wherever a regiment is well officered, their men have behaved well—when otherwise, ill—the misconduct or cowardly behavior always originating with the officers who have set the example. Equal injustice is done them, in depriving them of merit in other respects; for no people fly to arms readier than they do, or come better equipped, or with more regularity into the field than they.

Edition: current; Page: [190]

With respect to your inquiries about payments made Mr. — I cannot answer them with precision, but I am exceedingly mistaken if I have not made him two, for both you and myself. Indeed I am as sure of it as I can be of any thing from the badness of my memory. I think I made him one payment myself, and the treasurer, or Hill, made him the other. The book, however, in which I keep your accounts will show it (the parchment covered quarto one) as you will, I suppose find yourself charged by me, with the payments made.

In my letter to Lund Washington, I have given the late occurrences, and to avoid repetition, I refer you to him. My love to Nelly, and compliments to Mr. Calvert’s family, and all other inquiring friends, leaving me nothing else to add, than that I am, your affectionate.

George Washington
Washington, George
22 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

My last to you was on the 20th instant. Since that I have the pleasure to inform you, that General Dickinson, with about four hundred militia, has defeated a foraging party of the enemy of an equal number, and has taken forty wagons, and upwards of a hundred horses, most of them of the English draft breed, and a number of sheep and cattle, which they had collected. The enemy retreated with so much precipitation, that General Dickinson had only an opportunity of making nine prisoners. They were Edition: current; Page: [191] observed to carry off a good many dead and wounded in light wagons. This action happened near Somerset Court-House, on Millstone River. General Dickinson’s behavior reflects the highest honor upon him; for, though his troops were all raw, he led them through the river middle-deep, and gave the enemy so severe a charge, that, although supported by three field-pieces, they gave way and left their convoy.

I have not heard from General Heath since the firing near Kingsbridge last Saturday; which I cannot account for, unless the North River should have been rendered impassable by the ice.

But the account of his having surprised and taken Fort Independence on Friday Night, last, comes so well authenticated by different ways, that I cannot doubt it. It is said that he took 400 prisoners in that Fort; and that he invested Fort Washington on Saturday, which occasioned the firing. This is brought out by three of our Officers, who made their Escape from New York on Sunday and is confirmed by a Spy who went into Amboy who says, an Express had arrived at Amboy from New York, with an Account of the Loss of Fort Independence, and calling for a Reinforcement to protect the City, in consequence of which, a number of Troops had gone over.

I have sent in Spies to Brunswic and Amboy to know the Truth of this, and if it appears that they have weakened themselves to reinforce New York, I shall probably make some attempt upon them, if we have men enough left to do it.

Edition: current; Page: [192]

I shall be glad to know what stock of small arms you at present have, and what are your expectations shortly. The necessity, that we have been and are now under, of calling in and arming the militia, scatters our armory all over the world, in a manner. Their officers are so irregular, that they generally suffer their men to carry home every thing that is put into their hands, which is forever lost to the public. The new raised regiments will call for a great number of arms; and I do not at present see how they are to be supplied.

I would again beg leave to recall the attention of Congress to the appointment of general officers. I will not suppose the nomination of them is postponed upon a saving principle, because the advantage in having proper officers to examine the pay-rolls of their several regiments, and compare them with the returns of their brigades, to see that the regiments are provided with what is proper, and that no more than a sufficiency is allowed, to keep officers to their duty, and not, while the spirited officer is encountering all the fatigues and hardships of a rigorous campaign, suffer a number of others, under various frivolous pretences and imaginary sicknesses, to enjoy themselves at the public expense at their own firesides,—I say, if the appointments are withheld upon parsimonious principles, the Congress are mistaken; for I am convinced, that, by the correction of many abuses, which it is impossible for me to attend to, the public will be benefited in a great degree in the article of expense. But this is not all. We have very little Edition: current; Page: [193] time to do a very great work in. The arranging, providing for, and disciplining a hundred and odd battalions is not to be accomplished in a day; nor is it to be done at all with any degree of propriety, when we have once entered upon the active part of the campaign. These duties must be branched out, or they will be neglected, and the public injured. Besides, were the brigadiers appointed, they might be facilitating the recruiting service; they would have time to get a little acquainted with their brigades and the wants of them, and ease me of the great weight and burden, which I at present feel.

On whom the choice will or ought to light, I cannot undertake to say. In a former letter I took the liberty of submitting to the consideration of Congress the propriety of appointing, out of each State, brigadiers to command the troops of that State, thinking, as a distinction is now fixed, a spirit of emulation might arise by this means. At any rate, I shall take the liberty of recommending General Cadwalader as one of the first for the new appointments. I have found him a man of ability, a good disciplinarian, firm in his principles, and of intrepid bravery. I shall also beg leave to recommend Colonel Reed to the command of the horse, as a person, in my opinion, every way qualified; for he is extremely active and enterprising; many signal proofs of which he has given this campaign. For the rest, the members of Congress can judge better than I can. I can only say, that, as the army will probably be divided in the course of the next campaign, there ought, in my Edition: current; Page: [194] opinion, to be three lieutenant-generals, nine major-generals, and twenty-seven brigadiers; in other words, there ought, at least, to be a brigadier to every four regiments, and a major-general to every three brigades. The lieutenant-generals will, I presume, be appointed out of the oldest major-generals, and the major-generals from the oldest brigadiers. New brigadiers will then be to nominate.

I forgot before this to inform Congress, that, including the regiment of light dragoons from Virginia, and Colonel Sheldon’s to be raised in Connecticut, I have only commissioned officers for four regiments. I was willing to try how these could be equipped before I put more officers into commission. It is apprehended we shall find difficulty in providing necessaries or even horses for these four regiments; if we should not, I shall immediately set about the residue. Colonel Baylor, Colonel Moylan (who, as volunteer, has remained constantly with the army since his discontinuance in the quarter-master’s department), and Colonel Sheldon, command the three new regiments of light dragoons. The treasury has been for some time empty, and the army has labored under the greatest inconvenience for want of money. The recruiting service is particularly injured by this, as many officers are now waiting only for bounty-money. I have also complaints from the eastward of the want of money to carry on their recruiting service. If we are not supplied with that necessary article, all matters must be at a stand. I must therefore beg, that, if Mr. Palfrey has not been already Edition: current; Page: [195] supplied with a large sum, it may be done with the utmost expedition, and that you will endeavor to keep up the supply by constantly sending on smaller parcels.

I am, &c.

P. S. I did not recollect Major-General Lincoln, in the provincial service of Massachusetts. He is an excellent officer, and worthy of your notice in the Continental line.

George Washington
Washington, George
23 January, 1777
Middlebrook
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your favors of the 12th and 18th inst. are both before me, and on two accounts have given me pain: first, because I much wished to see you at the head of the cavalry; and secondly, by refusing of it my arrangements have been a good deal disconcerted. As your notions for refusing the appointment are no doubt satisfactory to yourself, and your determination fixed, it is unnecessary to enter upon a discussion of the point. I can only add, I wish it had been otherwise, especially as I flatter myself, that my last would convince you, that you still held the same place in my affection that you ever did. If inclination, or a desire of rendering those aids to the service which your abilities enable you to do, should lead you to the camp, it is unnecessary for me, I hope, to add that I should be extremely happy in seeing you one of my family, whilst you remain in it.

The late coalition of parties in Pennsylvania is a most fortunate circumstance; that, and the spirited Edition: current; Page: [196] manner in which the militia of this State turned out, upon the late manœuvre of the enemy, has in my opinion given a greater shock to the enemy than any event which has happened in the course of this dispute, because it was altogether unexpected, and gave the decisive stroke to their enterprise on Philadelphia. The hint you have given respecting the compliment due to the executive powers of Pennsylvania I thank you for, but can assure you I gave General Mifflin no direction respecting the militia, that I did not conceive, nay, that I had not been told by Congress, he was vested with before; for you must know that General Mifflin, at the particular instance, and by a resolve of Congress, had been detained from his duty in this camp near a month, to be in readiness to have out the militia, if the occasion should require it, and only got here the day before I received such intelligence, as convinced me that the enemy were upon the point of moving; in consequence of which I requested him to return, and without defining his duty, desired he would use his utmost endeavors to carry the designed opposition into effect; conceiving that a previous plan had been laid by Congress, or the State of Pennsylvania, so far as respected the mode of drawing the militia out. The action of them afterward, circumstances alone could direct. I did not pretend to give any order about it.

It gives me pleasure to learn from your letter that the reasons assigned by me to General Arnold, for not attacking the enemy in their situation between the Raritan and Millstone, met with the approbation Edition: current; Page: [197] of those who were acquainted with them. We have some amongst us, and I dare say generals, who wish to make themselves popular at the expense of others, or who think the cause is not to be advanced otherwise than by fighting—the peculiar circumstances under which it is to be done, and the consequences which may follow, are objects too trivial for their attention,—but as I have one great end in view, I shall, maugre all the [illegible] of this kind, steadily pursue the means which in my judgment leads to the accomplishment of it, not doubting but that the candid part of mankind, if they are convinced of my integrity, will make proper allowance for my inexperience and frailties. I will agree to be loaded with all the obloquy they can bestow, if I commit a wilful error.

If General Howe has not manœuvred much deeper than most people seem disposed to think him capable of, his army is absolutely gone off panic struck; but as I cannot persuade myself into a belief of the latter, notwithstanding it is the prevailing opinion of my officers, I cannot say that the move I am about to make towards Amboy accords altogether with my opinion. Not that I am under any other apprehension than that of being obliged to lose ground again, which would indeed be no small misfortune, as the spirits of our troops and the country is greatly revived (and, I presume,) the enemy’s not a little depressed, by their late retrograde motions.

By some late accounts I fancy the British grenadiers got a pretty severe peppering yesterday by Edition: current; Page: [198] Morgan’s Rifle Corps; they fought, it seems a considerable time within the distance of from twenty to forty yards, and from the concurring accounts of several of the officers, more than a hundred of them must have fallen. Had there not been some mistake in point of time for marching the several brigades that were ordered upon that service, and particularly in delivering an order to General Varnum, I believe the rear of General Howe’s troops might have been a little rougher handled than they were, for if an express who went to General Maxwell the evening before had reached him in time to co-operate upon the enemy’s flank, for which purpose he was sent down the day before with a respectable force, very good consequences might have resulted from it; however, it is too late to remedy these mistakes, and my paper tells me I can add no more than to assure you that I am &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
24 January, 1777
Morristown
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.2

Sir,

The situation to which I am reduced for want of a regular body of troops, on whom I can depend for a length of time, makes it indispensably necessary for me to call upon you, and entreat you to exert yourself in levying and equipping the number of battalions allotted to your State by the resolution of Congress Edition: current; Page: [199] in September last. You must be fully sensible of the hardship imposed upon individuals, and how detrimental it must be to the public, to have her farmers and her tradesmen frequently called into the field as militia-men; whereby a total stop is put to arts and agriculture, without which we cannot possibly long subsist. But great as this inconvenience is, we must put up with it, or submit to a greater, the total loss of our liberties, until our regular Continental army can be brought into the field. The above reasons alone, I hope, will be sufficient to induce you to exert yourselves; for, if our new army are not ready to take the field early in the spring, we shall lose all the advantages, which I may say we have providentially gained this winter. While our dependence is upon militia, we have a full army one day, and scarce any the next; and I am much afraid, that the enemy one day or other, taking advantage of one of these temporary weaknesses, will make themselves masters of our magazines of stores, arms, and artillery. Nothing but their ignorance of our numbers protects us at this very time, when, on the contrary, had we six or eight thousand regular troops, or could the militia, who were with me a few days ago, have been prevailed upon to stay, we could have struck such a stroke, as would have inevitably ruined the army of the enemy, in their divided state.

I am not without hopes, that by creating a powerful diversion on the side of New York, we may still keep their force divided between that province and this; if so, and a good body of regular troops could Edition: current; Page: [200] be thrown in to me, before the roads will be in a condition for the enemy, with their reduced wagon and artillery horses, to move out, it perhaps may not be out of my power to strike a decisive blow before spring. This is another and a forcible reason to induce you to send your new levies forward with all expedition. While the men are raising, I beg you will spare no pains to make a collection of all things necessary for their equipment; not only with such as they can carry with them into the field, but for their use and convenience while they are there, such as spare shoes, stockings, and shirts; the want of which has been the ruin of the old army. If these articles are provided and put into the hands of the regimental quartermaster, they can always be delivered out when wanted, and stoppages made by the paymasters. I expect the clothier-general will be with the army in a few days, when I shall give him directions to allot a proportion of the clothing lately taken, and purchased for the public, to each State.

I have the honor to be, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
24 January, 1777
Morristown
Governor Livingston
Governor Livingston

TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON.

Sir,

The irregular and disjointed state of the militia of this province makes it necessary for me to inform you, that, unless a law is immediately passed by your Legislature to reduce them to some order, and oblige them to turn out in a different manner from what they Edition: current; Page: [201] have hitherto done, we shall bring very few into the field, and even those few will render little or no service. Their officers are generally of the lowest class of the people; and, instead of setting a good example to their men, are leading them into every kind of mischief, one species of which is plundering the inhabitants, under the pretence of their being Tories. A law should, in my opinion, be passed, to put a stop to this kind of lawless rapine; for, unless there is something done to prevent it, the people will throw themselves, of choice, into the hands of the British troops. But your first object should be a well-regulated militia law. The people, put under good officers, would behave in quite another manner, and not only render real service as soldiers, but would protect, instead of distressing, the inhabitants. What I would wish to have particularly insisted upon, in the new law, should be, that every man, capable of bearing arms, should be obliged to turn out, and not buy off his service by a trifling fine. We want men and not money, I am, &c.

GENERAL WASHINGTON’S PROCLAMATION.

Whereas several persons, inhabitants of the United States of America, influenced by inimical motives, intimidated by the threats of the enemy, or deluded by a Proclamation issued the 30th of November last, by Lord and General Howe, styled the King’s Commissioners for granting pardons, &c. (now at open war, and invading these States), have been so lost to the interest and welfare of their country, as to repair to the enemy, sign a declaration of fidelity, and in some instances have been compelled to take the oath of allegiance, and engaged not to take up arms, Edition: current; Page: [202] or encourage others so to do, against the King of Great Britain; And whereas it has become necessary to distinguish between the friends of America and those of Great Britain, inhabitants of these States; and that every man who receives protection from, and as a subject of any State, not being conscientiously scrupulous against bearing arms, should stand ready to defend the same against hostile invasion; I do therefore, in behalf of the United States, by virtue of the powers committed to me by Congress, hereby strictly command and require every person, having subscribed such declaration, taken such oath, and accepted such protection and certificate, to repair to Head-Quarters, or to the quarters of the nearest general officer of the Continental army, or militia, until further provision can be made by the civil authority, and there deliver up such protection, certificate, and passports, and take the oath of allegiance to the United States of America; nevertheless hereby granting full liberty to all such as prefer the interest and protection of Great Britain to the freedom and happiness of their country, forthwith to withdraw themselves and families within the enemy’s lines. And I do hereby declare, that all and every person, who may neglect or refuse to comply with this order, within thirty days from the date hereof, will be deemed adherents to the King of Great Britain, and treated as common enemies to these American States.

Given at Head-Quarters, Morristown, this 25th day of January, 1777.1

Edition: current; Page: [203]
George Washington
Washington, George
26 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was last night honored with yours of the 18th instant, enclosing a letter from the State of New York to Congress. From the particular situation of that State in regard to their being totally deprived of commerce, they certainly must stand in need of the assistance of the other States to provide them with clothing and every thing necessary for the equipment of their forces; and it ever was my intention to allow them a full proportion of the clothing purchased to the eastward, whenever it came to hand. Little or none of it has yet reached this army, though in the greatest want, and exposed to the severities of a winter campaign. The Convention have in one instance already provided for themselves out of the public stock, by stopping and making use of twenty-six bales of clothing coming on from the eastward to the army here. As this was done without consulting me, I took the liberty of desiring them not to do the like in future; not that I meant to deprive them of their share, but because it disappointed me of many Edition: current; Page: [204] articles, which I stood in immediate want of, and had not provided from other quarters. But you may be assured, that, whenever returns are made of the whole stock of clothing, they shall have their proportion, and, more than that, allowance for their peculiar situation.

I am amazed to hear the complaints of the hospital on the east side of Hudson’s River. Dr. Morgan, with most of his mates, has been constantly there since I left it with the main body of the army. It is in vain, however, to look back upon past misfortunes. I will not pretend to point out the causes; but I know matters have been strangely conducted in the medical line. I hope your new appointment, when it is made, will make the necessary reform in the hospital, and that I shall not, the next campaign, have my ears, and eyes too, shocked with the complaints and looks of poor creatures perishing for want of proper care, either in the regimental or hospital surgeons. I agree with the Convention in the expediency of obstructing the passage of the North River in some place between the mouth and the Highlands. We have found that our labor and expense have been thrown away in endeavoring to do it below, where the channel is amazingly wide and deep; but, from the slight view I have had of the river above, I think the passage may be easily obstructed, and defended by proper fortifications, as the river is so narrow that no vessel going up could possibly escape the fire. I am no judge of what can be done towards fitting out the frigates at Poughkeepsie; that must be left to the gentlemen of the marine committee.

Edition: current; Page: [205]

The hint given by the Convention of New York, of the necessity and utility of a commissary of forage, had struck me before, and had been mentioned by General Mifflin, whose department of quartermaster-general must be eased of part of the load, which is at present thrown upon it. He is obliged in many instances to act entirely out of his proper line; and instead of being confined to the duty of quartermaster-general, is also wagon-master and forage-master general. I have written to two persons, that I think qualified to fill the office of wagon-master; and I hope one of them will accept. That of commissary of forage shall be attended to. The want of accurate maps of the country, which has hitherto been the scene of war, has been of great disadvantage to me. I have in vain endeavored to procure them, and have been obliged to make shift with such sketches as I could trace out from my own observation, and that of gentlemen around me. I really think, if gentlemen of known character and probity could be employed in making maps, from actual survey, of the roads, of the rivers and bridges and fords over them, and of the mountains and passes through them, it would be of the greatest advantage.

I had, previous to the receipt of your letter, written to General Howe, and proposed the fixing of an agent for prisoners at New York. I have not received an answer; but, if he accedes to the proposal, I shall appoint Mr. Lewis Pintard. I am sorry that I am obliged to contradict the Report of the taking of Fort Independence, as mentioned in my last. I Edition: current; Page: [206] believe the evacuation of some detatched Redoubts gave Rise to the Report. I have not heard from Genl. Heath since the 14th instant, which I am amazed at. I am quite in the dark as to his Numbers and what progress he has made.1 On the 23d, a party of four hundred of our men, under Colonel Buckner, fell in with two regiments of the enemy, convoying a number of wagons from Brunswic to Amboy. Our advanced party under Colonel Parker engaged them with great bravery upwards of twenty minutes, during which time the colonel-commandant was killed, and the second in command mortally wounded. The people living near the field of action say their killed and wounded were considerable. We lost only two men, who were made prisoners. Had Colonel Buckner come up with the main body, Colonel Parker and the other officers think we should have put them to rout, as their confusion was very great, and their ground disadvantageous. I have ordered Buckner under arrest, and shall bring him to trial to answer for so extraordinary a piece of conduct.

Reinforcements come up so extremely slow, that I am afraid I shall be left without any men before they arrive. The enemy must be ignorant of our numbers, Edition: current; Page: [207] or they have not horses to move their artillery, or they would not suffer us to remain undisturbed. I have repeatedly written to all the recruiting officers, to forward on their men as fast as they could arm and clothe them; but they are so extremely averse to turning out of comfortable quarters, that I cannot get a man to come near me, though I hear from all parts that the recruiting service goes on with great success. It would be well if the Board of War, in whose department it is, would issue orders for all officers to equip and forward their recruits to headquarters with the greatest expedition. By a resolve Congress passed some time ago, General Schuyler is directed to apply to me for ninety-four tons of powder, a quantity which it is impossible I should have by me, and for which I do not know where to direct him to apply. I could wish that returns were made to me of the quantity of powder on hand, and where it is to be found, that I may not be at a loss at any time of emergency.

Since the resignation of Colonel Reed, the important office of adjutant-general has been left unfilled, I mean as to a principal, and I am much at a loss how or where to find a person in every way capable and proper to execute the office. My inclinations lead me to confer the appointment upon a Major Morris1; but ample testimonials should be produced, and full proof of fidelity ought to be made, before an office of so high trust should be conferred upon a person in a manner a stranger to me. I only know Major Morris from a short personal acquaintance, Edition: current; Page: [208] and from report. He never even brought a letter of recommendation to me. From his conversation, and from the accounts I have received from others, he is a man of considerable military abilities; and, from his behavior in two instances, he is a man of bravery and conduct. His story is simply this; that he left the British service in disgust upon not receiving a promotion to which he was justly entitled. Perhaps some gentleman of Congress may know more about him, or may be able to make such inquiries as might satisfy them, as to the safety and propriety of appointing him. I have no other motive for wishing him a preference, than that I think him the properest person that has come under my notice, provided all matters before mentioned were cleared up. I shall wait the result of a determination of Congress, before I proceed further in this appointment; and I wish to be favored with their advice as speedily as possible; for the remains of the old army are much disarranged for want of a good adjutant-general, and the formation of the new one in a great measure depends upon an able officer in that line. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
28 January, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Sullivan
Major-General Sullivan

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SULLIVAN.

Dear Sir,

The express delivered to me your favor this evening. Ignorant as I am of the ground, which you occupy at the Scotch Plains, I cannot positively determine Edition: current; Page: [209] whether it is tenable or not. However, let me recommend to you to consider maturely whether the advantages, that may accrue from your neighborhood to the enemy, can balance the consequences, that must result from your being driven from it. It’s true, your being posted so near them will save your scouts a few miles’ marching. You have also a better chance of receiving good and early intelligence of their movements; but’t is as true, that they may and will most certainly very soon discover your real numbers, and what will follow your being attacked I have already mentioned in mine of this date.1 Consult Generals Maxwell and Stephen, lay my letters to you on this head before them, view your continuance there in every point of light, and if you determine that the service may be benefited by remaining where you are, I have no objections to your stay. Upon my word, I think it a manœuvre of the last consequence, and am not without my fears about its success. You will assuredly be attacked in a few days, if they have any spirit left. Knowing your strength, they will do it with a force that will command success, for it will be out of my power to relieve you in time. Edition: current; Page: [210] Should you determine to remove, remember to give it the air of some manœuvre, that the enemy may be at a loss what to think of it. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
31 January, 1777
Morristown

TO THE GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA.1

Sir,

The great countenance and protection shown and given to deserters, by persons in the different neighborhoods, from whence they originally came, has made that vice so prevalent in the army, that, unless some very effectual measures are fallen upon to prevent it, our new army will scarcely be raised, before it will again dwindle and waste away from that cause alone. I know of no remedy so effectual, as for the different States immediately to pass laws, laying a very severe penalty upon those, who harbor or fail to give information against deserters, knowing them to be such, and strictly enjoining all justices of the peace, and officers of militia to keep a watchful eye over and apprehend all such persons, as shall return from the army without a discharge. In order that this most salutary measure may be carried speedily into execution, I have not only desired Congress to recommend it to the different States, but have myself wrote circular letters to them all, pressing their compliance with my request. Desertion must cease of course, when the offenders find that they have no shelter. I have the honor to be, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [211]
George Washington
Washington, George
1 February, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I have the pleasure of yours of the 23d January by Major Wyllys, and thank you for your congratulations upon our late successes, which have been attended with very happy consequences, as the enemy have remained very quiet at Brunswick and Amboy since the affair at Princetown.

I have wrote to Congress in a very pressing manner not only to send on a present supply of money, but to forward the check-books and loan-tickets with the greatest expedition.

I most sincerely wish it were in my power to procure the immediate release of all our officers and soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of our enemies; but when the chance of war has turned the scale against us in point of numbers what more can be done than to give those a preference who have longest endured captivity? That I might avoid every imputation of partiality for Edition: current; Page: [212] the officers of any particular State, I have in all my letters to General Howe, and to Mr. Loring, the Commissary of prisoners, directed that an equal proportion of officers of the Eastern and Southern States be sent out. But without paying any regard to my request, they have given Pennsylvania more than her proportion, having never discharged one of the Maryland officers taken on Long Island. Major Meigs and Captain Hanchet are already released. We have no general officer to propose for Colonel Waterbury, and if we had, General Thompson, who was taken long before, has a preference.

If General Howe does not accede to the proposal of Congress for giving up all the Hessian field officers taken at Trenton, for General Lee, Lieutenant Colonel Hart and Major Wells will probably come in for their turn of exchange. You, by your return, have sent in but three captains, and I have convinced Major Wyllys, who ranks as captain, that I cannot consent to propose him for one of those without doing injustice to Captain Dearborn, who was taken at Quebec, 31st December, 1775, and Captains Trowbridge and Percival, taken the 27th August last upon Long Island. By my state of the exchange of prisoners, a captain is still due us. If there should be, I have desired Major Wyllys may be accepted for him.

You mention the names of several subalterns who were taken upon Long Island and York Island, whose release you would wish, but there are yet eight gentlemen taken at Quebec who have a right to a Edition: current; Page: [213] preference. I have made a proposition to General Howe, which, if he accepts will give great relief to our prisoners. It is the establishment of an agent, to reside in New York, to see that the prisoners are well used, and to supply them with necessaries.

I should have had no objection to appointing Colonel Root, to the command of a regiment, could it possibly be raised upon the terms allowed by Congress, which is a bounty of 20 dollars; but by your State and that of Massachusetts having given an additional bounty of 33⅓ dollars, not a man can be raised till the eight regiments allotted to your State are full. I have, I may say, unfortunately given seven of the additional regiments to gentlemen of New England, and I was under the strongest hopes that they, from their influence, would have soon filled their regiments; but I cannot suppose that men will enlist for a bounty of 20 dollars, with them, when they can get 53⅓ dollars from this State. I have the honor, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
3 February, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

Your two favors of the 30th last month reached me last night. I cannot say but I was a good deal surprised Edition: current; Page: [214] and disappointed at the contents. I never was very sanguine, as to any thing more being effected, than to oblige the garrison either to surrender or evacuate Fort Independence and retire within the Island. As neither has been done, I wish your summons had never been sent, as I am fearful it will expose us to the ridicule of our enemies. By falling back as far as you have done, one valuable purpose of your going down is lost, and that is, depriving the enemy of the forage of which they are in extreme want, and collecting it for our own use.1

If my accounts from Brunswic are true, the enemy have, notwithstanding your being upon their backs, drawn considerable reinforcements from New York. If so, and you think that nothing of consequence can be effected by you in the neighborhood of Kingsbridge, I would have you leave a sufficient force at Edition: current; Page: [215] Peekskill to make the passes secure, and throw the remainder over the river with orders to march immediately down here. For if the troops return from Rhode Island, and do not find you in Westchester county, they will certainly join their main body at Brunswic, and the garrison of York Island may likewise be much reduced, and the troops drawn from thence be likewise sent here. We must, in that case, collect all our force to oppose theirs. I wish we could possibly have foreseen, that the diversion upon your side would not have had the desired effect; for with the additions of the three thousand four hundred men, that have been with you, we could have distracted the enemy with a variety of attacks, and made some considerable advantages. The report of Carleton’s army having joined Howe’s is certainly without foundation.

Edition: current; Page: [216]

The securing the forage in West Chester County, for our own use, or depriving the enemy from carrying it off for theirs, is an object of so much moment, that I desire some measures may yet be fallen upon to effect one or the other. Suppose a light body of troops, under an active officer, sufficient to repel any foraging parties of the Enemy, except they came out in very large bodies, should be left behind, and stationed as near Kingsbridge as possible. While they kept a good lookout they never could be surprised, for not being encumbered with any baggage, they could always move at a moment’s warning if the Enemy came out with a superior force, and move back when they returned. This would oblige them to forage with such large covering parties, that it would in a manner harrass their troops to death. We have found the advantage of such practices with us, for by keeping four or five hundred men far advanced, we not only oblige them to forage with parties of 1,500 and 2,000 to cover, but every now and then give them a smart brush. Your Waggons might always safely be at work in the rear of your party, for, at this season of the year, Kingsbridge is the only point from whence the Enemy can issue. As to the number necessary for the above purpose, I would have you consult Mr. Duer and the gentlemen who best know the Country. After fixing that matter, you will next determine what number are to be left at Peekskill, and I would have the remainder immediately marched forward to join me. One thing I would wish you to observe, that is, that the Edition: current; Page: [217] Troops that come over should be those who have the longest time to serve. In one of your former letters, you desired leave to return for a while to New England, when the service would admit of it. I have no objection to your doing it after you have made the arrangements recommended above. I must only wish that you will return as soon as your private affairs will admit, for several of the general officers are desirous of making a visit to their respective homes, before the campaign opens in the spring.

I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
3 February, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

This letter is in addition to my public one of this date. It is to hint to you, and I do it with concern, that your conduct is censured (and by men of sense and judgment, who have been with you on the expedition to Fort Independence,) as being fraught with too much caution, by which the army has been disappointed, and in some degree disgraced. Your summons, as you did not attempt to fulfil your threats, was not only idle but farcical, and will not fail of turning the laugh exceedingly upon us. These things I mention to you as a friend, for you will perceive that they have composed no part of my public letter. Why you should be so apprehensive of being surrounded, even if Lord Percy had landed, I cannot conceive. You know that landing men, and procuring Edition: current; Page: [218] horses, are not the work of an hour, a day, or even a week.

Upon the whole it appears to me from information, that, if you had pushed vigorously, upon your first going to Fort Independence, the post would have been carried; and query may it not yet be taken by surprise? It is nothing for a party of light troops to march twelve or fourteen miles in the course of five or six hours. An expedition therefore undertaken with precaution, and conducted with secrecy in a dark night, may be attended with fortunate consequences. I drop this hint; you may improve or reject it, as circumstances will justify. Too large a body for such an enterprise might be unwieldy, and expose the measure to discovery. I am, dear Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 February, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I am honored with yours of the 24 January with sundry Resolves of Congress and a petition of Monsr. Pellisier’s inclosed. I am not the proper [person] to refer the Petition to, as I am no judge of his merit as an Engineer, having never had an opportunity of Edition: current; Page: [219] seeing any of his performances. At any rate I do not see the necessity of appointing him or any other person principal Engineer, at Ticonderoga, for that would exclude any other, tho’ of superior Abilities from being sent there. Besides as a Corps of Engineers will in all probability be soon established, Monsr. Pellisier’s Rank can then be settled with more propriety.

I forgot to mention in any of my former Letters that I had appointed Capt. Nathaniel Guest1 of Virginia to the command of a Regiment to be raised upon the Frontiers of Virginia and Carolina, and I have directed him if possible to bring a Company or two of Cherokee Indians. If they can be procured they will answer two valuable purposes, one as excellent Scouts, the other, that they will be in fact Hostages, and will secure the good behavior of their Nation.

Major Bland, commandant of the Virginia Horse, has desired to know whether there is not a necessity of giving a Bounty and reinlisting his Regiment as continental Troops. They were inlisted to serve in the Colony and the Men were with some difficulty prevailed upon to march hither, but the Major thinks they would be entirely reconciled upon receiving the Bounty.

I received a Letter from Mr. Chase desiring I would appoint proper persons to make enquiry into and take depositions concerning the Behavior of the British and Foreign Troops in Jersey. This would Edition: current; Page: [220] be an endless task, as their line of march is marked with devastation, and is a thing of such public notoriety, that it demands no further proof. I remonstrated with Genl. Howe upon the treatment of our wounded at Princetown; you will see by the enclosed letter from him, that he disavows and detests the proceeding. But I fear that too much encouragement is given to such barbarous Behavior, by the British officers, for in a late skirmish in which Sir William Erskine commanded, Lieut. Kelly of the 5th Virginia Regiment was slightly wounded in the thigh, but before he could get off the field, he was overtaken, and murthered in a most cruel manner. General Stephen informed me that he would write to Sir William and inform him, that unless such practices were put a stop to, our Soldiers would not be restrained from making retaliation.1

By a letter from General Heath, of the 30th of last month, I find that he had decamped from the neighborhood of Kingsbridge, and removed back towards the White Plains. His reasons for doing so were, that the troops could not stand the inclemency of the weather, and that he feared the troops expected from Rhode Island would land upon his back. I have, however, directed him to have a body of light Edition: current; Page: [221] troops under an active officer, in order to harass their foraging parties, and to cover our own, who are to remove as much of the forage from Westchester county as they can; and, after leaving as many men as will secure the passes in the Highlands, the remainder are to be sent over here to join me; for I am apprehensive that the enemy are reinforcing themselves at Brunswic. I shall to-morrow send out parties from every quarter to remove all the wagons, horses, cattle, and sheep, or as many as possible, from the neighborhood of the enemy’s lines. They are to attend particularly to the horses; for, if we can reduce those that they at present have, and can hinder them from getting fresh ones from the adjacent country, it will be impossible for them to move their artillery and wagons forward, should they incline to make another push towards Philadelphia.

* * * * * *

Nothing of consequence has happened since I wrote to you last, except a skirmish on the 1st of this month five or six miles from Brunswic landing, between our advanced parties about seven hundred in the whole, and upwards of two thousand of the Enemy under Sir William Erskine. The Heat of the engagement was between Colo. Scott of the 5th Virginia Regiment, who with about one hundred men, beat back two hundred of the British Grenadiers. Several other Officers behaved with great spirit, but there is some reason to suspect that Colo. Andrew Ward who commanded our main Body, did not behave altogether as he ought.

Edition: current; Page: [222]

I have ordered a Court upon him, that the matter may be fairly canvassed, and that he may stand condemned or acquitted by the Evidence of those who were present. Colo. Buckner of the 6th Virginia Regiment who was under Arrest upon a charge of cowardice, broke his parole and went over to Bucks County, I suppose with an intent to make his Escape, but I dispatched a Troop of Light Horse after him, who brought him back yesterday, and he is to take his tryal on Friday.

The smallpox has made such head in every quarter, that I find it impossible to keep it from spreading through the whole army in the natural way. I have therefore determined, not only to inoculate all the troops now here that have not had it, but shall order Dr. Shippen to inoculate the recruits as fast as they come to Philadelphia. They will lose no time, because they will go through the disorder while their clothing, arms, and accoutrements are getting ready.

From the first institution of civil government, it has been the national policy of every precedent State to endeavor to engage its members to the discharge of their duty by the obligation of some oath. Its force and happy influence have been felt in too many instances to need any arguments to support the policy or prove its utility. I have often thought the States have been too negligent in this particular, and am more fully convinced of it from the effect General Howe’s excursion has produced in New Jersey. An oath is the only substitute that can be adopted to supply the defect of principle. By our inattention in this article, we lose a considerable cement to our own force, and Edition: current; Page: [223] give the enemy an opportunity to make the first tender of the oath of allegiance to the King. Its baneful influence is but too severely felt at this time. The people generally confess they were compelled to take protection, and subscribe the Declaration, yet it furnishes many with arguments to refuse taking any active part; and further they allege themselves bound to a neutrality at least. Many conscientious people, who were well-wishers to the cause, had they been bound to the States by an oath, would have suffered any punishment rather than have taken the oath of allegiance to the King; and are now lost to our interest for want of this necessary tie. Notwithstanding the obligations of the Association, they do not conceive it to have the same effect as an oath. The more united the inhabitants appear, the greater difficulty General Howe will have in reconciling them to regal government, and consequently the less hope of conquering them. For these reasons, and many more that might be urged, I should strongly recommend to every State to fix upon some oath or affirmation of allegiance, to be tendered to all the inhabitants without exception, and to outlaw those that refuse it.

I have the honor to be, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
6 February, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Arnold
Brigadier-General Arnold

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ARNOLD.

Dear Sir,

I was this evening favored with your letter of the 30th ultimo, and am sorry to find the forces now assembled in Rhode Island are not competent to the Edition: current; Page: [224] projects you have in view.1 The propriety of the attack, or of the plan, I cannot determine. The map you sent, and for which I return you my thanks, gives me an idea of the situation of the Island, but not so accurately as to pronounce upon the matter with precision. If the attack can be made, with a strong probability, almost amounting to a certainty of success, it is much to be desired; otherwise I would not advise it; for, as a favorable issue would be productive of the most valuable and important consequences, so on the other a miscarriage would lead to those of the most melancholy nature. I have wrote General Spencer on the subject, wishing every Edition: current; Page: [225] thing respecting the measure to be duly weighed, previous to an attempt, and consented, that if, after mature deliberation had of all circumstances, the officers esteem the enterprise advisable, that four or five Continental regiments may be called in aid. I suggested to him the difficulty of passing a river to attack an enemy, and of making a good retreat in case of repulse. This is obvious, and I am satisfied will not escape your attention. Whatever may be determined on I trust will be founded in prudence, and I hope crowned with success.1 * * *

George Washington
Washington, George
8 February, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Parsons
Brigadier-General Parsons

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL PARSONS.2

Dear Sir,

Yesterday I received yours of the 3d Inst. Since General Heath, by his retreat to White Plains, has Edition: current; Page: [226] given the enemy time to recover themselves, I do not know at this time what can be better done in that quarter than adopting the plan you propose, of crossing over to the east end of Long Island and destroying the forage. I am so fully convinced of the good effects of this enterprise, that I have ordered it to be done generally in the neighborhood of the enemy here, in which success has attended us to our utmost wish. You will endeavor at the same time to bring off all the draft-horses fit for service. Colonel Henry Livingston, of the New York State, was lately with me, and has my orders to this purport. With him you will please to concert a good plan.

From the enclosed proclamation you will be able to regulate your conduct with regard to the Tories. No form of an oath of allegiance is yet drawn up, but you can easily strike off one, that will answer the end designed. They have permission to carry in with them their necessary wearing apparel, but nothing that can possibly be useful to the enemy. Their estates must be secured till the civil power determine what shall be done. I have written to the New England States on the subject of arming the troops they are to raise. You will get their answer. You will Edition: current; Page: [227] please to publish the enclosed general order.1 I am, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
9 February, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I have now before me your several favors of the 25th & 30th ulto., and of the 1st instant, for which I return you my thanks. * * *

I should hope that General Carleton will not attempt to pass the Lakes, before we can get a sufficient force to oppose him. The enterprise I think will be dangerous and attended with many difficulties. However, as the defence and security of our posts in that quarter is an object of the first importance, I have written in the most urgent manner Edition: current; Page: [228] to the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, to forward on their regiments with all possible expedition, desiring that they may not wait till they are complete, but that suitable officers may be left to recruit for the deficiencies. As to forming the northern army of a mixture of troops, I think it cannot be done, under the peculiar situation of our affairs. The posts on the Lakes are much more convenient to the eastern forces, than to any other, and they can be there sooner, than to other places, where the aid of the rest is indispensably necessary and loudly called for. Another objection to the measure is, that prejudices and Jealousies have prevailed where those of different States have acted together, notwithstanding every possible exertion on my part to get them to harmonize, consider themselves as the same people, engaged in the same noble struggle and having one common and general interest to defend, to bury and lay aside all attachments and distinctions of a Local and provincial nature. These I think are not likely to be entirely done away, especially if general officers should be appointed by Congress from each State for their respective troops. Indeed, as their difficulties have not been reconcilable heretofore, I hope their acting separately will produce a laudable spirit of emulation to excel, and raise the reputation of their respective States, tending in the end to advance the Interest and weal of the whole. I have wrote to Brigr. Genl. Knox upon the subject of an Artillerist and to send you an officer that he esteems good. I could not order up Major Lamb or any particular officer lest I should break in upon the Edition: current; Page: [229] General arrangement which comes more immediately under his direction. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 February, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

The impossibility of keeping the small-pox from spreading through the army in the natural way, has determined us, upon the most mature deliberation, to inoculate all the new troops that have not had this disorder. I have wrote to General Parsons to fix upon some proper place, and to superintend the inoculation of the troops of your State, taking it for granted that you would have no objection to so salutary a measure, upon which depends not only the lives of all the men who have not had the small-pox, but also the health of the whole army, which would otherwise soon become a hospital of the most loathsome kind. Proper steps are taking to inoculate the troops already here, and all the Southern levies will undergo the operation as they pass Philadelphia.

I have wrote to the States of New York and Rhode Island to have their troops also inoculated, and I hope our army will by these precautions be entirely free of that terrible disorder the ensuing campaign. As the troops from Massachusetts and New Hampshire are ordered immediately up to Ticonderoga, they can (as was the case last year) be inoculated there. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [230]
George Washington
Washington, George
11 February, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Knox
Brigadier-General Knox

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL KNOX.

Dear Sir,

I have yours of the 1st instant, enclosing a copy of a memorial, which you had presented to the Council and House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts.1 I most sincerely wish that your representation may be attended with the success it deserves, and that I could with propriety press the subject of it upon them in the manner you desire. To advise them to give the bounty of Twenty Edition: current; Page: [231] Pounds to the additional battalions, as well as to their quota of the eighty-eight, would be giving my sanction to and approbation of a Measure, which I have ever reprobated, as an indirect breach of the Union, and of the Agreement entered into by their delegates in Congress to give a Continental bounty of Twenty Dollars per man and no more. But thus much I have done. I have wrote to the Council and Assembly, and have given it as my opinion, that they ought to furnish the three additional regiments of infantry and one of artillery; because, when the Congress Edition: current; Page: [232] voted an addition of sixteen battalions of foot, four battalions of artillery, and three thousand light-horse, and gave the appointment of them to me, they certainly expected, though it was not expressed, that I should observe some rule of proportion in allotting them to the different States; and a better I thought I could not follow, than the proportion settled by Congress themselves in fixing the quotas of the eighty-eight battalions. Upon this scale three battalions of infantry and one of artillery was but a moderate demand upon the State of Massachusetts; for there has been raised and are now raising in the other Colonies, exclusive of the eighty-eight battalions, the German battalion, a battalion of riflemen lately under the command of Colonel Stephenson, and the regiment called Hazen’s, or the Congress’s Own, which is to consist, when compleat, of two thousand men. Each State is bound by every principle of justice and equity to furnish their proportion of the additional battalions, as much as they are of the eighty-eight; and I dare to say, if I had not distributed the commissions among the officers of the different States, those who had been neglected would have charged me with partiality.

If the State of Massachusetts will not consent to give their assistance towards raising the three additional regiments of infantry, I have urged to them the necessity of raising the battalion of artillery at least in that State, because most of the artillery-men, who served in your regiment last campaign, came from thence, and will be immediately useful. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [233]

Congress had resolved to adhere to Carlisle in Pennsylvania, and Brookfield in Massachusetts, for the places of erecting the laboratories, &c. I do not think the odds between Carlisle and York anywise material, and therefore the works will be built at the former; but, upon your representation of the delay that will be occasioned if Brookfield is preferred to Springfield, I desire you may proceed with the works at the latter, and I will inform Congress of the necessity of this variation from their resolve. * * * I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
12 February, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Maxwell
Brigadier-General Maxwell

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL MAXWELL.2

Sir,

In answer to your letter of the 9th instant, respecting the case of the young men of Eliza. Town, who Edition: current; Page: [234] refuse to take the Oath of Allegiance to the States, or to withdraw within the enemy’s lines, and discourage all the militia about them, I would observe, that though it is my desire to have the terms and conditions of my Proclamation religiously complied with, yet I do not intend that it shall be made a shelter for our enemies to injure us under with impunity. These fellows at Elizabethtown, as well as all others, who wish to remain with us, till the expiration of the thirty days, for no other purpose than to convey intelligence to the enemy, and poison our people’s minds, must and shall be compelled to withdraw immediately within the enemy’s lines; others, who are hesitating which side to take, and behave friendly to us till they determine, must be treated with Lenity. Such as go over to the enemy are not to take with them any thing but their clothing and furniture. Edition: current; Page: [235] Their horses, cattle, and forage must be left behind. Such as incline to share our fate are to have every assistance afforded them, that can be granted with safety. Neither wagons nor horses must be too much hazarded in doing this business. Maj. Morris will secure Foster’s cattle and sheep; bring off all the corn, hay and oats he speaks of for the Quarter Master, who will take an account of it and settle with the owners if friendly. The effects of all Persons in Arms against us must be seized and secured. I wish this line of conduct to be observed by our parties, for which purpose you will make them all acquainted with my determination on this head. The Returns of your Brigade alarm me. I fear there is some mistake, for which purpose I have directed Col. Bedford, the Muster Master General, to repair thither and examine into the matter. You will be so good as to assist him in discovering the true cause, why so many are kept in pay and so few perform service. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [236]
George Washington
Washington, George
14 February, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Since I had the honor of addressing you on the 5th Instt. no event of an important and interesting nature has occurred, unless the successes of our parties in foraging and bringing off several Horses, Waggons, and some fat Cattle, and Sheep, which were contiguous to and around the Enemy’s Lines, are considered as such. I then mentioned that I had such a scheme in contemplation which was happily accomplished the next day without any loss. The Enemy in turn have made frequent efforts in that way, but with little success. Whenever they made the attempt, it never failed to produce a Skirmish. They have been common of late, but with little damage to either side. We have certain intelligence that they have drawn the greatest part of their Troops from R. Island, and are told, that part of them have landed on Staten Island, and at Amboy with a view of augmenting their force at Brunswic.

Colo. Buckner agreable to the information contained in my last, has been tried by a Court Martial and cashiered. The proceedings and sentence I directed to be transmitted to the Secretary of the War Office, and to the printer of this State and Virginia to be published.

General Lincoln is just arrived with a regiment of Massachusetts militia, about two hundred and fifty. Edition: current; Page: [237] This, he says, is succeeded by three more, which will make in the whole near eighteen hundred; but in this I think he must be mistaken, unless those on the march are much fuller and larger than what they usually are. The whole are of the troops, that were with General Heath.

General Knox, by a letter of the 1st instant, informs me, that, on mature inquiry and examination, he finds Springfield to be more convenient and much better calculated for a laboratory and cannon-foundery, than any other part of the New England States. He adds, that a quantity of copper, tin, and other useful materials can be had there; and that the necessary works and preparations, from these and other advantages, can be accomplished at least three or four months sooner there than any where else. In consequence of his opinion, which I esteem of weight, particularly in this instance, and knowing the importance of these establishments and how essential they are, I have ventured to order the works to be begun there, without regard to what had been done at Brookfield, which was of but little consequence. The former, besides the many advantages mentioned by General Knox, stands on Connecticut River, and has a good navigation; yet is entirely secure against any attempts of the enemy, being twenty miles above Hartford, where the river is narrow, and too shoal to admit vessels that can give the least annoyance. As nothing but the good of the service could have led to this measure, I trust it will be approved.

I have wrote the Assembly of Massachusetts State, and the Convention of New Hampshire, requesting Edition: current; Page: [238] their good offices and exertions to promote the raising of their regiments as expeditiously as possible, and to forward the whole of the quotas first exacted from them to Ticonderoga. Their contiguity to that post more than to any other, the importance of it, and General Schuyler’s apprehensions, that the enemy may attempt to pass the Lake, if not on the ice, as soon as it is open, added to the great trouble, expense, and loss of time it will save in marching them elsewhere, and others there, who are much more distant and remote, induced me to determine so. I find the Council of the former, on General Schuyler’s earnest application, before my letter reached them, had determined to send four regiments as soon as they could be completed. I only wish the whole may be made up in a short time, and that their arrival may be early enough to prevent those inconveniences and fatal consequences, which the want of a sufficient force in that quarter would subject us to, were the enemy to pass the Lake at this time.

Mr. James Mease is now here in consequence of being appointed clothier-general. He is adjusting a plan for answering the end of his appointment, and making an estimate, to be laid before Congress, or their Secret Committee, of such clothes as may be necessary to import for the army. It is with much concern, that the situation of our affairs obliges me to mention so frequently the want of money, especially when I am persuaded every means are used to furnish it. Our distress on this account is great indeed; and the injury the service receives almost inconceivable; not Edition: current; Page: [239] a day, an hour, or scarcely a minute passes, without complaints and applications on this head. The recruiting of the regiments is most materially retarded by it.

Ten o clock, P. M. Just now a flag returned, that went to Brunswic to-day, who brought the enclosed letters from General Lee, which I do myself the honor, to transmit you, with a copy of one to myself.1 I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [240]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 February, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The principal design of this is to inform you, that we have strong reasons to believe, that the enemy are on the point of making some push. What their object is, whether to beat up our quarters and to extend Edition: current; Page: [241] their own, to make a large forage and collection of provender, of what they are in great want, or to turn their views towards the Delaware, is a matter of uncertainty; but it seems probable that one of these things they have in contemplation. Such of their troops as have returned from Rhode Island have Edition: current; Page: [242] landed at Amboy, and with them several pieces of heavy artillery. General Howe is come over too, and, it is said, Lord Percy. Their number at Brunswic and the landing-place, before the arrival of this last reinforcement, was estimated from seven to eight thousand. I have ordered the utmost vigilance and attention to be observed at our several posts, to guard against surprises, and every preparation to be made, that the weak and feeble state of our little army will admit of. At this time we are only about four thousand strong, a force, you will suppose, unequal to a successful opposition, if they were not militia, and far too small for the exigencies of our affairs. It is impossible to obtain exact returns, though they are daily called for, owing to the frequent and almost constant departure of some of the corps.1

Colonel [John] Nielson of Brunswic, with a detachment of militia, on the morning of the 18th, surprised Major [Richard V.] Stockton, [on Lawrence’s Island] whom he took, with fifty-nine privates of General Skinner’s corps, killing four, and bringing away the arms of the whole, with some blankets.2 This about balances the loss of a militia guard, which a party of British troops took last week in Monmouth, Edition: current; Page: [243] near the Hook. I wish to be informed how the regiments that are raising are to be armed, and of the provision that has been made for the same. I have reason to fear, indeed I am convinced, that there is a great deficiency in many, if not in the whole of the States, in this article. Every letter that I receive from them mentions their want, and calls for supplies.1

I have the honor to be, &c.2
George Washington
Washington, George
February 20, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

A letter from you to General Heath, inclosing a petition from the officers taken at Princetown for liberty to send one of the party into New York for their baggage, was transmitted to me by General McDougall, General Heath having gone to Massachusetts.

Edition: current; Page: [244]

I am so sensible that these people, by remaining any length of time in the country, not only acquire a knowledge of our affairs, but spread a very pernicious influence among the people, that I think it will be best to send them immediately in, and obtain an equal number of our officers in exchange. I therefore desire that they may be sent towards Providence, with orders to halt within eight or ten miles, till General Spencer or General Arnold is informed of their being there, that they may direct in what manner they may be sent in, so as not to see any thing of the disposition of our troops. Be pleased to make the eldest officer sign a return specifying their names and rank, and transmit it to me.

In a letter of the 7th February you desire to know what will be the best manner of disposing of the privates. I think they had better be cantoned in the country as near together as convenient; and if any of them are tradesmen, and are willing to work at their occupations, they may be usefully employed. I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

P. S. If you can think of any more convenient way of sending in the prisoners than to Providence, I leave it to you.

George Washington
Washington, George
20 February, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Monsieur Faneuil, who some time ago laid a plan before you for raising and officering a corps of Frenchmen, waited upon me yesterday. His success, Edition: current; Page: [245] as I expected, has been small in enlisting or rather engaging Canadians. I cannot find that he has met with more than thirty or forty, who would be willing to serve with him. He is now upon another scheme, that of raising, arming, and clothing a number of men in the French Islands. To grant a commission of that kind is without the extent of my powers, and I have therefore desired him to go forward, and lay his proposals before Congress. If they appear feasible, they may be adopted; but I would beg leave to observe, that one precaution will be necessary, that is, that the commissions of Monsieur Faneuil and his officers should depend upon the performance of their agreement for raising any certain number of men.

I have often mentioned to you the distress I am every now and then laid under by the application of French officers for commissions in our service. This evil, if I may call it so, is a growing one; for, from what I learn, they are coming in swarms from old France and the Islands. There will therefore be a necessity of providing for them or discountenancing them. To do the first is difficult; and the last disagreeable, and perhaps impolitic, if they are men of merit; and it is impossible to distinguish these from mere adventurers, of whom I am convinced there is the greater number. They seldom bring more than a commission and passport, which, we know, may belong to a bad as well as a good officer. Their ignorance of our language, and their inability to recruit men, are insurmountable obstacles to their being ingrafted Edition: current; Page: [246] into our Continental battalions; for our officers, who have raised their men, and have served through the war, upon pay that has hitherto not borne their expenses, would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads; and, I assure you, few or none of these gentlemen look lower than field-officers’ commissions. To give them all brevets, by which they have rank and draw pay without doing any service, is saddling the continent with a vast expense; and to form them into corps would be only establishing a corps of officers; for, as I stated before, they cannot possibly raise any men.

Some general mode of disposing of them must be adopted; for it is ungenerous to keep them in suspense, and at great charge to themselves; but I am at a loss how to point out this mode. Suppose they were told in general, that no man could obtain a commission, except he could raise a number of men in proportion to his rank. This would effectually stop the mouths of common appliers, and leave us at liberty to make provisions for gentlemen of undoubted military character and merit, who would be very useful to us as soon as they acquired our language. If you approve of this, or can think of any better method, be pleased to inform me as soon as you possibly can; for if I had a decisive answer to give them, it would not only save me much trouble but much time, which I am now obliged to bestow in hearing their different pretentions to merit, and their expectations thereupon. I inclose you the papers, which Monsieur Faneuil originally laid before the Council of Massachusetts; Edition: current; Page: [247] they may be of use if you enter into negotiation with him.1 I have the honor to be, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
23 February, 1777
Morristown
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your Letters of the 13th and 18th inst, are both to hand, the last in date arrived first,—the first this morning only.

Edition: current; Page: [248]

I am sorry, upon the footing you have put it, and under the apprehensions you seem to be, that I did not accept your Commission as Adjt. Genl. when you offered it, tho’ your fears cannot be realized, because at that time it was mentioned in Genl. Orders, that you having resigned, Colo. Weedon was appointed Pro. Tem; your having the Comn. in possession therefore can be no argument against your Resignation—but I am to accept it at any time.

I am sorry the Cartel Settlmt. by Genl. Conway with the French cant be found—I have lately wrote to Genl. Gates for it, who I think told me he had it. I would by no means wish you to come up merely on that acct; especially as I have not, as yet, got any answer from Congress relative to my recommendation of you to the Command of the Horse. If they should listen to my wishes in this appointment,—if a separate Quarter Master is necessary for the Horse, and Colo. Coxe Inclines to accept it, I can have no possible objection to it, but how far the Rank of Colo. can be annexed to the office I cannot undertake to say. I would wish to think of it a little.

I believe all the Prisoners from the Eastern States are now gone in.—that they did not do it long ago is not my fault.—this I thought Colo. Miles had been satisfied of when he was out—and what method I could devise to furnish their pay, except in a currency that would not pass, I am sure I know not;—all the hard money that could be had he must know was sent in.—

I am not a little surprised at what you mention Edition: current; Page: [249] concerning Colo. Griffin. Before Christmas I offered him a Regiment, and the nomination of his own officers,—this he refused.—Since that he has been offered the Lieutenant Colonelcy of a Regiment of Horse, and this he has refused. If his expectations are higher than that of a Regiment, which he was offered, (even before I was vested with full Powers to do it) the Congress are alone competent to the gratification of them, as I have no authority to go beyond what I have already offered him.

If you should have the Command of the Horse, it will be quite agreeable to me that you should have one of those that was bought at Boston,—if you have not, as they were got for that particular service by Express order of Congress and I have already refused Genl. Green, I could not with propriety consent to it, as I mean, after choosing a couple, or three, for my own use, to throw the rest into some of the Troop, or let them go among the officers.

I wish your leisure would permit you to digest a proper plan for the prevention of Desertion, and apprehension of Deserters that would have a general operation throughout all the United States. I have, in general terms recommended to Congress, and to all the States Individually, the absolute necessity of adopting some efficacious mode to accomplish the latter, but each will, unless some method can be adopted by or recommended from Congress, or the Commander of the Army, have some new-fangled, or inadequate schemes of their own.—In like manner, if you can give any assistance to Genl. Mifflin in an Edition: current; Page: [250] arrangement of waggons I shall be glad of it. One Snickers, a Gentleman on or near Shanandoah in Fredk. County, Virginia, has offered to buy a number. He is a person well acquainted in this business, and may be depended on.

I think the Congress ought not, under the present appearance of things by any means to return to Philadelphia. I think we are now in one of the most critical periods which America ever saw, and because the enemy are not in actual motion (by the by I believe they are not far from it) every body seems to be lulled into ease and Security.—1

Would Colo. Coxe accept the appointment of Commissary of Prisoners?—If he will, I wish to God he would repair hither immediately—I want a shrewd sensible man exceedingly for this business—and obtaining Intelligence which offices are very correspondent—Let me hear from you on this point as quick as possible—the Pay may, I presume, be equal to that of Colonel. I am Dr. Sir, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [251]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 February, 1777
Morristown
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

Your Letter of the 24th ulto. from Mount Vernon came duly to hand, and I thank you for the visit to Mrs. Washington. I do not recollect the date of my last to you, but nothing of any great Importance has occur’d of late.—I believe there soon will, as Genl. Howe has withdrawn great part of the Troops from Rhode Island in order to strengthen those of this State for I should think (considering the situation of our Army) some offensive operation.—If he does not there can be no Impropriety, I conceive, [in] pronouncing him a Man of no enterprize, as circumstances never will, I hope, favor him so much as at present—But—as this is too delicate a subject for a Letter, liable to miscarriage, I will hold my tongue.—Whether his designs are against the Militia I at present command—another attempt against Philadelphia—or Edition: current; Page: [252] which I cannot believe, to make his own defences more secure, time only can tell,—and a little of it, I believe, will do it.

Our Scouts, and the Enemy’s Foraging Parties, have frequent skirmishes; in which they always sustain the greatest loss in killed and wounded, owing to our Superior skill in Fire arms.—These, and frequent Desertions, tho’ not of any great magnitude, serves to waste their Army, but this is counterbalanc’d by a set of Parracides who have engaged in their Service, and Inlist all our Countrymen they can seduce.

Your remark “that you cannot depend upon the Reports of our Strength” is most litterally true— It is morally impossible that any body at a distance should know it with precision and certainty; because while it depends upon Militia, who are here to-day and gone tomorrow—whose way, like the ways of [Pr]ovidence are almost inscrutable—and when it is our Interest however much our characters may [su]ffer by it, to make small numbers appear large, it is impossible you should; for in order to deceive the Enemy effectually, we must not communicate our weakness to any body.

It becomes every friend in every State, to hasten the Recruiting Service. It behooves them to forward the Levies] on by Companies or otherwise, as [soon] as possible, and believe me, it behooves every friend to the American Cause to exert his utmost endeavors to apprehend Deserters—Desertion is a growing evil—it is become a kind of business, under the present bounty—to Desert one Corps to enlist Edition: current; Page: [253] in another.—In a word, if vigorous measures to apprehend, and rigorous in punishing are not pursued the cause will be exceedingly injured.

If we can once get the new Army compleat and the Congress will take care to have it properly supplied, I think we may thereafter bid Defiance to Great Britain, and her foreign auxiliaries.

My warmest affections I make a tender of to my Sister and the family.—My compliments present to all enquiring friends—and with strongest assurances of unalterable love to yourself I remain yr. affecte. Brother.

P. S. Yesterday a skirmish happen’d between a foraging Party of the Enemy and a Party collected from our [out] Posts, in wch. it is said, from [what] accts. we have been yet able to [get] that the Enemy in killed and wounded must have [lost] upwards of an hundred Men—Seven Prisoners were [taken] and brought In.—Our loss was three killed—eight wounded.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 February, 1777
Morristown
Patrick Henry
Henry, Patrick

TO PATRICK HENRY, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Dear Sir,

Mr. Walker has, I doubt not, informed you of the situation in which I have placed him, in order that he may obtain the best information, and, at the same time, have his real design hid from the world; thereby avoiding the evils, which might otherwise result from such appointments, if adopted by other States. It will naturally occur to you, Sir, that there are some Edition: current; Page: [254] secrets, on the keeping of which depends oftentimes the salvation of an army; secrets which cannot or at least ought not to be intrusted to paper; nay, which none but the Commander-in-chief, at the time, should be acquainted with.

If Mr. Walker’s commission, therefore, from the Commonwealth of Virginia, should be known, it would, I am persuaded, be followed by others of the like nature from other States, which would be no better than so many marplots. To avoid the precedent, therefore, and from your character of Mr. Walker, and the high opinion I myself entertain of his abilities, honor, and prudence, I have taken him into my family as an extra aid-de-camp, and shall be happy if, in this character, he can answer your expectations. I sincerely thank you, Sir, for your kind congratulations on the late success of the Continental arms (would to God it may continue), and for your polite mention of me. Let me earnestly entreat, that the troops raised in Virginia for this army be forwared on by companies, or otherwise, without delay, and as well equipped as possible for the field, or we shall be in no condition to open the campaign. With every sentiment of respect and regard,

I am, dear Sir, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
28 February, 1777
Morristown

TO THE COUNCIL OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

Gentlemen,

I yesterday received a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell of the 71st regiment, dated in Concord gaol on the 4th of this month.1 The Colonel, in this Edition: current; Page: [255] letter, gives me an account of such severity of his confinement, as is scarcely ever inflicted upon the most atrocious criminals. The following extract from his letter shows the reasons, that were given to him upon his being confined.—“The first of this month, I was carried and lodged in the common gaol of Concord, by an order of Congress, through the Council of Boston, intimating for a reason, that a refusal of General Howe to give up General Lee for six field-officers, of whom I was one, and the placing of that gentleman under the charge of the Provost of New York, were the motives of their particular ill treatment to me.” He then proceeds to give a description of the place in which he is confined, which, if true, is shocking to humanity, and not to be justified upon the most strict interpretation of the Resolve of Congress, which is as follows; “Should the proffered exchange of General Lee, for six Hessian field-officers, not be accepted, and the treatment of him as above mentioned be continued, then the principles of retaliation shall occasion five of the said Hessian field-officers, together with Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell, or any other officers that are or may be in our possession, equivalent in number or quality, to be detained, in order that the same treatment, which General Lee shall receive, may be exactly inflicted upon their persons.”2 By this you will observe, that exactly the same treatment is to be shown to Colonel Campbell and the Hessian officers, that Edition: current; Page: [256] General Howe shows to General Lee; and, as he is only confined to a commodious house, with genteel accommodations, we have no right or reason to be more severe upon Colonel Campbell, who I would wish should immediately upon the receipt of this be removed from his present situation, and put into a house where he may live comfortably.

Colonel Campbell mentions the case of Captain John Walker, of Colonel Gorham’s corps, who, he says, is confined in the same gaol and in the apartment with the common men. I know not what crime is alleged against Captain Walker; but, I will only observe, that, unless there is a very good foundation, such treatment is impolitic, for the enemy have three hundred of our officers, whom we have little chance of exchanging, and upon whom they may retaliate.

Before I had closed my letter, I was honored with your favors of the 11th and 13th instant. Nothing distresses me more, than the universal call that is upon me from all quarters for fire-arms, which I am totally unable to supply. The scandalous loss, waste, and private appropriation of public arms, during the last campaign, are beyond all conception. Every State must exert itself, and call upon its colonels to produce receipts, or to account for its arms, that were delivered out to them last year. I beg you will not only do this, but purchase all, fit for the field that that can be procured from private persons, of which there must be a vast number in the government. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [257]

P. S. I omitted to mention above, that the commissions of all the officers, upon the new establishment, are to bear date upon the 1st of January, 1777, and the precedency to be settled by a board of officers.1 I desire, for particular reasons, that the contents of the above letter may not be suffered to go beyond the Council for the present. Colonel Campbell’s confinement may be enlarged without assigning the reasons publicly.2

George Washington
Washington, George
1 March, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was this evening honored with your favor of the 23d ultimo, accompanied by sundry proceedings of Congress. Those respecting General Lee, which prescribe the treatment of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the five Hessian field-officers, are the cause Edition: current; Page: [258] of this letter.1 Though I sincerely commiserate the misfortunes of General Lee, and feel much for his present unhappy situation, yet, with all possible deference to the opinion of Congress, I fear that these resolutions would not have the desired effect, are formed in impolicy, and will, if adhered to, produce consequences of an extensive and melancholy nature. Retaliation is certainly just, and sometimes necessary, even where attended with the severest penalties; but, when the evils which may and must result from it exceed those intended to be redressed, prudence and policy require that it should be avoided. Having premised thus much, I beg leave to examine the justice and expediency of it in the instances now before us.

From the best information I have been able to obtain, General Lee’s usage has not been so disgraceful and dishonorable as to authorize the treatment decreed to those gentlemen, were it not prohibited by many other important considerations. His confinement, I believe, has been more rigorous than has been generally experienced by the rest of our officers, Edition: current; Page: [259] or those of the enemy, who have been in our possession; but, if the reports be true, received on that head, he has been provided with a decent apartment, and with most things necessary to render him comfortable. This is not the case with one of the officers comprehended in the resolves, if his letter, of which a copy is transmitted, deserves your credit. Here retaliation seems to have been prematurely begun; or, to speak with more propriety, severities have been and are exercised towards Colonel Campbell, not justified by any that General Lee has yet received.

In point of policy, under the present situation of our affairs, this doctrine cannot be supported. The balance of prisoners is greatly against us; and a general regard to the happiness of the whole should mark our conduct. Can we imagine, that our enemies will not mete the same punishments, the same indignities, the same cruelties, to those belonging to us, in their possession, that we impose on theirs in our power? Why should we suppose them to possess more humanity than we have ourselves? Or why should an ineffectual attempt to relieve the distresses of one brave, unfortunate man, involve many more in the same calamities? However disagreeable the fact may be, the enemy may at this time have in their power, and subject to their call, near three hundred officers belonging to the army of the United States. In this number there are some of high rank; the most of them are men of bravery and of merit. The quota of theirs in our hands bears no proportion, being not more than fifty at most. Under these circumstances, Edition: current; Page: [260] we should certainly do no act to draw upon the gentlemen belonging to us, and who have already suffered a long captivity, greater punishments than they have experienced and now experience. If we should, what will their feelings be, and those of their numerous and extensive connexions? Suppose the treatment prescribed for the Hessians should be pursued, will it not establish what the enemy have been aiming to effect by every artifice and the grossest misrepresentations, I mean, an opinion of our enmity towards them, and of the cruel conduct they experience when they fall into our hands, a prejudice which we on our part have heretofore thought it politic to suppress and to root out by every act of lenity and kindness? It certainly will. The Hessians would hear of the punishment with all the circumstances of heightened exaggeration, would feel the injury, without investigating the cause, or reasoning upon the justice or necessity of it. The mischiefs, which may and must inevitably flow from the execution of ourselves, appear to be endless and innumerable.

On my own part, I have been much embarrassed on the subject of exchanges already. Applications are daily made, by both friends and enemies, to complete them as far as circumstances of number and rank will apply. Some of the former have complained, that a discrimination is about to be adopted, perhaps injurious to their reputation, and certainly depriving them of their right of exchange in due course, as established upon the principles of equality proposed last year, acceded to by both parties, and Edition: current; Page: [261] now subsisting. The latter charge me with a breach of faith, and call on me to perform the agreement.

Many more objections might be subjoined, were they material. I shall only observe, that the present state of our army, if it deserves that name, will not authorize the language of retaliation, or the style of menace. This will be conceded by all, who know that the whole of our force is weak and trifling, and composed of militia (very few regular troops excepted), whose service is on the eve of expiring. There are several other matters, which might be mentioned upon this subject, would time and opportunity permit; but as they will not, I beg leave to refer you to Colonel Walker, who will deliver this, and give satisfaction to any inquiries that may be deemed necessary. Persuading myself that Congress will indulge the liberty I have taken upon this occasion, I have only to wish for the result of their deliberations after they have reconsidered the resolves, and to assure them that I have the honor to be, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [262]
George Washington
Washington, George
2 March, 1777
Morristown
Robert Morris
Morris, Robert

TO ROBERT MORRIS.

Dear Sir,

Your favour of the 27th ultimo came to my hands last night. The freedom, with which you have communicated your sentiments on several matters therein contained, is highly pleasing to me. For be assured Sir, that nothing would add more to my satisfaction, than an unreserved correspondence with a Gentleman of whose Abilities and attachment to the Cause we are contending for, I entertain so high an opinion as Edition: current; Page: [263] I do of yours. Letters, however, being liable to various accidents, make a communication of thoughts that way rather unsafe. But, as this will be conveyed by a gentleman on whom I can depend, I shall not scruple to disclose my Mind and situation, more freely than I otherwise should do.1

Edition: current; Page: [264]

The Reasons, my good Sir, which you assign for thinking General Howe cannot move forward with his army are good; but not conclusive. It is a descriptive evidence of the difficulties he has to contend with, but no proof that they cannot be surmounted. It is a view of one side of the picture, against which let me enumerate the advantages on the other, and then determine how we would act in his situation General Howe cannot, by the best intelligence I have been able to get, have less than ten thousand men in the Jerseys and on board of transports at Amboy. Ours does not exceed four thousand. His are well disciplined, well officered, and well appointed. Ours raw Militia, badly officered, and under no Government. His numbers cannot, in any short time, be augmented. Ours must be very considerably, and by such troops as we can have some reliance on, or the game is at an end. His situation with respect to horses and forage is bad, very bad, I believe; but will it be better? No; on the contrary, worse, and, therefore, an inducement, if no other, to shift quarters. General Howe’s informants are too numerous, and too well acquainted with all these circumstances, to suffer him to remain in ignorance of them. With what propriety, then, can he miss so favorable an opportunity of striking a capital stroke against a city, from whence we derive so many advantages, the carrying of which would give such eclat to his arms, and strike such a damp upon ours? Nor is his difficulty of moving so great as is imagined. All the heavy Baggage of the Army, their Salt provisions, (and flour, their stores, &c.), Edition: current; Page: [265] might go round by water; whilst their superior numbers would enable them to make a sweep of the horses for many miles around about them (not already taken off by us).

In addition to all this, his coming himself to Brunswic, his bringing troops which cannot be quartered, and keeping them on shipboard at Amboy, with some other corroborating circumstances, did induce a firm belief in me, that he would move, and towards Philadelphia. I candidly own, that I expected it would happen before the expiration of my proclamation; the longer it is delayed, the better for us, and happy shall I be, if I am deceived. My opinions upon these several matters are only known to those, who have a right to be informed. As much as possible I have endeavored to conceal them from every one else; and, that no hasty removal of the public stores should take place, thereby communicating an alarm; it was, that I early recommended this measure, and have since been urging it, well knowing that a measure of this kind, set hastily about, when the enemy were advancing, would give unfavorable impressions, and be attended with bad consequences. To deceive Congress, or you, through whose hands my letters to them are to pass, with false appearances and assurances, would, in my judgment, be criminal, and make me responsible for the consequences. I endeavor, in all these letters, to state matters as they appear to my judgment, without adding to or diminishing aught from the picture. From others my sentiments are pretty much hid.

Edition: current; Page: [266]

I wish, with all my heart, that Congress had gratified General Lee in his request. If not too late, I wish they would do it still. I can see no possible evil that can result from it; some good I think might. The request to see a gentleman or two came from the General, not from the Commissioners; there could have been no harm, therefore, in hearing what he had to say on any subject, especially as he had declared, that his own personal interest was deeply concerned. The resolve to put in close confinement Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the Hessian field-officers, in order to retaliate General Lee’s punishment upon them, is, in my opinion, injurious in every point of view, and must have been entered into without due attention to the consequences. Does Congress know how much the balance of prisoners is against us; that the enemy have, at least, three hundred officers of ours in their possession, and we not fifty of theirs; that Generals Thompson and Waterbury are subject to be recalled at any time? Do they imagine that these officers will not share the fate of Campbell &c? Or, possibly, by receiving very different treatment, mixed with artful insinuations, have their resentments roused to acts highly injurious to our cause. It is much easier to raise a ferment of this kind than to allay it. Do they know that every artifice is now practising to prepossess the Hessians with an idea of our mal-treatment of their countrymen (in our possession); that we are treating them as slaves; nay, that we mean to sell them? And will not the close confinement of their first officers be adduced as Edition: current; Page: [267] strong evidence of this? Congress therefore should be cautious how they adopt measures which cannot be carried into execution without involving a train of evils, that may be fatal in their consequences. In a word, common prudence dictates the necessity of duly attending to the circumstances of both armies, before the style of conquerors is assumed by either; and sorry I am to add, that this does not appear to be the case with us; nor is it in my power to make Congress fully sensible of the real situation of our affairs, and that it is with difficulty, (if I may use the expression,) that I can, by every means in my power, keep the life and soul of this army together. In a word, when they are at a distance, they think it is but to say, Presto begone, and every thing is done. They seem not to have any conception of the difficulty and perplexity attending those, who are to execute. Indeed, Sir, your observations on the want of many capital characters in the senate are but too just. However, our cause is good, and I hope Providence will support it.

If the resolve of Congress, respecting General Lee, strikes you in the same point of view it has done me, I could wish you would signify as much to that body, as I really think they are fraught with every evil. We know that the meeting of a Committee of Congress and Lord Howe stopped the mouths of many disaffected people. I believe the meeting solicited by General Lee would have the same effect.1 But Edition: current; Page: [268] the other matter, relative to the confinement of the officers, is what I am particularly anxious about, as I think it will involve much more than Congress has an idea of, and that they surely will repent adhering to their unalterable resolution.

I have wrote you a much longer letter than I expected to have done when I sat down; and yet, if time would permit, I could enlarge greatly on the subject of it; but, at present, shall beg pardon for taking up so much of your time, and only assure you that I am, most sincerely, dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
3 March, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

* * * * * *

It gives me pleasure to hear that your State has come to the resolution of granting the colonial bounty to Colonel Webb’s additional regiment; and if the other States will do the same, it will in a great measure obviate the objection which I made to their granting a higher bounty than was allowed by the Resolves of Congress. The reasons which you gave Edition: current; Page: [269] for a deviation from the Resolve carry weight with them, but I assure you, you are mistaken when you think that the necessaries of life are cheaper to the Southward than the Northward. It is true that less clothing is sufficient for them; but as they manufacture little among themselves they are obliged to pay most extravagantly for what they wear.

I have ordered the Clothier General to supply each State with their proportion of what clothing, of different kinds, are in the public stores; but you must be sensible that a very full proportion of the clothing purchased for the use of the continent, out of the prize vessels, must be brought on for the use of the Southern Continental troops, as the country from whence they come furnishes scarce any woollen goods. To prevent confusion and disappointment in future, I beg that no clothing may be stopped upon the way without a particular order from the Clothier-General or myself. * * *

Inoculation at Philadelphia and in this neighborhood has been attended with amazing success; and I have not the least doubt but your troops will meet the same.

As I have, in many of my late letters, mentioned the distress that the continent in general is under for the want of arms; I need only repeat to you the necessity that there is for making a strict collection of the public arms, and purchasing such as can be obtained from private persons.

Some time ago General Schuyler wrote to me, and informed me that there were a great number of arms Edition: current; Page: [270] at Albany, wanting repair. I directed that they should be sent down to the most convenient place for that purpose; but perhaps that may not yet be done. You will therefore please to make inquiry into the matter and if they remain there, have them repaired and put into the hands of the troops.

All the arms fit for the field have been constantly repaired as fast as it could be done. What I call useless, are such as are so light and thin in the barrel that they would not bear a charge with safety, at the best, much less after being eat up with rust.

* * * * * *

George Washington
Washington, George
3 March, 1777
Morristown
Andrew Lewis
Lewis, Andrew

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ANDREW LEWIS.

Dear Sir,

I was much disappointed at not perceiving your name in the list of major-generals lately made by Congress, and most sincerely wish that the neglect may not induce you to abandon the service.1 Let me Edition: current; Page: [271] beseech you to reflect, that the Period is now arrived, when our most vigorous exertions are wanted, when it is highly and indispensably necessary for Gentlemen of Abilities in any Line, but more especially in the Military, not to withhold themselves from public employment, or suffer any small Punctilios to persuade them to retire from their Country’s Service. The cause requires your aid; no one more sincerely wishes it than I do. A candid reflection on the Rank Edition: current; Page: [272] you held in the last War, added to a decent respect for the Congress’s Resolve “not to be confined in making or promoting General Officers to any regular Line,” to the propriety of which all America submitted, may remove any uneasiness arising in your mind on the score of neglect. Upon my honor I think it ought. A steady perseverance in promoting the public good, and regular discharge of the duties of your office, which in my opinion you can eminently perform, must and will, in the course of the approaching campaign, secure to you the unfeigned thanks of all good Men, and obtain from Congress that Rank, which perhaps you may think is now your undoubted right. The present Exigency requiring all the Continental troops at and near this place, and consequently a number of General Officers to command them, you will please to repair hither, so soon as you can possibly make it convenient. I acknowledge the receipt of several favors from you the last campaign. The Multiplicity of Business engaging my whole attention, as it prevented my answering them, must plead my excuse. In hopes of seeing you soon, I am, dear Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [273]
George Washington
Washington, George
4th day of March, 1777
Morristown
Robert H. Harrison
Harrison, Robert H.

TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT H. HARRISON.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Differences in opinion having arisen between General Howe and myself, respecting the construction of a proposition made the 30th of July, and acceded to the 1st of August last, for the exchange of prisoners, whereby it was stipulated, “that officers should be given for officers of equal rank, soldier for soldier, and citizen for citizen;”—for the accommodation of these differences, and to remove every just cause of complaint on the part of the enemy, if such there be, you are to meet any officer, not of inferior rank to yourself, who shall come properly authorized to treat upon the subject, and to adopt such measures, as you shall deem adequate to that end.

Experience having also shown, that the agreement above recited is not sufficiently definite to answer all the salutary purposes intended by it, nor sufficiently comprehensive to include the various cases incident to the state of prisoners, you are hereby vested with full power and authority to devise and conclude upon such improvements, in aid of the same, as shall appear necessary for establishing a more regular and explicit mode of Exchange, as well with respect to the prisoners who have been, as those who shall be hereafter taken; making mutual provision for such an allowance to pay all necessaries, as their comfort and welfare during their captivity may require; and, finally, to treat, determine, and agree upon all matters whatsoever relative to prisoners of war, Edition: current; Page: [274] on the principles of justice and humanity, and conformable to the most civilized customs and usages, for the greater ease, convenience, and security of all captives belonging to the armies under our respective commands; for all which this shall be your sufficient warrant; and your engagements, being mutually interchanged, shall be ratified and confirmed by me. Given under my hand and seal at Head-Quarters in Morristown, this 4th day of March, 1777.

George Washington
Washington, George
6 March, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I do myself the honor to transmit to you the enclosed copy of a letter from General Lee received by a flag on Tuesday last. You will perceive from thence his wishes and expectations of seeing some members of Congress, in consequence of his letter upon that subject. None of the passports which he mentions were sent out, though the letter came by General Howe’s permission, as the others did. I should be happy to relieve his anxiety, as far as I can, by sending in Major Morris; but this I cannot do till a safe-conduct is granted.1

The more I consider the resolves respecting Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the Hessian officers, the more convinced I am of their impolicy. The proposition made by Congress for the exchange of prisoners, and which by their direction was transmitted to General Howe, was founded on principles Edition: current; Page: [275] of equality in number and in rank. From hence no demand, as a matter of right, can be made of General Lee’s releasement for any officer or number of officers of inferior rank; whatever is or might be done in such instances, would be of favor and indulgence. The only cartel, that now subsists, is the one I have mentioned. This, so far as it goes, is a beneficial one; it recognizes the rank of our officers, and insures their discharge from captivity whenever we are possessed of a like number belonging to them, and of the same rank. If on our part it should be violated, if it is not observed, surely it will and must cease to be obligatory on General Howe. What consequences may then ensue, I leave to your conjecture. If it be objected, that the above observations, and what I said in my former letter, prove that no treatment received by our officers should be retaliated on theirs, my answer is, that the proportion of officers in their hands is at least six to one in ours. This consideration, supposing we had a right to demand General Lee’s liberty, would be of great weight, and sufficient to prevent, in my opinion, the execution of the resolves. I have the honor to be, in haste, your most obedient servant.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6 March, 1777
Morristown
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I flattered myself, that I should never again be under the necessity of trespassing upon the public spirit of your State, by calling upon her for another Edition: current; Page: [276] supply of militia; but, such has been the unaccountable delay in the recruiting of the Continental battalions, chiefly owing to the long time, which unhappily elapsed before the officers were appointed, that I see no prospect of keeping the field till the new levies can be brought into it, but by a reinforcement of militia. For want of proper laws in the southern governments, their militia never were well regulated; and since the late troubles, in which the old governments have been unhinged, and new ones not yet firmly established, the people have adopted a mode of thinking and acting for themselves. It is owing to this, that, when a summons is issued for militia, those only turn out that please, and they for what time they please, by which means they sometimes set off for their homes in a few days after they join the army. From this state of facts, you will perceive, that I put no great dependence on the militia from the southward, and I must therefore once more entreat you to endeavor to prevail upon two thousand of the militia of your State to march immediately to Peekskill, and there wait for further orders; their time of service to continue at least six weeks after they arrive there.

I am persuaded, from the readiness with which you have ever complied with all my demands, that you will exert yourself, in forwarding the aforementioned number of men, upon my bare request. But I hope you will be convinced of the necessity of the demand, when I tell you in confidence, that, after the 15th of this month, when the time of General Lincoln’s militia expires, I shall be left with the remains of five Edition: current; Page: [277] Virginia regiments, not amounting to more than as many hundred men, and parts of two or three other Continental battalions, all very weak. The remainder of the army will be composed of small parties of militia from this State and Pennsylvania, on which little dependence can be put, as they come and go when they please.1 I have issued peremptory orders to every colonel in the regular service, to send in what men he has recruited, even if they amount to but one hundred to a regiment. If they would do this, it would make a considerable force upon the whole. The enemy must be ignorant of our numbers and situation, or they would never suffer us to remain unmolested; and I almost tax myself with imprudence, in committing the secret to paper; not that I distrust you, of whose inviolable attachment I have so many proofs, but for fear the letter should by any accident fall into other hands, than those for which it is intended.

If your militia should make any objection to coming this way on account of the smallpox, you may assure them, that, if there is the least danger of taking that disorder here, they shall come no farther than Peekskill (I mean those that have not had it), where they may take the places of the Continental Yorkers, who I am obliged to keep in garrison there, having no other troops to secure the forts and passes upon the North River. I am, &c.2

Edition: current; Page: [278]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 March, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Gates
Major-General Gates

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GATES.

Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure of yours of the 7th instant, and am sorry to find, that General Cadwalader has declined a commission in the Continental service. Although I often wished in secret, that you could be brought to resume the office of adjutant-general, I never even hinted it, because I thought it might be disagreeable to you for the reason, which you yourself mentioned, “that you commanded last campaign at the second post upon this continent,” and that therefore it might be looked upon by you as a degradation. Edition: current; Page: [279] But you cannot conceive the pleasure I feel when you tell me, “that, if it is my desire that you should resume your former office, you will with cheerfulness and alacrity proceed to Morristown.” Give me leave to return you my sincere thanks for this mark of your attention to a request of mine, which, now you give me an opening, I make, and at the same time assure you, that I look upon your resumption of the office of adjutant-general, as the only means of giving form and regularity to our new army. I had in vain cast my eyes upon every person within my knowledge and found none that I thought equal to the Task except one Gentleman, Major Apollos Morris, but his character and his Intentions are of too dubious a Nature to intrust with an Office of such high importance. I shall be glad to receive a line from you, mentioning the time that you will leave Philadelphia, because I intend sending General St. Clair down to take your command.1

I am informed that General Putnam sent down to Philadelphia in irons Major Stockton, taken upon the Rariton, and that he continues in strict confinement. I think we ought to avoid putting in practice, what we have so loudly complained of, the cruel treatment of prisoners. I therefore desire, that, if there is a necessity Edition: current; Page: [280] for confinement, it may be made as easy and comfortable as possible to Major Stockton and his officers. This Man, I believe, has been very active and mischievous; but we took him in arms, as an officer of the enemy, and by the rules of war we are obliged to treat him as such, and not as a felon. I shall be glad if you will bring with you as exact a return as possible of the number of troops in Philadelphia, and try to form some opinion of the time in which they will be able to come forward. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
11 March, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Wooster
Brigadier-General Wooster

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL WOOSTER.1

Sir,

I was a good deal surprised to find yours of the 2d dated from Rye. Supposing there was a real necessity of your retreating from New Rochelle, you certainly ought to have returned immediately upon the enemy’s dropping their design, if they ever had any, of attacking you. All accounts from your quarters complain loudly of this retreat, as a most injudicious Step, as it gave fresh Spirits to the disaffected, and retarded the removal of Forage by the Convention of New York, the very end that your troops were principally intended to answer. As there is now a certainty, that the enemy have drawn the greatest part of their force from New York and Long Island, you may safely fall down again towards Kingsbridge, Edition: current; Page: [281] which I desire may be done immediately, and that you may do all in your power to keep the enemy as strictly confined as possible to the Island of New York.

It appears to me, that the fault was more in your officers than in Stanton, for they should not have suffered him to come on shore, farther than was necessary for his business. I therefore desire that he may be suffered to depart with his flag of truce, and told never to return again, without giving proper notice to an officer.1 I am, Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
12 March, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Sir,

It is of the greatest importance to the safety of a country involved in a defensive war, to endeavor to draw their troops together at some post at the opening of a campaign, so central to the theatre of war, that they may be sent to the support of any part of the country, which the enemy may direct their motions against. It is a military observation, strongly supported by experience, “that a superior army may fall a sacrifice to an inferior, by an injudicious division.” It is impossible, without knowing the enemy’s intentions, to guard against every sudden incursion, Edition: current; Page: [282] or give protection to all the inhabitants. Some principal object should be had in view, in taking post, to cover the most important part of the country, instead of dividing our force to give shelter to the whole, to attempt which cannot fail to give the enemy an opportunity of beating us in detachments. As we are under the necessity of guessing at the enemy’s intentions and further operations, the great object of attention ought to be, where the most proper place is, to draw our force together from the eastward and westward, to cover the country, prevent the enemy’s penetration, and annoy them in turn, should our strength be equal to the attempt. There is not a State upon the continent, but thinks itself in danger, and scarcely an officer at any one post, but conceives a reinforcement necessary. To comply with the demands of the whole is utterly impossible, and, if attempted, would prove our inevitable ruin.

From the enemy’s situation in Jersey, (collecting their force at Amboy and Brunswic, and from their intentions last fall, confirmed by every piece of intelligence we obtain this spring,) it scarce admits a doubt of Philadelphia being an object in view at the opening of this campaign. If this be their aim, it appears to me highly probable, (their army being greatly reduced since the commencement of the last campaign,) that they will bring round all the troops from Canada to reinforce ’em here. What serves to confirm me in this opinion is the facility with which a Junction can be made this way, the necessity they are under of a reinforcement, and the great security the Edition: current; Page: [283] command of the Lakes gives them against our incursions into Canada. Under these considerations, I cannot help thinking much too large a part of our force is directed to Ticonderoga. Peekskill appears to me a much more proper place, where, if the troops are drawn together, they will be advantageously situated to give a support to any of the eastern or middle States. Should the enemy’s designs be to penetrate the country up the North River, they will be well posted to oppose them; should they attempt to penetrate into New England, they are well stationed to cover it; if they move westward, the eastern and southern troops can easily form a junction; and, besides, it will oblige the enemy to leave a much stronger garrison at New York. But, even admitting the enemy pursue their first plan, they will be by no means disadvantageously posted to reinforce Ticonderoga, and cover the country of Albany. I am very sure the operations of this army will in a great degree govern the motions of that in Canada. If this is held at bay, curbed, and confined, the northern army dare not to attempt to penetrate.

It appears to me of great importance to the success to the next campaign, to give this army some capital stroke in the early part of the season. Nothing can enable me to do this, but a junction of the eastern and southern forces. The recruiting service to the southward has been so protracted, for want of a Regular arrangement amongst the recruiting officers, that, with the difficulty of clothing and arming the troops, it must unavoidably be late in the Edition: current; Page: [284] season before a sufficient force can be drawn together to check their progress, without the assistance of a very considerable part of the eastern troops. The ruin of this army is desirable for many reasons. It will free the country from their present distress, and prevent the army in Canada, (if it continues there,) from making any movements. But above all, should the enemy be coming from England with a strong reinforcement, to destroy this division of their force will totally ruin their plan of Operations for the next campaign, and perhaps discourage them from any further attempts. But suppose the enemy should, contrary to our expectations, (which I cannot help thinking is against all probability,) attempt to penetrate the country by the way of the Lakes, the forts being properly garrisoned and supplied with provisions, the cattle and carriages drove off, it will be impossible for them to effect it.

If we should draw a large force together at Ticonderoga, and the enemy make no movement upon the Lakes, but collect their whole strength here, they would be an useless Body of Troops there, while the service here might suffer an irreparable injury for want of ’em. The disaffection of Pennsylvania, which I fear is much beyond anything you have conceived, and the depression of the people of this State, render a strong support necessary to prevent a systematical submission; besides, the loss of Philadelphia would prove a very great and irreparable injury, as we draw from thence almost all our supplies. It will signify nothing to have our frontiers strongly guarded, while Edition: current; Page: [285] the enemy are ranging at large in the Heart of the Country. For these and many other reasons, that will readily occur to you upon reflection, I have come to a resolution to alter the route of some part of the Bay forces, and to draw eight regiments of them to Peekskill, from whence (by water) they can soon proceed to Albany if occasion shall require, or move elsewhere, according to circumstances. This measure I have been more inclined to adopt, as I find part of the York regiments are gone to Ticonderoga, contrary to my expectation or design. * * *

I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
14 March, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was honored several days ago with your Letter of the 25th Ulto., with its Inclosures, the receipt of which was omitted to be acknowledged in my last.—Could I accomplish the important objects so eagerly wished by Congress,—“confining the enemy within their present quarters, preventing their getting supplies from the country, and totally subduing them before they are reinforced,”—I should be happy indeed. But what prospect or hope can there be of my effecting so desirable a work at this time? The enclosed return, to which I solicit the most serious attention Edition: current; Page: [286] of Congress, comprehends the whole force I have in Jersey. It is but a handful, and bears no proportion, in the scale of numbers, to that of the enemy. Added to this, the major part is made up of militia. The most sanguine in speculation cannot deem it more than adequate to the least valuable purposes of war. The reinforcements mentioned to be drawn from General Heath were merely ideal; nearly the whole of the eastern troops, who were with him, being here before. They were only engaged till to-day; and to-day they leave the camp. Their service has been of pretty long continuance, and almost the whole of the winter months. What prospect there may be of immediate succors from other quarters, I know not; but from the militia of this State I cannot expect to derive much more aid. Those who are well affected have been so frequently called from their homes, that they are tired out, and almost profess an abhorrence of the service; nor have I heard as yet, that any Continental troops are on their way. I have written to the brigadier-generals in most of the States upon the subject, and also to the colonels, urging them by every motive to exert themselves in filling the regiments, and to forward them on.

I confess, Sir, I feel the most painful anxiety when I reflect on our situation and that of the enemy. Unless the levies arrive soon, we must before long experience some interesting and melancholy event. I believe the enemy have fixed on their object, and the execution will surely be attempted as soon as the roads are passable. The unprepared state, in which Edition: current; Page: [287] we are, favors all their designs; and it is much to be wished, that they may not succeed to their warmest expectations. On recurring to the last promotions of brigadiers, I find the number appointed to be short of what I took the liberty to recommend, and not competent to the exigences of the service, supposing the whole in office before, and those lately created, consent to act, which I have reason to believe will not be the case. I shall only beg leave to refer you to my former letters upon this subject, and to assure you, that many disadvantages will result from not having a sufficient number of officers of this rank. We have always been deficient in this instance; and certain I am that the service has been greatly injured by it. The proportion I mentioned was full small, and in my opinion should not be dispensed with.

I would also take the liberty of mentioning again, having received no Answer upon the subject, that settling the Hospital plan and Establishment becomes more and more necessary; it is an Object of infinite importance, and the difficulties of doing it on a proper foundation, will be great, if not almost insurmountable should it be deferred till the Campaign opens and the Enemy begin their Operations. The benefits of the institution will soon be known—the want was severely felt in the course of the last year.

There is one thing now which claims in my opinion the earliest attention of Congress, I mean the pay of the Regimental Surgeons and that of the Mates. These appointments are so essential that they cannot be done without. The pay in the first instance, is so Edition: current; Page: [288] low—so inadequate to the services, which should be performed, that no man sustaining the character of a Gentleman and who has the least medical abilities, or skill in the profession can think of accepting it. That in the latter is so paltry and trifling, that none, of the least generosity of sentiment, or pretensions to merit, can consent to act for it. In a word these are inconveniences of an interesting nature—they amount to an exclusion of persons who could discharge the duties of these offices, and if not redressed, there is not the smallest probability that any can be prevailed on to enter them again.

There are several matters also, which I referred to Congress some time since, and upon which I have not received the result of their deliberations. One inquiry about the state of Arms and Ammunition I am peculiarly anxious to be satisfied in.

From the inconveniences and injuries to the Service of late, for want of money, I am induced to request that the strictest regard should be had to furnishing the paymaster with constant and sufficient supplies. On Sunday he received 500,000 dollars, half of which is already expended and the Ballance in a day or two will be entirely swept away, without discharging the several claims. By his report, the Commissary here requires an immediate draft, for 600,000 and the Militia returning and about to leave the Camp, 120,000 more. The expence incurred by calling on them so frequently is almost incredible. Besides these, there are several arrears due the Old troops and to most of the General & staff officers.

Edition: current; Page: [289]

P. S. I fully intended to transmit to you a general return, but I am not able to make it out with precision. However, from the most accurate estimate that I can form, the whole of our numbers in Jersey, fit for duty at this time, is under three thousand. These, nine hundred and eighty-one excepted, are militia, and stand engaged only till the last of this month. The troops under inoculation, including their attendants, amount to about one thousand.1

George Washington
Washington, George
15 March, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Sullivan
Major-General Sullivan

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SULLIVAN.

Do not, my dear General Sullivan, torment yourself any longer with imaginary slights, and involve others in the perplexities you feel on that score. No other officer of rank, in the whole army, has so often conceived himself neglected, slighted, and ill treated, as you have done, and none I am sure has had less cause than yourself to entertain such Ideas. Mere accidents, things which have occurred in the common course of service, have been considered by you as designed affronts. But pray, Sir, in what respect did General Greene’s late command at Fort Lee differ from his present command at Baskenridge; or from yours at Chatham? And what kind of separate command had General Putnam at New York? I never heard of any, except his commanding there ten days before my arrival from Boston, and one day after I had left it for Haerlem Heights, as senior officer. In like manner at Philadelphia, how did his Edition: current; Page: [290] command there differ from the one he has at Princeton, and wherein does either vary from yours at Chatham? Are there any peculiar emoluments or honors to be reaped in the one case and not in the other? No. Why then these unreasonable, these unjustifiable suspicions? Suspicions, which can answer no other end, than to poison your own happiness, and add vexation to that of others. General Heath, it is true, was ordered to Peekskill, so was General Spencer, by the mere chapter of accidents (being almost in the country), to Providence, to watch the motions of the fleet, then hovering in the Sound. What followed after to either, or both, was more the effect of chance than design.

Your ideas and mine, respecting separate commands, have but little analogy. I know of but one separate command, properly so called, and that is in the Northern Department; and General Sullivan, General St. Clair, or any other general officer at Ticonderoga will be considered in no other light, whilst there is a superior officer in the department, than if they were placed at Chatham, Baskenridge, or Princeton. But I have not time to dwell upon subjects of this kind. In quiting it, I shall do it with an earnest exhortation, that you will not suffer yourself to be teased with evils, that only exist in the imagination, and with slights, that have no existence at all; keeping in mind, at the same time, that, if distant armies are to be formed, there are several gentlemen before you, in point of rank, who have a right to claim a preference. I am, with regard, dear Sir, your most obedient, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [291]
George Washington
Washington, George
18th day of Mar 1777
Morristown
Major-General Greene
Major-General Greene

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GREENE.
INSTRUCTIONS.

Sir,

The necessity of having the Congress well inform’d of many matters essential to the well being of this army, and the Impracticability of doing this fully by Letter, have induced me to request you, (who intimately know our Circumstances,) to repair immediately to Philadelphia for this purpose.—at the same time to know how we are to be supplied with arms and many other articles, of wch we are exceedingly deficient.—To enumerate the several matters of information necessary to be given, and the inquiries proper to be made, would be as needless as endless—your own good Sense, assisted by such hints as you have recd. will be abundly. suffit.

But I would have you enquire of the quartermaster Genl., how he stands provided with Tents,—ammunition Carts, or Wagons for Intrenching Tools, and Hatchets or Tomahawks—also of the comy. of stores how he goes on with his Castings of Cannon—making cartridges, (of which numbers should be in readiness) and in general what forwardness the business of the Elaboratory is in, & urge him to the most diligent discharge of the duties thereof.

3. As the Establishment of the horse with respect to the Pay, seems to be upon an unstable footing and it is indispensably necessary that both officers and men should know what they have to depend upon—I should be glad if the pay could be settled upon such a just and liberal footing as to give satisfaction to the Parties.

2. One thing in particular I beg of you to Impress strongly upon Congress, and that is the necessity of keeping the paymaster regularly supplied with the article of Cash.—without it, every thing moves slowly on; and many, and great disadvantages flow from the want of it; as we have most wofully experienced of late in numberless Instances.

Given at head-Quarters Morristown this 18th day of Mar 1777.

Two or three things however, I must in a more particular manner recomd to your attention—the one is, the embarrassment Edition: current; Page: [292] I am laid under with respect to carrying the Exchange of Prisoners into Execution (agreeable to the cartel settled with Genl Howe) on account of the confinement of Lt-Colo Campbell, & the Hessian Field-officers.

Another (See 2).

Another (See 3).1

George Washington
Washington, George
18 March, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Mifflin
Major-General Mifflin

TO MAJOR-GENERAL MIFFLIN.

Dear Sir,

I very sincerely congratulate you upon your late promotion. The purport of this letter is private. Your design in restraining the Waggon Master, from buying and selling Horses, I highly approve, because I am well assured, that a contrary practice would be introductory of a great deal of fraud, and imposition upon the public. But as it is more than probable that, in the course of service, many Horses will be so worn down as to render it beneficial to the public to have them sold, I should be glad, in that case, and no other, to come in as a common purchaser of a parcel of Mares, to the number of even fifty or hundred.

Edition: current; Page: [293]

I have many large Farms and am improving a great deal of Land into Meadow and Pasture, which cannot fail of being profited by a number of Brood Mares, the getting of which, may, perhaps, come easier and readier, in this way than any other. I again repeat, that it is upon the presumption the good of the service requires such sales, that I mean to become (as another person) a purchaser. But could wish, nevertheless, that it might be done without any mention of my name, well knowing that the most innocent and upright actions are often misconstrued, & that it would not be surprising, if it should be said, that I was defrauding the public of these Mares by some collusion or other.

I should not care how low in flesh, or even crippled, they are, provided I could get them home; but I should not like to have them old, and would prefer Bays, though I shall not object to any color. If such Sales are found necessary, you can, I dare say, easily manage the Matter so, in my behalf, as to keep my name out of the Question. My best respects to Mrs. Mifflin with truth and sincerity—I am &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
20 March, 1777
Morristown
Robert Alexander
Alexander, Robert

TO ROBERT ALEXANDER.

Dear Sir,

I have waited, as I think you must do me the justice to acknowledge, with a good deal of patience, to see if you were disposed to fulfil your agreement with me, respecting the Land I purchased of you in Maryland. As I hear nothing of your intentions of carrying this matter into execution, and see no Edition: current; Page: [294] greater prospect of its being done now, than when the bargain was first made, I cannot help considering the affair in a point of view very unfavorable.

I think, any Gentleman, possessed of but a very moderate degree of influence with his wife, might, in the course of five or six years (for I think it is at least that time) have prevailed upon her to do an act of justice, in fulfilling his Bargains and complying with his wishes, if he had been really in earnest in requesting the matter of her; especially, as the inducement which you thought would have a powerful operation on Mrs. Alexander, namely the birth of a child, has been doubled, and tripled.

It is not a very favorable time I acknowledge, to purchase Lands upon the water; but as this purchase still corresponds with the views I first set out upon, and I have waited your time for the completion of it, with a degree of patience which few others in my situation would have done, I hope you will give me no further cause to complain of your delays; for I cannot help repeating, and the world will believe, that the fault is not in Mrs. Alexander, but yourself, if matters are procrastinated any longer. I am, Sir &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
23d March, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I am honored with yours of the 8th and 10th instant, the first accompanying an account of the Committee of Simsbury against prisoners who were sent there by my order. There is no part of the charge to be objected against, but that of £9-6-0 said to be Edition: current; Page: [295] for the expense and trouble of the Committee themselves. I cannot see how either could have been incurred in so trivial a matter, or if any, that it could have been so large a proportion, However, I think the State had better pay what is reasonable and right, and make a Continental charge of it.

I wish you may not have been deceived in the forwardness of your regiments, for I can assure you the returns fall far short of what was given out. Chandler’s, Swift’s, and Charles Webb’s, by General Parson’s letter of the 6th instant, had only eighty men each, though the latter sent his son down some weeks ago, and drew four hundred stand of arms, assuring me that his father had as many men ready. None of the other regiments were half full. Durkee’s had only one hundred and forty men. From this state of facts it is evident that if the most spirited exertions are not made, the enemy will take the field before we can draw a sufficient head of men together to oppose them. I am informed that the State of Massachusetts have called upon their different districts to furnish as many men as are sufficient to make up their quota of eighty-eight battalions, and that they have succeeded by this mode far better than if they had proceeded in their usual line of enlistment. I don’t know whether your State can exercise such powers, but if you can, you could never make use of them at a better time. From the present appearance of the weather, the spring promises to be a forward one; and from every account, the enemy only wait for good weather and good roads to take the field.

Edition: current; Page: [296]

The reinforcement of Russians spoke of by Governor Wentworth, is mentioned in several letters that have been thrown out, I believe with an intent to divide and intimidate. For although I do not doubt but they would employ Russians, or any other barbarians, to accomplish their designs, I do not think there is a probability that they can be here shortly, if at all.

Governor Livingston informed me a few days ago, that he understood that Governor Franklin, by some means or other, continued to carry on a correspondence with Mr. Hugh Wallace, of New York, and a gentleman of the name of Livingston, who went into New York and took protection, but not liking his situation returned again, informed upon oath, that he heard that Governor Franklin granted protections to such as would take them in Connecticut; and that one Shackles, of Middletown, carried on a correspondence with Miles Sherbrook, of New York. This, Livingston says he had from Sherbrook’s clerk. I don’t know that the foregoing amounts to positive proof against Governor Franklin, but it ought, at least, to put you on your guard, and have him narrowly watched.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient servant.
George Washington
Washington, George
29 March, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I last night had the Honor to receive your Letter of the 26th Instt. accompanied by sundry Resolves of Congress and some other papers.

Edition: current; Page: [297]

The arrival of the Arms—Locks and Flints you have been pleased to mention is a most fortunate and happy event—I join you most sincerely in congratulations upon the occasion.

I have not yet obtained a certain account of the expedition against and destruction of Peekskill. Information of those events has not been yet transmitted by Generals McDougall, Clinton, or the Convention of the State.1 There is no doubt but that the town is destroyed, and with it some stores; neither the quality nor amount of them is known. It is said that it was done in part by our own people, when they found that they could not prevent them from falling into the enemy’s hands. The ships and troops have gone down the river again.2

Edition: current; Page: [298]

Mr. Kirkland, the Oneida missionary, arrived here this week with a chief warrior and five other Indians of that nation. They had been to Boston, and came from thence to this place to inquire into the true state of matters, that they might report them to a grand council to be shortly held. They said things were so falsely and variously represented by our enemies through their agents, that they did not know what to depend on. I invited them to go to Philadelphia; but they declined it, declaring they were Edition: current; Page: [299] well satisfied with what they had seen, and that they were authorized to tell their nation all they had heard from the enemy was false. Being told that France was assisting us, and about to join in the war, they seemed highly pleased; and Mr. Kirkland said he was persuaded it would have a considerable effect on the minds of several of the nations, and secure to us their neutrality, if not a declaration and commencement of hostilities in our favor. I showed them every civility in my power, and every thing that I thought material to excite in them an idea of our strength and independence. After staying two days, they set off for their nation, expressing their desire of the most speedy return to the council, and professing the most friendly sentiments towards us.

I have the honor to be, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
1 April, 1777
Morristown
Elias Boudinot
Boudinot, Elias

TO ELIAS BOUDINOT.

Sir,

I am authorized by Congress to appoint a commissary of prisoners. The pay will, I expect, be about sixty dollars a month; the duty, except as to confinement, Edition: current; Page: [300] not hard, at least after the business is once put into a proper train. Close attendance on the army will be requisite, in order to receive and distribute the prisoners to places assigned for their confinement, at each of which some person should be stationed to see that they are taken care of, that they receive what is allowed them, and that proper accounts are kept of the expenses. The most troublesome part of this office will be to obtain accounts of the expenses already incurred; for, after this is once done, the business may be put upon such a footing, as to be managed with regularity and ease.

I intend to annex another duty to this office, and that is the procuring of intelligence. The person engaged in the department of commissary of prisoners will have as much leisure, and better opportunities, than most officers in the army, to obtain knowledge of the enemy’s situation, motions, and (as far as may be) designs. Thus, Sir, in concise terms have I given you a sketch of the duties of a commissary of prisoners, and my expectations from him, and now give me leave to ask if you will accept the appointment. With very great esteem and regard, I am, Sir, yours, etc.1

Edition: current; Page: [301]
George Washington
Washington, George
3 April, 1777
Morristown
Governor Cooke
Governor Cooke

TO GOVERNOR COOKE.

Sir,

I am honord with yours of the 18th of last month.

The late ample arrivals of arms at Philadelphia and at Portsmouth, added to those which we before had, puts us out of all further uneasiness on account of that necessary article. The eleven hundred and seventy-six stand, which you received from the Continental agent at Boston, will be very near the number wanted for your two Continental battalions when complete; and I desire that they may be carefully collected from the militia, to whom any part of them were lent, and applied to that purpose. The effects of granting extravagant bounties, and of raising bodies of men upon colonial establishments, now appear, from the returns of the low state of your Continental battalions. From the first cause, the men are taught to set a price upon themselves, and refuse Edition: current; Page: [302] to turn out, except that price is paid; and I am informed in some instances, in Massachusetts, one hundred pounds lawful money per man has been paid. It is also evident, that the raising of the colonial brigade for fifteen months retards the Continental enlistments; for General Spencer in a letter of the 26th of March writes to me, that the first has five hundred men, and the last but three hundred and eighty, about half of whom have had the smallpox; and he adds, that General Varnum was only then preparing hospitals for the inoculation of the remainder. Strange that this should have been neglected so long, when my orders were given on the 3d of March, to provide quarters and to inoculate immediately.

You certainly overrate the Number of the Enemy upon Rhode Island, if they consist of only six Hessian and two British regiments. The Hessian regiments, when they came out complete, did not exceed six hundred men each, and the British two hundred and fifty each. Now, if they have decreased by Casualties in proportion to the other troops in the British army, they are scarcely more than three thousand; a number too small to make any attempt upon the Main. I am convinced, from every appearance, that they intend to leave Rhode Island, where they have wintered comfortably, and kept up a considerable diversion, and join their main Body in this Province. How I am to oppose them, God knows; for, except a few hundred from Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, I have not yet received a man of the Edition: current; Page: [303] new Continental levies. So far from being able to consent, that your Continental battalions should remain at home, supposing the enemy should continue upon the Island, that I am obliged, in the most positive Terms, to order every Man, who has had the smallpox, to come immediately forward, and those who have not, so soon as they are recovered. I have written to General Varnum to the same effect. As it is my duty to afford equal protection to every part of the continent, you may be assured, if I thought there was any real danger to be apprehended from the enemy at Rhode Island, that, instead of drawing the Continental troops from that quarter, I would add to their numbers. But, when there is every probability of their coming away, and, supposing they should stay, as the internal strength of the country would hinder them from setting foot upon the main, I think I am excusable in drawing every man in the Continental service (except those intended for the northern department) to this point, to give opposition to the grand army of the enemy, who, unless they are checked, will, in turn, overrun every State in the Union.

As the safety of the whole confederacy depends upon each State’s furnishing the quota of men allotted to it, I must call upon you in the most pressing manner first to endeavor to complete your allotment by the usual methods; but, if your men will not turn out voluntarily, notwithstanding the great encouragement given by the State, I beg you will, if your powers are adequate, insist upon each district’s Edition: current; Page: [304] furnishing a certain number, as they have done in Massachusetts. If neither of these modes can be fallen upon, to good effect, we may as well give up the cause. I have the honor to be, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
3 April, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Arnold
Brigadier-General Arnold

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ARNOLD.

Dear Sir,

I am this day favd. with yours of the 26th last month and a few days ago with that of the 11th. It is needless for me to say much upon a subject, which must undoubtedly give you a good deal of uneasiness. I confess I was surprised when I did not see your name in the list of major-generals, and was so fully of opinion, that there was some mistake in the matter, that, I, (as you may recollect,) desired you not to take any hasty step, before the intention of Congress was fully known.1 The point does not now admit of a doubt, and is of so delicate a nature, that I will not even undertake to advise. Your own feelings must be your Guide. As no particular Charge is alleg’d against you, I do not see upon what Ground you can demand a Court of Inquiry. Besides, Edition: current; Page: [305] public bodies are not amenable for their Actions. They place and displace at pleasure; and all the satisfaction that an individual can obtain, when he is overlooked, is, if innocent, a consciousness that he has not deserved such treatment for his honest exertions. Your determination not to quit your present command, while any danger to the public might ensue from your leaving it, deserves my thanks, and justly entitles you to the thanks of your country.

General Greene, who has lately been at Philadelphia, took occasion to inquire upon what principle the Congress proceeded in their late promotion of general officers. He was informed, that the members from each State seemed to insist upon having a proportion of general officers, adequate to the number of men which they furnish, and that, as Connecticut had already two major-generals, it was their full share. I confess this is a strange mode of reasoning; but it may serve to show you, that a promotion, which was due to your seniority, was not overlooked for want of Merit in you. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
3 April, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Parsons
Brigadier-General Parsons

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL PARSONS.

Dear Sir,

My Letters of the 20th and 29th Ulto. will convey evident proofs to you of my extreme sollicitude respecting the assembling of our Troops; and yet, as I have but too much reason to believe that dissipation in some and the comfortable enjoyment of domestick pleasures in others, have had an unhappy Influence Edition: current; Page: [306] upon the conduct of the recruiting officers, I must again repeat the urgent necessity there is for the officers of every denomination exerting themselves to the utmost in bringing forward the new Levies.

Genl. Howe is vigorous in his preparations; the troops at Rhode Island, from the best Intelligence I have been able to get, were about to imbark; a number (to the amount it is said of 3000) have actually imbark’d from New York and Amboy; and are now at the watering place near the Narrows.—In short, the Campaign is opening, and we have no men for the field—If this is owing to the causes above mentioned, the officers imployed in the Recruiting Service must expect to be answerable for the consequences. If they have done their duty, and it proceeds from unwillingness in the men to inlist, the Government must have recourse to coercive measures; for if the quotas required of each state cannot be had by voluntary Inlistment, in time, and the Powers of Government are not adequate to drafting, there is an end of the contest; and opposition becomes vain—I therefore wish you to see Govr. Trumbull and converse with him on the Importance of this subject, for delay in obtaining the men, falls very little short of not getting them at all.—If the Enemy, for want of men to oppose them, can march through the country in triumph, or if the opposition is so feeble as to become ineffectual, and, our Army thereby destroyed by piecemeals, the bad effects of either is much easier to be conceived, than described, and should be avoided if possible.—

Edition: current; Page: [307]

The Eight Regiments of your State I would have divided into two Brigades as follows.—

First. Second.
1. Colo. Chas. Webb 2. Colo. Huntington
3. Colo. Wyllys 4. Colo. Bradley
5. Colo. Douglas 6. Colo. Chandler
7. Colo. Durkee 8. Colo. Swift.

The first Brigade to be under your immediate command—the second to be under the care of the eldest Colo. (superintended by you) till Genl. Spencer arrives, or a Brigadier is appointed to it.—All the officers and men of these Brigades to march immediately to Peekskill, except such as have not had the Small Pox, and are now under Inoculation,—and except such officers as are necessary for the care of the Sick, and for Recruiting; which ought to be attended to, and prosecuted, with all possible vigor.—take care to give me previous notice of the arrival of these Troops at the Kills, that (if the exigencies of affairs require it) they may be immediately ordered on to head Quarters without loss of time. I am, &c.

PROCLAMATION RESPECTING DESERTERS.

Whereas many soldiers, lately enlisted in the Continental army, not content with the generous bounties and encouragements granted to them by Congress, but influenced by a base regard to their interest, have re-enlisted with and received bounties from other officers, and then deserted; and whereas it is presumed, that many, fully sensible of the enormity of their crimes, would return to their duty, were they not deterred by an apprehension of suffering the severe punishment lately inflicted on those found Edition: current; Page: [308] guilty of desertion; I have thought proper to issue this my proclamation, offering free pardon to all those above described, as well as to those who have deserted from other motives, who shall voluntarily surrender themselves to any officer in the Continental army, or join their respective corps before the 15th day of May next. And I do strictly enjoin all officers in the army under my command, and entreat the good people of these States, to use their utmost endeavors to apprehend and secure such deserters, as shall not avail themselves of the indulgence offered by this proclamation. Given under my hand at Head-Quarters, at Morristown, this 6th day of April, 1777.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 April, 1777
Morristown
General Heard
General Heard

TO GENERAL HEARD.

Sir,

Inclosed I transmit you a copy of a late resolve of Congress, by which you will perceive that in bringing the militia into the field, strict regard is to be had to Edition: current; Page: [309] the number of men, and only a due proportion of officers, both with respect to rank and number, is to be called out to command them. More than these will not be paid, as it would impose an unreasonable burthen on the public. There have been horrid abuses in this way; it has been heretofore customary to see almost as many officers as men in the pay abstracts, that have been brought before me. And what is, if possible, a still greater enormity I have reason to believe it is too often a practice for officers who command parties to assume the rank of their superior officers, who happen to be absent, and to draw pay equivalent to it, under the absurd idea of their acting in their stead & capacity.

I desire your careful attention to the remedying these things in future, as the tenor of the before mentioned resolve will be-rigidly adhered to; and supernumerary officers may expect to receive no pay for their unnecessary services; and those who are guilty of such an assumption of rank will make themselves liable to punishment.

I find that the Brigadiers of this State have each a particular power only to call out the Militia of a particular district. On this account, unless the Governor should have regulated the matter himself, it will be necessary that the Brigadiers should agree among themselves, on one of their number to take the actual command of the troops in the field; more than one will not be wanted for the purpose.

I shall deem it indispensably incumbent on the acting Brigadier to enforce upon all the officers Edition: current; Page: [310] under him the necessary practice of making exact returns to him of their several parties and to impress it upon them, in explicit terms, that no abstracts they shall present will be paid, unless they are first certified under his hand; in doing which, his duty and reputation demand he should accurately compare the abstracts with the returns that have been previously made. Any neglect, or want of care, in this particular, will manifest an unpardonable disregard to the public good. I am &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
7 April, 1777
Morristown
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph
John Cox
Cox, John

TO COLONEL REED OR COLONEL COX.

Dear Sir,

I am informed, there is a certain Mr. Smith, who has been lately taken up by General Lincoln as a spy and sent to Philadelphia under that character. I believe for several reasons, that he is the man who was imployed by you to act for us, in that capacity, and that the apprehending him is a mistake, which may be attended with ill consequences. Lest he should be precipitately tried and punished, I must beg you will interpose in the affair without delay, and if you find him to be the person I suspect he is, take measures to have him released. I should be glad indeed, that some management might be used in the matter, in order to turn the circumstance of his being apprehended to a good account. It would be well to make him a handsome present in money to secure Edition: current; Page: [311] his fidelity to us; and contrive his releasement, in such a manner, as to give it the appearance of an accidental escape from confinement. After concerting a plan with him, by which he will be enabled to be serviceable to us, in communicating intelligence from time to time, let him make the best of his way to the Enemy, under the idea above intimated,—that is, as a fugitive from the persecution and danger, he incurred among us, for his known friendship to the enemy. Great care must be taken so to conduct the scheme, as to make the escape appear natural and real.—There must be neither too much facility, nor too much refinement, for doing too little, or overacting the part would alike beget a suspicion of the true state of the case. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
9 April, 1777
Morristown
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

I take the liberty of transmitting you a copy of a paper addressed to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Walcott of your army, which came enclosed in a letter from Lieutenant-General Lord Cornwallis. It is with peculiar regret, I am constrained to observe, that this illiberal performance of Colonel Walcott’s is obviously calculated to answer a less generous purpose, than that of merely effecting an exchange, contains a gross misrepresentation of facts, and is a palpable deviation from that delicate line, which I expected would mark his conduct, as a man of candor Edition: current; Page: [312] and ingenuity.1 That gentleman has censured two articles insisted on by me through Lieutenant-Colonel Harrison, at their meeting of the 10th ultimo, “as groundless, unprecedented, and inconsistent with any degree of reason or common sense,” though founded, as I conceive, in the clearest principles of Equity and justice. Not contenting himself with this, which would have given me no concern, he has assumed the privilege of mutilating and misstating those articles in such a manner, as to change their meaning, and to adapt them to the unfair conclusions he wished to establish.

Having premised these things, and being charged in direct and positive terms by Colonel Walcott, who acted under your authority, with a violation of the Agreement made between us for the Exchange of prisoners, and called upon for a performance of the same, I think it necessary to explain the motives of my conduct, and the grounds on which those articles or objections stand. In respect to the first, I freely repeat, that I do not hold myself bound, either by the Edition: current; Page: [313] spirit of the agreement, or by the principles of justice, to account for those prisoners, who, from the rigor and severity of their treatment, were in so emaciated and languishing a state, at the time they came out, as to render their death almost certain and inevitable; and which, in many instances, happened while they were returning to their homes, and, in many others, immediately after their arrival.

You must be sensible, that our Engagement, as well as all others of the kind, though in the letter it expresses only an equality of rank and number, as the rule of exchange, yet it necessarily implies a regard to the general principles of mutual compensation and advantage. This is inherent in its nature, is the voice of reason, and no stipulation, as to the condition in which prisoners should be returned, was requisite. Humanity dictated that their treatment should be such, as their health and comfort demanded; and, where her laws have been duly respected, their condition has been generally good. Nor is this the language of Humanity alone; justice declares the same. The object of every cartel, or similar agreement, is the benefit of the prisoners themselves, and that of the contending powers. On this footing, it equally exacts, that they should be well treated, as that they should be exchanged. The reverse is, therefore, an evident infraction, and ought to subject the party, on whom it is chargeable, to all the damage and ill consequences resulting from it. Nor can it be expected, that those unfitted for future service by acts of severity, in direct violation of a Compact, are Edition: current; Page: [314] proper subjects for an exchange. In such case, to return others not in the same predicament, would be to give without receiving an Equivalent; and would afford the greatest encouragement to cruelty and inhumanity. The argument, drawn from the mere circumstance of the prisoners having been received, is of no validity. Though, from their wretched situation, they could not, at that time, be deemed proper for an exchange, yet our humanity required that they should be permitted to return among us.

It may, perhaps, be fairly doubted, whether an apprehension of their death, or that of a great part of them, did not contribute somewhat to their being sent out when they were. Such an event, whilst they remained with you, would have been truly interesting; because it would have destroyed every shadow of claim for a return of the prisoners in our Hands; and, therefore, policy, concurring with Humanity, dictated that the measure should be adopted. Happy had it been, if the expedient had been thought of before these ill-fated men were reduced to such extremity. It is confessed, however, on all sides, that, after their delivery, they still continued your prisoners, and would be so till regularly exchanged.

I acknowledge, that I should, and I have been always willing, notwithstanding this concession, to account for every man, who was in a proper condition and fit to be exchanged at the time they came out, so far as the proportion of prisoners with us would extend. With what propriety, or upon what foundation of justice, can more be demanded? This has Edition: current; Page: [315] been proposed, or, what is the same, was most clearly implied in the first article or objection made by Lieutenant-Colonel Harrison, and illiberally rejected since, as inconsistent with any degree of reason or common sense. Painful as it is, I am compelled to consider it as a fact not to be questioned, that the usage of our prisoners, whilst in your possession, the privates at least, was such as could not be justified. This was proclaimed by the concurrent testimony of all who came out; their appearance sanctified the assertion; and melancholy experience, in the speedy death of a large part of them, stamped it with infallible certainty.

In respect to the second article insisted on, your discriminating Major-General Lee from other captive officers belonging to the American army demanded my particular attention. I was authorized to conclude, from your laying him under peculiar restraints, and from your letter of the 23d of January last, that you considered him in a singular point of view, and meant to exclude him from the common right of exchange, stipulated for all officers in general terms. This distinction, the more injurious and unwarrantable, as you never excepted him, though you knew him to be an officer in our army at the time, and long before the Agreement was entered into, made it my duty to assert his right in an explicit manner, and to endeavor to put the matter upon so unequivocal a footing, as to insure his enlargement, whenever an officer of equal rank belonging to your army should be in our power. This was attempted by the Article, Edition: current; Page: [316] and nothing more; nor is any other inference to be drawn from it. It is true, a proposition was made, since his captivity, to give a certain number of officers of inferior rank in exchange for him; but it was not claimed as a matter of right. What name, then, does that proceeding merit, by which it is suggested, that the immediate release of General Lee had been demanded, without having an officer of equal rank to give for him? The suggestion cannot be supported by the most tortured exposition, nor will it have credit where candor is deemed a virtue, and words preserve their form and meaning.

As to the charge of delay in not returning the prisoners in our hands, the dispersed situation of those, taken at a more early period of the war, through the different States, arising from the circumstances of their captivity and a regard to their better accommodation, made their detention for a considerable time unavoidable. When the agreement subsisting between us took place, the speediest directions were given to have them collected, that an exchange might be effected. This was done in part, and at a juncture when motives of policy opposed the measure, but were made to yield to the rigid maxims of good faith.1 We were pursuing the exchange, and continued our exertions to accomplish it, till the miserable appearance, indicating an approaching catastrophe, of those sent out by you, made it improper. Edition: current; Page: [317] Foreseeing that a difficulty might arise, and that it might be expected, that I should account for the whole of them, which I by no means thought it equitable to do, it became necessary that the matter should be adjusted, and the due proportion settled for which I ought to be responsible, before any thing further could be done on my part. Upon this ground stands also the detention of those, who have been since captured. Added to these considerations, the discrimination set up in the instance of General Lee is to be regarded as utterly irreconcilable with the tenor of our agreement, and an insurmountable obstacle to a compliance with your demands.

Thus, Sir, have I explained the motives of my conduct, and I trust vindicated myself in the eye of Impartiality from the improper and groundless charge, which you and the gentleman acting by your authority have been pleased to allege against me. If, in doing this, I have departed in the smallest degree from that delicacy, which I always wished should form a part of my character, you will remember, I have been forced into recrimination, and that it has become an act of necessary justice. I shall now declare it to be my ardent wish, that a general exchange may take place, on generous and liberal principles, so far as it can be effected, and that the agreement, subsisting between us for that purpose, should be inviolably observed; and I call upon you, by every obligation of good faith, to remove all impediments, on your part, to the accomplishment of it. If, however, you do not, I console myself with a hope, Edition: current; Page: [318] that those unfortunate men, whose lot it is to be your prisoners, will bear their sufferings with becoming fortitude and magnanimity.

I am, Sir, with due respect, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
10 April, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dr. Sir,

I have within these few days received an application from the Honble. Messrs. Sever and Cushing for Arms and Blankets for the use of the Massachusetts Regim. destined for Tyconderoga.—Surely these Troops are not at this day to begin their March for that Post!—and sorry I am to observe that nothing now will content that Government but the New Arms lately arrived there (which will be greatly wanted for Troops that cannot otherwise be provided). When Edition: current; Page: [319] I have abundant reason to believe, that no State upon the Continent has it so much in her power to furnish these articles as that of Massachusetts bay; Indeed I am informed, that arms, and other Military stores are hoarding up in that Government, which makes every thing of the kind exceedingly difficult to be had for Continental use, and has the appearance of a separate Provision.

That no delay however may happen, I have informed those Gentlemen that you would be Instructed to Issue orders for such a number of Arms as shall appear to you absolutely necessary—and this power I now give you, requesting at the same time, that it may be used with a regard to the general good—The means of procuring them through other Channels, should still be pursued. * * *

Let me have the names of the several Colonels commanding the 15 Regiments from the State of Massachusetts—mention them in their order of Seniority, & whether the Regiments are number’d from the Rank of the officers commanding them or not. * * *

The Brigade Majors for these New Corps, are not to be appointed till there is duty for them to perform; then, if the Brigadiers will make choice of officers properly qualified I will confirm them in office, if they do not, I shall exert the powers given me by Congress “to appoint all officers under the Rank of Brigadier” to put in such as are; as I will not have any Gentn. introduced from family connexions, or local attachments, to the prejudice of the Service.—Of Edition: current; Page: [320] this you will please, without loss of time to give each Brigadier in your State notice.—They will excuse me for this Intimation, which may imply a reflection, when I add that some very Improper choices were made last year, and when it is evident to every Gentleman in the smallest degree acquainted with Service that nothing can contribute more to good order and regularity in an Army than having Brigade Majors of knowledge, activity, and diligence. * * * I am Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 April, 1777
Morris Town
Brigadier-General Mifflin
Brigadier-General Mifflin

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL MIFFLIN.

Dear Sir,

From every piece of intelligence which we have lately recd. it appears that the Enemy are making hasty preparations to open the Campaign, and Philadelphia seems generally agreed upon as their object. Whether the expedition will be by land or water is yet a matter of uncertainty, but it is more than probable that it will be by both. Wherever their Army lies, it will be of the greatest advantage to us to have Spies among them, on whom we may depend for Intelligence. I would therefore have you look out for proper persons for this purpose, who are to remain among them under the mask of friendship. I would have some of those in Bucks County some in Philad. and others below Philada. about Chester, for if any part of their force goes round by Water, they will probably land some where thereabouts. I Edition: current; Page: [321] have directed Genl. Putnam to procure similar persons to wait upon them in their way thro’ Jersey. I hope we may prevent them from crossing the Delaware, but if that Event should happen, we should be provided. I would therefore have you set about this work immediately and give the persons you pitch upon, proper lessons. Some in the Quaker line, who have never taken an active part, would be least liable to suspicion from either party. * * *

George Washington
Washington, George
12 April, 1777
Morris Town

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir:

I am honored with yours of the 10th accompanied with one from the Committee of Congress, to whom I have wrote very fully upon the subject of the Resolve for forming an Army upon the West Side of Delaware and to which I refer you. I wish I could see any prospect of an Army, fit to make proper opposition, formed any where. You will perhaps be surprized at this, after the public Reports of the great Success of recruiting in all the States, but to convince you that these have been but bare Reports, I will give you the best information I have been able to collect from actual Returns and other accounts.

New Hampshire. No returns, but a letter from Genl. Heath says they are tolerably forward all their Regiments go to the Northward.

Massachusetts.—About 400 Men raised to a Regt. many of those yet to undergo innoculation. Seven of their Regiments go Edition: current; Page: [322] to the Northward, and Eight are to come to Peekskill for the present.

Rhode Island.—Only 360 men inlisted in both Regiments the 1st April—200 of those are yet to be innoculated. Genl. Varnum writes me that he despairs of filling up the Regiments.

Connecticut.—By a Return from Genl. Parsons of the 4th April—about 1800 men were recruited thro the whole State, they much dispersed, many to have the small pox and recruiting at a stand.

New York.—About 200 Men to a Regiment and from the peculiar Situation of that province, it will be almost impossible for them to fill up their Regiments, tho’ they exert themselves very much.

New Jersey. Between 200 and 300 to a Regt.—they also lay under many difficulties on account of the disaffection of their State, but their Officers are active and diligent.

Pennsylvania. Most of the Regiments are very backward, those most so, who have been longest recruiting.

Delaware State. No Return of their Regiment.

Maryland. I have only the Return of one Regiment which consists of 200 Men, but I do not believe the others are in more forwardness. The disputes about the Rank of officers has prevailed so much, that the recruiting Service has been in a manner neglected.1

Virginia. The nine old Regiments will not exceed 1800 effective Men, and Govr. Henry, in a letter which I received yesterday, informs me, that he did not think, that more than four of the six new ones would be filled. He proposes the expediency of raising Volunteer Companies, to serve seven, or eight Months, to make up the deficiency. But this I shall object to on many Edition: current; Page: [323] accounts, particularly, that it would be introducing a Body of Men, who would look upon themselves, at liberty to do what they pleased, and the moment their time expired, would leave us, tho’ at the most critical Juncture.

If the Men that are raised, few as they are, could be got into the Field, it would be a matter of some Consolation, that every Method that I have been able to devise has proved ineffectual. If I send an Officer to collect the sick or scattered of his Regiment, it is ten to one that he neglects his duty—goes home on pleasure or Business, and the next that I hear of him, is, that he has resigned. Furloughs are no more attended to than if there was no limitation of time, and, in short, Sir, there is such a total depression of that military ardor, which I hoped would have inspired every Officer when he found his pay genteely augmented, and the Army put upon a respectable footing, that it seems to me as if all public Spirit was sunk into the means of making money by the Service, or quarrelling upon the most trivial points of Rank.1

I shall as soon as possible, transmit to the Board of War, a list of the appointments I have made in consequence of the powers vested in me.

Edition: current; Page: [324]

If the appointments in the Hospitals are filled up before the Receipt of this I would take the liberty of mentioning a Gentleman, who I think highly deserving of Notice, not only on account of his Abilities, but for the very great Assistance which he has afforded in the course of this winter, merely in the nature of a Volunteer. The Gentleman is Doctr. John Cochran, well known to all the Faculty and particularly to Doctor Shippen, who I suppose has mentioned him among the Candidates. The place for which the Doctor is well fitted, and which would be most agreeable to him, is Surgeon General to the Middle Department. In this line he served all the last War, in the British Service, and has distinguished himself this Winter particularly in his attention to the small pox patients and the wounded which but for him and Doctr. Bond must have suffered much, if not been totally neglected, as there were no other Medical Gentlemen to be found.

If the appointment of Surgeon General is filled up, that of deputy Director of the middle department would be acceptable; I have been thus full in my recommendation, because Doctr. Cochran in a manner had my promise of one of the Capital appointments Edition: current; Page: [325] in the Hospital, upon a presumption that I should have had some hand in the nomination, by the Resolution of Congress empowering me to fill all Commissions under the Rank of Brigadiers General.

13th.—I have this moment received a line from Genl. Lincoln informing me that the Enemy attempted to surprize him, early this morning, at his post at Bound Brook, but he made good his Retreat to the pass of the Mountains just in his Rear with trifling Loss. I have, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
12 April, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

As Mr. Fornandez, an officer just released from captivity by an exchange, informs me that large and weekly supplies of fresh provisions are brought into York,—which, he was informed by a friend of ours, came from Connecticut, but whether by water or by land he does not know,—this information I have thought proper to transmit to your Honor by the earliest opportunity, that you may adopt such measures as its importance demands, and which shall seem most likely to prevent a practice so wicked and so injurious in its consequences. It is probable the most common mode of conveyance is by water, and that the supplies are from those who live on the Sound. However, it will be well to have the disaffected bordering on the State of York watched with a scrupulous care as well as those contiguous to the Sound.

Edition: current; Page: [326]

Mr. Fornandez adds that Colonel Rogers and other officers whose names he does not recollect, have left York on the recruiting service, and gone into Connecticut, as he was advised. It is also said by a Mr. Deputy Commissary Frink, who has been just exchanged too, that Selleck, of Stamford, is frequently in the City of York, and that one John Hart is gone to Rhode Island to pass counterfeit money. It highly imports us to detect and apprehend these villains, whose crimes are of great enormity; and I should hope if this intelligence is communicated to some of our prudent, trusty friends in different parts of the State, in those most favorable to their views, that it might be effected. Rogers is an active instrument in the enemy’s hands, and his conduct has a peculiar claim to our notice.1

I have nothing special to mention respecting the enemy. As yet they have made no movement; but from our advices of their preparations, there are strong reasons to believe that they are upon the eve of doing it, and from a variety of combining circumstances, it appears that Philadelphia will be the first object of their attention. I only regret that I have Edition: current; Page: [327] not the means the exigency of our affairs requires, and that a strange, unaccountable languor seems but too generally to prevail at a time when the preservation of our rights and of all that is dear calls loudly for the most vigorous and active exertions. I have the honor, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
13 April, 1777
Morristown
Patrick Henry
Henry, Patrick

TO PATRICK HENRY, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Sir,

It gives me much concern to hear that the recruiting service proceeds so slowly in most of the States. That it is the case in Virginia affects me in a peculiar manner. I feel myself much obliged by the polite respect your honorable Board of Council are pleased to show to my opinion; and am under the necessity of observing, that the volunteer plan, which you mention, will never answer any valuable purposes, and that I cannot but disapprove the measure. To the short engagements of our troops may be fairly and justly ascribed almost every misfortune, that we have experienced. To that cause, and that alone, have the liberties of our country been put in question, and the most obvious advantages lost. This I speak from painful experience, and, assured of the Facts, I cannot countenance in the smallest degree what I know to be pernicious in the extreme. Short enlistments, when founded on the best plan, are repugnant to order, and subversive of discipline; and men, held upon such terms, will never be equal to the important Edition: current; Page: [328] ends of war; but, when they are of the volunteer kind, they are still more destructive.

Those who engage in arms, under that denomination, let them agree upon what conditions they may, are uneasy, impatient of command, ungovernable; and, claiming to themselves a sort of superior merit, generally assume not only the privilege of thinking but to do as they please; added to these considerations, such corps are long in forming, and half of their time is taken up in marching to and from camp at a most amazing expense; nor are the injuries, to which a country is exposed, by the frequent marching and countermarching of men, to be disregarded. Further, whilst they are in service, the States to which they belong have but little if any chance to engage them for a longer term. When that is out, they will return, though the Exigency of affairs should be ever so pressing, and though you should be on the point of action, or perhaps of Grasping a Victory. Their departure has a most baneful and unhappy influence on those who remain, who consider themselves, notwithstanding their Engagements, as subjected to peculiar hardships, become uneasy and discontented, and many desert. Their return, too, having seen only service sufficient to create disgust, and experienced in the course of it a few difficulties, produces the same disposition through the circle of their connexions. In a word, Sir, I cannot advise the volunteer plan, as I conceive the adoption of it would have the most fatal and pernicious tendency; and in my opinion the Interest of the States would be more advanced Edition: current; Page: [329] by regular enlistments during the war, though it should take a considerable time to complete them.1

The apologies you offer for your deficiency of troops are not without some weight. I am induced to believe, that the apprehension of the smallpox and its calamitous consequences have greatly retarded the Enlistments. But may not those objections be easily done away, by introducing Inoculation into the State? Or shall we adhere to a regulation preventing it, reprobated at this time, not only by the consent and usage of the greater part of the civilized world, but by our interest and own experience of its utility? You will pardon my observations upon the smallpox, because I know it is more destructive to an army in the natural way, than the Enemy’s Sword, and because I shudder whenever I reflect upon the difficulties of keeping it out, and that in the vicissitudes of Edition: current; Page: [330] war the scene may be transferred to some southern State. Should it not be the case, their quota of men must come to the Field.1 * * *

I have the honor to be, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
18 April, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir:

I have nothing of importance to transmit Congress, no Event in the Military line having happened since my last, except the surprizing a small picquet guard of Edition: current; Page: [331] the Enemy on Monday night at Bonam Town and bringing off Thirteen prisoners by one of our parties. An Enterprize of a similar nature was formed against that at Amboy in which the party sent to effect it did not succeed so well, tho’ the most advanced of them seized and secured three of their out sentries without giving an alarm.

By a letter from Genl. McDougall of yesterday, I am informed that he had received accounts of Thirty-six Sail of Transports having left Newport on Friday last with Troops on board—Other reports he had, were, that a number of Ships were coming up the Sound, so that we may reasonably conclude Genl. Howe is drawing his forces from the Eastward. Genl. Arnold in a Letter of the 5th mentioned, that from the preparation of Transports & other circumstances he thought it probable an embarkation was about to take place.

There are grounds to suspect from information received, That some unfair practices have been and are meant to be used in certain Exports from Philadelphia. It is said that a Vessel navigated by Frenchmen loaded there, belonging to the Murrays of New York which carried her cargo to Genl. Howe; Also that Hartshorne & Bowne of Monmouth County intend to load one or more for the same purpose under the Idea of sending them to Foreign Markets. I have written to the Board of War for Pennsylvania upon the subject, and doubt not but these Hints will be properly improved and such frauds guarded against as well as circumstances will admit.

Edition: current; Page: [332]

I have inclosed a copy of an advertisement published in Gaines’ paper of the 14th which shews that no artifices are left untried by the Enemy to injure us. Before the appearance of this unparallelled piece, I had heard, that a person was gone from York to Rhode Island, with a quantity of Counterfeit money.

There is one thing which I beg leave to mention to Congress, and which I think highly deserving their attention, that is, that supplies of Hard money or Bills of Exchange to procure it, should if possible be sent to our prisoners in the hands of the Enemy, at least to the officers, to relieve their wants—By Letters, which I have received from them of late, I find they are in great distress and such as ought to be removed if it can be done. No inconvenience will result to the public from such supplies if they can be furnished, as proper stoppages and deductions can be made from their pay.

I was honored with your letter of the 16th between twelve and one o’clock yesterday, accompanied by sundry resolutions. I hope the measures Congress have adopted will produce the salutary consequences they had in view; but I fear that the States, unless they are delicate in exercising powers they are invested with for filling vacancies in instances of removal from office, and pay strict attention to a proper line of succession, where there are no capital objections, will renew much of that confusion and disorder we have been endeavoring to extricate ourselves from. Nor will this be of small difficulty if they displace many officers; for, supposing them to Edition: current; Page: [333] have kept the most accurate lists of their original appointments, changes have taken place in several instances from various causes unknown to them, and of which they cannot be apprized.

I can assure Congress the appellation given to the regiments officered by me was without my consent or privity. As soon as I heard it, I wrote to several of the officers in terms of severe reprehension, and expressly charged them to suppress the distinction, adding that all the battalions were on the same footing, and all under the general name of Continental.1 An attack upon the King’s troops at Rhode Island was certainly a desirable event, could it have been conducted with success, or upon equal terms. It being an object of great moment, and involving in its issue many important consequences, I am led to believe the practicability of it has had much consideration, and the measure found to be unadvisable under the circumstances of the troops collected for the purpose. If the enemy have not evacuated the Island, I suppose the matter will be further weighed.

I do not find in the medical arrangement any mention of Regimental Surgeons Mates or provision made for their payment. Whether Congress mean to dispense with such Officers or not, I cannot tell. I have heard that they do. But they appear to me to be absolutely necessary. We are often obliged to divide Regiments and to send a part to a distant Edition: current; Page: [334] post—When this is the case, it is essential, that there should be some person with them to take charge of the sick or wounded, if such there should be. I have only mentioned this for many reasons that might be urged to shew the expediency of such appointments.

Notwithstanding the many circumstances inducing a belief, that Philadelphia will be the first object of the enemy’s attention, yet, as the stratagems of war are various, and may be easily changed, especially when they have the entire command of the water, I cannot but consider the detention of the troops at Philadelphia farther than mentioned in my letter in answer to that from the Board of War, as inexpedient, and subject to great inconvenience and injury. In the present divided, separated state of the army, we are weak at all points, and not able to make the least opposition promising success. Supposing they were collected here, they would be ready to act as necessity and circumstances might require. If the enemy pushed for Philadelphia, we should have notice of it, and could hang upon their flank and rear; nor is it likely they would undertake such an expedition, without attempting the destruction or dispersion of the army first. If they embarked and should go by sea, we should have information of it, and could be there in time. On the other hand, should all they have done prove a feint, and they should turn their views to the North River, we should be in a much better situation to counteract their designs, and to check the progress of their arms in that quarter. Added Edition: current; Page: [335] to this, several of the regiments, especially those which came first from Virginia and Pennsylvania, are so broken, that it is impossible to do any thing with the parts that are here; and that spirit, which is always derived from a corps being full, or as much so as circumstances of number will admit of, is entirely done away. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
24 April, 1777
Morristown
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir,

I have been favored with two or three letters from you lately. The last that came to hand was without date, but contained an extract from Doctor Lee’s letter to the Secret Committee, and the French general’s ideas of the measures necessary for us to pursue Edition: current; Page: [336] in prosecuting the war with Great Britain; for both of which I sincerely thank you, as the communication of such matters cannot fail of having a proper tendency.1

The complexion of affairs in Europe seems to indicate an approaching storm; but where, when, or on whom it may break, is not quite so clear, and ought not, in my judgment, to occasion the smallest relaxation in our preparations; for I profess myself to be of that class, who never built sanguinely upon the assistance of France, further than her winking at our supplies from thence for the benefits derived from our trade; and how far the measures and offers of Great Britain may contravene this, time only can discover, and is somewhat to be feared. The plan drawn by the French general is of such a nature, that it is impracticable to carry it into execution this campaign. It may, however, be kept in view, and the whole or such parts of it adopted, as our circumstances, upon a full consideration of the matter, may hereafter admit. The great delay in appointing the general Edition: current; Page: [337] officers, the resignation of some of them, the non-acceptance of others, and I might add the unfitness of a few, joined to the amazing delay in assembling the troops, and the abuses which I am satisfied have been committed by the recruiting officers, (both of which being consequences of the want of officers in that line to superintend those duties in the respective States) have distressed me and the service exceedingly; and they will amply prove, what I foretold to Congress, that the pay of these officers (for I could account for the delay of appointing them on no other principle) would be an ill-timed saving. Convinced I am, that thousands of pounds would have been saved to the public, if the measure had been adopted upon my first recommendation of it. But the extra expense is the smallest part of the evil. The backwardness in assembling the troops is truly alarming; this, however, is not a singular instance of our suffering by delay in the adoption of measures, which were early recommended.

You are not aware of the evil consequences, that would follow a general exemption of all persons concerned in iron-works from military duty; they are very numerous, and in this part of the country form a great majority of the people. Besides, why should the ironmaster carry on his trade without restriction, when the farmer, equally useful for the support of the war, the shoemaker, and other manufacturers, absolutely necessary to the equipment of an army, may have their servants and apprentices taken from them at pleasure? One thing I have ever done, and Edition: current; Page: [338] it has, I believe, answered the end proposed by you; whenever an iron-work has been employed for the public, I have desired the owner to give me a return of the number of men, and the names of those necessarily employed therein, and have exempted them from the duties of militia-men in this State. This I have found necessary on two accounts; first, to secure such articles of manufacture as the army wanted; and, next, to prevent numbers under this pretext from withholding their services in the military line, there being, in this county (Morris) alone, between eighty and a hundred iron-works, large and small. Doctor Lee’s opinion on the propriety of attacking the enemy upon their first arrival, under a supposition of their being raw and undisciplined, is certainly well founded, if our own circumstances will admit of it; but the Doctor little apprehended, I believe, that we ourselves should have an army to raise, at this late hour, of men equally raw, and officers probably much more so. Please to make a tender of my compliments to your brother and other delegates from Virginia. I have the honor to be, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [339]
George Washington
Washington, George
26 April, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Glover
Brigadier-General Glover

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GLOVER.

Sir,

After the conversations I had with you, before you left the army last winter, I was not a little surprised at the contents of yours of the 1st instant. As I had not the least doubt but you would accept of the commission of brigadier, if conferred upon you by Congress, I put your name down in the list of those, whom I thought proper for the command, and whom I wished to see preferred. Diffidence in an officer is a good mark, because he will always endeavor to bring himself up to what he conceives to be the full line of his duty; but I think I may tell you without flattery, that I know of no Man better qualified than yourself to conduct a brigade. You have activity and industry; and as you very well know the duty of a colonel, you know how to exact that duty from others.

I have with great Concern observed the almost universal listlessness, that prevails throughout the continent; and I believe that nothing has contributed to it more than the Resignation of officers, who stepped early forward and led the people into the great Cause, in which we are too deeply embarked to look back, or to hope for any other terms, than those we can gain by the Sword. Can any Resistance be expected from the People, when deserted by their leaders? Our enemies count upon the Resignation of every Officer of Rank at this time, as a distrust of and desertion from the Cause, and rejoice Edition: current; Page: [340] accordingly. When you consider these Matters, I hope you will think no more of private inconveniences, but that you will, with all expedition, come forward and take that command, which has been assigned to you. As I fully depend upon seeing you, I shall not mention any thing that has passed between us upon this subject to the Congress. I am, Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
26 April, 1777
Morristown
James Craik
Craik, James

TO DOCTOR JAMES CRAIK.2

Dear Doctor,

I am going to address you on a subject, which may lay some claim to your attention, as I do to your candor in deciding on the proposition. In the hospital department for the middle district, which district includes the States between the North or Hudson’s Edition: current; Page: [341] River and the Potomac, there are at present two places vacant, either of which I can obtain for you. The one is Senior Physician and Surgeon of the Hospital, with the pay of four dollars and six rations per day, and forage for one horse; the other is Assistant Director-General, with the pay of three dollars and six rations per day, and two horses and travelling expenses found, according to Doctor Shippen, the director-general’s account, who also adds, that he thinks this latter the more honorable and desirable of the two. Had I expected that Congress would proceed to the appointments in this department, at the time they did, I have no doubt but that it might have been in my power to get you any other place, except that of director-general; but that is now over; and the matter in which I claim your candor is, that you will not let my introducing the present proposition to you have any undue influence.

You know the extent and profit of your present practice; you know what prospects are before you; you know how far you may be benefited or injured by such an appointment; and you must know whether it is advisable or practicable for you to quit your family and practice at this time. All these matters I am ignorant of; and request, as a friend, that my proposing this matter to you may have no influence upon your acceptance of it. I have no other end in view, than to serve you; consequently, if you are not benefited by the appointment, my end is not answered. I have only to add, therefore, a request, that you will let me know the result of your determination Edition: current; Page: [342] by the return of the post, or as soon as possible, as the places will be kept vacant till I hear from you. My best respects to Mrs. Craik and your family, and believe me to be, with the sincerest regard and esteem, dear Doctor, your affectionate and obedient servant.1

George Washington
Washington, George
27 April, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Lincoln
Major-General Lincoln

TO MAJOR-GENERAL LINCOLN.

Sir,

I am well convinced, that the amazing desertions, which have of late prevailed among our troops, proceed entirely from their not being regularly paid. For it is not to be supposed, that the bare encouragement of receiving a few dollars from the enemy for their arms could operate so forcibly upon them. I have in vain endeavored to make the officers bring in their pay-Rolls and draw their money; they plead in excuse, that, as they are so detached, they cannot possibly make up regular rolls, and there may be something in this. But there is a Cause, which, I fear, will be found upon examination too true, and that is, that the officers have drawn large Sums, under pretence of paying their Men; but have been obliged, from extravagance and for other purposes, to appropriate this money to their own use. There is a necessity, at this time, for the men’s being paid up as nearly as possible. I therefore desire, that you will have the different corps under your command Edition: current; Page: [343] paraded, inquire of them what pay is due to them, order the pay-master or commanding officer to draw as much as will be necessary, and when it is drawn, see that the soldiers have their proportion.

It would be well to let the soldiers know, that this irregularity of Pay has been owing to the hurry in which they have been detached into the field, but that their wants shall be fully supplied. I also desire, that you will inform the officers, that, as soon as the regiments are drawn together, I shall cause an exact scrutiny to be made into their accounts, and inquire how these complaints of the soldiers arise for want of pay, when large sums have been advanced for that purpose. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
28 April, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General McDougall
Brigadier-General McDougall

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL McDOUGALL.

Dear Sir,

At three o’clock this morning I received your favor of the 27th. The intelligence it contains is interesting and truly distressing. By this time I fear the Edition: current; Page: [344] enemy have effected their purpose, and destroyed all the stores at Danbury. I wish those at Fredericksburg may not have shared the same fate. After accomplishing this enterprise, it is probable they will return to their ships with expedition. If they have not done it, it is most devoutly to be wished, that their retreat could be cut off. You I am certain will act for the best, and as circumstances shall point out. However, I am induced to believe, that the ships sent up the North River have but few troops on board, and the design of their being there was to amuse and call your attention with the troops to Peekskill and the other posts, till the detachment from the Sound executed their plans, or they would have disembarked at the same time, and made some other different attempt. Under this persuasion, I could wish you, unless some facts within your own knowledge, or which appear to be tolerably well founded, from the information you have received, contradict the measure, to try to cut off their retreat, by detaching all the force you can spare, and which shall not be absolutely necessary to guard the passes in the mountains, and to maintain the forts. I cannot, nor do I mean, to prescribe any line of duty. I have only mentioned my Ideas of the North River shipping, and the view with which they were sent, and Edition: current; Page: [345] my wishes to make the detachments from the Sound pay for the enterprise, if circumstances will allow it. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
28 April, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I last night received the favor of your Letter of the 26th, with the Resolves to which it alludes.

The views of Congress in sending General Officers to the Eastward, to hasten on the Troops, have been long anticipated. General Poor is in New Hampshire for the purpose; General Heath in Massachusets Bay, with Brigadiers Nixon, Glover and Patterson; General Varnum in Rhode Island, and General Parsons in Connecticut—Generals Spencer and Arnold too, have been desired to attend to the business. To those Gentlemen I have wrote repeatedly in the most pressing terms upon the Subject, and I have no reason to doubt, but every exertion on their part, has been employed to promote the end. The delay of those, who have enlisted, has arisen from the late period when they engaged, and from their being inoculated since, which could not be dispensed with, without subjecting them to the calamities & ravages of the Smallpox in the natural way.

Edition: current; Page: [346]

At three o’clock this morning I received a letter from General McDougall, enclosing three from Colonel Huntington, copies of the whole of which I have transmitted. By these you will perceive the impression, which a part of General Howe’s army has made into Connecticut, and the prospect they had of destroying such of our stores as were deposited in Danbury, which unfortunately were but too large and considerable, if the event has taken place. A circumstance, perhaps more to be regretted, is, that the enemy marched through a strong and rough country, and were near that place, without the smallest opposition. I have no other information upon the subject, than what these papers contain; but we have little ground to expect, that they have not accomplished their purpose. Further intelligence will be probably received to-day or to-morrow, when I shall be happy to hear that they have paid for their enterprise. Of this, I confess, however, I am not very sanguine in my expectations.1

Edition: current; Page: [347]

This post had been considered as a proper depository for stores, by gentlemen acquainted with it; and its security not thought questionable whilst troops were passing through it. I had also directed that as many of the drafts in Connecticut, as the place was capable of accommodating, should be collected there and inoculated, to answer the purpose of a guard, Edition: current; Page: [348] hoping, by the time of their recovery, that the situation of the army would be such as to admit a strong one to be stationed there and continued; but, unhappily for us, such languor and supineness prevails everywhere, that we seem unable to effect any point we wish, though never so important and interesting. So early as the 6th of March, I wrote Governor Trumbull, earnestly requesting two thousand militia to be sent to General McDougall, to be employed at Peekskill and on the communication in Westchester county for six weeks. With this requisition he most readily complied, so far as his orders were necessary, and, I am certain, his influence would extend. This I have repeated, and this supply he has exerted himself to furnish; yet so ineffectual have his endeavors been, that not more than eight hundred had come out, by General McDougall’s return on the 17th instant: nor did he expect more, from the accounts he had. In a word, Sir, no expedient or pains have been unattempted by me to bring on troops, and to keep our affairs on a favorable footing. I would again mention the case of our prisoners with the enemy, and pray that the Secret Committee would send to Mr. Boudinot supplies of money for them as early as possible. They are in great distress, and many officers have lately escaped, contrary to the tenor of their parole; some of whom are now here, urging that necessity compelled them to the measure. I have the honor to be, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [349]
George Washington
Washington, George
30 April, 1777
Morristown
Alexander Spotswood
Spotswood, Alexander

TO COLONEL ALEXANDER SPOTSWOOD.

Sir,

I want to form a company for my guard. In doing this I wish to be extremely cautious, because it is more than probable, that, in the course of the campaign, my baggage, papers, and other matters of great public import, may be committed to the sole care of these men. This being premised, in order to impress you with proper attention in the choice, I have to request, that you will immediately furnish me with four men of your regiment; and, as it is my farther wish that this company should look well and be nearly of a size, I desire that none of the men may exceed in stature five feet ten inches, nor fall short of five feet nine inches, sober, young, active, and well made. When I recommend care in yr. choice, I would be understood to mean men of good character in the regiment, that possess the pride of appearing clean and soldierlike. I am satisfied, there can be no absolute security for the fidelity of this class of people, but yet I think it most likely to be found in those, who have family connexions in the country. You will therefore send me none but natives, and men of some property, if you have them. I must insist, that, in making this choice, you give no intimation of my preference of natives, as I do not want to create any invidious distinction between them and the foreigners. I am, yours, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [350]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was this morning honored with your letter of the 3d instant, with its enclosures. General Arnold’s promotion gives me much pleasure. He has certainly discovered, in every instance where he has had an opportunity, much bravery, activity, and enterprise. But what will be done about his rank? He will not act most probably under those he commanded but a few weeks ago.1 By Major Troup, one of General Gates’s aids, and who left Albany on Tuesday last, I am informed the accounts of General Carleton’s approach towards Ticonderoga were premature. He says General Gates received a letter before he came away, from Brigadier-General Wayne, of the 24th ultimo, in which he mentioned nothing of it; that three thousand troops had arrived there, all in high spirits and health, except nine; and that that post could never be carried without the loss of much blood. The proceedings of Congress and your letter of the 29th ultimo were the first and only information I had of Mr. Carleton’s being on the Lake, Edition: current; Page: [351] having heard nothing upon the subject from General Gates or any other person.

In my last I mentioned that sixteen dollars’ bounty was given by General Howe to deserters with arms.

I have reason to believe from information received since, and which seems to be generally credited, that he has advanced the bounty to twenty-four dollars. It is much to be wished, that our printers were more discreet in many of their publications. We see, almost in every paper, proclamations or accounts transmitted by the enemy, of an injurious nature. If some hint or caution could be given to them on the subject, it might be of material service. By a person, who has just arrived here, it is reported that General Wooster is dead of his wounds. I would mention to Congress, that in a day or two our military chest will be exhausted. I beg that a supply may be forwarded as soon as possible; if there should be a failure, we shall have many things to apprehend. I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. I have inclosed a List of Stores lost at Danbury. You will also receive a New York paper, by which you will see the Enemy’s Account of that Affair & how little they have regarded a True State. We are told certainly they had 47 men killed & from the accounts, that have been received, I think it may be fairly concluded, that their Loss was much more considerable than they make it.1

Edition: current; Page: [352]
George Washington
Washington, George
7 May, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General McDougall
Brigadier-General McDougall

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL McDOUGALL.

Dear Sir,

The imperfect state of the fortifications of Fort Montgomery gives me great uneasiness, because I think from a concurrence of circumstances, that it begins to look as if the enemy intended to turn their view towards the North River, instead of the Delaware. I therefore desire, that General George Clinton and yourself will fall upon every measure to put the fortifications in such a state, that they may at least resist a sudden attack, and keep the enemy employed, till reinforcements may arrive. If the North River is their object, they cannot accomplish it unless they withdraw their forces from Jersey, and that they cannot do unknown to us. Your present force is fully sufficient to oppose any body of men, that can be sent against you, previous to the calling the detachments from Jersey and Rhode Island.

As Congress have lately appointed General Arnold to the rank of major-general, I have written to him, and desired him to come immediately forward to Peekskill. Not but that I place entire confidence in you, and should not have thought of superseding you, but upon your own request. I think you will find him a man of judgment, and particularly serviceable in giving directions for the armament of the galleys or making any kind of water opposition. By what rule, or by what right, the State of Massachusetts undertook to make their soldiers pay for the public arms I cannot conceive. To give the soldier Edition: current; Page: [353] the least pretence to a property in his arms, except so far as to pay for them if he lost or destroyed them, was what I had been laboring to put a stop to; and to admit this, would be to put things upon the same bad footing, on which they had been. I therefore desire, that all the arms and accoutrements without exception may be branded; and if any thing has been stopped from the soldiers for their arms, I will order it to be returned. I look upon the several pieces of intelligence communicated by General Arnold, of the intentions of the enemy, as mere report, or only thrown out to amuse; for you may be assured, that when they mean to move in earnest, it will not be in detachments. As Generals Arnold and Parsons may not be at New Haven, for which place their letters are directed, I beg you will send them on by a person, who will see to the delivery of them, as they are of consequence. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [354]
George Washington
Washington, George
11 May, 1777
Morristown
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was yesterday Evening honored with your Letter of the 4th Inst. I regret our loss of stores at Danbury, and the misfortunes of our brave men who fell, and of those who were wounded. However, from these latter events we derive this consolation, that the sentiments of the people are still powerfully directed Edition: current; Page: [355] to liberty, and that no impression of the Enemy, be it ever so sudden and unexpected, will pass with impunity. We cannot ascertain what the enemy’s loss was; but, from our own, when our men fought in parties, and theirs in a compact body, and other circumstances of information from New York, I think it must have been pretty considerable. Another happy consequence, which must necessarily result from this affair, is, that the enemy will engage in such Enterprises in future with much caution and circumspection; for, though they should be able to accomplish their end in destroying stores, yet the means attending it will be disagreeable.

That the enemy will harass our coasts and injure the maritime Towns, with their shipping and by sudden debarkations of small parties of men, is not improbable, and what we cannot prevent, whilst they have the entire command of the water. This we laid our account in, when we first engaged in the contest; but I have no Idea that they will penetrate into your State to form the junction you mention; nor is it likely that those, who have escaped from them, know the General’s design. It is much to be wished, that they would make that their plan of war. I should then expect most sanguinely, that we should bring the matter to a speedy and glorious conclusion.

I should be happy, were it in my power, to station Guards of Continental Troops at every place subject to the depredations of the enemy; but this cannot be done. If we divide and detach our Forces to every part, where the Enemy may possibly attempt Edition: current; Page: [356] an impression, we shall effect no one good purpose, in the end, destroy ourselves and subjugate our country. The enemy have certainly some Capital Object in view; either Philadelphia or Hudson’s River. Till their designs are unfolded, All the Troops from this and the more Southern States must assemble in this Quarter, to prevent their possessing the Former. Those raised in the eastern States, except such as were ordered immediately to Ticonderoga, must march to Peekskill, to prevent them from possessing the latter and the Important passes through the Highlands. Should they be able to carry those and the Fortifications for the defence of the river, we all know the important and fatal consequences that would follow. I confess myself, and so do all who have reasoned about their operations, that the latter, from its importance and a variety of circumstances, which have occurred of late, seems to be the object of their attention. For these reasons and because the Battalions, which are in service, from inoculation, that languor which has but too generally prevailed in enlisting, and from other causes, are extremely weak and deficient, and totally inadequate to check the progress of the Enemy, I cannot comply with your request for Two Regiments to remain in the State at this time. I heartily wish, Congress would inform me of the dispositions they make of the troops. Their not doing it disconcerts my arrangements and involves me in difficulties. Till the favor of your letter, I never had the least intimation, that I recollect, that any of the regiments, exacted from the States, Edition: current; Page: [357] were to remain in them. Nor do I know an instance, whose Continental troops are stationed in any State where the enemy have not a post. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
12 May, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Greene
Major-General Greene

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GREENE.
INSTRUCTIONS.

In your ride to and from Peekskill, I would have you make the best observations, that time and circumstances will admit, upon the country, and point out at your return such places for posts of communication, as you shall conceive necessary. Determine upon the propriety of having a post at Pompton, examine the works throwing up at that place, and give such directions to General Heard, or the officer commanding the militia there, respecting them, as shall appear to you proper.

Edition: current; Page: [358]

After examining the state and condition of the forts in the Highlands, especially Fort Montgomery, the probability of an attack by water, and the practicability of approaching them by land, after seeing where, and how this is to be effected, viewing the eminences from whence these forts can be annoyed, and hearing the sentiments of the general officers present, you will give such orders for further defence, as shall appear to you necessary for the greater security of the passes, by land and water, through the Highlands; and, moreover, dispose of the troops in such a manner, as you shall judge most likely to answer the end in view. The pass through the Highlands on the west side of the North River should also be attended to, lest the enemy by a coup de main should possess themselves of it, before a sufficient force can be assembled to oppose them. This, however, may be the work of militia, if to be had; if not, the detachments of eastern troops, under Colonels Butler and Olney, upon giving me notice, shall be sent thither.

Turn your attention also to the boats, and direct them to be removed to the place or places of greatest safety, and where they can be had for the transportation of our troops over the North River, if occasion should require it. Examine into the state of the military stores and stock of provisions at the forts, and direct a sufficiency, having an eye to circumstances; for if the works are not tenable, or the passage of the river defensible, a large stock of either would only add to our losses; if they are, supplies can easily be brought to them, if the enemy can be kept below the Highlands, and Carleton from our backs. Inquire what has been or can be done towards removing the stores from Derby and other places to the west side of the North River, and learn if possible how the country on this side is stored with provisions and forage for the support of troops, if any should be marched thither. Keep the precise time of your return secret, lest the disaffected should avail themselves of the knowledge to offer you an insult. I am, dear Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [359]
George Washington
Washington, George
12 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was this morning honored by your letter of the 10th Inst., accompanied by the proceedings of Congress of the day before.

The conduct of too many officers, in with-holding the pay of their soldiers, I am persuaded, is reprehensible, and has been the cause of uneasiness & of many desertions. Every measure in my power will be exerted to prevent such abuses in future, and every aid given to punish the offenders in an Exemplary manner; But Congress will excuse me, when I tell them, it will be impossible to comply with their recommendation upon this subject; unless the Genl. officers withdraw their attention from matters of the Edition: current; Page: [360] utmost importance and such as require their constant use. Were this not the case, the dispersed situation of the Officers at this time, thro the different States on the recruiting service, would prohibit the Enquiry. Nor do I apprehend the Regulations empowering & enjoining the Regimental Paymasters to bring them to an Account will be found competent to the End. Such Officers will be proper to state the accounts in the first instance & to receive Vouchers, &c., but will not do to settle them finally, as their connections with the Regiment will subject them much to the influence of the Officers. I should suppose, if Two or three Gentlemen of integrity and of ability in accounts, were appointed Auditors, to attend the Army, till the Business is finished, it would be the best expedient that could be fallen on. They would be a check on the Paymasters, and, I am persuaded, will be the means of the Accounts being fairly and justly liquidated. If a settlement can be once obtained, I trust the same confusion will never take place again, as the Paymasters will receive and pay all money due to the Regiments and account for it and as the army is on a more permanent footing than it ever was before; For this, like most other inconveniences and difficulties which we have experienced, is to be imputed in a great measure to short Inlistments and the frequent dissolution of our Troops.

A return of the Army in Jersey, as late as the 6th Instant—I transmitted yesterday morning in a Letter by Mr. Randolph of Chestnut Street, which you will Edition: current; Page: [361] probably receive today, and from which Congress will be able to determine the expediency of calling out the Militia from Delaware and Pennsylvania. Tho’ it gives me pain, that we should be under the necessity of recurring to such a measure, yet I should suppose it to be adviseable. Our Army is weak and by no means equal to that of the Enemy, and till their designs are known and we are more reinforced with Regular Troops, we should be prepared in the best manner we can. I would observe, if the Militia are called out, it should be for a fixed determinate time? For tho’ they will certainly return when that expired, yet that is more tolerable than for them to go off in parties every day, as their Whim and caprice suggest, which has always been the case, when the time was not stated. I would also observe, if it is possible, they should be engaged to march out of their State, if they are ordered. If their service is located, they will move with great reluctance if they do at all.

On Saturday, a smart skirmish happened with a Detachment of our Troops, who attacked a number of the Enemy near Piscataway, in which our men behaved well and obliged the Enemy to give way twice, as reported to me with loss. The Enemy receiving a strong reinforcement, our People retreated to their post. I cannot give the particulars as they have not been sufficiently ascertained. Their pickets, were also attacked yesterday by some of our parties, from Bound Brook, and forced within their lines.

Edition: current; Page: [362]
George Washington
Washington, George
12 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

This will be delivered you by General Arnold, who arrived here to-day on his way to Philadelphia. He seems to be anxious to settle his public accounts, which are of considerable amount, and waits on Congress, hoping they will appoint a committee of their body, or of such gentlemen as they shall judge proper, to take the matter into consideration. This he considers the more necessary, as he has heard some reports have been propagated, injurious to his character as a man of integrity. If any such aspersions lie against him, it is but reasonable that he should have an opportunity of vindicating himself and evincing his innocence.

I find he does not consider the promotion Congress have been pleased to confer upon him sufficient to obviate the neglect, arising from their having omitted him in their late appointments of major-generals. He observes it does not give him the rank he had a claim to from seniority in the line of brigadiers, and that he is subject to be commanded by those, who had been inferior to him. He further adds, that Congress, in their last resolve respecting him, have acknowledged him competent to the station of major-general, and therefore have done away every objection implied by their former omission. These considerations are not without their weight, though I pretend not to judge what motives may have influenced the conduct of Congress upon this occasion. It is needless to say any thing of this gentleman’s Edition: current; Page: [363] military character; it is universally known, that he has always distinguished himself as a judicious, brave officer, of great activity, enterprise, and perseverance. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
16 May, 1777
Monsieur Malmedy
Monsieur Malmedy

TO MONSIEUR MALMEDY.2

Sir,

In answer to your letter of the 14th I must freely confess, that I do not fully comprehend your meaning; Edition: current; Page: [364] nor can I forbear expressing my surprise, that you still hold out the idea of difficulties in your situation, notwithstanding the mark of attention you mention, which has been lately conferred upon you by Congress. It astonishes me, that a gentleman of your discernment should find it impossible to make a right distinction between Continental and State appointments, after all the pains that have been taken to explain it. Certainly there is nothing easier to conceive than that an appointment made by the legislature of a particular State, unauthorized by Congress, can have no effect out of that State. The reason is plain. Such legislature has only a local jurisdiction, and can do no act binding on any other State, much less on the whole continent. Your rank of brigadier in Rhode Island, on a Continental scale, is, and always has been, entirely nugatory. You might request a ratification of it from Congress, as a matter of favor, but you could not demand it as a Edition: current; Page: [365] matter of right; and you must be sensible, that many substantial reasons, independent of any personal objections to you, oppose your wish. A perseverance in your mistaken pretensions, after you had seen they could not be complied with, is what I did not expect. To request to be employed in a manner not derogatory to the rank you held in Rhode Island, according to your ideas of that rank, is to request not to be employed at all. I must repeat what I have before told you, that I cannot consider you in any other light, than that in which Congress has placed you; and whatever employment I may at any time have it in power to give you, must be in conformity to that precise rank you actually possess in the Continental army. If you expect any other, you deceive yourself. Such an employment, though it may appear to you a degradation, would not in fact be so; because your appointment of brigadier is a perfect nonentity in a Continental view.

If you formed erroneous notions of your State appointment, and in consequence of them made representations to your friends in Europe, which now involve you in perplexities, you ought to consider it as your misfortune, and should not build any claims upon it that cannot be admitted. But though the distinctions existing among us may not be well understood in France, as you have hinted in a former letter, is it impossible to give a satisfactory explanation of them to your friends? Or will it be any indelible disgrace to you, to confess to them that you have been in an error in your first conceptions, arising Edition: current; Page: [366] from your being a stranger, and unacquainted with the nature of our different military establishments? We ought not to convert trifling difficulties into insuperable obstacles.

Let me propose a few more questions. Appeal to your own understanding and conscience, and then answer. Is not the Continental rank, which you now hold, fully adequate to any expectations you can reasonably deduce from the rank you held in the French army, and for the short term of seven months’ service in ours? Would not the American officers, who have been in the service from the beginning of the war, have a just cause to complain of your too rapid promotion, were your wishes indulged? And would it not justify those, who have been your superior officers in your own country, in raising their hopes to a height, which it would be impossible to gratify? In short, Sir, I cannot bring myself to think, that the extraordinary mark of distinction, bestowed upon you by the State of Rhode Island, is any sufficient foundation for expecting the continent to waive every consideration of policy or propriety in your behalf. Though I wish not to offend or wound, yet justice both to you and myself requires, that I should plainly inform you, that your scruples and difficulties, so often reiterated, and under a variety of shapes, are exceedingly perplexing to me, and that I wish them to cease. I am, Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [367]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Your letter of the 15th I had the honor to receive last night at eleven o’clock. The commission enclosed for Monsieur Armand I shall deliver to him as soon as I see him.1 Agreeable to your request, I will give commissions to the brigadiers, and will ascertain their rank by their original commissions when I obtain Edition: current; Page: [368] them. The inquiry directed, respecting Major Campbell, shall be made, and that be done which shall appear right.

I fear it will be hardly possible to satisfy the views and claims of some of the French gentlemen. The late promotion of Monsieur Malmedy, though highly honorable, and such as should be considered fully if not more than adequate to his pretensions, taken upon any principle, does not come up to his demands. He arrived here yesterday morning, and has been writing to me upon the subject. From the high marks of distinction but too readily conferred upon these men in many instances, they seem to have lost sight of what is just and reasonable. It would have been happy for us, particularly for me and for the gentlemen themselves, if a too easy grant of favors had not induced them to contemn all rank in our army under that of field-officers; nor is it in my power to give commands to every appointment. I shall inform Monsieur Armand, and reconcile him to it in the best manner I can, that there is no vacancy for him at present; and I would beg leave to suggest, that, where promotions are made in future from political and honorary motives, it would be well for Congress to explain to the gentlemen, that it may be some time before they can be put in actual command. This might prevent their entertaining suspicions of neglect on my part, which the situation of the army will not allow me to obviate. There is no vacancy for Monsieur Malmedy, of the rank he now holds, unless the merits of many other officers, who have Edition: current; Page: [369] served with reputation and much longer here, are to be overlooked to make way for him. Such a measure will neither be practicable, nor prudent to attempt.

By a letter from General Heard, who is at Pompton, I am informed that Colonels Barton and Buskirk, with three hundred Tory levies from Bergen, on the morning of the 13th, attempted to surprise and cut off about seventy of his militia stationed at Paramus. The officer happily had notice of their design, and eluded it by moving his post. It happened that the morning was foggy; and, the enemy entering at different places, their parties engaged. General Heard says their loss could not be ascertained; but, from reports of the inhabitants, ten of their men were killed and carried away at one time, and several wounded. I have the honor, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
17 May, 1777
Morristown
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir,

Under the privilege of friendship, I take the liberty to ask you, what Congress expect I am to do with the many foreigners they have at different times promoted to the rank of field-officers, and, by the last resolve, two to that of colonels? In making these appointments, it is much to be feared, that all the attending circumstances are not taken into consideration. To oblige the adventurers of a nation, which we want to interest in our cause, may be one inducement; Edition: current; Page: [370] and to get rid of their importunity, another; but this is viewing the matter by halves, or on one side only. These men have no attachment nor ties to the country, further than interest binds them; they have no influence, and are ignorant of the language they are to receive and give orders in; consequently great trouble or much confusion must follow. But this is not the worst; they have not the smallest chance to recruit others; and our officers think it exceedingly hard, after they have toiled in this service, and probably have sustained many losses, to have strangers put over them, whose merit perhaps is not equal to their own, but whose effrontery will take no denial.

The management of this matter, give me leave to add, Sir, is a delicate point; for although no one will dispute the right of Congress to make appointments, every person will assume the privilege of judging of the propriety of them; and good policy, in my opinion, forbids the disgusting of a whole corps to gratify the pride of an individual; for it is by the zeal and activity of our own people, that the cause must be supported, and not by a few hungry adventurers. Besides, the error of these appointments is now clear and manifest, and the views of Congress evidently defeated; for by giving high rank to people of no reputation or service, you have disgusted their own countrymen; or, in other words, raised their expectations to an insatiable pitch. For the man, who was a captain in France, finding another who was only a subaltern there, or perhaps nothing, appointed to a majority with us, extends his views instantly to a regiment; in like manner, the field-officer Edition: current; Page: [371] can accept of nothing less than a brigade, and so on, by which means the man of real rank and merit must be excluded, or perhaps your whole military system disordered. In the mean while I am haunted and teased to death by the importunity of some, and dissatisfaction of others.

My ideas, in this representation, do not extend to artillery officers and engineers. The first of these will be useful, if they do not break in upon the arrangement of that corps already established by order of Congress; the second are absolutely necessary and not to be had here. But proper precaution should be observed in the choice of them; for we have at present in pay and high rank two Frenchmen, who, in my judgment, know nothing of the duty of engineers. Gentlemen of this profession ought to produce sufficient and authentic testimonials of their skill and knowledge, and not expect that a pompous narrative of services, and loss of papers, the usual excuse, can be a proper introduction into our army. The freedom, with which I have delivered my sentiments on this subject, will, I am persuaded, meet your excuse, when I assure you, that I have nothing else in view, than the good of the service.

I am, dear Sir, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
17 May, 1777
Governor Henry
Governor Henry

TO GOVERNOR HENRY.

Sir,

When I had the honor of addressing you on the 13th Ulto. I flattered myself that, tho’ the recruiting business did not succeed to our wishes, a sufficient reinforcement Edition: current; Page: [372] would ere this have enabled me to open the campaign in such a manner as to have recommended the service to the lower class of people, and thereby to have removed the necessity of compelling them to inlist. But that Hope has been unfortunately blasted so that we have only to decide whether the States shall be loaded with the enormous expence of Militia with difficulty drawn out capable only of making a feeble defence, and the war protracted, or the army completed by coercive Methods. For altho’ the important season is almost past, that afforded the opportunity of crushing the Enemy’s power at present here had I been sufficiently enabled, yet it greatly behoves us, by an instant and vigorous Exertion of our strength to put ourselves into such a situation as to have a good prospect of never being obliged so greatly to hazard our liberties as we have been. The warmest advocates for Militia and short inlistments must, from the experience of two Campaigns, confess that the important purposes of war cannot be answered but by men engaged for a length of time. No substitute can be admitted.

What then remains for us to do? Nothing less than furnishing our full quota of Continental Troops by any means that will ensure success. Our situation [is] perhaps more critical now than ever, Policy directs that caution should be used in the choice. But whether it should be by an indiscriminate Draft, or by making it the interest of the Timid, the Rich and the Tory to furnish soldiers at their own expence, in Ease of themselves and in conformity to the Resolve Edition: current; Page: [373] of Congress of the 14th day of April last, is a subject well worthy the most dispassionate and mature deliberation of your assembly.

Both of these methods have been tried and are still practiced by some of the States with better success than simple recruiting. They are however capable of abuse. The former may produce convulsions in the people and their opposition by the manner in which it is conducted. The latter affords the bad officer too tempting an opportunity of defrauding the Public by receiving the Reward for Men already in the service, or, for some private Emolument giving certificates when no Soldier is furnished; and of greatly injuring the service by introducing into it Foreigners of no principle, who seize the first opportunity of deserting to the Enemy with their arms. If the former should be adopted, the men drafted should serve for a fixed time, 3 years at least, and every possible precaution taken against their substituting convicts or foreign servants in their room. If the latter, the men procured should serve during the war. Here the evils may be effectually guarded. The substitute or exemption from militia duty being evidently an Indulgence, may be granted on no other terms than furnishing a native, or a person of some property or connections in the country—The annexed return of your Battalions now here, will enable the assembly to form a good Judgment of the number of men necessary to complete them to the full establishment. A well executed Law to encourage the taking up of deserters will greatly lessen the Deficiency that Edition: current; Page: [374] appears upon the returns, which is not occasioned altogether by Deaths, because I am well assured that a number of the men, (taking advantage of their absence from their companies, occasioned by their being left in Hospitals) have upon recovering gone home without leave. Nor can my most unceasing efforts bring them back; the officers sent upon that duty shamefully spending their time in Dissipation and Idleness.

I hope the Freedom of this letter will find an excuse in the importance of the subject, and its length have an apology when ’tis considered that consequences of the greatest magnitude are involved in the Issue of the present Contest, the management of which demands our utmost wisdom and activity.

I have, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
17 May, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General Parsons
Brigadier-General Parsons

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL PARSONS.

Dear Sir,

I was favored yesterday with your letter of the 11th instant. I wrote to Governor Trumbull fully, and informed him, that no part of the troops exacted from the State could remain there. This letter I presume has reached the Governor, and I trust the observations contained in it would satisfy him of the necessity of drawing the whole troops together. I think with you, that the enemy will make no impressions into Connecticut. If they attempt any thing of the sort, it will be to call our attention from more Edition: current; Page: [375] important objects. It is much to be wished, that they would prosecute the war on a partisan or detached plan. Nothing could more certainly ensure their destruction. The troops, as fast as they are raised, and their recovery from the smallpox will admit, must come on to Peekskill.

I am sorry the expedient, adopted by the Governor and Council for filling their quota of men, has not been attended with all the advantages expected from it.1 I wish their next attempt may have more happy consequences. I am persuaded your remaining in the State some time longer would be of service; yet, as I consider the defence of the fortifications and passes through the Highlands an object of the last importance, and possessing them most probably to form the chief end of the enemy’s counsels and immediate operations, I wish you to come to Peekskill, and there continue with the troops, till some further disposition shall become necessary or may be ordered. At the same time, I would wish you to fix upon and leave behind a sufficient number of proper officers, to collect and hasten on the recruits as fast as they are raised and gone through inoculation. Perhaps more than one may be necessary; and I have no doubt you will choose for this purpose such as will be of great activity and industry, and in whose conduct the most implicit confidence may be reposed.

Edition: current; Page: [376]

How far the expedition to Long Island would be practicable, supposing our army was full, I cannot determine. In our present situation, we have no men to spare for the purpose. Further, I am by no means satisfied, that the rules of war would justify our detaching a force to recover our prisoners under the present circumstances. I rather think they would not; but without going into a full discussion of the measure, either upon the principles of war or justice, I am certain that policy strongly forbids the attempt. Success in such case would lead to unhappy consequences. No future prisoners in the hands of the enemy would receive the same favorable indulgence, so essential to their health and comfort, and it would authorize their imposing on them a more close and severe confinement. You are not to infer from hence, that I esteem the recovery of prisoners unjustifiable in all cases, or have any doubts respecting the propriety of it.1 I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 May, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Gates
Major-General Gates

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GATES.

Sir,

I cannot help taking notice of some expressions in your letters, which appear to me like an imputation of partiality in favor of this army, to the disadvantage and inconvenience of the northern army. Can you Edition: current; Page: [377] suppose, if there had been an ample supply of tents for the whole army, that I would have hesitated one moment in complying with your demand? I told Major Troup exactly what I repeated in mine of the 15th: “that on account of our loss at Danbury, there would be a scarcity of tents; that our army would be a moving one, and that consequently nothing but tents could serve our turn; and that, therefore, as there was the greatest probability of your being stationary, you should endeavor to cover your troops with barracks and huts.” Certainly this was not a refusal of tents, but a request that you should, in our contracted situation, make every shift in your power to do without them, or at least with as few as possible.

The northern army is, and ever has been, as much the object of my care and attention, as the one immediately under my command; and I cannot recollect, that I ever omitted complying with the requests or supplying the wants of the commander in that department, when it lay in my power. As the returns of military stores of all kinds come before me, and as the direction and distribution of them are entrusted to me by Congress, I have endeavored to apply them in such manner, as would render most effectual service to the public cause, without suffering partiality for either department to have the least influence upon me. I will make particular inquiry of the quarter-master-general concerning his prospect and expectations, as to the article of tents, and if, as I said before, there appears a sufficiency for the whole Edition: current; Page: [378] army, you shall most willingly have your share. But if there is not, surely that army, whose movement is uncertain, must give up its claims for the present to that, which must inevitably take the field the moment the weather will admit, and must continue in it the whole campaign. I am, Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
23 May, 1777
Morristown
Brigadier-General McDougall
Brigadier-General McDougall

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL McDOUGALL.

Dear Sir,

I had yesterday the pleasure of yours of the 21st instant. I wish every officer in the army could appeal to his own heart and find the same principles of conduct, that I am persuaded actuate you; we should experience more consistency, zeal, and steadiness than we now do in but too many instances. A disinterested attachment to the cause, which we are engaged in, can alone produce a line of behavior in every circumstance, equal to the importance of it. I perfectly agree with you in the impropriety of that diversity in the modes of training our regiments, which has prevailed hitherto. I have it in contemplation very soon to digest and establish a regular system of discipline, manœuvres, evolutions, and regulations for guards, to be observed throughout the army. In the mean time, I should be glad if you would introduce uniformity among those under your command; and I would recommend to you to be particularly attentive to having them instructed in the proper use of their feet, so as to Edition: current; Page: [379] enable them to perform the necessary movements in marching and forming, with ease, order, agility, and expedition. Good consequences would undoubtedly result from accustoming the men to the noise of firing, and to the habit of taking aim at an object. You may therefore bestow a little ammunition on this purpose, having regard to the quantity of this article among us.

Of late several of our officers have broken their paroles and stolen away. This practice, ignominious to themselves, dishonorable to the service, and injurious to the officers of sentiment and delicacy, who remain behind to experience the rigors of resentment and distrust on their account, cannot be tolerated, whatever be the pretence. I have made a point of sending those back, that have come under my observation; and I must desire you will do the same towards those, who fall under yours. The reason commonly assigned for this breach of faith is the want of money and necessaries. I regret that this plea is too well founded; but I hope it will not continue to be so, as effectual measures are taking to provide for the wants of our prisoners. I am, with esteem, dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
23 May, 1777
Morris Town
James Warren
Warren, James

TO JAMES WARREN.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 4th instant was duly handed me.—I am fully sensible of the zeal your state has demonstrated in the instances you recite, and in many Edition: current; Page: [380] more. With you, I consider them as great exertions; and as decisive evidence of your inclination to do every thing in your power, to advance the common cause. At the same time, whatever efforts have been or can be made are not more than adequate to the exigency of the situation. Though over sanguine and uninformed people may think differently,—this is a most interesting and critical period, and will not countenance the least want of activity or attention in any quarter. I have the highest confidence that your State will not let the great object we are contending for, be lost, or endangered more than is unavoidable, by any such deficiency on their part.

Your repealing the offensive part of the act you mention, is a proof of your justice and regard to the sense of your sister-States. It certainly bore the features of a monopoly, and was liable to the interpretation put upon it, and though I am ready to believe, it proceeded from impolitic, rather than selfish motives,—I am happy the cause of complaint is removed and the matter placed upon a more liberal footing.

I observe your State is not a little alarmed at the prospect of an immediate invasion. Notwithstanding the intelligence from Europe, in some measure, warrants the supposition of such an event, and makes it proper not intirely to disregard it;—yet I am clearly of opinion it is not much to be apprehended. It is by no means an eligible way to the conquest of this country;—your state from its union, numbers and situation being capable of a much better defence, than Edition: current; Page: [381] perhaps any other; and it is presumable that the enemy will make their attacks, where circumstances promise the greatest likelihood of success. But, be this as it may, I cannot help disapproving the project of raising colonial regiments for your defence, at least ’till the continental troops are raised. It is easy to percieve, as you have yourself hinted, that it will have a direct tendency to defeat your endeavors for completing your quota of the united army;—and it would be the most wretched policy to weaken the hands of the continent, under the mistaken idea of strengthening your own. It would also be well to consider how far it might be consistent with propriety, in the pursuit of partial schemes, to put it out of your own power to fulfil what is required of you by the Continent.

If the several states, by levying troops on the particular establishment of each, leave but a small continental army in the field, it will be impossible to effectually watch the motions of the enemy, and oppose them where they may in reality direct their operations—the consequences of which must undoubtedly be fatal.—But if we have a sufficient Continental force on foot, we shall be able to watch them narrowly and counteract them wherever they may attempt to move.—Every state will find its security in such an army, whose sole business it will be to oppose the enemy, where it is most requisite.—It cannot be imagined, that, if your State were seriously attacked, a proportionate part of the Continental force would not be detailed to succor and protect it.—My duty, Edition: current; Page: [382] inclination, and a regard for the safety of the whole would equally compel me to it. What valuable end can then be answered to you, from the step you propose to take, which can compensate for the irretrievable injury the common cause might sustain, from our not having a sufficient army in the field for the purposes of general opposition.—The measure, injurious in every way, can only serve to burthen the state with an unnecessary expence, which will be intirely its own; as the troops intended to be raised will be for local and colonial ends, and no diminution of the common force.

I see no advantage you can derive from such an impolitic step, which would not be fully produced, by what I assured the assembly, on a former occasion, should be done; which is,—that the supernumerary regiments adopted by you, should remain in your state ’till the designs of the enemy became so evident, as to convince us their continuance would be no longer expedient, or useful. This assurance I repeat; and I beg you will communicate it in my name to them;—earnestly recommending it to them to relinquish the scheme.—Indeed, Sir, on a cool, dispassionate survey of all circumstances, it will be found replete with impolicy and danger; and I am persuaded, that, either they have already on mature deliberation, laid it aside, or, on a reconsideration of the matter, will coincide with me, in opinion, and correct the mistake.

With great regard, and respect, I am, &c.1
Edition: current; Page: [383]
George Washington
Washington, George
23 May, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was yesterday honored with your letter of the 18th instant. As I could only repeat the observations contained in my letter of the 11th, upon your request for two regiments to remain in Connecticut, I must beg leave to refer your attention to them, and to a few more which I shall now subjoin. If the several battalions designed to compose the army were complete, I should then hope a few troops might be spared to guard those places most accessible to parties of the enemy and their cruisers; but as their state is very different, it cannot be done, unless we endanger objects of the last importance to us.1 I shall not trouble you with a minute detail of the forces assembled at this time from the different States. By the last return from Peekskill on the 10th, not more than Edition: current; Page: [384] three hundred and thirty Continental troops were there then. In addition to these, there is a detachment here, under Lieutenant Colonel Butler, consisting of about—men. I will not comment upon this subject, because I know it will not give you less pain than it does myself; and my only design in mentioning it, is to show I have but too just grounds for my anxiety and desire that troops should come on. I wish those assembled as yet, from some other States, did not bear a proportion too analogous to this. When those from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island do arrive, my present intention is to post a respectable number about the White Plains, to act as an army or detachment of observation, etc.; and from which your State, as far as I am able to judge, will be more likely to be protected against any capital attempts of the enemy, than any other. It will be impossible to secure every place against their small marauding, plundering parties, but nothing will be so probable to effect it as our drawing our strength to a point, which will oblige them to do the same. If we divide and act in detachments, so will they.

I am extremely sorry you should have been at so much trouble and expense in sending to Colonel Langdon for part of the military stores in his hands. His refusal, and that of General Heath, I am pursuaded, you will consider right, and founded in necessity upon mature reflection. All the stores are coming to Springfield, where they will be deposited in the public magazine, except such as will be immediately wanted for the army; and I feel myself extremely unhappy in not having it in my power to consent Edition: current; Page: [385] that a part should be appropriated as you request. Our stores will by no means authorize me to do otherwise, than to keep them for the forming army. Were they once let out, how could I collect them, or how could I be answerable for them to the States at large? They are not more than equal to our certain demands; and in respect to artillery, the quantity imported and fit for the field is far inferior to that we are to oppose and what we want. I have, with pain, been obliged to refuse other requisitions of the same nature, and am concerned I should have been laid under the necessity, when the expediency of preventing the stores being scattered throughout the States required it.

I am much obliged by the copy of the Act you were pleased to transmit me, and I only hope its effects may be equal to your wishes.

I have nothing of importance to communicate in the military line here. I am told, from the last advices from France, things seem to be in a favorable train, and that Spain appears to be equally disposed to render us every assistance.

Governor Tryon, it is reported, is dead of the wound he received in the Danbury expedition. How far it is true, I know not. It is also said seventeen ships came in at Sandy Hook on the 22d, and more were in the offing.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [386]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I beg leave to inform Congress, that, immediately after the receipt of their resolve of the 26th of March, recommending the office of adjutant-general to be filled by the appointment of a person of abilities and unsuspected attachment to our cause, I wrote to Colonel Timothy Pickering of Salem, offering him the post in the first instance, and transmitting at the same time a letter for Colonel William Lee, whom Congress had been pleased to mention, to be delivered to him in case my offer could not be accepted. This conduct, in preference of Colonel Pickering, I was induced to adopt from the high character I had of him, both as a great military genius cultivated by an industrious attention to the study of war, and as a gentleman of liberal education, distinguished zeal, and great method and activity in business. This character of him I had from gentlemen of distinction and merit, and on whose judgment I could rely. When my letter reached Colonel Pickering, at first view he thought his situation in respect to public affairs would not permit him to accept the post. That for Colonel Lee he sent immediately to him, who, in consequence of it, repaired to head-quarters. By Colonel Lee I received a letter from Colonel Pickering, stating more particularly the causes, which prevented his accepting the office when it was offered, and assuring me that he would in a little time accommodate his affairs in such a manner as to come into any military Edition: current; Page: [387] post, in which he might be serviceable, and thought equal to.

Here I am to mark with peculiar satisfaction, in justice to Colonel Lee, who has deservedly acquired the reputation of a good officer, that he expressed a distrust of his abilities to fill the appointment intended for him; and, on hearing that Colonel Pickering would accept it, he not only offered but wished to relinquish his claim to it in favor of him, whom he declared he considered, from a very intimate and friendly acquaintance, as a first-[rate] military character; and that he knew no gentleman better or so well qualified for the post among us. Matters being thus circumstanced, and Colonel Lee pleased with the command he was in, I wrote to Colonel Pickering on his return, who accepted the office and is daily expected. In this business I beg Congress to be assured, though Colonel Lee was postponed in the first instance, their recommendation had its due weight; and that no motive, other than a regard to the service, induced me to prefer Colonel Pickering. His acknowledged abilities and equal zeal, without derogating from the merits of Colonel Lee, who holds a high place in my esteem, gave him a preference; and I flatter myself the cause will be promoted in his appointment, especially as we shall have two good officers in lieu of one, who, I am persuaded, will do honor to themselves in the line in which they move.

Considering the passes through the Highlands of the utmost importance to secure, I sent Generals Greene and Knox about a fortnight ago to see what Edition: current; Page: [388] had been done for their defence, and to consult with the general officers they should meet, upon such further measures as might be deemed necessary for their greater safety. The enclosed copy of their report will fully convey their sentiments upon the subject; to which I beg leave to refer Congress. I have sent General Putnam to command in that quarter, and have instructed him to use every possible means in his power for expediting and effecting the works and obstructions mentioned in the report. Fearing that the cables might not be procured in time, I have directed his particular and immediate attention to fixing the boom. However, as the cables would render that more secure, and will be extremely serviceable in the opinion of the officers, if they are to be had in Philadelphia, I would advise Congress to order them to be purchased and forwarded without loss of time; they cannot be got elsewhere. They must be proportioned to the width of the river, which is about five hundred and forty yards; and, as they will be of most use if diagonally laid, the gentlemen think they should not be less than four hundred and fifty fathoms long, and the largest size that can be had. Unless they are large and substantial, they will answer no purpose, and will not sustain their weight when stretched.

I should be glad to know whether it be the intention of Congress, that one of the already appointed General Officers may be assigned to the Command of the light Horse, or whether they have in contemplation the appointing of one for this purpose—If the Edition: current; Page: [389] first, I shall immediately name one to that duty. If the second, they will be pleased to choose one, as it is time we should have our arrangements compleat.1

I have nothing of importance to communicate, unless it is, that Seventeen Ships are said to have arrived at New York on the 22d, and that others were in the offing. A Report has also prevailed, and has come thro two or three channels, that Govr. Tryon, that was, is dead of the wound he received in the Danbury expedition & one account is, that Lieut. Colo. Walcot fell in the engagement at Ridgefield. I don’t know how far the facts are to be depended on; It seems certain that Mr. Tryon was wounded.

I have the honor, &c.

P. S. As I dont know what particular purposes, Congress had in view, when they ordered Col. Harrison’s Regiment of Artillery to be raised, I don’t think myself at liberty to give any directions about It. But if they have no certain employment for it in view, I could wish them to order the whole or such part of It as they shall judge proper to join this Army, as we Edition: current; Page: [390] are in great want of more Artillerymen than we have—It will not be necessary that the Artillery should come.

George Washington
Washington, George
25 May, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Putnam
Major-General Putnam

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PUTNAM.

Dear Sir,

Would it be practicable, do you think, under the present circumstances and situation of the troops at Peekskill, to surprise the enemy at Kingsbridge? It must be effected by surprise, or not at all, and must be undertaken by water, which would also prove abortive, if the enemy have vessels of any kind above Fort Washington. The undigested ideas, which I have entertained of the matter, are these: to embark a number of troops, supposed adequate to the enterprise, in boats, under pretence of transporting them and their baggage to Tappan, as a more easy and expeditious method of joining the army under my immediate command; to cover this the better, a number of wagons might be ordered to assemble at the landing on this side, in order to receive your baggage. Or, if it should be thought, that moving a body of men so near the enemy would put them too much upon their guard, could not the troops be embarked at Peekskill, under pretence of reinforcing the garrison on the river, in order to expedite the works, and actually set off as if bound thither; but, under cover of darkness, turn and push down the river? But here, possibly, a difficulty will arise on account of the impracticability of getting down in the night, and the difficulty of being concealed in any creek or Edition: current; Page: [391] inlet on the western shore in the day. These are all matters worthy of consideration, and I have nothing more in view, than to lead you into a train of thinking upon the subject. Let the matter be communicated to Generals McDougall and George Clinton, for their sentiments, but under strong injunctions of secrecy, for it always happens, that where more than two or three are apprized of an undertaking of this kind, the knowledge of it always gets abroad, which must inevitably defeat any measure that depends upon secrecy.

The place at which I should propose your landing would be in the hollow between Fort Washington and Spiten Devil. It is a good landing-place, and affords a good passage into the road leading from Fort Washington to the bridge. It is very obscure, and would enable you to fall in upon the back of the troops at Fort Independence, by which the surprise would be greater and their retreat cut off. Thence your troops might, or might not, march up by land, and sweep the country before them of the enemy and provisions, as circumstances would justify. After consulting the gentlemen before mentioned on the propriety of this measure, let me know the result by a careful person, and when the plan could conveniently be carried into execution.1

I am, dear Sir, your most affectionate, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [392]
George Washington
Washington, George
26 May, 1777
Morris Town
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I was yesterday evening honored with your letter of the 22d instant. It is certainly of importance that I should have the earliest intelligence of the enemy’s movements, and I beg leave to thank you for the information you have been pleased to transmit on that head.

Your anxiety for troops to remain in Connecticut, and my inability to grant them, when I examine matters upon a large, and I believe just, scale, distress me much. I assure you, sir, no requisition has more weight with me than yours, nor will ever be more readily granted when circumstances will admit, and when I think it will not, in its consequences, be injurious to the general good. I must take the liberty of referring you to my letters of the 11th and 23d for my reasons why we should draw our forces to a point, and which, I trust, upon consideration will appear good and satisfactory. A capital object in the enemy’s plan is to divide and distract our attention. For this purpose has the division under Lord Percy been kept so long at Rhode Island, expecting from thence, that the apprehension of an invasion, or their penetrating the country, would prevent any troops coming from the eastward. Could I but assemble all our forces, our situation would be respectable, and such I should hope, as would compel General Howe to employ his together, or to hazard their destruction. On the other hand, Edition: current; Page: [393] whilst the quotas from the several States are so extremely deficient, should they be divided, and act in detachments, there will be just grounds to apprehend our ruin. I have the honor to be, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
27 May, 1777
Morristown
Major-General Greene
Major-General Greene

TO MAJOR-GENERAL GREENE.

Dear Sir,

I have ordered the assistant-commissary at this place to repair immediately to camp. It is the peculiar misfortune of this army to have, generally speaking, the heads of the different departments always absent, when they are most wanted. Two months was I laboring, as hard as a man could, to get the commissary-general to this place, and had scarcely accomplished it, before the Congress ordered him to Philadelphia; from whence I have used my utmost endeavors to bring him back, but am answered that he is detained by order. In the mean while, the army may starve. I will again send to him by express, and for present supplies advise the adoption of the mode you pointed out, by your taking the provision out of the country about Elizabethtown, Newark, and Millstone, because two ends will be answered by it.

On the road to-day I met a person, who told me that he left New York on Saturday noon; that he was desired to let me know, that a successful attack might be made upon Brunswic; that there were at this time a captain, lieutenant, and two sergeants from New York, among us as spies, in the habit of countrymen; that Edition: current; Page: [394] seventy sail of transports are ready, as he supposes, by this time for sailing; that seven of them were fitted for stores, and had got forage on board; the rest designed for troops, stores, and provisions; Philadelphia the destination talked of; that he understood some transports arrived on Sunday last, with troops from Newport, but that no other reinforcements had got in, nor any vessels from Europe, except the seventeen provision ships we have already heard of. I hope Colonel Dayton reported to you the suspicious person met with at Bullion’s tavern, and that you have had him under examination before this. I am, dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
28 May, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The enclosed is a copy of a letter received yesterday from General Howe. Congress will perceive, by referring to the copy of his letter of the 21st of April transmitted in mine of the 26th, that he persevered in his demand for an equal number of prisoners to be returned for those sent out by him; which has been the subject of controversy between us. As General Howe has called upon me again for my final decision upon the subject, and Congress are fully possessed of it, having received transcripts of every paper respecting it, I wish them to take the matter under their earliest consideration, and to inform me as soon as they can, whether the grounds on which it has been conducted by me are agreeable to their ideas, and whether my Edition: current; Page: [395] objections are or are not to be departed from. The affair is particularly stated in my letter of the 9th ultimo to General Howe, in answer to the paper addressed to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Walcott; copies of which were enclosed in my letter to the President on the 10th of the same month. The dispute, so far as General Lee is concerned, rests at present on their declaring him exchangeable, as other prisoners are, on the principle of equality of rank; to ensure which, or his safety, Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the Hessian field-officers are detained. The other objection to returning their prisoners is, that a great proportion of those sent out by them were not fit subjects of exchange when released, and were made so by the severity of their treatment and confinement, and therefore a deduction should be made from the list.

Good faith seems to require, that we should return as many of theirs at least as we received effectives from them; I mean such as could be considered capable of being exchanged; and perhaps sound policy, that the agreement subsisting for exchanges should continue. On the other hand it may be said, that our prisoners in general, in the enemy’s hands at present, will have greater security by our retaining them, and that General Howe will be less apt to relinquish any part of his claim, the more the number in our hands is diminished by an exchange.

I confess I am under great difficulty in this business. But what is more particularly the cause of this application, is the latter part of the first paragraph of the enclosed copy,—“and for your determination Edition: current; Page: [396] respecting the prisoners now here, that I may make my arrangements accordingly.” This is couched in terms of great ambiguity; and I am really at a loss what interpretation to give it; whether he intends that his conduct respecting them shall be as I advise (this appears more favorable than can well be expected), or that, if the previous demand is not answered in a satisfactory manner, he shall consider them on a different footing from that on which our former prisoners were, and the agreement totally dissolved. We are told government offered the prisoners they took to the India Company, and they have procured an act dispensing with that of the habeas corpus in particular cases of persons supposed inimical to them. How far they or their commanders may adopt these measures, remains to be known. I have only mentioned them as they respect the general subject of my letter.1

Notwithstanding my recommendation, agreeably to what I conceived to be the sense of Congress, Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell’s treatment continues to be such as cannot be justified either on the principles of generosity or strict retaliation; as I have authentic information, and I doubt not you will have the same, that General Lee’s situation is far from Edition: current; Page: [397] being rigorous or uncomfortable. Except his not being permitted to go at large on parole, he has reason to be content with every other circumstance of his treatment.

I am just moving to Boundbrook, from whence I returned yesterday morning. On Monday morning a body of the enemy advanced near that post. They retreated, on seeing a detachment march to meet them. There was some firing at long shot, but without any great damage. We had only three men slightly wounded. What their loss was, I know not; three of their light-horse were killed. By advices from the eastward, the troops are coming from Rhode Island.

I have the honor to be, &c.1
George Washington
Washington, George
29 May, 1777
Middlebrook
Brigadier-General Parsons
Brigadier-General Parsons

TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL PARSONS.

Dear Sir,

I was just now favored with your letter of the 25th by Major Humphreys. The intelligence communicated by it is truly interesting and agreeable, and now I shall take occasion, not only to give you my hearty approbation of your conduct in planning the expedition to Long Island, but to return my sincere thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Meigs and to all officers and men engaged in it. This enterprise, so fortunate in the execution, will greatly distress the enemy in the important and essential article of forage, and reflects much honor on those, who performed it. Edition: current; Page: [398] I shall ever be happy to reward merit when in my power, and therefore wish you to inquire for a vacant ensigncy in some of the regiments for Sergeant Ginnings, to which you will promote him, advising me of the same and the time.1

As I could only repeat what I have said in my former letters to you and to Governor Trumbull, on the subject Edition: current; Page: [399] of his and the Assembly’s request for part of the troops to remain in Connecticut, it is unnecessary for me to say more respecting it, than that I cannot possibly comply with it at this time. The passes and fortifications in the Highlands are of the last importance, and every means in our power must be employed to secure them. If the enemy’s movements, which most probably will be understood in a little time, should be such as to show that Hudson’s River is not their object, and the state of the troops will admit, I shall with great pleasure post a part of them about White Plains and Stamford, and give every protection I can to Connecticut, consistent with the general interest; but till these events take place, neither prudence nor policy will justify me in sparing men. You will, agreeably to my request, repair to Peekskill after making the necessary orders about the troops. I am, with great esteem, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
31 May, 1777
Middlebrook
Governor Henry
Governor Henry

TO GOVERNOR HENRY.

Sir,

I this morning received information, which I believe is not to be doubted, that on Saturday last a large fleet, consisting of a hundred sail, left New York and stood out to sea. Whither they are destined, or what they had on board, remains to be known. If possessing Hudson’s River should not be General Howe’s first object, I should suppose his operations will be against Philadelphia, and that this Edition: current; Page: [400] Fleet, if they have troops on board, are bound into the Delaware Bay. Though my opinion is as above, yet I would take the liberty of suggesting, that it may be expedient to put your militia upon the most respectable footing, that circumstances will admit, lest their destination should be more southern. At the same time that I mention this, I would advise, that they should be immediately supplied with ammunition, or that it be so deposited in the hands of the several committees, or other proper persons, that it may be had upon the most sudden emergency. The former would be by far the most eligible mode, if they would keep it for the purposes for which it was given.

Should this fleet arrive on your coast, and the enemy attempt to penetrate the country, or to make incursions, I would recommend, that the earliest opposition be made by parties and Detachments of Militia, without waiting to collect a large Body. I am convinced this would be attended with the most salutary consequences, and that greater advantages would be derived from it than by deferring the opposition, till you assemble a number equal to that of the enemy. By pursuing this mode, they will be much annoyed, and will receive an early impression of the unfavorable disposition of the people towards them. Besides, they will not have the same opportunity of establishing themselves, as they otherwise would; and it may be added, that militia, acting in large bodies, for want of discipline are unwieldly, difficult to conduct, and less apt to render proportionate Edition: current; Page: [401] services. These hints I take the liberty to suggest and submit to you as worthy of attention. In the course of this week, eighteen transports have arrived at York with troops, supposed to be foreign, from their uniform. Whether they are immediately from Germany, or those who were in Canada, is a matter of conjecture. Some have imagined the Latter would be called to reinforce General Howe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. I must beg your attention to my Letter on the Subject of filling your Regiments. It is a matter of the last importance & their present weak state does not furnish by any means the Quota assigned you. I trust and am persuaded no exertions will be omitted to effect this Salutary and desirable event.

George Washington
Washington, George
31 May, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Monsieur Ducoudray is just arrived at camp, and proposes to set out to-morrow for Philadelphia. What his views are, I am uncertain, having had no conversation with him upon the subject; but I find an idea prevails, that there is an agreement between Mr. Deane and him, that he shall have the chief command of the artillery. How well founded this opinion may be, I cannot determine; but, if it be true, it may involve the most injurious consequences. General Knox, who has deservedly acquired the character of one of the most valuable officers in the service, and who, Edition: current; Page: [402] combating almost innumerable difficulties in the department he fills, has placed the artillery upon a footing that does him the greatest honor, he, I am persuaded, would consider himself injured by an appointment superseding his command, and would not think himself at liberty to continue in the service. Should such an event take place in the present state of things, there would be too much reason to apprehend a train of ills, such as might convulse and unhinge this important department.

Supposing Monsieur Ducoudray to have made such an agreement, the case is of great difficulty, and in my opinion is worthy of the consideration of Congress. Yet may not means be still devised to satisfy this gentleman by appointing him to some command not derogatory to his promised rank, and which will be agreeable to him? From the recommendations we have had of him, I am obliged to esteem him of high character, and of great knowledge in what he professes; and, from this consideration and the manner in which he is mentioned to us, it appears that much address and delicacy must be used to conciliate matters. Many reasons, besides those I have noted, might be assigned for continuing General Knox first in command in this department, which, on reflection, will readily occur. I would only observe, without insinuating the most distant shadow of distrust of Monsieur Ducoudray’s honor, candor, or integrity, that, on the general maxims of prudence and policy, it may be questioned with much propriety, whether so important a command as that of the artillery should Edition: current; Page: [403] be vested in any but a native, or one attached by the ties of interest to these States. Congress will be pleased to excuse the freedom I have used upon this occasion, and, I trust, will impute it to the importance of the subject which gave rise to it.1 I have the honor, &c.2

George Washington
Washington, George
1 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

Dear Sir,

By your favor of the 22d ultimo, I perceive my letter of the 17th has been expressed in too strong terms. I did not mean by the words, “to get rid of importunity,” to cast the smallest reflection; indeed the hurry with which I am obliged to write the few private letters I attempt, will not allow me to consider the force and tendency of my words; nor should I Edition: current; Page: [404] have been surprised, if the fact had really been so, if I am to judge of their, I mean foreigners’ applications to Congress, by those to myself; for it is not one, nor twenty explanations, that will satisfy the cravings of these people’s demands.

You will, before this can reach you, have seen Monsieur Ducoudray. What his real expectations are, and what his agreements with Mr. Deane, I know not; but I fear, if his appointment is equal to what I have been told is his expectation, it will be attended with unhappy consequences. To say nothing of the policy of entrusting a department, on the due execution of which the salvation of the army depends, to a foreigner, who has no other tie to bind him to the interests of this country than honor, I would beg leave to observe, that, by putting Monsieur Ducoudray at the head of the artillery, you will lose a very valuable officer in General Knox, who is a man of great military reading, sound judgment, and clear conceptions. He has conducted the affairs of that department with honor to himself, and advantage to the public, and will resign if any one is put over him.1 My last return of the army will give you our Edition: current; Page: [405] strength, and show the state of the recruiting service, which seems to be at an end. The regiments of Pennsylvania, indeed, appear to be growing worse; and, unless some coercive method can be hit upon to complete battalions, I see no chance of doing it. General Howe’s encouragement, by proclamation, has occasioned great desertions from our army to his, with the loss of arms; this I have represented to Congress, and submitted to them the propriety of offering something back by way of counteraction, but have received no answer; and this, being frequently the case, leaves me often in a very disagreeable state of suspense, from which a simple yea or nay would relieve me.

If some effectual mode is not devised to fill the regiments, it is impossible, at least very unlikely, that any effectual opposition can be given to the British army with the troops we have, whose numbers diminish more by desertion, than they increase by enlistments. Edition: current; Page: [406] I have requested the director-general of the hospital here, as it is properly within his line, to take notice of the report, which you say prevails to the southward concerning the sick, and to remark upon it in the gazettes. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [407]
George Washington
Washington, George
3 June, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I would take the liberty of addressing a few lines to Congress on a matter, which appears to me of importance, Edition: current; Page: [408] and which is considered in the same light by many of our officers, and others not in the military line. The subject I allude to is the condition of many persons now with the enemy, who, deluded by their arts and a misguided attachment to their measures, fled from the protection of the States, to find security with them, and who in many instances are in arms against us. It has been suggested through various channels, and the suggestion seems to be credited, especially as some have already escaped, that many of these unhappy people, convinced of their error and the wicked part they have taken, would embrace the earliest opportunity of leaving the enemy and returning among us, were they sure of being received into our friendship again, and of enjoying their property and the rights of citizens.

This subject, in the consideration of it, strikes me as important, interesting, and delicate, involving many consequences worthy of mature deliberation and attention. As such, and deeming myself incompetent to it, I think it my duty to submit it to Congress for their discussion, to take such measures therein as they shall esteem necessary and right. If these people, particularly those in arms, are ingenuous in what has been hinted, and it is their wish, or that of any considerable part of them, to return, I should suppose it would be expedient, and founded in sound policy, to give every suitable assurance to induce them to come. Such an event would be attended with salutary effects, would weaken the enemy, distress them greatly, and would probably have a Edition: current; Page: [409] most happy influence in preventing others from joining their arms. On the other hand, the indulgence may be liable to great abuse, supposing it not to be duly guarded; or, if the effects produced by it should be partial, they will not be adequate to the ends in view. Yet, as the enemy on their part are using every device they are capable of, to seduce both soldiers and citizens from our service into theirs, and have succeeded but too well, it is generally thought in the military line, that something should be attempted to counteract them. Whether Congress will be of the same sentiment, and, if they should, what and how extensive the mode and indulgence ought to be, is entirely with them.

There is one difficulty that occurs to me, supposing the measure to be adopted. What line of discrimination can be drawn upon such an occasion, though circumstances should differ and seem to require it? While the poor, deluded, ignorant, duped by artifices and a thousand causes to lead them wrong, have a claim to their country’s pardon and indulgence, there are many of well-informed understanding, who, from their early-avowed hostile dispositions and inveterate disregard of her rights, and those who have taken a double and triple part, cannot have the same pretensions; whose only view in returning may be to serve their own sordid purposes, and the better to promote those plans they have steadily pursued.

One thing more I would observe, which is, that if Congress judge an adoption of measures eligible on the subject of my letter, the sooner it is come into Edition: current; Page: [410] the better, for the most obvious reasons; and the time allowed for those to return, who wish the indulgence, should be fixed at a short period not longer in my opinion that till the—day of—next; otherwise they may avail themselves of the circumstance, and wait events to decide their choice. If any good consequences are produced, the means can be renewed and further extended. Congress will be pleased to excuse me for thus freely communicating my sentiments, especially when I assure them that they are dictated by what I esteem my duty. I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. The more I consider the Subject of my Letter, the more important and interesting it appears, I am inclined to think, if the measure proposed should be deemed expedient, that it will be better, that the indulgencies and assurances for their return, should be communicated thro’ the medium of some Second, secret Hand, qualified to offer them, and negotiate the business, rather than by an Act of public Authority. Opportunities, I should suppose, may be found, by which they may obtain due information, in that way, and which will not hold out to the Enemy the same cause of Suspicion and of vigilance prevent their escaping. Whatever more shall be considered most advisable, should be immediately adopted. What time should be allowed in the first instance, I am at a loss to determine. If the continuance is too short, there may be danger of their not being apprized so as to get off. If ’t is too long, Edition: current; Page: [411] they’ll defer matters to the last and act then as circumstances of Interest dictate; to err in the form will be least injurious.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 June, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I this morning had the honor of your letter of the 5th with its enclosures. The resolution of the 30th of May, respecting the French gentlemen, who came passengers in the Amphitrite, reached camp before Edition: current; Page: [412] your letter, and has excited much uneasiness in the artillery corps.1 The enclosed copy of a letter from General Knox will convey their anxiety upon the subject; which I think it necessary to transmit, as well from duty as on account of his request. The difficulties upon this occasion arise from the peculiar circumstances of most of the officers composing the artillery regiments at this time. I do not know, for my own part, what operation Congress precisely meant the resolution should have; but if the commissions, which these gentlemen are to receive, should give them rank from the date of those they had from the King of France, or from their compact with Mr. Deane, there are but few officers now in the artillery, who will not be superseded in their command, unless some method is adopted to prevent it. This, I am persuaded, Congress had not in contemplation, because it is opposed to policy and to justice; and I am led to believe the resolution was come into for want of due information how matters were circumstanced in this instance.2

Edition: current; Page: [413]

The officers now in the artillery I am obliged to consider of great merit. Experience has proved them to be most warmly attached to the rights of their country; and their conduct in the line of their profession has been such, as does the highest honor to themselves and the gentleman who immediately commands them. Without derogating in the least from the character of the French officers, who are to be commissioned, and whom I wish to receive every countenance they merit, there is strong reason to doubt, laying aside every consideration of policy, whether they have seen as much real service as our own in the course of two campaigns. It would be hard, not to say unjust, that the latter should lose their command when they have a claim to every mark of favor, and after they have taken great pains to form their companies. The service requires that they should not; and I am convinced the event would be attended with the most fatal consequences.

Edition: current; Page: [414]

But what is to be done? This is a case of difficulty, view it as you will. I am not for rejecting the French gentlemen; far otherwise; I am for employing them; and public faith, and the encouragements given to bring them over, demand that it should be done. After much thought and consideration upon the subject, two modes occur to me, as the only possible ones by which it can be effected, and by which the inconveniences I have mentioned can be remedied. One is, that the new corps of artillery should be formed, and these gentlemen attached to it. This, we have reason to fear, cannot be done, from the difficulties we have experienced in raising men, and from their having no interest or connexions with the people. Their situation in such case, if they are men of sentiment and active dispositions, would be irksome and distressing. The other is, that our present officers now under consideration should have their commissions antedated, to give them precedency of rank; and this may be done with the greater propriety, as most of them were intended to hold the posts they now sustain, before the French gentlemen had any claim upon us. It is true they were not commissioned, because the old corps existed under the first arrangement. Further it is said, and there is no doubt of the fact, that these gentlemen were promoted by brevet just before their departure from France, merely to give them rank here; antecedent to which, our officers were superior to them in this point; and these brevets only confer local rank, confined to the French-American colonies. This latter Edition: current; Page: [415] mode appears the most eligible. If it is adopted, they will be distributed through the corps as assistant officers. Their want of a knowledge in our language incapacitates them for command in the first instance; and not only so, but to place them at the head of companies, over officers that have been at great trouble, pains, and expense in raising the men, would be both unmilitary and unjust.

I shall now quit the subject, wishing that whatever will best conciliate matters, and advance the public good, may be done; suggesting at the same time with all deference, that, as it is much easier to prevent evils, than to remedy them after they have happened, it will be well, in all cases of foreign and indeed other applications, that the consequences, which granting them wil involve, should be maturely weighed and taken in every point of view. In the present case of difficulty, things, I am persuaded, might have been adjusted with the greatest facility, had the Committee of Foreign Applications been fully possessed of all the circumstances respecting the artillery regiments. * * * I have the honor, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6 June, 1777
Middle Brook
Appolos Morris
Morris, Appolos

TO APPOLOS MORRIS.

Sir,

I am favd. with yours of the 26 and 29 May from both of which it is evident to me that you have at length determined upon the part which you are to Edition: current; Page: [416] take in this great dispute. I will not argue with you upon the propriety of your Conduct, but I cannot help saying, that I think it very odd, that after being denied an answer to your political Queries, which appears from Mr. Allen’s letter to you of the 2d April, you should upon the bare assertion or rather opinion of that Gentleman, expressed in his letter of the 8th of May, conclude that matters between this Country and Great Britain might have been adjusted, had any terms short of Independence been insisted upon. I must tell you in plain terms, that at this time a neutral character is looked upon as a suspicious one; and I would therefore advise you to leave a Country with a Majority of whom you cannot agree in Sentiment, and who are determined to Assert their liberties by the ways and means which necessity and not the love of War has obliged them to adopt.

I thank you for your expressions of personal Regard and am, Sir, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Samuel B. Webb
Webb, Samuel B.

TO COLONEL SAMUEL B. WEBB.

Dr. Sir,

By Mr. Turnbull who is just past this for Philadelphia I am informed that you have lately drawn 500 Hunting Shirts—500 Waistcoats—& 500 overalls, Edition: current; Page: [417] in addn. to the Cloathing you obtained some time ago—By a late return from Genl. Putnam who comds. at Peekskill, dated the 31st Ulto. it appears that of your Regiment, he has only 21 men at that Post—and, by a Return from Genl. Parsons of the 13th of ye same M. it further appears that the whole strength of your Regiment was only 205 Rank & file.—What is the meaning of all this? & in what point of view am I to consider such proceedings?—Can you conceive it necessary that your Regiment, is to have one Suit for parade, and another to march to New Haven. Present appearances render it doubtful whether they will ever get further or intend to leave the State of Connecticut—and more than all this can you think it justifiable to Keep 200 and odd spare suits by them when a numbr. of poor fellows who have been doing hard duty in the Field have scarcely cloathing to cover their nakedness and many of them rendered unfit for duty for want thereof whilst the clothier Genl. knows not where to provide them.

I am sorry you oblige me to tell you in plain terms that this conduct is highly offensive to me and you are hereby injoined to proceed with every man of your Regiment fit for duty immediately to Peekskill leaving the necessary officers with proper Instructions to Recruit to your Establishmt.

You are to carry all the cloathing into Peekskill that the Troops there may be benefitted by the superfluity of your Regimt.

I well remember that you, to obviate my objections to cloathing your men in red propos’d Hunting shirts Edition: current; Page: [418] as a covering; but I then observed that this could not be expected at the Public expence, nor had I any conception that you could have entertained the most distant thought of drawing these things from the Public Stores, when you must have known how difficult a matter it is to provide for the large demands of the Army.

It is with pain, I have been induced to express myself in a language so pointed; but your own reflection will convince you that I have but too much reason.

I am &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
8 June, 1777
Middle Brook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I was this morning honored with your favor of the 6th Instant with its Inclosures.

I am extremely happy in the approbation, Congress have been pleased to express of my conduct, respecting the proposed Cartel for the Exchange of prisoners, and shall govern myself by the principle which influenced me on that occasion and such other as shall appear right and just, should there be any further negociation on the subject.1

I shall order a return to be made of the Chaplains in service, which shall be transmitted, as soon as it is obtained. At present, as the Regiments are greatly Edition: current; Page: [419] dispersed, part in one place and part in another, and accurate States of them have not been made, it will not be in my power to forward it immediately. I shall here take occasion to mention, that I communicated the Resolution appointing a Brigade Chaplain in the place of all others, to the several Brigadiers: They are all of opinion, that it will be impossible for ’em to discharge the duty—that many inconveniences and much dissatisfaction will be the result, and that no Establishment appears so good in this instance as the Old one. Among many other weighty objections to the measure, it has been suggested, that it has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the Army, which above all things should be avoided; and in many instances would compel men to a mode of Worship, which they do not profess. The old Establishment gives every Regiment an opportunity of having their own religious sentiments—is founded on a plan of a more generous toleration,—and the choice of Chaplains to officiate has been generally in the Regiments.—Supposing one Chaplain could do the duties of a Brigade (which supposition, however, is inadmissible, when we view things in practice), that being composed of Four or five—perhaps in some instances six Regiments, there might be so many different modes of Worship. I have mentioned the opinion of the Officers and these hints to Congress upon this subject, from a principle of duty, and because, I am well assured, it is most foreign to their wishes or intention to excite by any act, the smallest uneasiness & jealousy among the Troops.

Edition: current; Page: [420]

There remains no room to believe otherwise, than that the Enemy are on the point of moving. This is confirmed by Intelligence from all Quarters and thro so many different channels, that we must consider it certain. Whether they will move of Land or Water or by both, cannot be ascertained, nor is their destination precisely known:—but every circumstance points out Philadelphia as their Object. Being of this opinion, I have directed the Return of Genl. Mifflin. Before he left Philadelphia, I wrote countermanding the Order for his coming here, but he did not receive my Letter. I would also mention to Congress that I think the Military Stores lately arrived at or coming to Philadelphia should be removed to a place of perfect security.

Tho I would not excite—needless—uneasy apprehensions prudence requires, that those so essential, should not be exposed to risk. I have, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
June, 1777
Middlebrook
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

I think I stand Debtor to you for your Letters of the 22d of April and 11th of May, which are all that have come to hand since my last to you from Morristown.

I am now assembling the Troops of this State and those Southward of it, at this place, which lays about Seven Miles from the Enemy’s principal post at Brunswick and convenient for following them either Edition: current; Page: [421] to Philadelphia or to the Eastward.—There has been no considerable movement among them of late—from every appearance Philadelphia is their object, and to facilitate their passage across the Delaware a number of flat-bottom’d Boats are provided and now ready upon Carriages to form a Bridge with—But appearances are deceiving—false colors are often thrown out to mislead or bewilder; this may be the case now.

I cannot learn that the Enemy have, as yet received more than a few Recruits as a reinforcement, but I fancy they hourly expect transports with their foreign mercenarys. I can no otherwise account for Genl. Howe’s inactivity, as his numbers all along have greatly exceeded mine, and at times doubled and tripled them. At present I could say things that would rather surprize you, but the uncertain conveyance of Letters makes it imprudent to entrust things to them that you would wish to conceal from the Enemy.—The different States must fall upon some decisive measures to compleat their Regiments, or no one can say what the consequences will be.

I hope I may congratulate you and my Sister on her happy recovery from the Small-pox, together with your Children.—the loss my Brother Sam has sustained will I fear, be very sensibly felt by him. Some mismanagement must surely have been in the way, for the Small Pox by Inoculation appears to me to be nothing; my whole Family, I understand, are likely to get well through the disorder, with no other assistance than that of Doctor Lund—In short, one of Edition: current; Page: [422] the best Physicians in this Army has assur’d me, that the great skill which many of the faculty pretend to have in the management of this disorder, and the great Art necessary to treat the patient well, is neither more nor less than a cheat upon the world, that in general an old woman may Inoculate with as much success as the best Physician. The whole art lying in keeping the Patient rather low in diet, and cool, especially at the period of the eruptive fever. This he says is the only Art requisite.—To this, and the means by which the disorder is communicated (instead of receiving the Infection in ye natural way) the ease with which Patients get through, is to be attributed. There are particular cases, he adds, where some other disorder, or some uncommon circumstances cast up, that may require the aid of Physicians, but in general neither Physicians nor Physic is necessary except a few purgatives, which the white walnut bark, and many other things, the natural product of the country affords. That this is truely the case, I firmly believe, and my own People (not less I suppose than between two and three hundred), getting happily through it by following these directions, is no Inconsiderable proof of it—Surely that Impolitic Act, restraining Inoculation in Virginia, can never be continued—If I was a Member of that Assembly, I would rather move for a Law to compel the Masters of Families to inoculate every child born within a certain limitted time under Severe Penalties.—

The account as you have no doubt seen by the Gazettes, and by my last Letter, of the Destruction Edition: current; Page: [423] of some of our Stores at Danbury is true in part.—but trifling in comparison of what you have heard.—We lost no Powder at all; about 1500 Barrels of Porke, and about the same number of (last years) Tents, was the chief loss we sustained.—Since that we have burnt 12 sail of the Enemy’s Vessels at the East Ward of Long Island laden with 120 Tons of Pressed Hay, Rum &c.—one of which Vessels was armed with 12 Guns. The Party also bro’t off 90 Prisoners, besides a few killed, on the side of the Enemy; on our part not a man was hurt—In the Danbury affair I am well convinced from a number of concurring accounts the Enemy in killed, wounded, and missing, could not have lost less than 500 men.

My Love, and sincere good wishes attend, my Sister and the rest of the Family, and with the most affect. regard I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Lieutenant-General Howe
Lieutenant-General Howe

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HOWE.

Sir,

Your several letters of the 21st of April, 22d of May, and 5th instant, have been received. Having stated my sentiments in an explicit manner in my letter of the 9th of April, upon the subject of your demand and the disagreement between us, I thought it unnecessary to trouble you with a repetition of them. From the complexion of yours of the 21st of April, we appeared to differ so widely, that I could entertain no hopes of a compromise being effected, or that an answer would produce any good end. But, Edition: current; Page: [424] as you have called upon me again for my final determination upon the matter, I shall freely give it, after making some observations upon what you have said, with the intention to obviate the objections on my part to a compliance with your demand through Lieutenant-Colonel Walcott.

You admit the principle, upon which my objection to account for the whole number of prisoners sent out by you is founded, but deny the application, by delicately insinuating, in the first instance, that the ill treatment complained of, was “an expedient to cherish popular delusion,” and by asserting, in the second, that, supposing their sufferings to have been real, they were to be ascribed to other causes, than those assigned by me. I shall not undertake to determine, on whom the charge of endeavoring to excite popular delusion falls with most propriety; but I cannot forbear intimating, that, however successful ingenious miscolorings may be, in some instances, to perplex the understanding in matters of Speculation, yet it is difficult to persuade Mankind to doubt the Evidence of their Senses, and the reality of those facts, for which they can appeal to them. Unless this can be done, permit me to assure you, it will always be believed, whatever may be suggested to the contrary, that men could not be in a more deplorable situation, than those unhappy sufferers were, who are the subject of our difference. Did I imagine that you, Sir, had any serious scruples on the occasion, I might produce, in support of what I have alleged, the strongest proofs that Human testimony can afford.

Edition: current; Page: [425]

To prove that the prisoners did not suffer from any ill treatment or neglect of yours, you say, “they were confined in the most airy buildings and on board the largest transports in the fleet; that they were supplied with the same provisions, both in quantity and quality, as were allowed to your Troops not on service; that the sick, such of them as required peculiar care, were received into the British hospitals, and the rest attended by their own surgeons, who were supplied with medicines without restriction, till it was discovered, that they disposed of large quantities by private sale.” That airy buildings were chosen to confine our men in, is a fact I shall not dispute. But, whether this was an advantage or not, in the Winter Season, I leave it to you to decide. I am inclined to think it was not, especially as there was a General complaint, that they were destitute of fire the greater part of the time, and were only prevented from feeling the inclemency of the weather, in its extremest rigor, by their crowded situation. This, I must believe, was not very conducive to their health; and, if we may judge by comparison, we must conclude that they endured similar inconveniences on board the transports.

As to the supplies of provisions, I know not what they were. My ideas of the matter were drawn from their united testimony, confirmed by their appearance, which represented the allowance as insufficient in quantity, bad in quality, and irregularly served. You yourself mention some “accidental instances of omission.” I apprehend they were much more frequent, Edition: current; Page: [426] than you were apprized of. It may not be improper to observe, that there is a material difference between persons confined and deprived of every means of subsistence, in aid of their allowance, and those who are at large and have other resources, as is the case with your Troops when not on service, who have the benefit of their pay, and what they can occasionally gain by their labor. You might also find from inquiry, that we made no distinction in our supplies, between your soldiers, prisoners with us, and our own in the field. They were not stinted to a scanty pittance, but had full as much as they could use, and of the best kind. In respect to the attention paid to the sick, I am sorry their accommodation was injured, in any degree, by the misconduct of the surgeons. I heartily join with you in reprobating their proceedings, and shall esteem it a favor, if you will point out the persons, and furnish me with such proofs of their guilt as you may be possessed of.

The more effectually to exonerate yourself from the consequences imputed to the neglect or ill treatment of the prisoners, you assert they had every comfort and assistance from you, that your situation would admit; and that they wanted nothing but money and cloathing, which ought to have been furnished by me. Had we left your prisoners with us to depend entirely upon the supplies they drew immediately from you, their condition would have been little better than ours in your hands. Your officers and soldiers can both inform you, that they experienced every mark of public and private generosity, that Edition: current; Page: [427] could be shown them. Frequent instances might be adduced, that, on notice of your men being in want, orders were immediately given, that necessaries should be procured for them. Every thing was done, on our part, to facilitate any steps you took for the same end.

You were permitted to have an agent amongst us, countenanced by public authority, and allowed every latitude he could wish to enable him to execute his office. I am sorry to say, the same conduct has not been observed towards us; and that there are instances to show, that, far from endeavoring to remove the difficulties, which necessarily lay in our way, to making such ample supplies as we could wish, obstacles have been made, that might very well have been waved. A late instance of this is to be found in your refusing to let us have a procuring agent with you, who might purchase what was necessary to supply the wants of our men. You must be sensible, that, for want of a regular mode being adjusted for mutually conveying supplies, there was a necessity for an exercise of generosity on both sides. This was done by us, and we supposed would have been done by you, which made us less anxious in providing, than we should have been, had we foreseen what has really happened. We ascribed every deficiency on your part to the indeterminate situation of affairs in this respect; and, looking forward to a more provident arrangement of the matter, we thought it our duty not to let the prisoners with us be destitute of any thing requisite for their preservation, and imagined Edition: current; Page: [428] that your reasonings and feelings would have been the same.

Your saying that we were frequently advised of their distress is of little avail. It was not done, till it was too late to remedy the ill consequences of the past neglect, and till our prisoners were already reduced to a miserable extremity. I wish their sufferings may not have been increased in the article of cloathing, by their being deprived of what they had, through the rapacity of too many of their captors. Reports of this kind have not been wanting.

You further observe, that my own experience would suggest whether our army, in the course of the last campaign, was not subject to the same calamitous mortality with the prisoners in your possession. I cannot but confess, that there was a great degree of sickness among us; but I can assure you, that the mortality bore no kind of resemblance to that, which was experienced by the prisoners with you; and that the disorders in the camp had nearly ceased before the captivity of a large proportion of them. The garrison, that fell into your hands on the 16th of November, was found, I am convinced, in perfect health.

In reply to my intimation, that it would have been happy, if the Expedient of sending out our men had been earlier thought of, you are pleased to say, that the Event has proved the caution with which you ought to have adopted the measure. What inference can be drawn from my refusing to account for prisoners, scarcely alive, and by no means in an exchangeable Edition: current; Page: [429] condition, to warrant an insinuation, that I should have done the same, had they been released under different circumstances, let your own candor determine. But then you ask, “How is the cause of debility in prisoners to be ascertained?” This seems to be considered as a perplexing Question. For my part, I cannot view it as involving any great difficulty. There is no more familiar mode of reasoning, than from effects to causes, even in matters of the most interesting importance. In the subject before us, the appearance of the prisoners, and what eventually happened, proved that they had been hardly dealt with; but their joint asseverations, aided by the information of others not interested in the distress, more than as they regarded the rights of humanity, established the fact too firmly for Incredulity itself to doubt it.

I should hardly believe you to be serious in your application of the exception, to which you allude, to the case of Major-General Lee, if you had not persisted in a discrimination respecting him. I did not entertain the most distant Idea, that he could have been supposed to come under the description contained in it; and to force such a construction upon that gentleman’s circumstances, however it may be an Evidence of ingenuity, is but an indifferent specimen of candor. I still adhere to what I have already advanced on this Head. I can by no means think of departing from it.

I am now to give you my final decision on the subject of your demands. In doing this, I can do little Edition: current; Page: [430] more than repeat what I have already said. I am extremely desirous of a general exchange, on liberal and impartial principles; and it is with great concern I find, that a matter, so mutually interesting, is impeded by unnecessary obstacles. But I cannot consent to its taking place, on terms so disadvantageous as those you propose, and which appear to me so contrary to justice and the spirit of our agreement. I think it proper to declare, that I wish the difference between us to be adjusted on a generous and equitable plan, and mean not to avail myself of the releasement of the prisoners to extort any thing from you not compatible with the strictest justice. Let a reasonable proportion of prisoners to be accounted for be settled, and General Lee declared exchangeable, when we shall have an officer of your’s of equal rank in our possession. I ask no more. These being done, I shall be happy to proceed to a General Exchange. But, in the mean time, I am willing that a partial one should take place for the prisoners now in your hands, as far as those in ours will extend, except with respect to Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the Hessian field-officers, who will be detained till you recognise General Lee as a prisoner of war, and place him on the footing I claim. This latter proposition I am induced to make, from the distinction which your Letter of the 22d of May seems to hold forth; and I think it necessary to add, that your conduct towards prisoners will govern mine.

The situation of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, as represented by you, is such as I neither wished nor Edition: current; Page: [431] approve. Upon the first intimation of his complaints, I wrote upon the subject, and hoped there would have been no further cause of uneasiness. That gentleman, I am persuaded, will do me the justice to say, he has received no ill treatment at my instance. Unnecessary severity and every species of insult I despise, and, I trust, none will ever have just reason to censure me in this respect. I have written again on your remonstrance, and have no doubt such a line of conduct will be adopted, as will be consistent with the dictates of humanity and agreeable to both his and your wishes. I am, Sir, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [432]
George Washington
Washington, George
14 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 4th was given me by Joseph Arrowsmith, just as Mr. Peters informed me that he was about to set out for Philadelphia. I could not resist the inclination, however, of detaining him long enough to write you a short letter, to thank you as I do most sincerely, for the friendly and affectionate sentiments contained in yours of the above date towards me, and to assure you that I am perfectly convinced of the sincerity of them.

True it is, I felt myself hurt by a certain letter, which appeared at that time to be the echo of one from you. I was hurt, not because I thought my judgment wronged by the expressions contained in it, but because the same sentiments were not communicated immediately to myself. The favorable manner in which your opinions, upon all occasions, had been received, the impression they made, and the unreserved manner in which I wished and required them to be given, entitled me, I thought, to your advice upon any point in which I appeared to be wanting. To meet with any thing, then that carried with it a complexion of withholding that advice from me, and censuring my conduct to another, was such an argument of disingenuity, that I was not a little mortified at it. However, I am perfectly satisfied that matters were not as they appeared from the letter alluded to.1

Edition: current; Page: [433]

I sincerely wish that you may accept the appointment of Congress, and the post I am desirous of placing you in, and must beg to be favored with an answer immediately upon the subject, as the service will not admit of delay. A general officer in that department would not only take off a great deal of trouble from me, but be a means of bringing those regiments into order and service with much more facility than it is in my power, divided as my attention is, possibly to do. Mr. Peter’s waiting obliges me to conclude.1

George Washington
Washington, George
16 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I have your favr. of the 9th & 10th instant.

The account brought by the officers from Canada may not be entirely true, but that part which speaks of a removal of some regiments down the river favors an opinion, that I have for some time entertained; which is, that, if Genl. Howe had not a certainty of a full reinforcement from England, part of the Troops from Canada would be ordered round for that purpose. That the European reinforcement will be short, or be very late, is beyond a doubt, and therefore the move from Canada more probable.

On the night of the 13th Genl. Howe began his march from Brunswic, seemingly with an intention to Edition: current; Page: [434] push directly for Delaware. In the Course of the Night, his Front reached Somerset Court-House, eight or nine miles from Brunswic, where he halted, and has remained ever since. His Rear is still at Brunswic. I do not know whether this was intended as a real move towards Philadelphia, or whether it is to endeavor to draw us down from the Heights we occupy along his whole Front.1 The Militia turn out in a very spirited manner, and seem determined, in conjunction with the Continental Troops, to harass and oppose the Enemy upon their march through the Country. His principal difficulty will be in crossing the Delaware. We shall hang heavy upon his rear, and I expect that Genl Arnold and Mifflin will meet him with a considerable force, (made up of Continental troops and militia,) upon the western Side of the Delaware. As soon as I found that the Enemy had drawn their force into Jersey, from whence they could not remove it, without a good deal of previous notice, I ordered down all the troops from Peekskill except one thousand effective Continentals and the militia, which is a force superior to any that the Enemy now have in New York or its dependencies, and therefore fully sufficient to prevent any surprise. When these troops come down, our army will be respectable, and I hope not only able to check, but to make an impression upon some part of the enemy’s line. * * * I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [435]
George Washington
Washington, George
17 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Major-General Arnold
Major-General Arnold

TO MAJOR-GENERAL ARNOLD.1

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 16th Inst.

You mention a want of intelligence respecting my situation, and that of the enemy. As to mine, the main body of our army are encamped at Middlebrook, and a considerable body under General Sullivan at Sourland Hills. The position here is very strong, and with a little labor, which will be bestowed upon it, will be rendered a great deal more so. The passes in the mountains are for the most part extremely difficult, and cannot be attempted with any degree of propriety. Our right is our most accessible and weakest part, but two or three redoubts will render it as secure as could be wished. The enemy are strongly posted, having their right at Brunswic and their left at Somerset. Besides being well fortified on their right, they have the Raritan all along their front, and the Millstone on their left. In this situation an attack upon them would not be warranted by a sufficient prospect of success, and might be attended with the most ruinous consequences. My design therefore is to collect all the force, that can properly be drawn from other quarters, to this post, so as Edition: current; Page: [436] to reduce the security of this army to the greatest possible certainty, and to be in a condition of embracing any fair opportunity that may offer to make an advantageous attack upon them. In the mean time. I intend by light bodies of militia, countenanced by a few Continental troops, to harass them, and weaken their numbers by continual skirmishes.

I have ordered all the Continental troops at Peekskill, except the number requisite for the security of the post, to hasten on to this army,1 and shall draw a part of General Sullivan’s troops to reinforce our right; leaving the rest at and about Sourland Hills to gall the flank and rear of the enemy; with orders, in case of any movement towards us, to endeavor to form a junction, or, if this should not be practicable, to fall briskly upon their rear or flank. The views of the enemy must be to destroy this army, and get possession of Philadelphia. I am, however, clearly of opinion, that they will not move that way, till they have endeavored to give a severe blow to this army. The risk would be too great to attempt to cross a river, where they must expect to meet a formidable opposition in front, and would have such a force as ours in their rear. They might possibly be successful, but the probability would be infinitely against them. Should they be imprudent enough to do it, I Edition: current; Page: [437] shall keep close upon their heels, and do every thing in my power to make the project fatal to them. But besides the argument for their intending, in the first place, a stroke at this army, drawn from the policy of the measure, every appearance coincides to confirm the opinion. Had they designed for the Delaware in the first instance, they would probably have made a secret, rapid march for it, and not halted, as they have done, to awaken our attention, and give us time to prepare for obstructing them. Instead of that, they have only advanced to a position necessary to facilitate an attack upon our right, which is the part they have the greatest likelihood of injuring us in; and, added to this consideration, they have come out as light as possible, leaving all their baggage, provisions, boats, and bridges at Brunswic; which plainly contradicts the idea of pushing for the Delaware.

It is an happy circumstance, that such an animation prevails among the people. I would wish to let it operate and draw as many as possible together, which will be a great discouragement to the enemy, by showing that the popular spirit is at such a height; and at the same time will inspire the people themselves with confidence in their own strength, by discovering to every individual the zeal and spirit of his neighbors. But after they had been collected a few days, I would have the greater part of them dismissed, as not being immediately wanted, desiring them to hold themselves in readiness for any sudden call, and concerting signals with them, at the appearance of which they are to fly to arms. I would have every means taken to Edition: current; Page: [438] engage a couple thousand of them for a month, or as much more as they can be induced to consent to. In this case they will be able to render essential service, both by an addition of strength for the present, and by lessening the fatigue and duty of the Continental army, which will tend to preserve them both in health and spirits. You will forward on all the Continental troops by a safe route, as fast as they arrive. But you need send over no more of the militia till further orders. I approve of your fortifying such places, as you judge most likely to frustrate any attempt of the enemy to pass the river. I am, with great regard, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.

P. S. I have been so crowded with business at Head Quarters, that I have not been able to write fully to Congress—I should therefore be glad you would communicate the purport of this letter to them.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 June, 1777
Middlebrook
M. Danmours
Danmours, M.

TO M. DANMOURS.

Sir,

I have received your favour of the 6th instant, transmitting me your observations on the state of American affairs, and the part that France is interested by the motives of good Policy to act in consequence of it. Your reflections appear to me extremely judicious and well founded, and prove that you have made a good use of your time, in collecting the information necessary to regulate your judgment, Edition: current; Page: [439] in a matter that so intimately concerns all Europe as well as America. It were to be wished that sentiments similar to yours were impressed upon the French Court; and that they could be induc’d, not to delay an event so desirable both to them, and to us, as the one you are anxious should take place.—An immediate declaration of war against Britain, in all probability, cou’d not fail to extricate us from all our difficulty’s, and to cement the Bond of Friendship so firmly between France and America, as to produce the most permanent advantages to both—certainly nothing can be more the true Interests of France than to have a weight of such magnitude as America taken out of the Scale of British Power and opulence and thrown into that of her own and, if so, it cannot be adviseable to trust any thing to contingencies, when by a conduct decisively in our favor, the object in view, might be put upon a sure footing.

Permit me, Sir, to correct a mistake you have made, in narrating a fact, with respect to the Danbury expedition, in which some Magazines of ours were destroyed.—You mention only an hundred men, being lost to the Enemy, but from various accounts and circumstances, there is little reason to doubt, there must have been at least four hundred kill’d, wounded & taken—I have taken notice of this error; because it is of some little importance, the affair shou’d be rightly stated, as it serves to show in a striking point of view the spirit of opposition prevailing among the People, which animated them to assemble on so sudden an occasion, and to attack a Edition: current; Page: [440] regular Body of two thousand men, with so much vigor, as to force them to a precipitate return, little differing from a rout.

Genl. Howe has lately made a very extraordinary movement. He sallied out from Brunswick on the night of the 13th instant and marched towards Sommerset about nine miles distant, when he halted and began to fortify.—By this operation he had drawn much nearer to us, and was in a tolerably commodious posture for attacking our right, which led us to conjecture this might have been his design.—But all of a sudden He last night began to decamp, and with a good deal of expedition if not precipitation, has returned to his former position with his right at Amboy and his left at Brunswick. This was certainly a hasty resolution, but from what motive it is not easy to determine. He had begun a chain of redoubts from right to left, which together with other appearances indicated a design of remaining there some little time at least. His abandoning the ground he had taken and leaving the redoubts half finished is an argument that he had been disappointed in his views and found it necessary to alter them. Perhaps he was discouraged by the spirit that appeared among the inhabitants, who flocked together to join our Army, even beyond my expectations. As he began to retire in the night, had but a little way to go, was protected on his flank next to us by the Rariton and on his rear by the Millstone, I had little or no opportunity of annoying him in his return. His Soldiery plundered the People as usual and burnt many valuable houses in their rout.

Edition: current; Page: [441]

I am sorry it is not in my Power to avail myself of your services in the way you propose:—at the same time I assure you, I entertain as high an opinion of your zeal, and abilities as the opportunities I have had of knowing you will admit. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
20 June, 1777
Middle Brook
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I am favd. with yours of the 16th Instant from Fort Edward but that of the 14th from Saratoga to wh. you refer has not come to hand.

Supposing the plan mentioned in Amsbury’s evidence to be true, I cannot conceive that it will be in the power of the Enemy to carry it into Execution; but, to provide against all Events, I have ordered Genl. Putnam to hold four Massachusetts Regiments in readiness at Peekskill, to go up the River at a moment’s warning, and to order Sloops from Albany, which are to be kept for that purpose.2 It does not Edition: current; Page: [442] appear that Burgoyne has brought any Reinforcements from Europe. If so, he cannot move with a greater force than five thousand men. He certainly will never leave the Garrison of Ticonderoga in his rear; and, if he invests it to any purpose, he will not have a sufficient Number left to send one Body from Oswego and another to cut off the communication between Fort Edward and Fort George. As the Garrison at Ticonderoga is sufficient to hold it against any attack, I do not think it politic, under your representation of the scarcity of provisions, to send up Troops to consume what ought to be thrown into the fort. Those Troops held ready by Genl. Putnam can always, upon a certainty of the Enemy’s intention to pass by Ticonderoga with the whole or part of their force, be up time enough with the assistance of the militia to give them a check, as their march cannot be a very rapid one. * * *

I draw a very favorable omen from the intercepted letter to Genl. Sullivan. It shows that they despair of carrying their Schemes by force, and are reduced to the necessity of having recourse to the arts of Flattery, Bribery, and intimidation. The General is not at Edition: current; Page: [443] this post; I therefore cannot say how far it may be agreeable to him, for you to carry on the Correspondence in his name. If your letter has not gone, you had better wait for his concurrence, for it is a delicate matter.1

* * * * * *

Since I began this letter, yours of the 14th came to hand, the Contents of which are fully answered by what I have before written. I shall immediately forward the letter to Congress. It is evident from Genl St. Clair’s letter, that it will not be proper to order up the reinforcement before it is really wanted; for he very judiciously observes, that they will consume the Stores. I shall desire Genl. Sullivan to inform me whether he knows such a man as Robt. Shannon and what is his character. I cannot conceive what occasions the delay of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Continental Troops; I have repeatedly wrote to them, in the most pressing manner, to have them sent on, but in vain. I however hope that your Representations, as you are on the Spot, will have a better effect. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [444]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 June, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

When I had the honor of addressing you last, I informed you that the main body of the enemy had marched from Brunswic, and extended their van as far as Somerset Court-House. I am now to acquaint you, that, after encamping between these two posts and beginning a line of redoubts, they changed their ground yesterday morning and in the course of the preceding night, and returned to Brunswic again, burning, as they went, several valuable dwelling-houses. We had constantly light troops hovering round them as far as circumstances would permit; but, being secured on their flanks by the Rariton and Millstone, they were difficult to approach; and, without loss, they effected their return to their former posts. This sudden and precipitate change in their operations has afforded matter for much speculation. We suppose their original design was to attempt an impression on our right, or to manœuver us out of our ground, or to advance towards the Delaware. Whether these conjectures were well founded, cannot be ascertained; but it is probable, if they had an impression in view, they found it could not be attempted without great loss (as to bringing on an attack, they effectually secured themselves against one by the post they took); or, as passing the Delaware was their object, that, from the temper of the people, the prosecution of it, if not impracticable, would meet with much greater opposition than they Edition: current; Page: [445] expected; for I must observe, and with peculiar satisfaction I do it, that, on the first notice of the enemy’s movements, the militia assembled in the most spirited manner, firmly determined to give them every annoyance in their power, and to afford us every possible aid.1 This I thought it my duty to mention in justice to their conduct; and I am inclined to believe that General Howe’s return, thus suddenly made, must have been in consequence of the information he received, that the people were flying to arms in every quarter to oppose him. I shall not reason upon this event; but I cannot but consider it as a most fortunate and happy one to us, and the most distressing Mr. Howe has yet experienced, unless he has schemes in contemplation beyond the reach of my conjecture.

I should have written to Congress more frequently respecting the enemy after they came from Brunswic, had I not been almost constantly on horse-back, and had their designs been clear; but as they were not, I did not wish to puzzle them with conjectures, more especially as I wrote to General Arnold (with whom Edition: current; Page: [446] I was obliged to correspond, that he might coöperate with me as circumstances should require) to transmit them copies of my letters;

* * * * * *

I omitted to mention in my Last, that in consultation with my Genl. Officers, it was agreed, that promotions should be Regimental in the Army, for all officers under the rank of Field Officers, and for all of that rank, in the line of their State. This is now settled as a General Rule, a right being reserved However, that it may be made for particular merit out of this line or refused for demerit or any substantial objection.1 I have, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [447]
George Washington
Washington, George
22 June, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I have the honor and pleasure to inform you, that the enemy evacuated Brunswic this morning and retired to Amboy, burning many houses as they went along. Some of them, from the appearance of the flames, were considerable buildings. From several pieces of information, and from a variety of circumstances, it was evident that a movement was in agitation, and it was the general opinion that it was Edition: current; Page: [448] intended this morning. I therefore detached three brigades under the command of Major-General Greene to fall upon their rear, and kept the main body of the army paraded upon the heights, to support them if there should be occasion. A party of Colonel Morgan’s regiment of light-infantry attacked and drove the Hessian picket about sunrise; and, upon the appearance of General Wayne’s brigade and Morgan’s regiment (who got first to the ground) opposite Brunswic, the enemy immediately crossed the bridge to the east side of the river, and threw themselves into redoubts, which they had before constructed. Our troops advanced briskly upon them; upon which they quitted the redoubts without making any opposition, and retired by the Amboy road.

As all our troops, from the difference of their stations in camp, had not come up when the enemy began to move off, it was impossible to check them; as their numbers were far greater than we had any reason to expect, being, as we were informed afterwards, between four and five thousand men. Our people pursued them as far as Piscataway; but finding it impossible to overtake them, and fearing they might be led on too far from the main body, they returned to Brunswic. By information of the inhabitants, General Howe, Lord Cornwallis, and General Grant, were in the town when the alarm was first given; but they quitted it very soon after.

In the pursuit, Colonel Morgan’s riflemen exchanged several sharp fires with the enemy, which, it is immagined, did considerable execution. I am in hopes that they afterwards fell in with General Maxwell, Edition: current; Page: [449] who was detached last night with a strong party, to lie between Brunswic and Amboy to intercept any convoys or parties that might be passing; but I have yet heard nothing from him. General Greene desires me to make mention of the conduct and bravery of General Wayne and Colonel Morgan, and of their officers and men, upon this occasion, as they constantly advanced upon an enemy far superior to them in numbers, and well secured behind strong redoubts. General Sullivan advanced from Rocky Hill to Brunswic with his division; but, as he did not receive his order of march till very late at night, he did not arrive till the enemy had been gone some time. I have sent down Lord Stirling’s division to reinforce General Maxwell; in the morning I shall move the main body of the army to some secure post nearer Amboy, from whence we can with more ease annoy the enemy, than from this distance. I am inclined to think they mean to cross to Staten Island; if they do, we may perhaps find an opportunity of making a stroke upon their rear; at any rate we shall have a chance of obliging them to make a total evacuation of the State of Jersey. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
23 June, 1777
Middlebrook
Joseph Reed
Reed, Joseph

TO JOSEPH REED.

Edition: current; Page: [450]
George Washington
Washington, George
25 June, 1777
Quibbletown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

When I had the honor to address you last, it was on the subject of the Enemy’s retreat from Brunswick to Amboy and of the measure pursued to annoy them. At the time of writing, the information I had received respecting their loss was rather vague and uncertain; But we have reason to believe from intelligence thro’ various channels since, that it was pretty considerable and fell chiefly on the Grenadiers and Light Infantry, who formed their covering party. The inclosed copy of a Letter, containing the information of a person just from New York, corresponds with other accounts on this Head and with the Declarations of some Deserters. Some of the accounts are that officers were heard to say, they had not suffered so severely since the affair at Princetown.

After the evacuation of Brunswic, I determined, with the advice of my general officers, to move the whole army the next morning to this post, where they would be nearer the enemy, and might act according to circumstances. In this I was prevented by rain, and they only moved yesterday morning. I have advanced Lord Stirling’s division and some other troops lower down in the neighborhood of Matuchin meeting-house, and intended to have posted more there; but found, on reconnoitring the ground, that it was low and disadvantageous, and still more unfavorable through a scarcity of water. These reasons, added to that of there not being the Edition: current; Page: [451] smallest prospect of attacking the enemy in Amboy with a probability of success, secured on their flanks by water and in their front by strong redoubts across the neck, would not permit me, either in my own opinion or that of my general officers, to keep any greater body of men in that quarter, where they would have been dispersed, and of consequence extremely insecure.

I have light parties lying close on the enemy’s lines, to watch their motions, and who will be ready to act in conjunction with Lord Stirling’s division and such other troops as it may be necessary to detach; though I think, and so do the rest of the officers, that no event is likely to take place that will require more, since the idea of forcing their lines, or bringing on a general engagement on their own ground, is universally held incompatible with our interest, and that that number is sufficient to avail us of any advantages we can expect to arise from their retreating from Amboy, supposing notice of the fact should be obtained. Their contiguity to the Sound, and the small distance across it, having boats prepared to pass in, will enable them to get off, should they so incline, against every prudent and justifiable exertion on our part. Whether such is their design, is more than I can positively determine; but there is every reason to believe, that they have been and are transporting their baggage to Staten Island, and making every preparation to embark on board their transports for some new expedition.

Your favor of the 24th I just now received, and am Edition: current; Page: [452] extremely obliged by your cordial congratulations on the enemy’s retreat from Brunswic, and favorable interpretation of the event of my conduct. The resolution you did me the honor to transmit shall have my attention. It is much to be regretted, that an express sent off to General Maxwell on Saturday night, to inform him of General Greene’s movement towards Brunswic, that he might conduct himself accordingly, did not reach him. Whether the express went designedly to the enemy, or was taken, is not known; but there is reason to believe he fell into their hands. If General Maxwell had received the order, there is no doubt but their whole rear-guard would have been cut off. This the enemy confessed themselves, as we are well informed by persons in Bonhamtown. By a reconnoitring party just returned, it is reported as a matter of doubt whether any of the enemy have removed from Amboy; though it is almost certain they have transported a great deal of their baggage. I have the honor to be, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
28 June, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

On Thursday morning General Howe advanced with his whole army in several columns from Amboy, as far as Westfield. We are certainly informed, that the troops sent to Staten Island returned the preceding evening, and, it is said, with an augmentation of marines, so that carrying them there was a feint with Edition: current; Page: [453] intention to deceive us. His design in this sudden movement was either to bring on a general engagement upon disadvantageous terms, considering matters in any point of view, or to cut off our light parties, and Lord Stirling’s division, which was sent down to support them, or to possess himself of the heights and passes in the mountains on our left. The two last seemed to be the first objects of his attention, as his march was rapid against these parties, and indicated a strong disposition to gain those passes.

In this situation of affairs it was thought absolutely necessary that we should move our force from the low grounds, to occupy the heights before them; which was effected. As they advanced, they fell in with some of our light parties and part of Lord Stirling’s division, with which they had some pretty smart skirmishing, with but very little loss I believe on our side, except in three field-pieces, which unfortunately fell into the enemy’s hands; but, not having obtained returns yet, I cannot determine it with certainty; nor can we ascertain what the enemy’s loss was. As soon as we had gained the passes, I detached a body of light troops under Brigadier-General Scott, to hang on their flank, and to watch their motions; and have ordered Morgan’s corps of riflemen to join him since. The enemy remained at Westfield till yesterday afternoon, when, about three o’clock, they moved towards Samptown, with our light troops in their rear and pursuing. The enemy have plundered all before them, and, it is said, burned some houses.

I have the honor to be, &c.1
Edition: current; Page: [454]
George Washington
Washington, George
29 June, 1777
Middlebrook
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine

TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.

Dear Brother,

Whether it is owing to your not writing to me, or to the miscarriage of Letters, I cannot undertake to say; but certain it is, I have not received a Letter from you for some considerable time.—

Finding Genl. Howe was assembling his whole Force (excepting the necessary Garrisons for New York &c.) at Brunswic, in this State, I began to collect mine at this place; (a strong piece of ground) ten miles distant from him, where I have now been (in my Tent) about 5 Weeks.—On the night of the 13th He march’d out of Brunswick, and advanced the head of his column to Somerset Court House, nine miles, whilst the Rear Remained at Middlebrook about 4—In this Situation he lay till the 19th; his left wing covered by Brunswick—his Right by the River Millstone and his Front by the Rariton, perfectly secure from any attempt of ours, if we had been in other respects, ripe for an attack.

Our conjectures of this move were two, either that it was designed immediately to Philadelphia, or, which was much the most probable, against this army; as it was not to be conceived that Genl. Howe would be rash enough to proceed across the country with one Army in Front, while this under my command was so situated as to fall, at any time upon his Flank and rear, without making an attempt to defeat and disperse it.

Be the real design which it would, certain it is a Edition: current; Page: [455] disappointment, and much chagreen followed; for on the night of the 19th a sudden retreat was made back to Brunswick, burning and destroying Houses &c. as they went.

This Retreat I am persuaded was the effect of dispair at finding the militia of this, and the State of Pennsylvania turning out to oppose them, whilst they would have part of my force (if they had attempted to cross the Delar.) to oppose them in Front, at the passage of the river, whilst I should be laying at them behind—and to attack my Troops situated as I am, they found impracticable without great loss, and a probable defeat.

On Sunday the 22d they retired from Brunswick to Amboy, but having intimation of the design the evening before, I detached three Brigades to fall upon their Rear from whom I believe, they received a pretty good peppering,—some accounts make their loss in killed and wounded near 500, but the truth of this I do not undertake to vouch for, as they are equal to Indians in concealing their loss, by a removal of their dead, and were they to take up the business of scalping they would much resemble savages, in every respect!—so much is the boasted generosity, and Glory of Britains fallen!

So soon as they got to Amboy they began to Transport their Baggage and Stores as fast as possible to Staten Island, and having divested themselves of all Incumbrance of this kind, they moved out their whole force on Thursday last, and advanced rapidly, towards us—what was the designe of this new manœuvre Edition: current; Page: [456] I know not—whether to attempt our strength on the left as they had before done on our Right—whether to cut of the light Troops which I had advanced towards their Lines—whether, finding themselves a little disgraced by their former move, they wanted to flourish off a little at quitting the Jerseys—or, whether by this sudden eruption they meant to possess themselves of as much fresh provision as they could plunder the Inhabitants; and spread desolation; as I have said before, I know not; but certain it is they have left nothing which they could carry off, Robbing, Plundering, and burning Houses as they went—We followed them with light Troops back to their works at Amboy, but could not prevent the Desolation they committed.

I expect from appearances and my Intelligence, they will be Imbarked in a few hours for Staten Island, or New York; for what other expedition time, not I, can discover—By means of their shipping and the easy transportation that shipping affords, they have it much in their power to lead us a very disagreeable dance—My best wishes attends my Sister and all the rest of the family & with every sentimt. &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
2 July, 1777
Middlebrook
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I had last night the honor of your letter of the 27th of June. The proposition, which relates to the exchange of the gentlemen you mention, is entirely Edition: current; Page: [457] agreeable to me, as they are now entitled to a releasement, from the time of their captivity, and fall within the rule of Exchange I have prescribed to myself, which is that of liberating those first, who were first taken. I am sorry it is not in my power to comply with your request for arms. Notwithstanding the many arrivals, there is scarcely a sufficiency to supply the demands for the Continental troops. What has become of them I am unable to conceive. Every State complains of a deficiency; and great part of their several quotas comes into the field very indifferently furnished, and yet the public magazines are nearly exhausted. The importations, from time to time, far exceed the number of Continental troops raised to make use of them. These have not and could not have been all put into their hands; and yet there are very few of them now to be found undisposed of. If they are not many of them in possession of the militia, it is impossible to imagine where they are, as a very inconsiderable part of them has fallen into the hands of the enemy. The fluctuating state of the army, and the irregular manner in which the militia usually left the camp, rendered it impracticable to withdraw the arms entrusted to them at their coming out; and gave them a fair opportunity of appropriating them to themselves, which, every reason obliges me to believe, they did not fail to improve. It appears to me highly probable, that, upon a careful scrutiny, many individuals will be found in possession of more than their own use requires, and the surplus will fully answer the purpose Edition: current; Page: [458] you have in view. It is painful to me to refuse any request of yours; but when from the want of being fully acquainted with all circumstances it happens to interfere with the general good, I am convinced it is your wish I should give the preference to that. You will easily be sensible Sir, that it would be improper, entirely to drain the public arsenals, or to straighten the Continental army in order to accommodate the militia. In case of emergency it will be much more easy to draw them thence and put them into the hands of the inhabitants, than, if they were once distributed to them, and should be wanted for the Continental troops, they could be recovered from them to answer the call. Should your State be seriously invaded, and your militia unarmed, you cannot doubt they would be supplied with every means of defence in the power of the public; that any arms in store not immediately wanted for the army would be given to those who were disposed to make use of them. But when Continental arms are wanted for Continental troops, it cannot be expected that those should remain unsupplied, and those arms be dedicated to another purpose. They cannot in any case, or at any time be so useful as in their hands.—

Since my last, the enemy, disappointed in their attempt upon our right, have made an experiment upon our left; and, frustrated in that also, have now abandoned the Jerseys, and encamped upon Staten Island. There is a great stir among their shipping; and, in all probability, their next movement will be by water; though it is impossible to decide, with Edition: current; Page: [459] certainty, to what place. But I last night received intelligence from General Schuyler, that General Burgoyne is beginning to operate against Ticonderoga and its dependencies. If it is not merely a diversion, but a serious attack, of which it bears strongly the appearance, it is a certain proof, that the next step of General Howe’s army will be towards Peekskill, and very suddenly, if possible, to get possession of the passes in the Highlands, before this army can have time to form a junction with the troops already there.1 To guard against contingencies, I have ordered General Parsons’s and General Varnum’s brigades to march off with all despatch towards Peekskill, and, when they are arrived at or near that Edition: current; Page: [460] post, a reinforcement of four of the strongest Massachusetts regiments will proceed thence immediately to Albany, on their way to Ticonderoga. I have also urged General Clinton, without loss of time, to call out a respectable body of the New York militia, to join General Putnam. I have the fullest confidence, that you will do every thing you can, to second my endeavors, by forwarding, as fast as possible, the remaining troops of your State, or whatever else may be in your power. Our greatest exertions will be requisite, to counteract the enemy in their first attempts, on which their success chiefly depends. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, &c.

* * * * * *

Edition: current; Page: [461]
George Washington
Washington, George
2 July, 1777
Middlebrook

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

The enclosed copies of General St. Clair’s letters, transmitted yesterday afternoon and last night by General Schuyler, I have thought it my duty to send to you. The intelligence they contain is important and interesting; nor are there circumstances wanting besides these, to induce a belief, or at least to raise a strong presumption, that the enemy have in contemplation a junction of their two armies by way of the Lakes and the North River. If they have their whole Canada force on the former, it is certainly their object. On receiving these accounts, I wrote immediately to General Putnam to embark Nixon’s brigade for reinforcing the northern army; to wait, however, the arrival or near approach of General Parsons’s and General Varnum’s brigades from this place, who march this morning, or the coming in of an equal number of militia to supply their place before they sail. This I have done by the advice of my general officers, and it is all that is thought practicable in the present uncertain, indeterminate situation of things. The rest of the army will be held in readiness to move according to information and circumstances.

As I have observed, if we were certain General Burgoyne was approaching Ticonderoga with his whole army, I should not hesitate a moment in concluding, that it is in consequence of a preconcerted plan with General Howe, and that the latter is to co-operate Edition: current; Page: [462] with him, by pushing his whole force up the North River, and aiming a stroke in the first instance and immediately against the Highland passes. But as the appearance of the enemy on the Lake may be a feint, calculated to amuse and distract, though it may seem like a real attack, to draw this army to Peekskill and more to the northward, that General Howe may with more facility turn his arms against Philadelphia, it has been determined unadvisable for us to move, till we have further proofs of his intentions, and that our conduct must be governed by his.

Our situation is truly delicate and embarrassing. Should we march to Peekskill, leaving General Howe on Staten Island, there will be nothing to prevent his passing to South Amboy, and pushing from thence to Philadelphia, or in short by any other route; though the marching such of his troops from the point opposite Amboy, as were encamped there, and the sailing of the ships from Princess Bay yesterday morning, are circumstances indicating that an embarkation has or will take place. On the other hand, if the North River and the possession of the Highlands are his objects, our remaining here till his views are certainly known may subject ’em to a risk that we wish to avoid. Thus, let us examine matters as we will, difficulties stare us in the face. We shall attempt to consult, and do the best we can. I have written to Generals Putnam and George Clinton fully upon the subject, urging them to put forth every exertion in their power, and instantly to call in a respectable body of militia to aid in the defence of those important Edition: current; Page: [463] posts at this critical conjuncture. I trust they will come out; their services in all probability will be wanted but for a very short time.

I must earnestly request, that you will send Mr. Stewart, the Issuing Commissary Genl to Camp immediately.—There is reason to apprehend, the Army will be in great distress and confusion for want of Issuing Commissaries in three or four days.—On Saturday, those with Mr. Trumbull declare they will leave him, without they are put on a different footing from what they now are. I need not mention the consequences that will result from such an Event if there are not others here to supply their places.—

There is one thing more I would add, which is, that there are not more than Forty thousand Dollars in the Military Chest and Two Months pay due to all the Army except two or three Regiments which have just obtained Warrants. One Hundred and fifty Six thousand out of the last Supply sent the paymaster, I was obliged to order to Peekskill, for the Troops in that quarter, whose demands are great and pressing also.—I must earnestly entreat that you will forward a Supply direct to the paymaster. Should we be obliged to move before the Troops are paid, much uneasiness & murmuring will be the certain attendants & I fear some thing worse.

As the Enemy will adopt every Stratagem and device to deceive & distress us, notwithstanding the present appearances in favor of making an Expedition up the North River, I doubt not but you will have the most vigilant look outs kept along Delaware Bay Edition: current; Page: [464] and proper Express & Signals for communicating the earliest intelligence. I think it would be highly expedient that some sensible—judicious men should be employed in that business at this time, who would view things as they ought to be and from whose accounts certain inferences and conclusions may be drawn so as to form a proper line for our conduct.—The most fatal consequences may flow from false information at this period—Things should be examined with all possible certainty—I shall not be surprized, to hear of several Ships appearing in or off Delaware, tho Genl. Howe’s destination should be elsewhere.—Their fleet give them the most signal advantages and an opportunity of practising a thousand feints. I have, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
4 July, 1777
Morris Town
General Lee
General Lee

TO GENERAL LEE.2

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of the 7th June, in which you enter into consideration of the breach of parole imputed to Lord Drummond; and give it as your opinion, that his conduct has not been such as to justify the imputation.

It can answer no valuable purpose to enter into a discussion of the particulars of this affair, which would Edition: current; Page: [465] probably end as it began and leave his Lordship and myself in the same way of thinking respecting it, which we now entertain. I shall only observe, that at the time the matter happened it was clearly my sentiment and that of every gentleman with whom I conversed on the subject that his lordship had acted in an exceptionable manner, irreconcileable to the true spirit of his parole. No circumstance that has since come to my knowledge, appears to me to be of sufficient weight to remove the suspicion and from any thing I know I must still retain the same idea of his conduct that I had at first.1

You cannot but be sensible, my dear Sir, that the omission of trifling circumstances, or a small difference in representing the same is capable of altering the complexion of a fact and make it appear in a light very opposite to that in which it ought really to stand: and this will suggest the propriety of not being hasty in fixing your judgment as to the true nature of his Lordship’s proceeding in this affair.

George Washington
Washington, George
5 July, 1777
Morris Town
Edward Rutledge
Rutledge, Edward

TO GOVERNOR RUTLEDGE.

Sir,

A few days since, I had the honor of your letter of May 5th, in which you refer me to General Howe for an explanation of the reasons, for declining the attempt upon St. Augustine, recommended by me.

Edition: current; Page: [466]

I meant nothing more than to propose it for consideration, and that you and the General who would be fully acquainted with all circumstances, should judge of the propriety, and adopt or reject it as you thought most expedient. The reasons for not undertaking it appear to me intirely solid and satisfactory; and I am satisfied, that had it been practicable, your best endeavors would not have been wanting to forward and give it success.

The Enemy after manœuvring awhile in the Jerseys have at last abandoned it and are now incamped upon Staten Island. Their preparations during the winter indicated a design upon Philadelphia; but it would have been too hazardous to have attempted passing the Delaware, unless they could first have given a blow to this army. They could not but expect some opposition in front, and so formidable a force hanging upon their rear unchecked and in full spirits, would probably have made them repent the enterprize.—They were sensible of this and all their movements were apparently calculated to draw us to an engagement with them, on terms that would give them a prospect of defeating us, which if they could have effected even in part, would have facilitated their project against Philadelphia. But finding we kept ourselves advantageously posted, and that they would be obliged to fight us, if they did it at all, on a very unequal footing, they seem to have relinquished their purpose and to be on some different plan. We took every opportunity of skirmishing with them, and from various accounts, we have Edition: current; Page: [467] reason to believe, to very good effect and with little loss to ourselves.

By the motions among their shipping, they appear to be preparing for some expedition by water—it is impossible to determine with precision where. We have lately received intelligence, from General Schuyler that the enemy are beginning to operate against Ticonderoga.—If this proves to be any thing more than a diversion, there is no doubt General Howe will proceed up Hudsons River; for if they have any rational end in view, it must be a junction of the two armies to intercept the communication between the Eastern and Southern States, and will make it necessary for Howe and Carleton to cooperate.—But this may be nothing more than a diversion, to keep a large body of our forces in that quarter, while, their troops, except a sufficient number to garrison the place, are coming round by water to join their main army under General Howe.—Our situation is truly delicate and perplexing, and makes us sensibly feel now, as we have often done before, the great advantage they derive from their navy. But we are doing the best we can in our circumstances, and keep in sight the different objects to which they may direct their attention. As the information from the Northward was such as merited notice, I have sent a reinforcement thither from Peeks Kill, and have dispatched a couple of Brigades hence to that post—We have also moved the whole army to a position more convenient for throwing speedy succors over the North River, than the one Edition: current; Page: [468] we lately occupied, and at the same time sufficiently near to Philadelphia, to oppose any attempt of the enemy to possess themselves of that city.

I have, &c.
George Washington
Washington, George
6 July, 1777
Morris Town
General Sullivan
General Sullivan

TO GENERAL SULLIVAN.

Dear Sir,

Since I had the pleasure of seeing you some of the officers have been suggesting a plan for cutting off the Enemy’s Post at Bergen, which they seem to think could be easily effected—As it may be in your power to collect certain information of the strength &c. of that Guard which I understand consists of new Levies, I would refer the matter intirely to your consideration & Discretion, wishing that if your accounts are such as would promise a tolerable certainty of success you would make the attempt. I need not mention to you that the most profound secresy is necessary upon every occasion of this nature & very particularly on this, as two Minutes notice would give them an opportunity of withdrawing across the Causeway, where it would be impossible for you to get at them—To prevent this a small party should be dispatch’d before the rest by some different Rout which should occupy the post near Bergen, by which means every Intelligence might be kept from them, no soul being allow’d to go in. Should this Enterprize appear so feasible as to risque it, I shall expect soon to hear from you. You will observe to March Edition: current; Page: [469] your Troops at such Hours as will prevent their being Hurt by the Excessive Heat of the Weather.

It will be prudent at all events to send a party of 2 or 300 Men somewhere beyond Hackensac under a cautious active officer, from which small parties may be sent up to fort Lee and along the North River to observe every Motion of the Enemy about New York by Land or Water—two or three light Dragoons should be with them to convey every necessary Intelligence to you in order that I may be apprized as early as possible. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
7 July, 1777
Morristown
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you the 2d instant, with a postscript the 4th. I there informed you of the enemy having evacuated the Jerseys and of the intelligence received from Ticonderoga, which induced me to suppose it highly probable the next operation of General Howe would be up the North River. But as I have received no information since the first, of the 26th ult., to confirm the expectation of a serious attempt in that quarter, I am led very much to suspect that the hostile appearances that way may be only a diversion to keep awake our apprehensions for the security of the posts there, prevent our drawing away any part of our forces from thence, and even tempt us to weaken ourselves Edition: current; Page: [470] here by sending reinforcements to them, while the real design may be to attack elsewhere.

This supposition is also agreeable to the accounts we daily receive from deserters and others who come from the enemy. We are told by these, that accommodations for horses are filling up in the transports, that they are taking in large supplies of provisions, water, and provender, and that officers’ baggage is continually transporting on board of them from New York, marked with their names and the corps they belong to.

These representations, if true, seem to denote an expedition that would take longer time than would be necessary for one up the North River; but where, is all matter of conjecture, and cannot be determined with any degree of certainty. Prudence dictates that we should be as much upon our guard as possible every where; and on this account I have thought it my duty to communicate to you the information I have received, that in case anything should be meditated against the Eastern States, you may not be taken by surprise, but may have warning to put matters in the best situation you can to give them a proper reception. On my part no vigilance nor exertion shall be wanting to ascertain their intentions, and give effectual assistance wherever they may direct their efforts.

Since my last, I have had advices from the southward that the public magazines there are entirely emptied of arms, and that the troops now coming on will be destitute, unless they can be supplied out of Edition: current; Page: [471] those imported to the eastward. This will oblige me to order most of the arms at Springfield to be sent forward to furnish those troops. It is matter of equal concern and surprise to hear such loud complaints in the Eastern States for want of arms, when we consider the quantities brought into them both on public as well as private account, which their situation enabled them to receive in much greater proportion than the other States, and the arrivals of which have been announced in all the public papers as well as in private and official letters. How they have been applied it is impossible for me to conceive.

In case of an actual invasion of your State, should such an event take place, and should there be a necessity for it, towards furnishing your militia, you may draw out of the store at Springfield a thousand arms for that purpose, if there be any remaining after the number I shall be obliged to call for is supplied. This you will be pleased to consider as a loan, not a sale, and to be replaced as soon as circumstances will permit.

By the enclosed I have instructed the Commissary of Stores to deliver them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

P. S. The enclosed information came to hand since writing the above. The other letters you will be pleased to forward, as directed, with all despatch. They are inclined to put the other Eastern States upon their guard also.1

Edition: current; Page: [472]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 July, 1777
Morristown

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

I this morning received a letter of the 7th instant from General Schuyler, a copy of which, and of its enclosure, I herewith send you. The intelligence Edition: current; Page: [473] which they contain is truly interesting, supposing it just; but it differs so widely from what we had reason to expect from the accounts mentioned in General St. Clair’s letters to General Schuyler, copies of which you would receive in his letter transmitted from hence last night by Major Hoops, that I would fain flatter myself it is not true. I am the more encouraged to hope this, as Captain Farnham’s letter from Fort Anne to Brigadier Learned seems to be the foundation of the whole, and does not authorize the unfavorable and unhappy conclusions built upon it. I should rather suppose, if any accident has befallen us, it must have happened to the detachment of men from the Grants, under Colonel Warner; for we find from General St. Clair’s letters, he expected something from him. The whole account is so confused, that we cannot establish any certain deduction from it; and I shall be happy if it proves premature and groundless.1

I am told by a gentleman, who came to camp yesterday evening, that Nixon’s brigade would certainly arrive at Albany on Tuesday morning, as he saw the vessels, in which it was embarked, standing Edition: current; Page: [474] up the evening before with a fair wind. If the event mentioned by General Schuyler should not have happened, we cannot doubt but General Burgoyne has come up the Lake, determined, if possible, to carry his point, I mean, to possess himself of our posts in that quarter, and to push his arms further. Supposing this not to have happened, as our Continental levies are so deficient in their number, our security and safety will require that aids from the militia should be called forth in cases of emergency; if it has, there is now an absolute necessity for their turning out to check General Burgoyne’s progress; or the most disagreeable consequences may be apprehended. Upon this occasion I would take the liberty to suggest to Congress the propriety of sending an active, spirited officer to conduct and lead them on. If General Arnold has settled his affairs, and can be spared from Philadelphia, I would recommend him for this business, and that he should immediately set out for the northern department; he is active, judicious, and brave, and an officer in whom the militia will repose great confidence. Besides this, he is well acquainted with that country, and with the routes and most important passes and defiles in it. I do not think he can render more signal service, or be more usefully employed at this time, than in this way. I am persuaded his presence and activity will animate the militia greatly, and spur them on to a becoming conduct. I could wish him to be engaged in a more agreeable service, to be with better troops, but circumstances call for his Edition: current; Page: [475] exertions in this way, and I have no doubt of his adding much to the honors he has already acquired.

In consequence of the advices from General St. Clair, and the strong probability there is that General Howe will push against the Highland passes to co-operate with General Burgoyne, I shall, by the advice of my officers, move the army from hence to-morrow morning towards the North River. If such should be his intention, we shall not be too early, as a favorable wind and tide will carry him up in a few hours. On the other hand, if Philadelphia is his object, he cannot get round before we can arrive there; nor can he well debark his troops, and proceed across the land, before we can oppose him. I have the honor to be, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [476]
George Washington
Washington, George
12 July, 1777
Pumpton Plains
Major-General Putnam
Major-General Putnam

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PUTNAM.

Dear Sir,

In consequence of the disagreeable event which has taken place in the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence—though our situation does not make it prudent to send on any very considerable reinforcements immediately besides those already gone, yet it is necessary we should be preparing to throw them in, when it can be more safely done, and the true state of affairs in that quarter is more clearly unfolded. I have there fore to desire, you will order General Glover to hold his Brigade in constant readiness to embark at a moment’s warning; and, at the same time, that you will collect at your post, as fast as possible, a sufficient number of vessels to transport them with their baggage, tents, &c. to Albany.

You will also send forward immediately some active trusty officer, to meet such detachments as may be coming on belonging to the regiments that compose General Nixon’s brigade, with orders, if he meets them where they can be sent by a short rout Edition: current; Page: [477] and in an expeditious manner to join their corps, to hasten them on accordingly, without letting them come to Peeks Kill; but such as he may find so far advanced towards it, as to render it more conducive to dispatch, to come on and go thence by water, he is to make them continue their march with all speed, and on their arrival with you,—you are without the least loss of time to forward them, to their regiments. I mean that you should act in this, in the manner best calculated according to circumstances,—to answer the end of their joining the corps they belong to with the greatest expedition possible.

I have determined that ten field pieces, with the necessary apparatus, shall be sent on from your post to General Schuyler—General Knox will send up an officer with particular directions about them.—You will be pleased to give every assistance requisite to the forwarding them with dispatch.

I have just received intelligence that General Howe’s army is nearly all embarked—They will certainly proceed very soon to the place of their destination.—Our misfortune to the Northward, makes it of the last importance you should take every precaution to avoid one at your post, which could not fail to involve consequences almost, if not intirely irremediable.—As a very material step towards this, I would recommend to you to contract the points of defence, and secure your flanks and rear as much as possible, by stopping up all roads by which you are accessible in any part, that are not absolutely necessary to keep open your communication with the Edition: current; Page: [478] country from whence you draw your Supplies.—Attend particularly to the cross roads leading from the valley on the right of the great road from Peekskill to Fish Kills, into that road, and do not content yourself with slight impediment easily removed; but endeavor to made them effectual. Be attentive also to the roads that lead from Croton by the way of Danbury or elsewhere, towards Fishkills.—The fewer the Avenues of approach to you, the more certain the judgment you can form of the enemy’s intentions and operations, the more easily you can adapt your measures to them and the greater will be your force at the point of attack. I am, &c.

P. S. I have had an intimation of some vessels moving up the Sound. This is a circumstance well worth attending to. Keep trusty persons at Norwalk, Fairfield, and any other places convenient for observation, to give you instant intelligence of any movements that way.

George Washington
Washington, George
13 July, 1777
Pompton Plains
De Coudray
De Coudray

TO DE COUDRAY.

Sir,

Your favor of the 4th Instant by Capt. De Goy was handed me the 11th. I was then on my march for this place, which, together with other intervening circumstances, has put it out of my power before to consider your observations, and form a determination concerning them.

You seem to have misunderstood the purport of what I said in my last with respect to the heavy Edition: current; Page: [479] pieces that came in the Amphitrite, and to suppose, that I considered them as intirely unfit for service and incapable of transportation.—I meant only to point out the inconveniency of them in comparison with others of a much lighter construction, and the advantage that would be derived from casting them over, and producing three pieces of a larger calibre instead of one;—and informed you that with a view to these, I had given directions for them to remain at Springfield and be cast anew upon the model on which the pieces generally in use in our Army are constructed. I am sensible that they might be made use of; but I am convinced from my own experience and that of others, that their weight is a very great disadvantage—that they are not transportable but with great difficulty through the mountainous and woody country in which our operations most commonly are; and that they are extremely liable to be lost when any accident or misfortune happens.—This must be obvious on the slightest reflection, and it is also self evident, that they require a greater force in horses and men to transport and manage them than pieces two thirds lighter, unless the superior weight of metal, in the former was counterbalanced by their carriages being framed on better principles, than those of the latter; which I have no reason to believe is the case from any description I have had of them.—And as it is not the case, the necessity that their carriages should be proportionably substantial to support them, adds to the inconvenience of weight, and the difficulty of transportation.

Edition: current; Page: [480]

To compensate for this disadvantage, I know of only two considerations that can be offered: that their length is conducive to exactness, and the other, that it increases the distance of the ball’s flight. The difference in these respects is not very great nor are these advantages by any means equivalent to that of a piece being light and easily portable:—For field artillery being designed to act against numbers, to do execution the object ought to be near, and within reach of grape shot. If it is, the distance to which the piece will carry is nearly out of the question; and the difference in the exactness of which two pieces are capable, will make little difference if any in the effect of their fire.1

The length of a piece may be useful in barbettefiring; but this is of little moment compared with the inconveniences that attend it; and we have found by experience that those in use with us have answered every valuable end in this way.

The British Army sensible of the necessity of light pieces in a country like this seldom or never make use of any other; They even exceed us in their attention Edition: current; Page: [481] to this particular and bring into the field very few pieces heavier than three or four pounders weighing from 220 to 300 weight.

The alteration I propose is not a new experiment. I mean only to reduce them to the same standard with the general run of the Artillery in this Army; which we have the fullest evidence will be far more convenient; and which have been from repeated trial found sufficient for every desirable purpose.

You suggest the impropriety of letting the twenty one pieces remain unemployed, during the time they undergo a new manufacture, while the present moment calls for them in the field. This observation is not without force, but it has been fully weighed, and considering all things, is not of importance enough to make it expedient to forego the advantages of reducing them to a more portable size, and increasing the number by casting them over.—

You also misconceived, what I said with respect to the light cannon, waiting at Springfield, till ammunition, waggons and men sufficient for them, could be prepared to accompany them. I did not intend that they should wait till the waggons could be made, and till a proper number of men to manœuver them could be instructed in their duty; but only till ammunition could be fitted up, waggons procured in the most expeditious manner, and men come on from the Eastward which they will do as fast as possible.—You cannot but suppose, Sir that I am fully desirous of having all the artillery that I deem proper for the service, with the army; and that I shall take every Edition: current; Page: [482] step our circumstances will permit, to hasten them forward. Twenty light pieces and two heavy are by this time at or very near Peekskill, and the remainder of the light will come on as soon as they can be accommodated with horses and other necessaries.

I am at a loss to conceive how you could imagine that I had been governed in my determinations on this matter by the advice of Monsieur Du Plessis. Though that gentleman’s conduct since he has been in this country, has been such as to acquire him every proper mark of attention; yet it can hardly be supposed, that either General Knox or myself would repose so implicit a confidence in his representations and counsels as to regulate our measures intirely by them in an affair of so much consequence. I had a description of the pieces from several others who had an opportunity of seeing them, and whose accounts perfectly agree with your own; and from this I determined what should be done with them. Monsieur Du Plessis never hinted an idea of casting them over before it was resolved to do it.

You are even mistaken as to the fact of Monsieur Du Plessis being an Aid de Camp to General Knox. With a commission of Captain of Artillery in the American service, he only acts as volunteer in General Knox’s family.

I shall be at all times obliged to you for any information respecting the state of the Artillery, and your opinion as to any thing you may think eligible; but I am not as yet authorized to consider you as giving advice or direction in an official capacity; since Congress Edition: current; Page: [483] have not instructed me in what light I am to view you; and I am not at liberty to anticipate events that may hereafter take place, or to suppose you invested with any character, that they have not delineated you in to me. For this reason, it would be irregular to interfere with any arrangements General Knox has made with my approbation, in compliance with those you propose. Therefore and as every thing seems to me to be already in a very good train, I do not think it necessary that Capt. De Goy should proceed to take the direction of the pieces coming on as you recommend.

George Washington
Washington, George
13 July, 1777
Pompton Plains
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you yesterday by express, informing you of what I had done towards furnishing you with such supplies as are in my power to give, and the obstacles that at present lie in the way of granting you others that your situation demands. Since that I have received yours of the 9th.1 I have sent by express to Edition: current; Page: [484] Peekskill, to order on from thence to you, as speedily as possible, forty barrels of powder and an equivalent quantity of lead.

It is astonishing beyond expression, that you have heard nothing of St. Clair and the army under him. I am totally at a loss to conceive what has become of them. The whole affair is so mysterious, that it even baffles conjecture. I know not how to suppose it possible, that they can be on any route towards us, without our hearing something of them, and even if they have been all taken prisoners, one would imagine, that the account of it, by some channel or other, would have come to your knowledge. Sometimes I am led to doubt whether it may not be possible, that they had recalled their design of retreating from the forts, and returned to them; but here again it occurs, that they could have found some means to communicate intelligence of it to you. I impatiently wait more certain accounts of their fate.1 Meantime, I hope you will leave nothing in your power undone to check the career of the enemy. This is the second day I have been detained here by the badness of the weather. As soon as it will permit, I shall prosecute my march through the Clove. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
15 July, 1777
Clove
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I last night received your favor of the 10th instant. Amidst the unfortunate reverse, that has taken place Edition: current; Page: [485] in our affairs, I am happy to hear that General St. Clair and his army are not in the hands of the enemy. I really feared they had become prisoners. The evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence is an Event of Chagrin and surprise, not apprehended nor within the compass of my reasoning. I know not upon what principle it was founded, and I should suppose it still more difficult to reconcile it, if the garrison amounted to Five Thousand men, in high spirits, healthy, well supplied with provision and ammunition, and the eastern militia marching to their succor, as you mention in your letter of the 9th, to the Council of Safety of New York.1 This stroke is severe indeed, and has distressed us much.

Notwithstanding things at present have a dark & gloomy aspect, I hope a spirited opposition will check the progress of General Burgoyne’s Arms and that the confidence derived from his success, will hurry him into measures, that will in their consequences, be favourable to us—We should never despair. Our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better—so, I trust, it will again—If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times. As the operations of this army are uncertain, depending much upon General Howe’s, which Edition: current; Page: [486] still remain to be known, I think it will be expedient that you should send down to New Windsor and Fishkill all the vessels and craft you may not have occasion for at Albany, to be in readiness for transporting a part of our force up the river, in case the situation of affairs should require it, and circumstances will admit. I should suppose his movement will be up the river, to coöperate with Mr. Burgoyne, and with a view, if possible, of concentrating their forces. This Idea prompted me to advise what I have respecting the vessels, and more particularly, as carrying our troops by water will not only facilitate their arrival, but fit ’em for more immediate service, than marching by land in cases of emergency.

I observe you mention the evacuation of Fort George, as a necessary act. For my own part, I cannot determine upon the propriety of such a measure, being totally unacquainted with its strength and situation, and of the grounds adjoining. But there are gentlemen here, who seem to consider it extremely defensible and of great importance. They say, that a spirited, brave, judicious officer with two or three hundred good men, together with the armed vessels you have built, would retard General Burgoyne’s passage across the Lake for a considerable time, if not render it impracticable and oblige him to take a much more difficult and circuitous route. I only mean to submit it to your consideration, hoping that whatever is best will be pursued, in this and every other instance.1 I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [487]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 July, 1777
New Jersey
William Howe
Howe, William

TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR WILLIAM HOWE.

Sir,

The fortune of war having thrown Major-General Prescott into our hands,1 I beg leave to propose his exchange for that of Major-General Lee. This proposition, being agreeable to the letter and spirit of the agreement subsisting between us, will, I hope, have your approbation. I am the more induced to expect it, as it will not only remove one ground of controversy between us, but in its consequences effect the exchange of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell and the Hessian field-officers, for a like number of ours of equal rank in your possession. I shall be obliged by Edition: current; Page: [488] your answer upon the subject, assuring you, that Major-General Prescott shall be sent in, if the proposed exchange is acceded to, either on the previous releasement of General Lee, or your promise that the same shall immediately take place on General Prescott’s return. I have the honor, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
17 July, 1777
Governor Trumbull
Governor Trumbull

TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.

Sir,

I have the honor of yours of the 14th, with its enclosures. I had some time before received the account of the evacuation of Ticonderoga; but upon what Grounds or for what Reasons this sudden Resolution was taken, I have not yet learnt. I have not heard from General Schuyler since the 10th. He was then at Fort Edward, and expected that General St. Clair, who was at Bedford with the troops that he brought off, would join him in a few days. I am in hopes, by my not hearing from Genl. Schuyler since the 10th, that General Burgoyne has not followed his success with much rapidity. I have sent up such a Reinforcement of Men and Artillery as I could spare; and I am not without hopes, that when the army in that quarter collect again, and have taken Breath, after their late confusion, they will be able, with the assistance of the militia, to check Burgoyne in a country, which I am informed is very strong by nature.

The capture of General Prescott was a bold enterprise, and will give us an opportunity of making a demand of the Releasement of General Lee in such Edition: current; Page: [489] a manner, that I think General Howe cannot with honor refuse to comply. Until I know General Howe’s determination upon this matter, I would not have General Prescott sent forward. I would have him genteelly accommodated, but strongly guarded. I would not admit him to parole, as General Howe has not thought proper to grant General Lee that indulgence. I have just received a letter from General Parsons, in which he informs me, that he understands General Prescott is to be sent to Windham, which he says is by no means a place of safety, as it would be easy for him to effect an escape to Long Island by means of the disaffected. I therefore beg he may be removed further from the Sound, and into some place where the people are generally well affected. A Vigilant officer should be sent with him, whose constant care he should remain under; for, by shifting of Guards, it is more than probable, that some inattentive person might give him an opportunity of making his escape. I am in hopes if General Lee’s exchange is acceded to, that a general exchange of prisoners may be brought about, as the former treatment of that Gentleman was one principal bar to its being carried into execution before. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 July, 1777
Clove
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

As I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you since the 10th instant, I am induced to hope that the enemy have not pursued their success with the rapidity Edition: current; Page: [490] that was to be apprehended, and that General St. Clair will have formed a junction with you before they advance upon you. Immediately upon the receipt of your first letter, concerning the distress you would labor under for want of the Assistance of an active officer, well acquainted with the Country, I wrote to Congress and desired them to send up General Arnold, provided the matter before them respecting his Rank was settled in such a manner, that determined him to continue in Service. Upon my Requisition, General Arnold, waiving for the present all dispute about rank, left Philadelphia and arrived here last Evening, and this day proceeds on his journey to join you. Although he conceives himself, had his promotion been regular, superior in command to General St. Clair, yet he generously upon this occasion lays aside his claim, and will create no dispute, should the good of the service require them to act in concert. I need not enlarge upon the well known Activity, Conduct, and Bravery of General Arnold. The proofs he has given of all three have gained him the confidence of the public and of the Army, the Eastern Troops in particular.

I will not condemn or even pass a Censure upon any officer unheard; but I think it a duty, which General St. Clair owes to his own Character, to insist upon an opportunity of giving the Reasons for his sudden evacuation of a post, which, but a few days before, he by his own letters thought tenable at least for a while. People at a distance are apt to form wrong conjectures; and if General St. Clair has Edition: current; Page: [491] good reasons for the step he has taken, I think the sooner he justifies himself the better. I have mentioned these matters, because he may not know that his conduct is looked upon as very unaccountable, by all Ranks of people in this part of the Country. If he is reprehensible, the public have an undoubted right to call for that Justice, which is due from an officer, who betrays or gives up his post in an unwarrantable Manner.

When I had proceeded thus far, yours of the 14th came to hand enclosing a Copy of the Council of War, held at Ticonderoga before the evacuation. I shall, as you desire, transmit a copy of it to Congress. By that account the Strength of the Garrison falls very short of the Returns made to me a little while before, but much more so of your estimate, in yours of the—in which you say the garrison consisted of five thousand men.

I have already sent you off the ten pieces of Artillery compleatly fixed, a quantity of Cartridges ready made are ordered on, and six tons of Ball, with Cartridge paper sufficient to make them up. All the Camp kettles that were to be spared from this place and Peekskill are gone on, and I most heartily wish I could send you tents. Genl. Mifflin is making an exact scrutiny into the number of Tents here, and if any can be drawn from the Regiments, they shall be sent to you, tho’ they be but few. The remainder of Nixon’s Brigade will follow the moment they arrive at Peekskill, they are all that I can possibly spare in my present Situation. To weaken this army more Edition: current; Page: [492] than is prudent, would perhaps bring destruction upon it; and I look upon the keeping it upon a respectable footing, as the only measure that will prevent a junction of Howes and Burgoines Armies, which if effected may have the most fatal Consequences. The thirty pieces of light Artillery which want Carriages should be sent immediately away. If you can get them transported into New England or any place of Safety let it be done. I can give you no particular directions for your Conduct, but I trust that every proper step will be taken to make a vigorous defence. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 July, 1777
Clove

TO THE BRIGADIER-GENERALS OF MILITIA IN THE WESTERN PARTS OF MASSACHUSETTS AND CONNECTICUT.

Gentlemen,

The evacuation of Ticonderoga has opened a door for the Enemy, unless speedily and vigorously opposed, to penetrate the Northern parts of the State of New York, and the Western parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay. It is also to be feared, that they will form a junction by the way of the North River with General Howe, and thereby cut off the communication between the eastern and southern States. I need not represent to you how fatal such a measure would prove to the interests and liberties of the United States. It cannot be supposed, that the small number of Continental troops assembled at Fort Edward are alone sufficient to check the progress of the enemy. To the militia, therefore, must Edition: current; Page: [493] we look for support in this time of Tryal; and I trust, that you will immediately upon receipt of this, if you have not done it already, march with at least one third part of the militia under your command, and rendezvous at Saratoga, unless directed to some other place by General Schuyler or Arnold. I would recommend it to you to engage your men to remain in service for a limited time, to be regularly relieved by others at the expiration of that time. We shall then know what force we have to depend upon, and it will also be more convenient for the Men, part of whom may be gathering their Harvests while the others are bravely defending their country. General Arnold, who is so well known to you all, goes up at my request to take the command of the militia in particular, and I have no doubt but you will, under his Conduct and direction, repel an Enemy from your Borders, who, not content with hiring Mercenaries to lay waste your Country, have now brought Savages, with the avowed and express intent of adding murder to desolation. I am, &c.

P. S. This to be forwarded by express from one Brigadier to the other.1

George Washington
Washington, George
19 July, 1777
Clove
Livingston
Livingston
Gerry
Gerry
Clymer
Clymer

TO THE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS.2

Gentlemen,

The little notice I had of your coming to the Army, and the shortness of your stay in camp, will, Edition: current; Page: [494] more than probably occasion the omission of many matters which of right, ought to be laid before you—and the interruption which my thoughts constantly meet by a variety of occurrences must apologize for the crude and indigested manner in which they are offered.

The completion of the Continental Regiments is a matter of such Infinite importance, that I think no means should be left unessayed, to accomplish it—Drafting, where the powers of Government are adequate, would be the speediest and most effectual, but if it should be thought unadvisable to attempt this mode, next to it, I would recommend, that the business of recruiting should be taken entirely out of the hands of the officers of the Army, and, that each State should appoint some person of known activity (one for instance who has been a good under Sheriff) in each County or Township not only to recruit but to apprehend Deserters—these persons to be liberally rewarded for each recruit and Deserter whom they shall deliver at stated Periods, and places, to officer’s appointed to receive,—discipline and march them to the Army—none of these recruiters to have the smallest power to act out of their own districts but Edition: current; Page: [495] to be absolutely fixed to them.—A mode of this kind would in my humble opinion, be less burthensome to the public than the present, prevent the Idle habits which recruiting officers contract, not only injurious to themselves but others; the most effectual means, which can be devised, for the recovery of Deserters the surest way of keeping your regiments of equal strength and of making the duty more equal in the detail of it. In a word, many valuable advantages would result from it whilst I can suggest but one reason against it (and that, fully satisfied I am, when weighed in the scale of Interest will not operate) I mean the keeping so many officers in Camp who might be spared from the duties of the Field till the regiments are stronger than at present.—The Sixteen additional regiments labor under such disadvantages in some states as to render the interposition of Congress (in some shape or other) indispensably necessary.

With respect to Food, considering we are in such an extensive and abundant Country, no army was ever worse supplied than ours with many essential articles of it—our Soldiers, the greatest part of last Campaign, and the whole of this, have scarcely tasted any kind of Vegetables; had but little salt and Vinegar, which would have been a tolerable substitute for Vegetables; have been in a great measure strangers to, neither have they been provided with proper drink.—Beer or Cyder seldom comes within the verge of the Camp, and Rum in much too small quantities—Thus, to devouring large quantities of Edition: current; Page: [496] animal food, untemper’d by vegetables or vinegar, or by any kind of Drink but water, and eating indifferent Bread (but, for this last a remedy is providing) are to be ascribed the many putrid diseases incident to the Army, and the lamentable mortality that attended us last Campaign.—If these evils can be remedied the expence and trouble ought not to be obstacles.—Though some kind of Vegetables are not to be had, others are; which, together with sour Crout and vinegar might easily be had, if proper persons acquainted with the business, were employed therein.

Soap is another article in great demand, the Continental allowance is too small, and dear, as every necessary of life is now got, a soldier’s pay will not enable him to purchase, by which means his consequent dirtiness adds not a little to the disease of the Army.—

I have no reason to accuse the Clothier Genl. of Inattention to his department, and therefore, as his supplies are incompetent to the wants of the Army, I am to suppose his resources are unequal. Ought not each State to be called upon to draw such supplies from the Country Manufactories as can be afforded? particularly of shoes, stockings, shirts, and Blankets; articles indispensably necessary and of which scarce too many can be provided—In the meanwhile every provision to be making for Clothing the Troops uniformly, and warm in the Winter. It is a maxim, which needs no illustration, that nothing can be of more importance in an Army than the Edition: current; Page: [497] Clothing and feeding it well,—on these the health, comfort, and spirits of the Soldiers, essentially depend; and it is a melancholy fact, that the American Army are miserably defective in both these respects—the distress most of them are in, for want of Clothing is painful to humanity, dispiriting to themselves, and discouraging to every Officer.—It makes every pretention to the preservation of cleanliness impossible, exposes them to a variety of disorders—and abates, or destroys that military pride without which nothing can be expected from any Army.

The consequence of giving rank indiscriminately, is much to be dreaded—great dissatisfaction has already arisen on account of bestowing this on officers in the Civil departments of the Army, on the inferior staffs, Waggon Masters, &c., who by custom, propriety, and every other motive are excluded from it in all well regulated Armies. The too great liberality practised in this respect, will destroy the pride of rank where it ought to exist, and will not only render it cheap—but contemptible. It is the policy of all Armies to make it valued and respected as a stimulus to emulation and an incitement to bold and gallant undertaking—it must be very unadviseable therefore, in our infant State of War, to adopt novel customs to bring it into discredit, which must and will be the consequence of making it too common, besides the disgust it creates in others.

An Auditor of Accounts to be constantly with the Army is absolutely requisite—It is impossible for me, crowded as I am, with other business, to examine Edition: current; Page: [498] and adjust the numerous complex accounts of the Army with that correctness the Public have a right to expect before warrants pass for payment and without doing it, great impositions may follow—The provision for making regimental paymasters regulate all regimental accounts is altogether incompetent to the end proposed from it; for these Men being appointed generally, agreeable to the recommendation of the Field officers of the regiments they belong to, associating constantly with the Officers of their Corps—and in a great measure under their controul, cannot be considered as sufficiently uninfluenced. Nor are Auditors at a distance from the Army of much use, as it would require a delay not admissible to send accounts to them to audit before they were passed and paid in consequence of warrants from the Commander in Chief of the Army.

A good Geographer to survey the Roads and take sketches of the Country where the Army is to act, would be extremely useful and might be attended with exceeding valuable consequences—He might with propriety have the chief direction of the Guides who must have a head to procure, govern, and pay them.—If such a person should be approved of, I would beg leave to recommend Mr. Robt. Erskine, who is thoroughly skilled in this business—has already assisted us in making maps of the Country, and has, (as I am informed) uniformly supported the character of a fast friend to America.

A small travelling Press to follow Head Quarters would be productive of many eminent advantages—It Edition: current; Page: [499] would enable us to give speedy and exact information of any military transactions that take place with proper comments upon them and thereby frustrate the pernicious tendency of falsehood and misrepresentation, which, in my opinion of whatever complexion they may be, are in the main detrimental to our cause—If the People had a channel of intelligence that from its usual authenticity they could look up to with confidence, they might often be preserved from that despondency, which they are apt to fall into from the exaggerated pictures our Enemies and their Emissaries among us commonly draw of any misfortunes we meet with and from that diffidence of truths favorable to us which they must naturally feel from the frequent deception they are exposed to, by the extravagant colorings our friends often give to our successes.—It would also be very useful to dispatch business in Camp; being the most expeditious means of taking copies of any orders or other matters that require to be dispersed and would save a good deal in returns and other Papers we are often obliged to get Printed in Philadelphia. An ingenious man to accompany this Press and be employed wholly in writing for it might render it singularly beneficial.

I am exceedingly embarrassed how to dispose of the French officers in General, but more especially the artillery officers, who are come out under the sanction of a compact. I can think of no other way than that of forming a separate corps of them and draughting men from the whole line to compose that Corps;—but even this will be attended with many Edition: current; Page: [500] disagreable effects,—among others this is not the least, that officers will think themselves much injured to have the men they have had the trouble of raising taken from them and given to others—There is something in this which is discouraging and breaks the spirit of a good officer who prides himself in having a full and compleat Corps.

A doubt has arisen whether a Person who belongs to any of the United States of America and who owed allegiance to any of the said States, that went to the Enemy, some time past, and since that time has been lurking about any of the Fortifications or about any of the Encampments of the Armies of the United States, plundering and driving off Cattle to the Enemy, recruiting for them or committing any other attrocious Crime, or who is appointed an officer in the Enemies Army, can be tried by a General Court Martial under the resolution of Congress of the 21st of August 1776 and punished as a Spye. I have &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
19 July, 1777
Clove
Major-General Heath
Major-General Heath

TO MAJOR-GENERAL HEATH.

Dear Sir,

I have your favs. of the 7th and 10th instants. I am pleased to find from the Copy of the letter from Edition: current; Page: [501] Bordeaux that Matters wore so good a face in France, it is more than probable that they will push an advantageous trade with us before a formal declaration of War, indeed if they were to Strike a Blow before the declaration, they would only repay England for playing a Game of the same kind in the year 1755.

There is a very material difference between the Returns you transmit me, and Genl. St. Clairs account of the Garrison of Ticonderoga. By a Copy of the Council of War, before the evacuation, it Appears that they had only 2089 effectives and 900 Militia. Your return of Massachusetts Troops that has marched, amounts to 2830. There were besides these four Regiments of New Hampshire Troops. These are mysteries which a proper enquiry must clear up. I have sent Genl. Arnold up to join Genl. Schuyler, who is collecting a force near Fort Edward, by the latest accounts, the Enemy had not advanced in Force from Skeensborough. I therefore hope that with Genl. Arnold assistance (in whom the Army and Militia in particular place great confidence) matters will be put in a more favorable train. * * *

Genl. Howe still lays intirely quiet on board the Fleet at Staten Island, very few troops remain on shore, and the destination a profound secret. Whatever were his intentions before this unlucky Blow to the Northward, he certainly ought in good policy to endeavor to coöperate with Genl. Burgoine. I am so fully of opinion that this will be his plan that I Edition: current; Page: [502] have advanced the Army thus far to support our party at Peeks Kill should the Enemy move up the River. * * *1

George Washington
Washington, George
22 July, 1777
Clove

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

We have been under great embarrassments respecting the intended operations of General Howe, and still are, notwithstanding the utmost pains to obtain intelligence of the same.2 At present it would appear that he is going out to sea. By authentic information, there are only forty ships at New York; the rest are gone elsewhere, and have fallen down between the Narrows and the Hook. Between these Two places, the number, from the most accurate observation, was about one hundred and twenty yesterday. As I observed before, their destination is uncertain and unknown; But I have thought it my duty to inform Congress of these Facts, that they may give orders Edition: current; Page: [503] to the militia to hold themselves in readiness to march at the shortest notice, in case Philadelphia should be their object. At the same time I am to request, that they will have a sufficient number of proper Lookouts fixed at the Capes of Delaware, to whose accounts implicit confidence may be given, to make the earliest reports of the arrival of any fleet, which Congress will transmit by the speediest conveyance.

As the enemy will probably make many Feints, and have it unhappily but too much in their power from their shipping, I would advise that the Look-outs should be cautioned to be extremely accurate in their observations and reports, mentioning, with as much precision as possible, the number of ships that may appear. Our situation is already critical, and may be rendered still more so by inaccurate and illgrounded intelligence. From the advices, received on Saturday, of the movements of part of the enemy’s ships, and the strong reasons there were to suppose General Howe would push up the North River to coöperate with General Burgoyne, I detached Lord Stirling with his division to Peekskill on Sunday morning. They crossed the river that evening and the next morning. This movement will prove unnecessary, should his destination be to the southward. I have also ordered General Glover’s brigade from Peekskill to reinforce General Schuyler, from his representations of the inadequacy of his force to oppose General Burgoyne, and of the seeming backwardness of the people in that quarter to afford him aid. I have the honor to be, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [504]

P. S. I think the Works at Billing’s-port well worthy of attention and it [is] expedient to effect their completion as soon as possible.

George Washington
Washington, George
22 July, 1777
Clove
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

I yesterday evening received the favor of your Letters of the 17th & 18th Inst. with their Inclosures. I am heartily glad you have found two such advantageous spots to take post at, and I hope the progress of the enemy will not be so rapid, as to prevent your throwing up such lines, as you may esteem necessary for their defence.1 Though our affairs, for some days past, have worn a dark and gloomy aspect, I yet look forward to a fortunate and happy change. I trust General Burgoyne’s army will meet sooner or later an effectual check, and, as I suggested before, that the success he has had will precipitate his Ruin. From your accounts he appears to be pursuing that line of conduct, which of all others is most favorable to us; I mean acting in Detachment. This conduct will certainly give room for Enterprise on our part, and expose his parties to great hazard. Could we be so happy, as to cut one of them off, supposing it should not exceed four, five, or six hundred men, it would inspirit the people and do away much of their present anxiety. In such an Event, they would lose Edition: current; Page: [505] sight of past misfortunes, and, urged at the same time by a regard for their own security, they would fly to arms and afford every aid in their power.

Your exertions to bring the people to view things in their proper light, to impress them with a just sense of the fatal consequences, that will result to themselves, their wives, their children, and their country from their taking a wrong part, and for preventing Toryism, cannot be too great. General Burgoyne, I have no doubt, will practise every art, which his Invention shall point out, to turn their minds and seduce them from their allegiance. He should be counteracted as much as possible, as it is of the last importance to keep them firm and steady in their attachments. You have already given your attention to this matter, and I am persuaded you will omit nothing in your power to effect these great and essential points. Stopping the roads and ordering the cattle to be removed were certainly right and judicious. If they are well accomplished, the enemy must be greatly retarded and distressed. I hope before this you have received the supplies of Ammunition mentioned in my late Letters. I fully expected too that the Camp Kettles which I ordered from hence on your first application had reached you, till yesterday, when I found on enquiry that the Qr. Master by some accident did not send ’em before three or four days ago.

There will be no occasion to transmit to Congress a copy of your observations, suggesting the necessity of evacuating Fort George. The gentlemen, who Edition: current; Page: [506] mentioned the holding of that post, had taken up an idea, that it was defensible with the assistance of the vessels on the Lake, which were supposed to be better equipped; and what gave countenance to the idea was, that the Bastion was erected under the direction and superintendence of British engineers, and was intended as part of a very large, strong, and extensive work. I thought it expedient to submit the matter to your further consideration, wishing you at the same time to pursue such measures respecting it, as your own judgment should advise and direct.

I could heartily wish Harmony and a good understanding to prevail through the whole army, and between the army and the people. The times are critical, big with important events; they demand our most vigorous efferts, and, unless a happy agreement subsists, they will be feeble and ineffectual. The Enemies of America have cultivated nothing with greater or with so much industry, as to sow division and jealousy amongst us. I cannot give you any certain account of General Howe’s intended Operations. His conduct is puzzling and embarasssing beyond measure; so are the informations which I got. At one time the ships are standing up towards the North River; in a little while they are going up the Sound; and in an Hour after they are going out of the Hook. I think in a day or two we must know something of his Intentions. I am, &c.

P. S. It will not be advisable to repose too much confidence in the works you are about to erect, and from thence to collect a large Quantity of Stores. I Edition: current; Page: [507] begin to consider lines as a kind of Trap, and as not answering the valuable purposes expected from ’em, unless they are on passes that cannot be avoided by an enemy.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 July, 1777
Clove
Lord Stirling
Stirling, Lord

TO LORD STIRLING.

My Lord,

Since my last to you; dated at Galloways in the Clove, I have march’d one division of the Army to this place whilst two others proceeded to Chester, to be ready to march by a back road to Philada. (if need be) or to cross at New Windsor, if the Enemy, contrary to our present expectation should attempt to operate up the North, or East Rivers.

I have to request, that your Lordship would apply to Genl. Putnam to have Boats ready to throw your division (and such other Troops, as occasion shall require) across the North River with the utmost expedition, upon notice given, which if at all, will be sudden,—or, how would it answer if your Lordships division was to come over to this side, and wait orders? Could you recross being on the spot, and Boats ready, before the communication could be stopped?—and which is of consequence, could your men get comfortably covered in the Neighborhood of King’s Ferry?

My last advices, which can be depended upon, are that the Enemy’s Fleet except 40 Sail (which are at New York) have fallen down to the Hook, that it consists of 170 Sail of Topsail vessels, and about Edition: current; Page: [508] 50 or 60 smaller ones—this, with the Report of the Pilots being Southern ones, and some other Circumstances have led to a belief that Phila. is the object—Was this certain no time shd. be lost in drawing both yours and Genl. Sullivan’s divisions (with other Troops) over. Under the probability of it, however, it is I have suggested the idea of your recrossing, and do further suggest the propriety of Genl. Sullivan’s taking your ground at Peeks Kill; for if there is no appearance of the Enemy in the Sound his moving Easterly towards Crum pond is altogether useless.

I do not give these as orders, but wish you to consult Genl. Putnam, and the other General officers on that side, and see how my ideas correspond with theirs, and such certain Intelligence as you may have and act accordingly. If the Enemy are destined for Philadelphia these moves will facilitate the March of the Troops thither—if to the Eastward, they will be retrogade—but such is the disadvantage we do, and such we must labor under, if the Enemy have cunning enough to keep their own Councils, whilst they have shipping to move in, and the absolute Command of the Water.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 July, 1777
Ramapo
Major-General Schuyler
Major-General Schuyler

TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCHUYLER.

Dear Sir,

Your two favors of the 21st and 22d instant with their enclosures are come to hand. I am sorry to find, that you have not yet been joined by a larger Edition: current; Page: [509] number of Militia, and that it has been found necessary to dismiss a part even of those, that have come to your assistance, though their presence is at this time so urgently wanted. I am in hopes, however, that your situation will soon be far more respectable; as I cannot but think the Eastern States, who are so intimately concerned in the matter, will exert themselves to throw in effectual succors to enable you to check the progress of the enemy, and repel a danger, with which they are so immediately threatened.

I informed you in a letter of the 23d that I had ordered a further reinforcement in General Glover’s Brigade to be dispatched to you. This is all the aid in Continental troops that I can possibly afford you in the present state of affairs, which you will be sensible is the case, if you will endeavor to form an idea of my strength from a consideration of that of the two Brigades which have been sent to re-inforce you.—You may make a tolerably exact estimate from them of the force I have to oppose the enemy’s main army, and you will plainly perceive that I cannot with the least propriety render it less, however strong my inclination to put you upon the footing you desire.

You seem to apprehend that the Artillery sent up to you will be useless, for the want of a sufficient number of hands to manage them; but I see no reason to imagine this will be the case, as by your last return, including non-commissioned officers you will have nearly twelve men to each piece, which are as many as we make use of here, and are sufficient for the purpose.—

Edition: current; Page: [510]

Not more than six Artillerists are required to load and fire a piece in action and you will have six others to each to make good any loss that may happen.—For the dragg-ropes and for any thing else, besides loading and firing, active men drafted from the batalions will answer extremely well;—and a very few days are necessary if diligence is used, to make men, tolerably intelligent, capable of performing every part of the duty of a private Artillerist.—

The information of the prisoners and others, transmitted by you, does not make the numbers of the enemy to exceed the idea first entertained of them, nor do I see any thing in it to induce a belief, that their progress will be so rapid, as not to give you time to make proper preparations and receive sufficient accessions of force to enable you to give them a vigorous and successful opposition. They do not appear to be much more than five thousand strong, and seem to be unprovided with wagons to transport the immense quantity of baggage and warlike apparatus, without which they cannot pretend to penetrate the country. You mention their having a great number of horses; but they will nevertheless require a considerable number of wagons, for there are a great many things that cannot be transported on horses. As they can never think of advancing, without securing their rear by leaving garrisons in the fortresses behind, the force with which they can come against you will be greatly reduced by the detachments necessary for the purpose.1 And as they have to cut Edition: current; Page: [511] out their road, and remove the impediments you have put in the way, this circumstance, with the incumbrance they must feel in their baggage, stores, etc., will inevitably retard their march a considerable time, and give you leisure and opportunity to prepare a good reception for them. If they continue to act in detachments, you will have it in your power to improve it to very great advantage, by falling vigorously upon some one of them with your whole force, which, if you are fortunate enough to succeed in, will be fatal to them.

I have directed General Lincoln to repair to you as speedily as the state of his health, which is not very perfect, will permit him. This gentleman has always supported the character of a judicious, brave, active officer, and as he is exceedingly popular and much respected in the State of Massachusetts, to which he belongs, he will have a degree of influence over the militia, which cannot fail being very advantageous. I have destined him more particularly to the command of them, and I promise myself it will have a powerful tendency to make them turn out with more cheerfulness, and to inspire them with perseverance to remain in the field, and fortitude and spirit to do their duty while in it. The confidence Edition: current; Page: [512] they have in him will certainly go a great way towards producing these desirable ends. You intimate the propriety of having a body of men stationed somewhere about the Grants. The expediency of such a measure appears to me evident; for it would certainly make General Burgoyne very circumspect in his advances, if it did not totally prevent them. It would keep him in continual anxiety for his rear, and oblige him to leave the posts behind him much stronger than he would otherwise do, and would answer many other valuable purposes. General Lincoln could not be more serviceable, than in the command of this body, and no person could be more proper for it than him.

From the view I have of the matter, I should also think it necessary to send General Arnold, or some other sensible, spirited officer to Fort Schuyler, to take care of that post, keep up the spirits of the inhabitants, and cultivate and improve the favorable disposition of the Indians. This is recommended on the supposition, that any thing formidable should appear on that quarter. I am, dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
25 July, 1777
Ramapo
Major-General Putnam
Major-General Putnam

TO MAJOR-GENERAL PUTNAM.

Dear Sir,

My Letter of yesterday would inform you of the reasons, which occasions the remove of this part of the army towards Philadelphia, and the recall of the Edition: current; Page: [513] divisions under Genls Sullivan and Lord Stirling.1 I have now to add, that it is my desire that you should keep as many of the remaining Troops, (as can possibly be spared from the defence of the Forts and passes of the Highlands,) in the most perfect readiness to move, either this way or to the Eastward as occasion shall require. I do not pretend to fix upon or ascertain the number, which may be necessary for those defences. Yourself & officers must determine this point, proportioning your defence to the Troops left by Genl Howe on York Island. If you have not already done it, let the Eastern States be immediately advised of the Fleet’s Sailing from the Hook, that they may be in a posture of defence, as no person can with certainty say where the blow will be struck. I am, dear Sir, &c.

P. S. Since writing the above, I have recd yours of Yesterday’s date, Enclosing the Intercepted Letter from Genl Howe to Burgoyne, &c. To me a stronger proof could not be given, that the former is not going to the Eastward, than this Letter adduces. It was evidently intended to fall into our hands. The Edition: current; Page: [514] complexion of it, the circumstances attending it, &c., evinces this beyond a doubt in my mind.1 I therefore desire, that no time be lost in sending on Genls Sullivan and Lord Stirling with their divisions. If it was not too dangerous to hazard their shipping to sea, merely to perform a manœuver to deceive, I should think it not unlikely, that the North River might yet be the object, & that they had run out with a view of returning when our Troops