OFFICIAL LETTERS TO …
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OFFICIAL LETTERS TO THE HONOURABLE AMERICAN CONGRESS, WRITTEN DURING THE WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED COLONIES AND GREAT BRITAIN, BY HIS EXCELLENCY George Washington, COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL FORCES, NOW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Copied, by Special Permission, from the Original Papers preserved in the Office of the Secretary of State, Philadelphia.

VOL. I.

BOSTON: Printed by MANNING & LORING, For S. HALL, W. SPOTSWOOD, J. WHITE, THOMAS & ANDREWS, D. WEST, E. LARKIN, W. P. BLAKE, and J. WEST.

1795.

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ADVERTISEMENT.

RESPECTING the source from which the following Letters have been drawn, and the grounds on which the reader is expected to rest his belief of their authenticity, it may be sufficient to inform him, that permission was obtained from the proper authority, to tran­scribe, from the original papers preserved in the Secretary of State's office in Philadelphia, these and sundry other authentic documents relating to the contest between the colonies and the mother country, viz. Letters from the Commanders of the continental forces, and other persons employed in the public service,—intercepted Letters from British Officers and other adherents to the royal cause,—Communications from the Gover­nors, Conventions, and Committees, of the several American States,—Dispatches from Agents and Commissioners,—Instructions,—Reports of Committees of Congress,—parts of the secret Journals hitherto unpublished,—and various other pieces elucidative of the events which led to and finally established American Independence.

That permission was granted early in the year 1792, and immediate advantage was [Page iv] taken of the indulgence; though, from va­rious circumstances, of little consequence to the reader to know, the publication has been so long delayed. Even at this late period, the editor contents himself with laying be­fore the public but a part of the collection,—intending, if these volumes meet with a fa­vourable reception, to continue the publica­tion, and present his readers with a variety of interesting pieces penned by the leaders and principal agents in the American Revolution, and tending to throw light on many import­ant transactions that have hitherto been ei­ther enveloped in total darkness, or, at best, but obscurely perceived, and imperfectly un­derstood.

Some parts of these letters may perhaps appear too full of minutiae to interest that class of readers, who, unaccustomed to enter into the investigation of causes or conse­quences, delight only in recitals of battles, sieges, and other striking occurrences which constitute the more prominent features of history. But, to the reasoning philosophic reader, who wishes to explore the secret springs of action,—to trace events to their remote and latent causes,—to discover and examine the subordinate and collateral cir­cumstances (oft trifling in appearance, and generally overlooked by the vulgar eye) which, in the struggles of contending na­tions give a preponderancy to the one or the other scale,—those minute details will, it [Page v] is presumed, be far from unacceptable, as furnishing him with that species of informa­tion, upon which alone he can venture to ground a decisive opinion, and which he might elsewhere seek in vain.

The inclosures, frequently referred to in these volumes, would still further contribute to set every circumstance in a clearer and stronger light; and it was the editor's origi­nal intention that they should have accompa­nied the letters to which they respectively belong. Obstacles however, at present insur­mountable, stand in the way of their imme­diate publication: but, when these are re­moved, the papers alluded to shall make their appearance in form of an Appendix,—such parts of them at least, as are of a curious and interesting nature.

Meanwhile the reader will observe, that it was deemed as yet premature to publish cer­tain passages of these letters: some omissions have of course taken place, which are every where pointed out by asterisks, and which will be supplied at a proper season, probably not far distant. On the other hand, in per­haps half a dozen instances, a single word has been hazarded on conjecture, to fill up a chasm, where either the original or the copy happened to be torn or defaced; in which cases, the supplemental words are inclosed within crotchets and printed in Italic. A few entire letters, moreover, as appears by refer­ence made to them in subsequent ones, are [Page vi] here wanted to complete the chain of cor­respondence. These the editor can give no account of, as the originals appear to have been lost from the files of office.

About a dozen letters, written by the gen­eral's secretary,* are here inserted;—a few from the general himself to the board of war, or committee of Congress,—one to the pres­ident of the New-York Convention, and one to R. Morris, Esquire, in the department of finance. These it was thought improper to omit: nor did it seem worth while, on ac­count of a few exceptions, to make any al­teration in the general title of the book.

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OFFICIAL LETTERS FROM GENERAL WASHINGTON TO CONGRESS.

To the Honourable Members of the Continental Congress, at Philadelphia.

GENTLEMEN,

THE rain on Friday afternoon and Saturday,—the ad­vice of several gentlemen of the Jerseys and this city, by no means to cross Hudson's river at the lower ferry—and some other circumstances, too trivial to mention, pre­vented my arrival at this place, until the afternoon of this day.

In the morning, after giving general Schuyler such or­ders, as, from the result of my inquiry into matters here, appear necessary, I shall set out on my journey to the camp at Boston, and shall proceed with all the dispatch in my power. Powder is so essential an article, that I can­not help again repeating the necessity of a supply. The camp at Boston, from the best account I can get from thence, is but very poorly supplied. At this place, they have scarce any. How they are provided at general Wooster's camp, I have not been able yet to learn.

Governor Tryon is arrived, and general Schuyler di­rected to advise you of the line of conduct he moves in. I fear it will not be very favourable to the American cause.

I have only to add, that I am, with great respect and regard, gentlemen, your most obedient and obliged hum­ble servant,

G. WASHINGTON.
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To JOHN HANCOCK, Esquire, President of Congress.

SIR,

UPON my arrival here this afternoon, I was inform­ed that an express's was in town, from the provincial camp in Massachusetts-Bay; and having seen, among the pa­pers in his possession, a letter directed to you as President of the Congress, I have taken the liberty to open it. I was induced to take that liberty, by several gentlemen of New-York who were anxious to know the particulars of the affair of the seventeenth instant, and agreeable to the orders of many members of the Congress, who judged it necessary that I should avail myself of the best information in the course of my journey.

You will find, Sir, by that letter, a great want of pow­der in the provincial army, which I sincerely hope the Congress will supply as speedily and as effectually as in their power. One thousand pounds in weight were sent to the camp at Cambridge, three days ago, from this city; which has left this place almost destitute of that necessary article; there being at this time, from the best informa­tion, not more than four barrels of powder in the city of New-York.

I propose to set off for the provincial camp to-morrow, and will use all possible dispatch to join the forces there.

Please to make my compliments to the gentlemen of the Congress; and believe me to be, Sir, your obliged friend, and humble servant,

G. W.

[N. B. All the subsequent letters, not otherwise expressly directed, are addressed to the President of Congress for the time being.]

SIR,

I ARRIVED safe at this place on the third instant, after a journey attended with a good deal of fatigue, and retarded by necessary attentions to the successive civilities which accompanied me in my whole route.

[Page 9] Upon my arrival, I immediately visited the several posts occupied by our troops; and, as soon as the weather per­mitted, reconnoitred those of the enemy. I found the lat­ter strongly intrenched on Bunker's-hill, about a mile from Charlestown, and advanced about half a mile from the place of the late action, with their centries extended about one hundred and fifty yards on this side of the narrowest part of the neck leading from this place to Charlestown. Three floating batteries lie in Mystick river near their camp, and one twenty-gun ship below the ferry place between Boston and Charlestown. They have also a battery on Copse-hill, on the Boston side, which much annoyed our troops in the late attack. Upon the neck, they have also deeply in­trenched and fortified. Their advanced guards, till last Saturday morning, occupied Brown's houses, about a mile from Roxbury meeting-house, and twenty roods from their lines: but, at that time, a party from general Thomas's camp surprised the guard, drove them in, and burned the houses. The bulk of their army, commanded by general Howe, lies on Bunker's-hill, and the remainder on Rox­bury-neck, except the light horse, and a few men in the town of Boston.

On our side, we have thrown up intrenchments on Win­ter and Prospect hills,—the enemy's camp in full view, at the distance of little more than a mile. Such intermediate points as would admit a landing, I have since my arrival taken care to strengthen, down to Sewal's Farm, where a strong intrenchment has been thrown up. At Roxbury, general Thomas has thrown up a strong work on the hill, about two hundred yards above the meeting-house; which, with the brokenness of the ground, and a great number of rocks, has made that pass very secure. The troops raised in New-Hampshire, with a regiment from Rhode-Island, occupy Winter-hill: a part of those from Connecticut, un­der general Putnam, are on Prospect-hill. The troops in this town are entirely of the Massachusetts: the remainder of the Rhode-Island men are at Sewal's Farm. Two reg­iments of Connecticut, and nine of the Massachusetts, are at Roxbury. The residue of the army, to the number of about seven hundred, are posted in several small towns along the coast, to prevent the depredations of the enemy.

[Page 10] Upon the whole, I think myself authorised to say, that, considering the great extent of line and the nature of the ground, we are as well secured, as could be expected in so short a time, and under the disadvantages we labour. These consist in a want of engineers to construct proper works and direct the men, a want of tools, and a sufficient number of men to man the works in case of an attack. You will observe, by the proceedings of the council of war which I have the honour to inclose, that it is our unanimous opin­ion, to hold and defend these works as long as possible. The discouragement it would give the men, and its con­trary effects on the ministerial troops, thus to abandon our encampment in their face, formed with so much labour,—added to the certain destruction of a considerable and valu­able extent of country, and our uncertainty of finding a place in all respects so capable of making a stand,—are leading reasons for this determination. At the same time we are very sensible of the difficulties which attend the defence of lines of so great extent, and the dangers which may ensue from such a division of the army.

My earnest wish to comply with the instructions of the Congress, in making an early and complete return of the state of the army, has led into an involuntary delay of ad­dressing you; which has given me much concern. Hav­ing given orders for this purpose immediately on my arriv­al,—and unapprised of the imperfect obedience which had been paid to those of the like nature from general Ward, I was led from day to day to expect they would come in, and therefore detained the messenger. They are not now so complete as I could wish: but much allowance is to be made for inexperience in forms, and a liberty which had been taken (not given) on this subject. These rea­sons I flatter myself, will no longer exist; and, of conse­quence, more regularity and exactness will in future pre­vail. This, with a necessary attention to the lines, the movements of the ministerial troops, and our immediate security, must be my apology, which I beg you to lay be­fore Congress with the utmost duty and respect.

We labour under great disadvantages for want of tents: for, though they have been helped out by a collection of now useless sails from the sea-port towns, the number is far [Page 11] short of our necessities. The colleges and houses of this town are necessarily occupied by the troops; which affords another reason for keeping our present situation. But I most sincerely wish the whole army was properly provided to take the field, as I am well assured, that (besides greater expedition and activity in case of alarm) it would highly conduce to health and discipline. As materials are not to be had here, I would beg leave to recommend the pro­curing a farther supply from Philadelphia, as soon as possible.

I should be extremely deficient in gratitude as well as jus­tice, if I did not take the first opportunity to acknowledge the readiness and attention, which the provincial Congress and different committees have shewn, to make every thing as convenient and agreeable as possible. But there is a vital and inherent principle of delay, incompatible with military service, in transacting business through such numerous and different channels. I esteem it therefore my duty to repre­sent the inconvenience which must unavoidably ensue from a dependence on a number of persons for supplies; and sub­mit it to the consideration of Congress, whether the pub­lic service will not be best promoted by appointing a com­missary-general for these purposes. We have a striking instance of the preference of such a mode, in the establish­ment of Connecticut, as their troops are extremely well provided under the direction of Mr. Trumbull, and he has at different times assisted others with various articles. Should my sentiments happily coincide with those of your honours on this subject, I beg leave to recommend Mr. Trumbull as a very proper person for this department. In the arrangement of troops collected under such circum­stances, and upon the spur of immediate necessity, several appointments are omitted, which appear to be indispensably necessary for the good government of the army—particu­larly a quarter-master-general, a commissary of musters, and a commissary of artillery. These I must earnestly recom­mend to the notice and provision of the Congress.

I find myself already much embarrassed, for want of a military chest. These embarrassments will increase every day: I must therefore request that money may be forward­ed as soon as possible. The want of this most necessary arti­cle will (I fear) produce great inconveniences, if not pre­vented [Page 12] by an early attention. I find the army in general, and the troops raised in Massachusetts in particular, very deficient in necessary clothing. Upon inquiry, there ap­pears no probability of obtaining any supplies in this quar­ter: and, on the best consideration of this matter I am able to form, I am of opinion that a number of hunting shirts (not less than ten thousand) would in a great degree re­move this difficulty, in the cheapest and quickest manner. I know nothing, in a speculative view, more trivial, yet, if put in practice, would have a happier tendency to unite the men, and abolish those provincial distinctions which lead to jealousy and dissatisfaction.

In a former part of this letter, I mentioned the want of engineers. I can hardly express the disappointment I have experienced on this subject,—the skill of those we have being very imperfect, and confined to the mere man­ual exercise of cannon; whereas the war in which we are engaged requires a knowledge, comprehending the duties of the field, and fortification. If any persons thus qual­ified are to be found in the southern colonies, it would be of great public service to forward them with all expe­dition.

Upon the article of ammunition, I must re-echo the former complaints on this subject. We are so exceeding­ly destitute, that our artillery will be of little use, without a supply both large and seasonable. What we have must be reserved for the small arms, and that managed with the utmost frugality.* * *

The state of the army you will find ascertained with tolerable precision in the returns which accompany this letter. Upon finding the number of men to fall so far short of the establishment, and below all expectation, I imme­diately called a council of the general officers, whose opinion (as to the mode of filling up the regiments, and providing for the present exigency) I have the honour of inclosing, together with the best judgment we are able to form of the ministerial troops. From the number of boys, deserters, and negroes, that have been enlisted in the troops of this province, I entertain some doubts wheth­er the number required can be raised here: and all the gen­eral officers agree that no dependence can be put on the [Page 13] militia, for a continuance in camp, or regularity and dis­cipline during the short time they may stay. This unhap­py and devoted province has been so long in a state of anarchy, and the yoke * * * * * been laid so heavily on it, that great allowances are to be made for troops raised under such circumstances. The deficiency of numbers, discipline, and stores, can only lead to this conclusion, that their spirit has exceeded their strength. But at the same time I would humbly submit to the consid­eration of Congress the propriety of making some further provision of men from the other colonies. If these regi­ments should be completed to their establishment, the dis­mission of those unfit for duty on account of their age and character would occasion a considerable reduction; and, at all events, they have been enlisted upon such terms, that they may be disbanded when other troops arrive. But should my apprehensions be realized, and the regiments here be not filled up, the public cause would suffer by an ab­solute dependence upon so doubtful an event, unless some provision is made against such a disappointment.

It requires no military skill, to judge of the difficulty of introducing proper discipline and subordination into an ar­my while we have the enemy in view, and are in daily ex­pectation of an attack: but it is of so much importance, that every effort will be made, which time and circum­stances will admit. In the mean time I have a sincere pleasure in observing that there are materials for a good army—a great number of able-bodied men, active, zealous in the cause, and of unquestionable courage.

I am now, Sir, to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the twenty-eighth, inclosing the resolutions of Congress, of the twenty-seventh ultimo, and a copy of a letter from the committee of Albany; to all which I shall pay due attention.

Generals Gates and Sullivan have both arrived in good health.

My best abilities are at all times devoted to the service of my country: but I feel the weight, importance, and variety of my present duties too sensibly, not to wish a more immediate and frequent communication with the Congress. I fear it may often happen in the course of our [Page 14] present operations, that I shall need that assistance and direction from them, which time and distance will not al­low me to receive.

Since writing the above, I have also to acknowledge your favour of the fourth instant by Fessenden, and the re­ceipt of the commissions, and articles of war. The form­er are yet eight hundred short of the number required. This deficiency you will please to supply as soon as you conveniently can. Among the other returns, I have also sent one of our killed, wounded, and missing, in the late action; but have been able to procure no certain account of the loss of the ministerial troops. My best intelligence fixes it at above five hundred killed, and six or seven hun­dred wounded: but it is no more than conjecture,—the utmost pains being taken on their side to conceal it. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. Having ordered the commanding officer to give me the earliest intelligence of every motion of the enemy by land or water, discernible from the heights of his camp, I this instant, as I was closing my letter, received the in­closed from the brigade major. The design of this ma­noeuvre I know not:—perhaps it may be to make a de­scent somewhere along the coast:—it may be for New-York; or it may be practised as a deception on us. I thought it not improper however to mention the matter to you: I have done the same to the commanding officer at New-York; and I shall let it be known to the committee of safety here, so that intelligence may be communicated, as they shall think best, along the sea-coast of this gov­ernment.

SIR,

SINCE I did myself the honour of addressing you [...] the tenth instant, nothing material has happened in the camp. From some authentic and late advices of the [...] of the ministerial troops, and the great inconvenience of calling in the militia in the midst of harvest, I have been induced for the present to wave it:—but in the mean time recruiting parties have been sent throughout this province, [Page 15] to fill up the regiments to the establishment of the provin­cial Congress. At the same time that I received these ad­vices, I also obtained a list of the officers of the enemy killed and wounded in the late battle at Charlestown, which I take this opportunity to inclose.

The great scarcity of fresh provisions in their army has led me to take every precaution to prevent a supply: for this purpose, I have ordered all the cattle and sheep to be drawn from the low grounds and farms within their reach. A detachment from general Thomas's camp, on Wednes­day night, went over to Long-Island, and brought from thence twenty cattle and a number of sheep, with about fifteen labourers who had been put on by a Mr. Ray Thomas, to cut the hay, &c. By some accident, they omitted burning the hay, and returned the next day at noon to complete it; which they effected, amidst the firing of the shipping, with the loss of one man killed and anoth­er wounded.

Last evening also a party of the Connecticut-men stroll­ed down on the marsh at Roxbury, and fired upon a cen­try; which drew on a heavy fire from the enemy's lines and floating batteries, but attended with no other effect than the loss of one killed by a shot from the enemy's lines. In the mean time, we are, on both sides, contin­uing our works: but there has been no other movement than what I have noticed above. I shall endeavour to give a regular and particular account of all transactions as they occur, which you will please to lay before the honourable Congress. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I did myself the honour of addressing you the fourteenth instant, I have received advice from gov­ernor Trumbull, that the assembly of Connecticut had vot­ed, and that they are now raising, two regiments of seven hundred men each, in consequence of an application from the provincial Congress of Massachusetts-Bay. The Rhode-Island assembly has also made an augmentation for [Page 16] this purpose. These reinforcements, with the riflemen who are daily expected, and such recruits as may come in to fill up the regiments here, will, I apprehend, compose an army sufficiently strong to oppose any force which may be brought against us at present. I am very sensible that the heavy expense, necessarily attendant upon this cam­paign, will call for the utmost frugality and care, and would therefore, if possible, avoid enlisting one unnecessary man. As this is the first certain account of the destina­tion of these new-raised troops, I thought proper to com­municate my sentiments as early as possible, lest the Con­gress should act upon my letter of the tenth, and raise troops in the southern colonies, which, in my present judg­ment, may be dispensed with.

For these eight days past, there have been no move­ments in either camp, of any consequence. On our side, we have continued the works without any intermission; and they are now so far advanced as to leave us little to apprehend on that score. On the side of the enemy, they have also been very industrious in finishing their lines, both on Bunker's-hill and Roxbury-neck. In this inter­val also, their transports have arrived from New-York; and they have been employed in landing and stationing their men. I have been able to collect no certain account of the numbers arrived: but the inclosed letter, wrote (though not signed) by Mr. Sheriff Lee, and delivered me by captain Darby, (who went express with an account of the Lexington battle) will enable us to form a pretty accurate judgment. The increase of tents and men in the town of Boston is very obvious; but all my accounts from thence agree that there is a great mortality, occasioned by the want of vegetables and fresh meat; and that their loss in the late battle at Charlestown (from the few recoveries of their wounded) is greater than at first supposed. The condition of the inhabitants detained in Boston is very dis­tressing: they are equally destitute of the comfort of fresh provisions; and many of them are so reduced in their cir­cumstances, as to be unable to supply themselves with salt. Such fish as the soldiery leave is their principal support. Added to all this, such suspicion and jealousy prevails, that [Page 17] they can scarcely speak, or even look, without exposing themselves to some species of military execution.

I have not been able, from any intelligence I have re­ceived, to form any certain judgment of the future opera­tions of the enemy. Sometimes I have suspected an in­tention of detaching a part of their army to some part of the coast, as they have been building a number of flat-bot­tomed boats, capable of holding two hundred men each. But, from their works, and the language held at Boston, there is reason to think they expect the attack from us, and are principally engaged in preparing themselves against it. I have ordered all the whale-boats along the coast to be collected: and some of them are employed every night to watch the motions of the enemy by water, so as to guard as much as possible against any surprise. * * *

Next to the more immediate and pressing duties of put­ting our lines in as secure a state as possible, attending to the movements of the enemy, and gaining intelligence,—my great concern is to establish order, regularity and dis­cipline, without which our numbers would embarrass us, and, in case of action, general confusion must infallibly en­sue. In order to this, I propose to divide the army into three divisions:—at the head of each will be a general officer:—these divisions to be again subdivided into brig­ades, under their respective brigadiers. But the difficul­ty arising from the arrangement of the general officers, and waiting the farther proceedings of the Congress on this subject, has much retarded my progress in this most necessary work. I should be very happy to receive their final commands, as any determination would enable me to proceed in my plan. * * *

In addition to the officers mentioned in mine of the tenth instant, I would humbly propose that some provision should be made for a judge-advocate, and provost-marshal. The necessity of the first appointment was so great, that I was obliged to nominate a Mr. Tudor, who was well recommended to me, and now executes the office under an expectation of receiving captain's pay—an allowance (in my opinion) scarcely adequate to the service, in new-raised troops, where there are court-martials every day. However, as that is the proportion in the regular army, [Page 18] and he is contented, there will be no necessity of an ad­dition.

I must also renew my request as to money, and the ap­pointment of a pay-master. I have forbore urging mat­ters of this nature, from my knowledge of the many im­portant concerns which engage the attention of the Con­gress: but as I find my difficulties thicken every day, I make no doubt, suitable regard will be paid to a necessity of this kind. The inconvenience of borrowing such sums as are constantly requisite must be too plain for me to en­large upon, and is a situation from which I should be very happy to be relieved.

Upon the experience I have had, and the best consid­eration of the appointment of the several offices of com­missary-general, muster-master-general, quarter-master-gen­eral, pay-master-general, and commissary of artillery, I am clearly of opinion that they not only conduce to or­der, dispatch and discipline, but that it is a measure of economy. The delay, the waste, and unpunishable neglect of duty, arising from these offices being in commission in several hands, evidently shew that the public expense must be finally enhanced. I have experienced the want of these officers, in completing the returns of men, ammunition, and stores. The latter are yet imperfect, from the number of hands in which they are dispersed. I have inclosed [...] last weekly return, which is more accurate than the former; and hope in a little time we shall be perfectly regular in this as well as several other necessary branches of duty.

I have made inquiry into the establishment of the hos­pital, and find it in a very unsettled condition. There is no principal director, nor any subordination among the sur­geons: of consequence, disputes and contention have arisen, and must continue until it is reduced to some system. I could wish it was immediately taken into consideration, as the lives and health of both officers and men so much de­pend upon a due regulation of this department. I have been particularly attentive to the least symptoms of the small pox; and hitherto we have been so fortunate as to have every person removed so soon, as not only to prevent any communication, but any alarm or apprehension it might [Page 19] give in the camp. We shall continue the utmost vigilance against this most dangerous enemy.

In an army properly organized, there are sundry offices of an inferior kind, such as waggon-master, master-carpen­ter, &c. but I doubt whether my powers are sufficiently extensive for such appointments. If it is thought prop­er to repose such a trust in me, I shall be governed, in the discharge of it, by a strict regard to economy and the public interest.

My instructions from the honourable Congress direct that no troops are to be disbanded without their express direction, nor to be recruited to more than double the num­ber of the enemy. Upon this subject I beg leave to rep­resent, that, unless the regiments in this province are more successful in recruiting than I have reason to expect, a re­duction of some of them will be highly necessary, as the public is put to the whole expense of an establishment of officers, while the real strength of the regiment (which consists in the rank and file) is defective. In case of such a reduction, doubtless some of the privates and all the officers would return home: but many of the former would go into the remaining regiments; and having had some ex­perience, would fill them up with useful men. I so plainly perceive the expense of this campaign will exceed any cal­culation hitherto made, that I am particularly anxious to strike off every unnecessary charge. You will therefore, Sir, be pleased to favour me with explicit directions from the Congress, on the mode of this reduction (if it shall ap­pear necessary) that no time may be lost when such neces­sity appears.

Yesterday we had an account that the light-house was on fire:—by whom, and under what orders, I have not yet learned: but we have reason to believe it has been done by our irregulars.

You will please to present me to the Congress, with the utmost duty and respect; and believe me to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. Captain Darby's stay in England was so short, that he brings no other information than what the inclos­ed letter, and the news-papers which will accompany this, contain. General Gage's dispatches had not arrived; and [Page 20] the ministry affected to disbelieve the whole account, treat­ing it as a fiction, or at most, an affair of little consequence. The fall of stocks was very inconsiderable.

SIR,

SINCE closing the letters which accompany this, I have received an account of the destruction of the light­house; a copy of which I have the honour to inclose,—and of again assuring you that I am, with great respect, &c.

G. W.

P. S. I have also received a more authentic account of the loss of the enemy in the late battle, than any yet re­ceived. Dr. Winship, who lodged in the same house with an officer of the marines, assures me they had exactly one thousand and forty-three killed and wounded,—of whom three hundred fell on the field, or died within a few hours. Many of the wounded are since dead.

SIR,

NOTHING material has occurred in either camp, since I had the honour of addressing you on the twenty-first instant by express: but on Tuesday, three men-of-war and nine transports sailed out of Boston harbour, and stood a course about E. S. E.

One Groves, who came out of Boston the same evening, informed the officer at one of the out-posts, that the trans­ports had on board six hundred men, and were bound to Block-Island, Fisher's-Island, and Long-Island, to plunder them, and bring off what cattle they may find. The fellow returned again into Boston under such suspicious circum­stances, that it has led me to doubt the truth of his intel­ligence.

A deserter, who came in afterwards, informs me that it was given out in their [...]amp, that they were either gone for Indians or fresh provisions; and that each transport had but twenty men on board. Upon this intelligence, I im­mediately wrote to governor Cooke of Rhode-Island, and [Page 21] to general Wooster, that they might take proper precau­tions for removing the cattle off those islands and the coasts, and to prevent any surprise. As we are confirmed, by every account, in the scarcity of fresh provisions in the ene­my's camp, and particularly by this deserter, it is very prob­able this voyage may be only intended for a supply: but as it may possibly be otherwise, I thought it best to transmit the intelligence to the honourable Congress, that they may forward it to the southward, or take such other steps as they may judge proper.

Since writing the above, three more deserters have come out,—which makes four in twenty-four hours. Their ac­counts correspond with those of the first who came out, and which I have related above. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I AM to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the twenty-fourth July, accompanied by two hundred and eighty-four commissions, which are yet much short of the necessary number. I am much honoured by the confidence reposed in me, of appointing the several officers recom­mended in mine of the tenth ultimo; and shall endeavour to select such persons as are best qualified to fill these import­ant posts. * * * *

In the renewal of these commissions, some difficulties occur, in which I should be glad to know the pleasure of the honourable Congress. The general officers of the Massachusetts have regiments; those of Connecticut have both regiments and companies; and the other field officers have companies each. From Rhode-Island, the general officer has no regiment, but the field officers have com­panies: but I do not find that they have or expect pay under more than one commission. Should the com­missions, now to be delivered, pursue these different establishments, there will be a distinction between general and field officers of the same rank. In order to put New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode-Island, upon a line with Connecticut, it would be necessary to dismiss a num­ber [Page 22] of officers, in possession of commissions, without any fault of theirs. On the other hand, to bring the Connec­ticut generals and field officers to the same scale with the others, will add to the number of officers, and may be deem­ed inconsistent with the terms on which they entered into the service, although you add nothing to the expense, ex­cept in the article of provisions. Upon the whole, it is a case which I would wish the honourable Congress to con­sider and determine.

Colonel Gridley of this province, who is at the head of the artillery, has the rank of major-general from the pro­vincial Congress. Will it be proper to renew his commis­sion here in the same manner?—It is proper here to re­mark, that, in this case, he will take rank of all the briga­diers-general, and even the majors-general, whose commis­sions are subsequent in date: and this can answer no good purpose, but may be productive of many bad consequences.

These are matters of some importance: but I am em­barrassed with a difficulty of a superior kind. The esti­mate, made in Congress, supposed all the regiments to be formed upon one establishment: but they are different in different provinces, and even vary in the same province, in some particulars. In Massachusetts, some regiments have ten companies, others eleven: the establishment of the former is five hundred and ninety men, officers included; of the latter, six hundred and forty-nine. The establish­ment of Rhode-Island and New-Hampshire is five hundred and ninety to a regiment, officers included:—Connecticut has a thousand men to a regiment. Should the Massachu­setts regiments be completed, with the new levies from Rhode-Island and Connecticut, and the riflemen, the num­ber will exceed twenty-two thousand. If they should not be completed,—as each regiment is fully officered, there will be a heavy expense to the public, without an adequate service. The reduction of some of them seems to be nec­essary, and yet is a matter of much delicacy, as we are situated. I most earnestly request it may be taken into immediate consideration, and the time and mode of doing it pointed out by the honourable Congress. By an esti­mate I have made from the general return,—when the new levies arrive, and the regiments are completed, there will [Page 23] be twenty-four thousand four hundred and fifty men on the pay and provision of the United Colonies. Some of the recruiting officers, who have been out on that service, have returned with very little success; so that we may safely con­clude, the number of two thousand and sixty-four, now wanting to complete, will rather increase than diminish. There are the regiment of artillery, consisting of four hun­dred and ninety-three men, and one under colonel Ser­geant (who has not received any commission, although he had orders to raise a regiment, from the provincial Congress here) which are not included in the above estimate. This last regiment consists of two hundred and thirty-four men by the last return; but a company has since joined.

By adverting to the general return, which I have the honour of inclosing (No 1) it will be seen what regiments are most deficient.

If the Congress does not choose to point out the particu­lar regiments, but the provinces in which the reduction is to be made, the several Congresses and Assemblies may be the proper channel to conduct this business, which I would also conceive the most advisable, from their better acquaint­ance with the merits, terms, and time of service, of the respective officers. Reducing some regiments, and, with the privates thereof, filling up others, would certainly be the best method of accomplishing this work if it were prac­ticable: but the experiment is dangerous, as the Massachu­setts-men, under the privilege of choosing their own offi­cers, do not conceive themselves bound, if those officers are disbanded.

As general Gage is making preparations for winter by contracting for quantities of coal, it will suggest to us the propriety of extending our views to that season. I have directed that such huts as have been lately made of boards should be done in such a manner, that, if necessary, they may serve for covering during the winter. But I need not enlarge upon the variety of necessities, such as cloth­ing, fuel, &c. (both exceedingly scarce, and difficult to be procured) which that season must bring with it, if the ar­my or any considerable part of it is to remain embodied.

From the inactivity of the enemy since the arrival of their whole reinforcement, their continual addition to their [Page 24] lines,—and many other circumstances,—I am inclined to think, that, finding us so well prepared to receive them, the plan of operations is varied, and they mean, by regular approaches, to bombard us out of our present line of defence, or are waiting in expectation that the colonies must sink under the weight of the expense, or the prospect of a winter campaign so discourage our troops, as to break up our army. If they have not some such expectations, the issue of which they are determined to wait, I cannot account for the delay, when their strength is lessened every day by sickness, desertions, and little skirmishes.

Of these last we have had only two worthy of notice. Having some reason to suspect they were extending their lines at Charlestown, I, last Saturday evening, ordered some of the riflemen down, to make a discovery, or bring off a prisoner. They were accidentally discovered soon­er than they expected, by the guard coming to relieve, and obliged to fire upon them. We have reason to believe they killed several. They brought in two prisoners, whose account (confirmed by some other circumstances) removed my suspicions in part. Since that time, we have, on each side, drawn in our c [...]ntries, and there have been scatter­ing fires along the line. This evening we have heard of three captains who have been taken off by the riflemen, and one killed by a cannon-shot from Roxbury, besides sev­eral privates: but as the intelligence is not direct, I only mention it as a report which deserves credit▪ The other happened at the light-house. A number of workmen hav­ing been sent down to repair it, with a guard of twenty-two marines and a subaltern,—major Tupper, last Monday morning about two o'clock, landed there with about three hundred men, attacked them, killed the officer and four privates; but being detained by the tide, in his return he was attacked by several boats; but he happily got through with the loss of one man killed, and another wounded. The remainder of the ministerial troops (three of whom are badly wounded) he brought off prisoners, with ten to­ries, all of whom are on their way to Springfield jail. The riflemen, in these skirmishes, lost one man, who (we hear) is a prisoner in Boston jail. The enemy, in return, endeav­oured to surprise our guard at Roxbury: but they, being [Page 25] apprised of it by a deserter, had time to prepare for it: but by some negligence or misconduct in the officer of the guard, they burned the George tavern on the neck; and have every day since been cannonading us from their lines, both at Roxbury and Charlestown, but with no other effect than the loss of two men. On our part, except straggling fires from the small arms about the lines, which we endeavour to restrain, we have made little or no return.

Our situation in the article of powder, is much more alarming than I had the most distant idea of. Having de­sired a return to be made out (on my arrival) of the am­munition, I found three hundred and three barrels and a half of powder mentioned as in the store: but on ordering a new supply of cartridges yesterday, I was informed, to my very great astonishment, that there was no more than thirty-six barrels of the Massachusetts store, which, with the stock of Rhode-Island, New-Hampshire, and Connec­ticut, makes nine thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven pounds,—not more than nine rounds a man. As there had been no consumption of powder since, that could in any degree account for such a deficiency, I was very par­ticular in my inquiries, and found that the committee of supplies, not being sufficiently acquainted with the nature of a return, or misapprehending my request, sent in an ac­count of all the ammunition which had been collected by the province; so that the report included not only what was in hand, but what had been spent.

Upon discovering this mistake, I immediately went up to confer with the speaker of the house of representatives, upon some measures to obtain a supply from the neighbour­ing townships, in such a manner as might prevent our pov­erty being known; as it is a secret of too great conse­quence to be divulged in the general court, some individu­al of which might perhaps indiscreetly suffer it to escape him, so as to find its way to the enemy,—the consequences of which are terrible even in idea. I shall also write to the governors of Rhode-Island and Connecticut, and the com­mittee of safety in New-Hampshire, on this subject, urging, in the most forcible terms, the necessity of an immediate supply, if in their power. I need not enlarge on our mel­ancholy situation: it is sufficient that the existence of the [Page 26] army and the salvation of the country depends upon some­thing being done for our relief, both speedy and effectual▪ and that our situation be kept a profound secret.

In the inclosures, No 2 and 3, I send the allowance of provisions, &c. made by the provinces of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The mode and quantity are different from what has fallen within my experience, and, I am confident, must prove very wasteful and expensive. If any alteration can be safety made (which I much doubt) there might be a great saving to the public.

A gentleman of my family, assisted by a deserter who has some skill in fortification, has, by my direction, sketched out two draughts of our respective lines at Charlestown and Roxbury, which, with the explanations, will convey some idea of our situation, and, I hope, prove acceptable to the members of the honourable Congress. They are the in-closures, No 4 and 5.

Since I had the honour of addressing you last, I have been applied to, by a committee of the general court, for a detachment of the army, to protect the inhabitants of the eastern parts of this province from some apprehended dep­redations on their coasts. I could have wished to have complied with their request: but, after due consideration▪ and consulting the general officers, together with those members of Congress who are here, I thought it my duty to excuse myself. The application and my answer are the inclosures, No 6 and 7, which I hope will be approved by the honourable Congress.

Since I began this letter, the original (of which the in­closure No 8 is a copy) fell into my hands. As the writer is a person of some note in Boston, and it contains some advices of importance not mentioned by others, I thought proper to forward it as I received it. By comparing the hand-writing with another letter, it appears the writer is one Belcher Noyes, a person probably known to some of the gentlemen, delegates from this province, who can de­termine, from his principles and character, what credit is due to him.

The army is now formed into three grand divisions, under the command of the generals Ward, Lee, and Put­nam; each division into two brigades, consisting of about [Page 27] six regiments each, commanded by generals Thomas and Spencer at Roxbury,—Heath at Cambridge,—Sullivan and Greene at Winter-hill. By this, you will please to observe, there is a deficiency of one brigadier-general (oc­casioned by Mr. Pomroy's not acting under his com­mission) which I beg may be filled up as soon as possible. I observe the honourable Congress have also favoured me with the appointment of three brigade-majors. I presume they have or intend to appoint the rest soon, as they cannot be unacquainted that one is necessary to each brigade; and in a new raised army, it will be an office of great duty and service.

General Gage has at length liberated the people of Bos­ton, who [...] in numbers at Chelsea every day. The terms on which the passes are granted, as to money, effects and provisions, correspond with Mr. Noyes's letter.

We have several reports that general Gage is disman­tling Castle-William, and bringing all the cannon up to town: but, upon a very particular inquiry, accounts are so various, that I cannot ascertain the truth of it.* * *

On the first instant, a chief of the Caghnewaga tribe, who live about six miles from Montreal, came in here, accompained by a colonel Bayley of Cohoss. His accounts of the temper and disposition of the Indians are very fa­vourable. He says they have been strongly solicited by governor Carleton to engage against us; but his nation is totally averse;—that threats, as well as entreaties, have been used without effect;—that the Canadians are well dis­posed to the English colonies; and, if any expedition is meditated against Canada, the Indians in that quarter will give all their assistance. I have endeavoured to cherish these favourable dispositions, and have recommended to him to cultivate them on his return. What I have said, I en­forced with a present, which I understood would be agreea­ble to him: and as he is represented to be a man of weight and consequence in his own tribe, I flatter myself his visit will have a good effect. His accounts of general Carle­ton's force and situation at St. John's correspond with what we have already had from that quarter.

The accession of Georgia to the measures of the Con­gress is a happy event, and must give a sincere pleasure to every friend of America.

[Page 28] August 5.—We have accounts this morning of two explosions at the Castle; so that its destruction may now be supposed certain.

I have this morning been alarmed with an information that two gentlemen from Philadelphia, (Mr. Hitchbourn and captain White) with letters for general Lee and my­self, have been taken by captain Ayscough at Rhode-Island, the letters intercepted and sent forward to Boston,—with the bearers as prisoners; that the captain exulted much in the discoveries he had made: and my informer (who was also in the boat, but released) understood them to be letters of consequence. I have therefore dispatched the express immediately back, though I had before resolved to detain him till Fessenden's return. I shall be anxious till I am relieved from the suspense I am in, as to the contents of those letters.

It is exceedingly unfortunate that gentlemen should choose to travel the only road on which there is danger. Let the event of this be what it will, I hope it will serve as a general caution against trusting any letters that way in future.

Nothing of consequence has occurred in camp these two days. The inhabitants of Boston continue coming out at Chelsea, but under a new restriction, that no men shall come out without special license, which is refused to all mechanics, since the tory labourers were taken at the light­house. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

[The following letter bears no date, but appears to have been written on or about the twenty-sixth of August, 1775.]

SIR,

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

[Page 29] As the filling up [...] place of vacant brigadier-general will probably be of the first business of the honourable Congress, I flatter myself it will not be deemed assuming, to mention the names of two gentlemen, whose former ser­vices, rank and age, may be thought worthy of attention on this occasion. The former is colonel John Armstrong, of Pennsylvania: he served during the last war, in most of the campaigns to the southward; was honoured with the command of the Pennsylvania forces, and his general military conduct and spirit much approved by all who served with him: besides which, his character was distin­guished by an enterprise against the Indians, which he planned with great judgment, and executed with equal courage and success. It was not till lately that I had rea­son to believe he would enter again on public service; and it is now wholly unsolicited and unknown on his part. The other gentleman is colonel Fry, of Massachusetts-Bay. He entered into the service as early as 1745, and rose through the different military ranks, in the succeeding wars, to that of colonel, until last June, when he was ap­pointed a major-general by the Congress of this province. From these circumstances, together with the favourable report made to me of him, I presume he sustained the character of a good officer, though I do not find it distin­guished by any peculiar service.

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

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

[Page 30] Last Saturday night we took possession of a hill con­siderably advanced beyond our former lines; which brought on a very heavy cannonade from Bunker's-hill, and after­wards a bombardment, which has been since kept up with little spirit on their part, or damage on ours. The work having been continued ever since, is now so advanced, and the men so well covered, as to leave us under no appre­hensions of much farther loss. In this affair, we had kill­ed—one adjutant, one volunteer, and two privates. The scarcity of ammunition does not admit of our availing our­selves of the situation, as we otherwise might do; but this evil, I hope, will soon be remedied, as I have been inform­ed of the arrival of a large quantity at New-York, some at New-London, and more hourly expected at different places. I need not add to what I have already said on this subject. Our late supply was very seasonable, but far short of our necessities.

The late adjournment of the honourable Congress hav­ing been made before my letter of the fourth instant was received, I must now beg leave to recall their attention to those parts of it which respect the provision for the winter, the reduction of the troops, the double commissions under different establishments, and colonel Gridley's appoint­ment of major-general; in all which, I hope to be hon­oured with their commands as soon as possible.

The advocate-general has sent me a memorial respect­ing his service, which I have the honour to inclose; (No 1) and from the variety and multiplicity of duty in a new army, as well as his regular service and attendance, I am induced to recommend him to the farther notice of the honourable Congress.

The treatment of our officers, prisoners at Boston, in­duced me to write to general Gage on that subject. His answer and my reply I have the honour to lay before the Congress, in the inclosures No 2, 3, 4; since which I have heard nothing from him. I remain, with the greatest respect and regard, &c.

G. W.
[Page 31]

To the Honourable PETER VANBRUGH LIV­INGSTON, Esq. President of the Provincial Conven­tion, New-York.

SIR,

* * * Mr. Livingston and some other gentlemen from your city brought us the acceptable news of the safe arrival of a large quantity of powder, and five hundred stand of arms. Our situation is such as requires your immediate assistance and supply in that article. We have lately taken possession of a hill considerably advanced to­wards the enemy; but our poverty prevents our availing ourselves of any advantage of situation. I must therefore most earnestly entreat that measures may be taken to for­ward to this camp, in the most safe and expeditious man­ner, whatever ammunition can be spared from the immediate and necessary defence of the province. The value of whatever may be sent in consequence of this request will be paid by order from hence when delivered, or negociat­ed with the honourable continental Congress, at Philadel­phia, as may be agreed with the proprietors. I only re­quest that no time may be lost through any such difficulties, as our situation is so critical, and the exigence so great. The mode of conveyance I must leave with the provin­cial Congress, or the committee of the city. I doubt not they will take every precaution to make it safe and ex­peditious. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour of addressing you in conse­quence of an application from the commissary-general, who is, by my direction, taking all proper precautions on the approach of winter. I desired him to commit to writing such proposals as his experience and knowledge of the country might entitle him to make; which he has done in the paper which I have the honour to inclose. The difficul­ty of procuring a sufficient quantity of salt, which I objected to him, he has fully obviated, by assuring me that there is so much now actually in store, in this and the neighbouring towns, as will remove all possibility of a disappointment.

[Page 32] I propose to do myself the honour of writing, in a few days, fully and particularly on several heads, to which I must now refer. In the mean time, I have only to inform the honourable Congress, that I have received a small sup­ply of seven thousand pounds of powder this week from Rhode-Island, and in a few days expect seven tons of lead, and five hundred stand of arms, a part of the same importation; and to request that more money may be for­warded with all expedition, the military chest being nearly exhausted.

I am with the greatest respect, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been in daily expectation of being favoured with the commands of the honourable Congress, on the subject of my two last letters. The season now advances so fast that I cannot any longer defer laying before them such farther measures as require their immediate attention, and in which I wait their direction.

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

The Connecticut and Rhode-Island troops stand engag­ed to the first of December only; and none longer than the first of January. A dissolution of the present army [Page 33] therefore will take place, unless some early provision is made against such an event. Most of the general officers are of opinion the greater part of them may be re-enlisted for the winter, or another campaign, with the indulgence of a furlough to visit their friends, which may be regulated so as not to endanger the service. How far it may be proper to form the new army entirely out of the old, for another campaign, rather than from the contingents of the several provinces, is a question which involves in it too ma­ny considerations of policy and prudence, for me to under­take to decide. It appears to be impossible to draw it from any other source than the old army, for this winter; and, as the pay is ample, I hope a sufficient number will engage in the service for that time at least. But there are various opinions of the temper of the men on the subject; and there may be great hazard in deferring the trial so long.

In the continental establishment, no provision has been made for the pay of artificers, distinct from that of the common soldiers; whereas, under the provincial, such as found their own tools were allowed one shilling per diem advance, and particular artizans, more. The pay of the artillery also now differs from that of the province; the men have less, the officers more; and, for some ranks, no pro­vision is made, as the Congress will please to observe by the list which I have the honour to inclose. (No 1.) These par­ticulars, though seemingly inconsiderable, are the source of much complaint and dissatisfaction, which I endeavour to compose in the best manner I am able.

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

The necessities of the troops having required pay, I di­rected that those of the Massachusetts should receive for one month, upon their being mustered, and returning a proper roll: but a claim was immediately made for pay by lunar months; and several regiments have declined taking up their warrants on this account. As this practice was en­tirely new to me, though said to be warranted by former [Page 34] usage, here the matter now waits the determination of the honourable Congress. I find, in Connecticut and Rhode-Island, this point was settled by calendar months: in Mas­sachusetts, though mentioned in the Congress, it was left undetermined; which is also the case of New-Hampshire.

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

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

Among many other considerations which the approach of winter will demand, that of clothing appears to be one of the most important. So far as regards the preservation of the army from cold, they may be deemed in a state of nakedness. Many of the men have been without blankets the whole campaign: and those, which have been in use during the summer, are so much worn as to be of little service. In order to make a suitable provision in these arti­cles, and at the same to guard the public against imposition and expense, it seems necessary to determine the mode of continuing the army: for, should these troops be clothed under their present engagement, and, at the expiration of [Page 35] the term of service, decline renewing it, a set of unprovid­ed men may be sent to supply their places.

I cannot suppose it▪ to be unknown to the honourable Congress, that, in all armies, it is an established practice to make an allowance to officers, of provisions and forage, pro­portionate to their rank. As such an allowance formed no part of the continental establishment, I have hitherto forbore to issue the orders for that purpose: but, as it is a received opinion of such members of the Congress as I have had an opportunity of consulting, as well as throughout [...] army, that it must be deemed a matter of course and im­plied in the establishment of the army, I have directed the following proportion of rations, being the same allowed in the American armies last war:—Major-general, fifteen; brigadier-general, twelve; colonel, six; lieutenant-colonel, five; major, four; captain, three; subaltern, two; staff, two.

If these should not be approved by the honourable Con­gress, they will please to signify their pleasure, as to the alterations they would have made in the whole or in part.

I am now to inform the honourable Congress, that, en­couraged by the repeated declarations of the Canadians and Indians, and u [...]ged by their requests, I have detached col­onel Arnold with a thousand men, to penetrate into Cana­da by way of Kennebeck river, and, if possible, to make him­self master of Quebec. By this manoeuvre, I proposed ei­ther to divert Carleton from St. John's, which would leave a free passage to general Schuyler;—or, if this did not take effect, Quebec, in its present defenceless state, must fall into his hands an easy prey. I made all possible inquiry, as to the distance, the safety of the route, and the danger of the season being too far advanced; but found nothing in either, to deter me from proceeding, more especially as it met with very general approbation from all whom I consulted upon it. But, that nothing might be omitted, to enable me to judge of its propriety and probable consequences, I communicated it by express to general Schuyler, who approved of it in such terms, that I resolved to put it in immediate execu­tion. They have now left this place seven days: and, if favoured with a good wind, I hope soon to hear of their being safe in Kennebeck river. For the satisfaction of the [Page 36] Congress, I here inclose a copy of the proposed route. (No 3.) I also do myself the honour of inclosing a mani­festo, which I caused to be printed here, and of which col­onel Arnold has taken a suitable number with him. This is the inclosure, No 4. I have also forwarded a copy of his instructions (No 5)—from all which I hope the Con­gress will have a clear view of the motives, plan, and in­tended execution of this enterprise, and that I shall be so happy as to meet with their approbation in it.

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

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

The season advances so fast, that I have given orders to prepare barracks and other accommodations for the winter. The great scarcity of tow-cloth in this country, I fear, will totally disappoint as in our expectations of procuring hunt­ing-shirts. [Page 37] Governor Cooke informs me, few or none are to be had in Rhode-Island; and governor Trumbull gives me little encouragement to expect many from Connecticut.

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

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

I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
[Page 38]
SIR,

THE reverend Mr. Kirkland, the bearer of this, having been introduced to the honourable Congress, can need no particular recommendation from me. But as he now wishes to have the affairs of his mission and public employ put upon some suitable [...]ooting, I cannot but intimate my sense of the importance of his station, and the great advan­tages which have and may result to the United Colonies, from his situation being made respectable.

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

I cannot but congratulate the honourable Congress on the happy temper of the Canadians and Indians, our accounts of which are now fully confirmed by some intercepted let­ters from officers in Canada, to general Gage and others in Boston, which were found on board the vessel lately taken, going into Boston with a donation of cattle and other fresh provisions for the ministerial army.

I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I WAS honoured with your favour of the twenty­sixth ultimo, late the night before last; and a meeting of the general officers having been called upon a business which will make a considerable part of this letter. I took the op­portunity of laying before them those parts of yours which respect the continuance and new-modelling of the army, the fuel, clothing, and other preparations for the ensuing winter. They have taken two or three days to consider; and, as soon as I am possessed of their opinions, I shall lose no time in transmitting the result, not only on the above sub­jects, but the number of troops necessary to be kept up.

[Page 39] I have also directed the commissary-general and the quar­ter-master-general to prepare estimates of the expense of their departments for a certain given number of men, from which a judgment may be made, when the number of men to be kept in pay is determined:—all which I shall do my­self the honour to lay before the Congress, as soon as they are ready.

I have now a painful though a necessary duty to perform, respecting Dr. Church, director-general of the hospital. About a week ago, Mr. secretary Ward, of Providence, sent up to me one Wainwood, an inhabitant of Newport, with a letter directed to major Cane, in Boston, in [occult] char­acters, which he said had been left with Wainwood some time ago, by a woman who was kept by Dr. Church. She had before pressed Wainwood to take her to captain Wal­lace, Mr. Dudley the collector, or George Rome; which he declined. She then gave him the letter, with a strict charge to deliver it to either of those gentlemen. He, sus­pecting some improper correspondence, kept the letter, and after some time opened it; but, not being able to read it, laid it up, where it remained until he received an obscure letter from the woman, expressing an anxiety after the origi­nal letter. He then communicated the whole matter to Mr. Ward, who sent him up with the papers to me. I im­mediately secured the woman: but for a long time she was proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the au­thor. However, at length she was brought to a confession, and named Dr. Church. I then immediately secured him and all his papers. Upon his first examination, he readily acknowledged the letter, said it was designed for his brother Fleming, and, when deciphered, would be found to contain nothing criminal. He acknowledged his never having com­municated the correspondence to any person here but the girl, and made many protestations of the purity of his inten­tions. Having found a person capable of deciphering the letter, I in the mean time had all his papers searched, but found nothing criminal among them: but it appeared on in­quiry, that a confidant had been among the papers before my messenger arrived. I then called the general officers together for their advice, the result of which you will find in the inclosure, No 1. The deciphered letter is the inclo­sure, [Page 40] No 2. The army and country are exceedingly irri­tated: and upon a free discussion of the nature, circum­stances, and consequence of this matter, it has been unani­mously agreed to lay it before the honourable Congress for their special advice and direction; at the same time sug­gesting to their consideration, whether an alteration of the twenty-eighth article of war may not be necessary.

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

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

One Mr. Fisk, an intelligent person, came out of Boston on the third inst. and gives us the following advices:—that a fleet, consisting of a sixty-four, and twenty-gun ship, two [...]loops of eighteen guns, and two transports with six hun­dred men, were to sail from Boston as yesterday; that they took on board two mortars, four howitzers, and other artil­lery calculated for the bombardment of a town:—their des­tination was kept a profound secret:—that an express sloop of war, which left England the eighth of August, arrived [Page 41] four days ago;—that general Gage is recalled, and last Sun­day resigned his command to general Howe;—that lord Percy, colonel Smith, and other officers who were at Lex­ington, are ordered home with Gage;—that six ships of the line and two cutters were coming out under Sir Peter Dennis;—that five regiments and a thousand marines are ordered out, and may be expected in three or four weeks:—no prospect of accommodation; but the ministry deter­mined to push the war to the utmost.

I have an express from colonel Arnold, and herewith send a copy of his letter and an inclosure, No 4 and 5.—I am happy in finding he meets with no discouragement. The claim of the rifle officers, to be independent of all the superior officers except colonel Arnold, is without any countenance or authority from me, as I have signified in my last dispatch both to colonel Arnold and captain Mor­gan. The captain of the brig from Quebec for Boston in­forms me that there is no suspicion of any such expedition; and that, if Carleton is not drove from St. John's, so as to be obliged to throw himself into Quebec, it must fall into our hands, as it is left without a regular soldier, and many of the inhabitants are most favourably disposed to the American cause;—and that there is the largest stock of ammunition ever collected in America.

In the above vessel some letters were also found, from an officer at Quebec, to general Gage and major Sheriff at Boston, containing such an account of the temper of the Canadians, as cannot but afford the highest satisfaction. I have thought it best to forward them: they are the inclo­sures, No 6 and 7.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with your several favours of the twenty-sixth and thirtieth of September, and fifth of Octo­ber, the contents of which I shall beg leave to notice in their respective order.

Previous to the direction of Congress to consult the gen­eral officers on the best mode of continuing and providing [Page 42] for the army during the winter, I had desired them to tur [...] their thoughts upon these subjects, and to favour me with the result, by a particular day, in writing. In this interval, the appointment of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and colonel Harrison, was communicated,—an event which has given me the highest satisfaction, as the subject was too weighty and complex for a discussion by letter. This appointment made any conclusion here unnecessary, as it is not probable any such arrangement would be agreed on, as would not be altered in some respects, upon a full and free conference. This good effect will arise from the step already taken, that every officer will be prepared to give his sentiments upon these important subjects.

The estimates of the commissary and quarter-master­general I have now the honour of inclosing. The first is No 1, the other No 2.

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

Upon the presumption of there being a vacancy in the direction of the hospital, lieutenant-colonel Hand, former­ly a surgeon in the eighteenth regiment, or royal Irish, and Dr. Foster, late of Charlestown, and one of the surgeons of the hospital under Dr. Church, are candidates for that office. I do not pretend to be acquainted with their re­spective merits, and therefore have given them no farther expectation, than that they should be mentioned as candi­dates for the department. I therefore need only to add upon this subject, that the affairs of the hospital require that the appointment should be made as soon as possible.

Before I was honoured with your favour of the fifth in­stant, I had given orders for the equipment of some armed vessels, to intercept the enemy's supplies of provisions and ammunition. One of them was on a cruise between Cape Anne and Cape Cod, when the express arrived. The others will be [...]it for the sea in a few days, under the com­mand of officers of the continental army, who are well rec­ommended, as persons acquainted with the sea, and capa­ble of such a service. Two of these will be immediately [Page 43] dispatched on this duty, and every particular, mentioned in your favour of the fifth instant, literally complied with.

That the honourable Congress may have a more com­plete idea of the plan on which these vessels are equipped; I inclose a copy of the instructions given to the captains now out (No 4). These, with the additional instruction directed, will be given to the captains who go into the mouth of St. Laurence's river. As both officers and men most cheerfully engage in the service on the terms men­tioned in these instructions, I fear that the proposed in­crease will create some difficulty, by making a difference between men engaged on similar service. I have therefore not yet communicated this part of the plan, but reserved an extra bounty as a reward for extraordinary activity. There are no armed vessels in this province; and governor Cooke informs me the enterprise can receive no assistance from him, as one of the armed vessels of Rhode-Island is on a long cruise, and the other unfit for the service. Nothing shall be omitted to secure success. A fortunate capture of an ordnance ship would give new life to the camp, and an immediate turn to the issue of this campaign.

Our last accouts from colonel Arnold are very favoura­ble: he was proceeding with all expedition; and I flatter myself (making all allowances) he will be at Quebec the twentieth instant, where a gentleman from Canada (Mr. * * *) assures me he will meet with no resistance.

In the quarter-master's estimate, there are some arti­cles omitted, of which he informs me he cannot pretend to furnish a computation,—such as cartage, tools, &c. for which some general allowance must be made.

From the various accounts received from Europe, there may be reason to expect troops will be landed at New-York, or some other middle colony. I should be glad to know the pleasure of the Congress, whether, upon such an event, it would be expected that a part of this army should be detached, or the internal force of such colony and its neighbourhood be deemed sufficient; or whether, in such case, I am to wait the particular direction of Congress.

The fleet, mentioned in my last, has been seen standing N. N. E.; so that we apprehend it is intended for some [Page 44] part of this province, or New-Hampshire, or possibly Que­bec.

The latest and best accounts we have from the enemy are, that they are engaged in their new work across the south end of Boston, preparing their barracks, &c. for win­ter:—that it is proposed to keep from five hundred to a thousand men on Bunker's hill all winter, who are to be relieved once a week;—the rest to be drawn into Boston.

A person who has lately been a servant to major Conolly (a tool of lord Dunmore's) has given an account of a scheme to distress the southern provinces, which ap­peared to me of sufficient consequence to be immediately transmitted. I have therefore got it attested, and do my­self the honour of inclosing it, No 5.

The new levies from Connecticut have lately marched into camp, and are a body of as good troops as any we have: so that we have now the same strength as before the detachment made under colonel Arnold.

I am, with the most respectful sentiments to the honoura­ble Congress, and yourself, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

MY conjecture of the destination of the late squadron from Boston, in my last, has been unhappily verified by an outrage, exceeding, in barbarity and cruelty, every hostile act practised among civilized nations. I have inclosed the account given me by Mr. Jones, a gentleman of the town of Falmouth, of the destruction of that increasing and flour­ishing village. He is a very great sufferer, and informs me that the time allowed for the removal of effects was so small, that valuable property of all kinds, and to a great amount, has been destroyed. The orders shewn by the captain for this horrid procedure (by which it appears the same deso­lation is meditated upon all the towns on the coast) made it my duty to communicate it as quickly and extensively as possible. As Portsmouth was the next place to which he proposed to go, general Sullivan was permitted to go up, and give them his assistance and advice to ward off the blow. I flatter myself the like event will not happen [Page 45] there, as they have a fortification of some strength, and a vessel has arrived at a place called Sheepscot, with fif­teen hundred pounds of powder.

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

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

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE information, which the gentlemen who have lately gone from hence can give the Congress, of the state and situation of the army, would have made a letter unneces­sary, if I did not suppose there would be some anxiety to know the intentions of the army on the subject of the re­enlistment.

Agreeably to the advice of those gentlemen, and my own opinion, I immediately began by directing all such officers as proposed to continue, to signify their intentions as soon as possible. A great number of the returns are come in, from which I find that a very great proportion of the officers of the rank of captains, and under, will retire;—from present appearances, I may say, half,—but at least, one third. It is with some concern also that I observe, that many of the officers who retire discourage the continuance of the men, and, I fear, will communicate the infection to them. Some have advised, that those of­ficers who decline the service should be immediately dis­missed: but this would be very dangerous and inconve­nient. I confess I have great anxieties upon the subject, though I still hope the pay and terms are so advantageous, that interest, and, I hope also, a regard to their country, will retain a greater proportion of the privates than their officers. In so important a matter, I shall esteem it my indispensable duty, not only to act with all possible pru­dence, [Page 46] but to give the most early and constant advice of my progress.

A supply of clothing, equal to our necessities, would greatly contribute to the encouragement and satisfaction of the men. In every point of view, it is so important, that I beg leave to call the attention of the Congress to it in a particular manner.

A sergeant has just come in from Bunker's-hill, but brings no important news.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

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

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

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

The proclamations and association, herewith inclosed, came to my hands on Monday last. I thought it my duty to send them to you. Nothing of moment has happened since my last.

With respectful compliments to the members of Con­gress, I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
[Page 47]
SIR,

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

A vessel, said to be from Philadelphia and bound to Bos­ton, with a hundred and twenty pipes of wine (a hundred and eighteen of which are secured) stranded at a place called Eastham, in a gale of wind on the second instant:—another from Boston to Halifax, with dry goods, &c. (amounting, per invoice, to about two hundred and forty pounds lawful) got disabled in the same gale, near Beverly. These car­goes, with the papers, I have ordered to this place,—the vessels to be taken care of till further orders. I have also an account of the taking of a wood-sloop bound to Boston, [Page 48] and carried into Portsmouth by one of our armed vessels;—particulars not yet come to hand;—and this instant, of two others, from Nova-Scotia to Boston, with hay, wood, live stock, &c. by another of our armed schooners.—These are in Plymouth.

These accidents and captures point out the necessity of establishing proper courts without loss of time, for the de­cision of property, and the legality of seizures; otherwise I may be involved in inextricable difficulties.

Our prisoners, by the reduction of Fort Chamblee (on which happy event I most sincerely congratulate the Con­gress) being considerably augmented, and likely to be in­creased, I submit it to the wisdom of Congress, whether some convenient inland towns, remote from the post-roads, ought not to be assigned them; the manner of their treat­ment, subsistence, &c. defined; and a commissary or agent appointed, to see that justice is done both to them and the public, proper accounts rendered, &c. Without a mode of this sort is adopted, I fear there will be sad confusion hereafter, as there are great complaints at present.

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

The council of officers are unanimously of opinion that the command of the artillery should no longer continue in colonel * * *; and knowing of no person better qual­ified to supply his place, or whose appointment will give more general satisfaction, have taken the liberty of recom­mending Henry Knox, esquire, to the consideration of Congress, thinking it indispensably necessary at the same time that this regiment should consist of two lieutenant-col­onels, two majors, and twelve companies, agreeably to the [Page 49] plan and estimate handed in; which, differing from the last establishment, I should be glad to be instructed on.

The commissary-general not being returned, will apolo­gize, I hope, for my silence respecting a requisition of the expense of his clerks, &c. which I was to have obtained together with others, and forwarded.

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

Captain Symons, in the Cerberus lately sent from Boston to Falmouth, hath published the inclosed declaration at that place; [...]nd it is suspected he intends to make some kind of a lodgment there. I wrote immediately to Colonel Fin­n [...]e of this army, who went up there upon the last alarm, to spirit up the people and oppose it at all events. Falmouth is about a hundred and thirty miles from this camp.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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

SIR,

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

Should not a court be established by authority of Con­gress, to take cognizance of prizes made by the continental vessels? Whatever the mode is which they are pleased to [Page 50] adopt, there is an absolute necessity of its being speedily de­termined on: for I cannot spare time from military affairs, to give proper attention to these matters.

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

The trouble I have in the arrangement of the army is real­ly inconceivable. Many of the officers sent in their names to serve, in expectation of promotion: others stood aloof * * *; whilst a number who had declined have again sent in their names, to serve. So great has the confusion, aris­ing from these and many other perplexing circumstances, been, that I found it absolutely impossible to fix this very in­teresting business exactly on the plan resolved on in the con­ference, though I have kept up to the spirit, as near as the nature and necessity of the case would admit of: the difficul­ty with the soldiers is as great, indeed more so, if possible, than with the officers. They will not enlist, until they know their colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, captain, &c.; so that it was necessary to fix the officers the first thing; which is, at last, in some manner done; and I have given out enlisting orders.

You, Sir, can much easier judge, than I can express, the anxiety of mind I must labour under on the occasion, especially at this time, when we may expect the enemy will begin to act on the arrival of their reinforcement, part of which is already come, and the remainder daily dropping in.

I have other distresses of a very alarming nature. The arms of our soldiery are so exceeding bad, that I assure you, Sir, I cannot place a proper confidence in them. Our powder is wasting fast, notwithstanding the strictest [Page 51] care, economy and attention are paid to it. The long series of wet weather we have had, renders the greater part of what has been served out to the men of no use. Yesterday I had a proof of it, as a party of the enemy, about four or five hundred, taking the advantage of a high tide, landed at Leechmore's point: we were alarmed, and of course ordered every man to examine his cartouch­box, when the melancholy truth appeared; and we were obliged to furnish the greater part of them with fresh am­munition.

The damage done at the point was the taking of a man who watched a few horses and cows: ten of the lat­ter they carried off. Colonel Thompson marched down with his regiment of riflemen, and was joined by colonel Woodbridge, with a part of his and a part of Patterson's regiment, who gallantly waded through the water, and soon obliged the enemy to embark under cover of a man-of-war, a floating battery, and the fire of a battery on Charlestown neck. We have two of our men dangerously wounded by grape-shot from the man-of-war; and, by a flag sent out this day, we are informed the enemy lost two of their men.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I RECEIVED your favours of the seventh and tenth instant, with the resolves of the honourable Congress, to which I will pay all due attention. As soon as two ca­pable persons can be found, I will dispatch them to Nova-Scotia, on the service resolved on in Congress.

The resolve to raise two battalions of marines will (if practicable in this army) entirely derange what has been done. It is therein mentioned, "one colonel for the two battalions:"—of course, a colonel must be dismissed. One of the many difficulties which attended the new ar­rangement, was in reconciling the different interests, and judging of the merits of the different colonels. In the dismission of this one, the same difficulties will occur. The officers and men must be acquainted with maritime [Page 52] affairs; to comply with which, they must be picked out of the whole army,—one from this corps, one from an­other,—so as to break through the whole system, which has cost us so much time, anxiety and pains, to bring into any tolerable form. Notwithstanding any difficulties which will arise, you may be assured, Sir, that I will use every endeavour to comply with their resolve.

I beg leave to submit it to the consideration of Con­gress (if these two battalions can be formed out of this army) whether this is a time to weaken our lines, by em­ploying any of the forces appointed to defend them, on any other service. The gentlemen who were here from the Congress know their vast extent: they must know that we shall have occasion for our whole force for that purpose; more so now than at any past time, as we may expect the enemy will take the advantage of the first hard weather, and attempt to make an impression somewhere. That this is their intention, we have many reasons to sus­pect.

We have had, in the last week, six deserters, and took two straggling prisoners. They all agree that two compa­nies, with a train of artillery and one of the regiments from Ireland, were arrived at Boston;—that fresh ammunition and flints have been served out;—that the grenadiers and light infantry had orders to hold themselves in readiness at a moment's warning.

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

Inclosed you have copies of two letters,—one from colonel Arnold,—the other from colonel * * *. I can form no judgment on the latter's conduct, until I see him. Notwithstanding the great defection, I do not despair of colonel Arnold's success. He will have, in all probabili­ty, many more difficulties to encounter than if he had been a fortnight sooner; as it is likely that governor Carleton [Page 53] will, with what forces he can collect after the surrender of the rest of Canada, throw himself into Quebec, and there make his last effort. There is no [...]ate account from cap­tains Broughton and Sillman, sent to the river St. Lau­rence. The other cruisers have been chiefly confined to harbour, by the badness of the weather. The same reason has caused great delay in building of our barracks; which, with a most mortifying scarcity of fire-wood, discourages the men from enlisting. The last, I am afraid, is an insu­perable obstacle. I have applied to the honourable house of representatives of this province, who were pleased to ap­point a committee to negociate this business: and notwith­standing all the pains they have and are taking, they find it impossible to supply our necessities. The want of a sufficient number of teams I understand to be the chief impediment.

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

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

I sincerely congratulate you upon the success of your arms, in the surrender of St. John's, which I hope is a happy presage of the reduction of the rest of Canada.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAD the honour of writing to you on the nine­teenth instant. I have now to inform you that Henry Knox, esquire, is gone to New-York, with orders to for­ward to this place what cannon and ordnance stores can be there procured. From thence he will proceed to gen­eral [Page 54] Schuyler on the same business, as you will see by the inclosed copy of instructions which I have given him. It would give me much satisfaction, that this gentleman, or any other whom you may think qualified, was appointed to the command of the artillery regiment. In my letter to you, of the eighth instant, I have expressed myself fully on this subject, which I beg leave to recommend to your immediate attention; as the formation of that corps will be at a stand, until I am honoured with your instructions thereon. * * * *

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

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

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

About three hundred men, women and children of the poor inhabitants of Boston, came out to Point-Shir­ley last Friday. They have brought their household fur­niture, but are unprovided of every other necessary of life. I have recommended them to the attention of the [Page 55] committee of the honourable council of this province, now sitting at Watertown.

The number enlisted since my last are two thousand four hundred and fifty men. * * * * Our situation is truly alarming: and of this general Howe is well apprised, it being the common topic of conversation when the people left Boston last Friday. No doubt, when he is reinforced; he will avail himself of the information.

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

As the small-pox is now in Boston, I have used the precaution of prohibiting such as lately came out from coming near our camp. General Burgoyne, I am inform­ed, will soon embark for England. I think the risk too great to write you by post, whilst it continues to pass through New-York. It is certain that a post has been in­tercepted the beginning of last month, as they sent out several letters from Boston with the post-mark of Balti­more on them. This goes by captain Joseph Blewer, who promises to deliver it carefully unto you.

You doubtless will have heard, before this reaches, of general Montgomery's having got poss;ess;ion of Mon­tréal. I congratulate you thereon. He has troubles with his troops, as well as I have. All I can learn of colonel▪ Arnold is, that he is near Quebec. I hope Montgomery will be able to proceed to his assistance. I shall be very uneasy until I hear they are joined.

[Page 56] My best respects attend the gentlemen in Congress: and believe me, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I HAD the honour to write to you the twenty-eighth instant, by captain Joseph Blewer. Last evening I receiv­ed the agreeable account of the schooner Lee, commanded by captain Manly, having taken and carried into Cape-Anne a large brigantine, bound from London to Boston, laden with military stores, the inventory of which I have the pleasure to inclose you. Cape-Anne is a very open har­bour, and accessible to large ships; which made me immedi­ately send off colonel Glover and Mr. Palfrey, with orders to raise the minute-men and militia of that part of the coun­try, to have the cargo landed without loss of time, and guard­ed up to this camp. This, I hope, they will be able to effect, before it is known to the enemy what port she is carried into. I sincerely congratulate you on this very great ac­quisition; and am, Sir, your most humble, &c.

G. W.

Manly has also taken a sloop in the ministerial service; and captain Adams, in the schooner Warren, has taken a schooner laden with potatoes and turnips, bound to Boston, and carried her into Portsmouth.

SIR,

I HAD the honour of writing to you the thirtieth ultimo, inclosing an inventory of the military stores taken on board the brig Nancy by captain Manly of the armed schooner Lee. I have now to inform you that he has since sent into Beverly a ship named the Concord, James Lowrie, master, from Greenock in Scotland, bound to Boston. She has on board dry goods and coals, to the value of three thousand six hundred and six pounds, nine shillings and seven pence sterling, shipped by Crawford, Anderson, and Co. and consigned to James Anderson, merchant in Boston. It is mentioned in the letters found [Page 57] on board, that this cargo was for the use of the army: but, on a strict examination, I find it is really the property of the shippers and the person to whom consigned. Pray what is to be done with this ship and cargo? and what with the brigantine which brought the military stores?—It was agreed, in the conference last October, "that all vessels employed merely as transports, and unarmed, with their crews, be set at liberty, upon giving security to return to Europe; but that this indulgence be not extended longer than till the first of April next." In the shippers' letter, they mention: "You must procure a certificate from the general and admiral, of the Concord's being in the government service, such as the Glasgow packet brought with her, which was of great ser­vice, procured a liberty to arm her, which was refused us; also gave her a preference for some recruits that went out in her." In another part of the letter, they say: "Cap­tain Lowrie will deliver you the contract for the coals: we gave it to him, as it perhaps might be of use, as a certificate of his ship being employed in the government service." Every letter on board breathes nothing but enmity to this country: and a vast number of them there are.

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

The conduct of a great number of the Connecticut troops has laid me under the necessity of calling in a body of the militia, much sooner than I apprehended there would be an occasion for such a step. I was afraid some time ago that they would incline to go home, when the time of their en­listment expired. I called upon the officers of the several regiments, to know whether they could prevail on the men to remain until the first of January, or till a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place. I suppose they were deceived themselves: I know they deceived me by assurances that I need be under no apprehension on that score, for the men would not leave the lines. Last Friday shewed how much they were mis­taken, as the major part of the troops of that colony were [Page 58] going away with their arms and ammunition. We have however by threats, pers [...]asion, and the activity of the peo­ple of the country who sent back many of them that had set out, prevailed upon the most part to stay. There are about eighty of them missing.

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

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

The number enlisted in the last week are about thirteen hundred men. By this you see how [...]low this important work goes on. * * *

An express is just come in from general Schuyler, with letters from colonel Arnold and general Montgomery, copies of which I have the honour to inclose you. Upon the whole, I think affairs carry a pleasing aspect in that quarter. The reduction of Quebec is an object of such great importance, that I doubt not the Congress will give every assistance in their power for the accomplishing it this winter.

By the last accounts from the armed schooners sent to the river St. Laurence, I fear we have but little to expect from them: they were falling short of provision, and men­tion [Page 59] that they would be obliged to return; which at this time is particularly unfortunate, as, if they chose a proper station, all the vessels coming down that river must fall into their hands. The plague, trouble and vexation I have had with the crews of all the armed vessels, is inexpressible. I do believe there is not on earth a more disorderly set: ev­ery time they come into port, we hear of nothing but mutinous complaints. Manly's success has lately, and but lately, quieted his people. The crews of the Washington and Harrison have actually deserted them; so that I have been under the necessity of ordering the agent to lay the latter up, and get hands for the other on the best terms he could.

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

By recent information from Boston, general Howe is go­ing to send out a number of the inhabitants, in order, it is thought, to make more room for his expected reinforce­ments. There is one part of the information I can hardly give credit to:—a sailor says that a number of those com­ing out have been inoculated, with design of spreading the small-pox through this country and camp. I have communicated this to the general court; and recommend­ed their attention thereto.

They are arming one of the transports in Boston, with which they mean to decoy some of our armed vessels. As we are apprised of their design, I hope they will be disappointed.

My best respects wait on the gentlemen in Congress, and I am, Sir, your most humble, &c.

G. W.
[Page 60]

P. S. I was misinformed when I mentioned that one regiment had arrived at Boston: a few companies of the seventeenth and artillery are all that are yet come. Near three hundred persons are landed on Point-Shirley from Boston.

SIR,

I WROTE you, the fourth instant, by express, to which I beg you will be referred. My fears, that Brough­ton and Sillman would not effect any good purpose, were too well founded. They are returned, and brought with them three of the principal inhabitants from the island of St. John's. * * * They brought the governor's commis­sion, the province seal, &c. &c. As the captains acted without any warrant for such conduct, I have thought it but justice to discharge these gentlemen, whose families were left in the utmost distress.

I am credibly informed that James Anderson, the con­signee and part owner of the ship Concord and cargo, is not only unfriendly to American liberty, but actually in arms against us,—being captain of the Scotch company at Boston. Whether your being acquainted with this cir­cumstance, or not, will operate against the vessel and car­go, I will not take upon me to say: but there are ma­ny articles on board, so absolutely necessary for the ar­my, that, whether she is made a prize or not, we must have them.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

* * * THE numbers enlisted last week are [...] men. If they go on at this slow rate, it will be a long time be­fore this army is complete. I have wrote to the governors of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, also to the conven­tion of New-Hampshire, on this subject. A copy of my letter to them I have the honour to inclose herewith. [Page 61] A letter to the same purport I sent to the legislature of this province.

The militia are coming in fast. I am much pleased with the alacrity which the good people of this province, as well as those of New-Hampshire, have shewn upon this occasion. I expect the whole will be in this day and to­morrow, when what remains of the Connecticut [troops,] who have not enlisted, will have liberty to go to their fire­sides.

The commissary-general is still by his indisposition de­tained from camp. He committed an error, when mak­ing out the ration-list: for he was then serving out (and has continued so to do) six ounces per man per week of butter, though it is not included in the list approved of by Congress. I do not think it would be expedient to put a stop thereto; as every thing, that would have a tendency to give the soldiery room for complaint, must be avoided.

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

I have not heard that any more troops are arrived at Boston; which is a lucky circumstance, as the Connecticut troops, I now find, are for the most part gone off. The houses in Boston are lessening every day: they are pulled down, either for fire-wood, or to prevent the effects of fire, should we attempt a bombardment or an attack upon the town. Coble-hill is strongly fortified, without any interruption from the enemy. * * * This is what at present occurs; from, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.

P. S. The weekly returns of enlistments not being yet received for more than ten regiments, amounting to seven hundred and twenty-five men, I cannot fill up the blank in this letter: but this, added to the former, makes in the whole five thousand two hundred and fifty-three.

[Page 62]
SIR,

I RECEIVED your favour of the second instant, with the several resolves of Congress therein inclosed. The re­solves relative to captures made by continental armed ves­sels only want a court established for trial, to make them complete. This, I hope, will be soon done, as I have taken the liberty to urge it often to the Congress.

I am somewhat at a loss to know whether I am to raise the two battalions of marines here, or not. As the delay can be attended with but little inconvenience, I will wait a farther explanation from Congress, before I take any steps therein.

I am much pleased that the money will be forwarded with all possible expedition, as it is much wanting; also that Conolly and his associates are taken. It has been a very fortunate discovery. I make no doubt but that the Congress will take every necessary measure to dispossess lord Dunmore of his hold in Virginia: the sooner steps are taken for that purpose, the more probability there will be of their being effectual. * * * *

I will make application to general Howe, and propose an exchange for Mr. Ethan Allen. I am much afraid I shall have a like proposal to make for captain Martindale, of the armed brigantine Washington, and his men, which, it is reported, was taken a few days past by a man-of-war, and carried into Boston. We cannot expect to be always successful.

You will doubtless hear of the barbarity of captain Wallace on [...] island, ere this reaches your [...].

About a hundred and fifty more of the poor inhabit­ants are come out of Boston. The small-pox rages all over the town: such of the military as had it not before are now under inoculation. This, I apprehend, is a wea­pon of defence they are using against us. What confirms me in this opinion, is, that I have information that they are tearing up the pavement, to be provided against a bom­bardment.

I wrote you this day by Messrs. Pennel and De Pliar­ [...], who will lay before the Congress, or a committee there­of, [Page 63] proposals for furnishing the continent with arms and ammunition. I refer you to themselves for further partic­ulars.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

OBSERVATIONS OF THE DAY.

LAST evening, eight men came in a boat from Boston, to our guard at the ferry,—six of them captains of vessels. They brought the following account:

Yesterday, one large mortar was carried over to Bun­ker's hill:—the troops filling water, carrying it on board the transports:—provisions scarce,—not more than suf­ficient for six weeks. One regiment of foot, and three companies of the light-horse, sail for Halifax this day.

Sailed out of Boston harbour this morning, eight large and two small vessels, taken to be tenders;—by their fir­ing, appeared to be going a voyage out to sea.

Mr. Joshua Pico came last night from Boston. He confirms the information that the regiment of foot, and some companies of light-ho [...]se, were preparing to embark for Halifax.

SIR,

THE information, contained in the above, coming so many different ways, corroborated by several vessels having sailed this day from Boston,—I thought it my duty to transmit it to you. Though Halifax is the place given out for their destination, it is possible they may be bound elsewhere. I shall communicate this intelligence to governors Cooke and Trumbull, and to the convention of New-York, for their government.

I remain, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
[Page 64]
SIR,

CAPTAIN Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, took and sent into Beverly the sloop Betsey, A. Atkinson, master. She is an armed vessel, dispatched by lord Dun­more, with Indian corn, potatoes, and oats, for the army in Boston. The packets of letters found on board, I have the honour to send you with this by captain James Chambers, they being of so much importance that I do not think it would be prudent to trust them by a common express.

As lord Dunmore's schemes are fully laid open in these letters, I need not point out to the Congress the necessity there is of a vigorous exertion being adopted by them, to dispossess his lordship of the strong hold he has got in Virginia. I do not mean to dictate: but I am sure they will pardon me for giving them freely my opin­ion, which is, that the fate of America a good deal de­pends on his being obliged to evacuate Norfolk this win­ter, or not.

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

We now work at our ease on Leechmore's hill. On discovering our party there yesterday morning, the ship which lay opposite began a cannonade, to which Mount Horam added some shells. One of our men was wound­ed. We fired a few shot from two eighteen pounders which are placed on Coble-hill, and soon obliged the ship to shift her station. She now lies in the ferry-way: and, except a few shells from the mount in Boston, (which do no execution) we have no interruption in prosecuting our works. which will in a very short time be completed. [Page 65] When that is done,—when we have powder to sport with,—I think, if the Congress resolve on the execution of the proposal made relative to the town of Boston, it can be done.

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

The returns of men enlisted since my last amount to about eighteen hundred, making in the whole seven thou­sand one hundred and forty. The militia that are come in, both from this province and New-Hampshire, are very fine-looking men, and go through their duty with great alacrity. The dispatch made, both by the people in march­ing and by the legislative powers in complying with my requisition, has given me infinite satisfaction.

Your letter of the eighth instant, with the explanatory resolve respecting my calling forth the militia and minute­men, is come to hand; to which I shall pay all due atten­tion. You have removed all the difficulties which I labour­ed under, about the two battalions of marines. I shall obey the orders of Congress in looking out for proper offi­cers to command that corps. I make no doubt but, when the money arrives to pay off the arrears and the month's ad­vance, that it will be a great encouragement for the men to enlist.

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

I am, with great respect, &c.

G. W.
[Page 66]
SIR,

I HAD the honour to address myself to you on the nineteenth instant, since which I have received endoubted information that the genuine instructions given to Conolly have not reached your hands; that they are very artfully concealed in the tree of his saddle, and covered with can­vass so nicely that they are scarcely discernible: that those which were found upon him were intended to deceive, if he was caught. You will most certainly have his saddle taken to pieces, in order to discover this deep-laid plot.

Inclosed is a copy of general Howe's letter in answer to the one I wrote him the eighteenth instant. The con­duct I am to observe towards brigadier Prescot in conse­quence of these letters, the Congress will oblige me by determining for me.

The gentlemen by whom you sent the money are arriv­ed. The sum they brought, though large, is not sufficient to answer the demands of the army, which at this time are remarkably heavy: there is three month's pay due, one month's advance, two dollars for each blanket,—the arms, that are left by those who are dismissed, to be paid for,—besides the demands which are on the commissary and quarter-master generals. You will therefore see the necessity of another remittance, which I beg may be as soon as you conveniently can.

I will take the opportunity of the return of these gen­tlemen, to send colonel Kirkland to you for examination, and that you may dispose of him as to you may seem proper.

A committee from the general court of this province called on me the other day, informing me that they were in great want of ordnance for the defence of the colony; that, if what belonged to them, now in use here, was kept for the continent, they would be under the necessity of providing themselves with others: of course what is kept must be paid for. There are many of the cannon of very little use: such of them as are good, I cannot at present part with: perhaps when I receive the supply [Page 67] from New-York and Canada, it may be in my power to spare them.

Mr. Wadsworth has sent in his report respecting Cape-Cod harbour, a copy of which you will receive herewith; also a letter from a Mr. Jacob Bailey, put into my hands by colonel Little. It contains some things that may not be unworthy the consideration of Congress.

We have made good progress in the works on Leech­more's point. They would have been finished ere this, but for the severity of the weather, which prevents our people from working.

I received a letter from governor Cooke, which express­es the fears of the people of Rhode-Island, lest the ships, which we had information were sailed, with some troops on board, were destined for Newport. I sent major-gen­eral Lee there, to point out to them such defence as he may think the place capable of. I sincerely wish he may be able to do it with effect, as that place, in its present state, is an asylum for such as are disaffected to American liberty.

Our returns of enlistments, to this day, amount to eight thousand five hundred men.

I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. Inclosed is an estimate of the demands of the army.

SIR,

I WROTE to you the twenty-fifth instant; since which I am not honoured with any of your favours. The estimate I then inclosed you was calculated to pay the troops, &c. up to the first of January. That cannot be done for want of funds in the pay-master-general's hands; which causes a great murmuring amongst those who are going off. The monthly expenies of this army amount to near two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, which I take the liberty of recommending to the observation of Congress, that their future remittances may be governed thereby.

[Page 68] It sometimes happens that persons would wish to deposit money in the hands of the pay-master-general, for his bills on the treasury at Philadelphia. He has hitherto declined such offers, not having authority from Congress to draw. Would it not be proper to give this power? If it should be approved of, you will please to point out the mode that the Congress would choose to have it done in.

The clothing sent to the quarter-master-general is not sufficient to put half our army into regimentals; nor is there a possibility of getting any quantity here. I have wrote to general Schuyler, that I wish what was lodged at Albany could be spared for these troops, as general Mont­gomery would clothe the men under his command at Montréal. If this can be done, it will be of infinite ser­vice; and no time should be lost in forwarding them to this camp.

In forming the regiments for the new establishment, I thought it but justice to appoint the officers, detached under colonel Arnold, to commissions in them. Their absence at present is of very great detriment to the service, especially in recruiting: I would therefore wish, if the Congress intend raising troops in or for Canada, that they could be taken in there. The sooner I have their opin­ion of this matter, the better, that, if they can be com­missioned in Canada, I may appoint officers here to replace them.

Inclosed you have a copy of a representation sent to me by the legislative body of this province, respecting four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham. As they were never regimented, and were doing duty at a distance from the rest of the army, I did not know whether to consider them as a part of it; nor do I think myself authorised to direct payment for them with­out the approbation of Congress.

It has been represented to me that the free negroes who have served in this army are very much dissatisfied at be­ing discarded. As it is to be apprehended that they may seek employ in the ministerial army, I have presumed to depart from the resolution respecting them, and have given license for their being enlisted. If this is disapprov­ed of by Congress, I will put a stop to it.

[Page 69] * * * I must remark that the pay of the assistant en­gineers is so very small, that we cannot expect men of science will engage in it. Those gentlemen, who are in that station, remained under the expectation that an addi­tional allowance would be made them by the respective provinces in which they were appointed, to that allowed by the Congress.

Captain Freeman arrived this day at camp from Canada. He left Quebec the twenty-fourth ultimo, in consequence of general Carleton's proclamation which I have the hon­our to send you herewith. He saw colonel Arnold the twenty-sixth, and says that he was joined at Point-à-trem­ble by general Montgomery, the first instant;—that they were about two thousand strong, and were making every preparation for attacking Quebec;—that general Carleton had with him about twelve hundred men, the majority of whom are sailors;—that it was his opinion the French would give up the place if they get the same conditions granted to the inhabitants of Montréal. * * *

Captains Semple and Harbeson take under their care Mr. Kirkland. * * * Captain Mathews and Mr. Rob­inson will accompany them. The two latter were taken prisoners by lord Dunmore, who was sending them to Boston, from whence there is little doubt but they would be forwarded to England, to which place I am credibly informed captain Martindale and the crew of the Wash­ington are sent; also colonel Allen, and the prisoners tak­en with him in Canada. This may account for general Howe's silence on the subject of an exchange of prisoners mentioned in my letter to him.

General Lee is just returned from his excursion to Rhode-Island:—he has pointed out the best method the island would admit of for its defence: he has endeavoured all in his power to make friends of those that were our en­emies. You have, inclosed, a specimen of his abilities in that way, for your perusal. I am of opinion that, if the same plan was pursued through every province, it would have a very good effect.

I have long had it on my mind to mention to Congress, that frequent applications had been made to me respecting the chaplains' pay, which is too small to encourage men [Page 70] of abilities. Some of them, who have left their flocks, are obliged to pay the parson acting for them more than they receive. I need not point out the great utility of gentlemen whose lives and conversation are unexceptiona­ble, being employed for that service in this army. There are two ways of making it worth the attention of such: one is an advancement of their pay; the other, that one chaplain be appointed to two regiments. This last, I think, may be done without inconvenience. I beg leave to recommend this matter to Congress, whose sentiments hereon I shall impatiently expect.

Upon a farther conversation with captain Freeman, he is of opinion that general Montgomery has with him near three thousand men, including colonel Arnold's. He says that lord Pit [...] had received repeated orders from his father to return home; in consequence of which, he had embarked, some time in October, with a captain Green who was master of a vessel belonging to Philadelphia.

By a number of salutes in Boston harbour yesterday, I fancy admiral Shuldha [...] is arrived. Two large ships were seen coming in.

Our enlistments now amount to nine thousand six hun­dred and fifty.

Those gentlemen who were made prisoners by lord Dunmore, being left destitute of money and necessaries, I have advanced them a hundred pounds lawful-money be­longing to the public, for which I have taken captain Ma­thews's draught on the treasury of Virginia, which goes inclosed.

I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. You have, inclosed, the returns of the army.

SIR,

SINCE my last of the thirty-first ultimo, I have been honoured with your favour of the twenty-second, inclosing sundry resolves, which shall, in matters they respect, be made the rule of my conduct.

The resolution relative to the troops in Boston, I beg the favour of you, Sir, to assure Congress shall be attempt­ed [Page 71] to be put in execution the first moment I see a proba­bility of success, and in such a way as a council of officers shall think most likely to produce it: but if this should not happen as soon as you may expect or my wishes prompt to, I request that Congress will be pleased to advert to my situation, and do me the justice to believe, that circum­stances, and not want of inclination, are the cause of delay.

It is not in the pages of history perhaps to furnish a case like ours:—to maintain a post within musket-shot of the enemy, for six months together, without* [...], and at the same time to disband one army, and recruit another, within that distance of twenty-odd British regiments,—is more, probably, than ever was attempted. But if we suc­ceed as well in the last, as we have heretofore in the first, I shall think it the most fortunate event of my whole life.

By a very intelligent gentleman, a Mr. Hutchinson, from Boston, I learn, that it was admiral Shuldham that came into the harbour on Saturday last; that two of the five regiments from Cork are arrived at Halifax; two others have sailed for Quebec; but what was become of them could not be told:—and the other (the fifty-fifth) has just got into Boston. Certain it is also, that the greatest part of the seventeenth regiment is arrived there. Whether we are to conclude from hence that more than five regiments have been sent out, or that the com­panies of the seventeenth, arrived at Boston, are part of the regiments destined for Halifax and Quebec, I know not.

We also learn from this gentleman and others, that the troops, embarked for Halifax (as mentioned in my letter of the sixteenth) were really designed for that place, but recalled from Nantasket road, upon advice being received of the above regiments there. I am also informed of a fleet now getting ready under the convoy of the Scarbo­rough and Fowey men-of-war,—consisting of five trans­ports and two bomb vessels, with about three hundred marines, and several flat-bottomed boats. It is whispered that they are designed for Newport, but generally thought [Page 72] in Boston that it is meant for Long-Island: and it is probable it will be followed by more troops, as the other transports are taking in water,—to lie, as others say, in Nantasket road, to be out of the ice. A large quantity of biscuit is also baking.

As the real design cannot with certainty be known, I submit it, with all due deference, to the superior judgment of Congress, whether it would not be consistent with pru­dence to have some of the Jersey troops thrown into New-York, to prevent an evil which would be almost irremedia­ble, should it happen,—I mean, the landing of troops at that place, or upon Long-Island near it.

As it is possible you may not yet have received his maj­esty's "most gracious" speech, I do myself the honour to inclose one of many, which were sent out of Boston yester­day. It is full of * * *, and explicitly holds forth his royal will to be, that vigorous measures must be pursued to deprive us of our * * *. These measures, whatever they be, I hope will be opposed by more vigorous ones, and rendered unavailing and fruitless, though sanctioned and authorised by the name of majesty,—a name, which ought to promote the blessings of his people, and not their oppression.

I am, Sir, &c. G. W.
SIR,

EVERY account I have out of Boston confirms the embarkation of troops mentioned in my last, which, from the season of the year and other circumstances, must be destined for some expedition to the southward of this. I have therefore thought it prudent to send major-general Lee to New-York. I have given him letters recommen­datory to governor Trumbull, and to the committee of safety at New-York. I have good hopes that in Connec­ticut he will get many volunteers, who (I have some rea­son to think) will accompany him on this expedition, without more expense to the continent than their mainte­nance. But should it be otherwise, and that they should expect pay, I think it is a trifling consideration, when put [Page 73] in competition with the importance of the object, which is to put the city of New-York, with such parts of the North-river and Long-Island as to him shall seem proper, in that state of defence, which the season of the year and circum­stances will admit of,—so as, if possible, to prevent the enemy from forming a lodgement in that government, which, I am afraid, contains too many persons disaffected to the cause of liberty and America. I have also wrote to lord Stirling to give him all the assistance that he can with the troops under his command in the continental service, provided it does not interfere with any orders he may re­ceive from Congress relative to them.

I hope the Congress will approve of my conduct in send­ing general Lee upon this expedition:—I am sure I mean it well; as experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves, than it is to dis­lodge them after they have got possession.

The evening of the eighth instant, a party of our men, under the command of major Knoulton, were ordered to go and burn some houses which lay at the foot of Bunker's-hill, and at the head of Charlestown. They were also or­dered to bring off the guard, which, we expected, consist­ed of an officer and thirty men. They crossed the mill­dam about half after eight o'clock, and gallantly executed their business,—having burned eight houses, and brought with them a sergeant and four privates of the tenth regi­ment. There was but one man more there, who making some resistance, they were obliged to dispatch. The gun that killed him was the only one discharged by our men, though several hundred were [...]ired by the enemy from with­in their works, but in so confused a manner, that not one of our people was hurt.

Our enlistments go on very heavily.

I am, with great respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM exceedingly sorry that I am under the neces­sity of applying to you, and calling the attention of Con­gress to the state of our arms, which is truly alarming. [Page 74] Upon the dissolution of the old army, I was apprehensive that the new would be deficient in this instance: and, that the want might be as inconsiderable as possible, I gave it out in orders, that the arms of such men as did not re-enlist (or such of them as were good) should be retained at the prices which should be affixed by persons appointed to in­spect and value them: and, that we might be sure of them, I added that there would be a stoppage of pay for the months of November and December, from those who should carry their firelocks away without their being first examined. I hoped, by these precautions, to have procured a consider­able number: but, Sir, I find with much concern, that, from the badness of the arms, and the disobedience of too many in bearing them off without a previous inspection,—very few were collected. Neither are we to expect that many will be brought in by the new recruits,—the officers, who are out enlisting, having reported that few men who have arms will engage in the service; and that they are under the disagreeable alternative of taking men without arms, or of getting none. Unhappy situation, and much to be deplored!—especially when we have every reason to convince us, that we have to contend with a formidable army, well provided of every necessary; and that there will be a most vigorous exertion of ministerial vengeance against us, as soon as they think themselves in a condition for it. I hope it is in the power of Congress to afford us relief:—if it is not, what must, what can be done?

Our treasury is almost exhausted, and the demands against it very considerable. A constant supply of money, to answer every claim and exigency, would much promote the good of the service. In the common affairs of life, it is useful: in war, it is absolutely necessary and essential. I would beg leave, too, to remind you of the tents, and of their importance,—hoping that, if an opportunity has offered, you have procured them. I fear that our army will not be raised to the new establishment in any reasona­ble time, if ever: the enlisting goes on so very slow, that it almost seems at an end.

In my letter of the fourth instant, I wrote you that I had received certain intelligence from a Mr. Hutchinson and others, that two of the five regiments from Cork were [Page 75] arrived at Halifax, one at Boston, and the two others had sailed for Quebec, and had not been heard of. I am new assured (as a matter to be relied on) by four captains of ships, who left England about the second of November, and who appear to be men of veracity, that the whole of these regiments, (except the two companies that arriv­ed at Boston some time ago) when they sailed, were at Milford Haven, where they had been obliged to put in, by a violent storm, the nineteenth of October; that they would not be able to leave it for a considerable time, as they were under the necessity of repairing their vessels, and getting some new ones taken up. Such is the un­certainty and contradiction in what I now hear, that it is not possible to know what to believe or disbelieve.

I wrote to the general court yesterday, and to the con­vention of New-Hampshire, immediately upon seeing the great deficiency in our arms,—praying that they would in­terest themselves in the matter, and furnish me with all in their power. Whether I shall get any, or what quantity, I cannot determine, not having received their answers. The same application will be made to the governments of Con­necticut and Rhode-Island.

I do myself the honour to send you sundry newspapers I received from the above-mentioned captains, as they may be later than any you have seen, and contain some interest­ing intelligence.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

TAKING it for granted that general Schuyler has not only informed you of the fall of the brave and much-to-be-lamented general Montgomery, but of the situation of our affairs in Canada, (as related by general Wooster, colonel Arnold, colonel Campbell, and others) I shall not take up much more of your time on this subject, than is necessary to inclose you a copy of his letter to me, with the result thereon, as appears by the council of war, which I immediately summoned on the occasion, and at [Page 76] which Mr. Adams, by my particular desire, was good enough to attend.

It may appear strange, Sir, as I had not men to spare from these lines, that I should presume (without first sending to Congress, and obtaining an express direction) to recommend to the governments of Massachusetts, Con­necticut and New-Hampshire, to raise each a regiment, on the continental account, for this service. I wish most ar­dently that the urgency of the case would have admitted of the delay. I wish also that the purport of general Schuy­ler's letter had not, unavoidably as it were, laid me under an indispensable obligation to do it:—for having informed you in his letter (a copy of which he inclosed me) of his dependence on this quarter, for men, I thought you might also have some reliance on my exertions. This consideration, added to my fears of the fatal consequences of delay,—to an information of your having designed three thousand men for Canada,—to a belief, founded chiefly on general Schuyler's letters, that few or none of them were raised,—and to my apprehensions for New-York, which led me to think that no troops could be spared from that quarter,—induced me to lose not a moment's time in throwing in a force there; being well assured that general Carleton will improve to the utmost the advantages gained, leaving no artifices untried, to fix the Canadians and In­dians (who, we find, are too well disposed to take part with the strongest) in his interest.

If these reasons are not sufficient to justify my conduct in the opinion of Congress,—if the measure contravenes any resolution of theirs, they will please to countermand the levying and marching of the regiments as soon as pos­sible, and do me the justice to believe that my intentions were good, if my judgment has erred.

The Congress will please also to observe, that the meas­ure of supporting our posts in Canada appeared of such ex­ceeding great importance, that the general officers (agree­ing with me in sentiment, and unwilling to lay any burden which can possibly be avoided,—although it may turn out an ill-timed piece of parsimony) have resolved that the three regiments for Canada shall be part of the thirteen militia regiments which were requested to reinforce this [Page 77] army,—as appears by the minutes of another council of war, held on the sixteenth instant. I shall (being much hurried and fatigued) add no more in this letter, than my duty to Congress, and that I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. I inclose you a copy of my letter to the govern­ments of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New-Hamp­shire; also a copy of a resolution of this colony, in answer to an application of mine for arms.

Since writing the above, I have been informed by a message from the general court of Massachusetts, that they have resolved upon the raising of a regiment for Can­ada, and appointed the field officers for it, in the western parts of this government. I am also informed by express from governor Trumbull, that he and his council of safety had agreed upon [...] raising of a regiment for the same purpose; which was anticipating my application to that government.

If commissions (and they are applied for) are to be giv­en by Congress to the three regiments going to Canada, you will please to have them forwarded, as I have none by me for that purpose.

SIR,

THE commissary-general being at length [recovered] from along and painful illness, I have it in my power to comply with the requisition of Congress, in forwarding an estimate of the expense attending his office, as also that of the quarter-master-general.

You will please to observe that the commissary, by his account of the matter, has entered into no special agree­ment with any of the persons he has found occasion to em­ploy, (as those, to whose names sums are annexed, are of their own fixing) but left it to Congress to ascertain their wages. I shall say nothing therefore on this head, farther than relates to the proposition of Mr. * * *, to be allow­ed one eighth for his trouble and the delivery of the other seven eighths of provisions, which to me appears exorbitant in the extreme, however conformable it may be to custom [Page 78] and usage: I therefore think that reasonable stipends had better be fixed upon. Both the quarter-master and com­missary-generals assure me, that they do not employ a single person uselessly: and as I have too good an opinion of them to think they would deceive me, I believe them.

I shall take the liberty, in this place, of recommending the expediency, indeed the absolute necessity, of appoint­ing fit and proper persons to settle the accounts of this army. To do it with precision, requires time, care, and attention: the longer it is left undone, the more intricate they will be, the more liable to error, and difficult to ex­plain and rectify;—as also the persons in whose hands they are (if disposed to take undue advantage) will be less subject to detection. I have been as attentive as the nature of my office would admit of, in granting warrants for mon­ey on the pay-master: but it would be absolutely impossi­ble for me to go into an examination of all the accounts incident to this army, and the vouchers appertaining to them, without devoting so large a portion of my time to the business, as might not only prove injurious, but fatal to it in other respects. This ought, in my humble opinion, to be the particular business of a select committe of Con­gress, or one appointed by them, who, once in three months at furthest, should make a settlement with the officers in the different departments.

Having met with no encouragement from the govern­ments of Massachusetts and New-Hampshire, from my application for arms, and expecting no better from Con­necticut and Rhode-Island, I have, as the last expedient, sent one or two officers from each regiment into the country, with money, to try if they can buy. In what manner they succeed, Congress shall be informed as soon as they return.

Congress, in my last, would discover my motives for strengthening these lines with the militia: but whether, as the weather turns out exceedingly mild, insomuch as to promise nothing favourable from ice,—and no appearance of powder,—I shall be able to attempt any thing decisive, time only can determine. No man upon earth wishes more ardently to destroy the nest in Boston, than I do:—no person would be willing to go greater lengths than I [Page 79] shall, to accomplish it, if it shall be thought adviseable. But if we have neither powder to bombard with, nor ice to pass on, we shall be in no better situation than we have been in all the year:—we shall be worse, because their works are stronger.

I have accounts from Boston, which I think may be relied on, that general [...]inton, with about four or five hundred men, hath left that place within these four days. Whether this is part of the detachment which was mak­ing up (as mentioned in my letter of the fourth instant, and then at Nantasket) or not, is not in my power to say. If it is designed for New-York or Long-Island as some think, throwing a body of troops there may prove a for­tunate circumstance. If they go farther south agreeable to the conjectures of others, I hope there will be men to receive them.

Notwithstanding the positive assertions of the four cap­tains from Portsmouth, noticed in my letter of the four­teenth, I am now convinced from several corroborating circumstances,—the accounts of deserters, and of a lieu­tenant Hill, of lord Percy's regiment, who left Ireland the fifth of November, and was taken by a privateer from Newburyport,—that the seventeenth and fifty-fifth regi­ments are arrived at Boston, and other troops at Halifax, agreeable to the information of Hutchinson and others. Lieutenant Hill says that the transports of two regiments only were forced into Milford Haven.

Congress will think me a little remiss, I fear, when I inform them that I have done nothing yet towards raising the battalion of marines: but I hope to stand exculpated from blame, when they hear the reason, which was, that already having twenty-six incomplete regiments, I thought it would be adding to an expense, already great, in officers, to set two entire corps of officers on foot, when perhaps we should not add ten men a week by it to our present numbers. In this opinion the general officers have concur­red, which induced me to suspend the matter a little long­er. Our enlistments, for the two last weeks, have not amounted to a thousand men, and are diminishing. The regiment for Canada (it is thought) will soon be filled, as [Page 80] the men are to choose all but their field officers, who are appointed by the court.

On Sunday evening, thirteen of the Caghnewaga In­dians arrived here on a visit. I shall take care that they be so entertained during their stay, that they may return impressed with sentiments of friendship for us, and also of our great strength. One of them is colonel Louis, who honoured me with a visit once before.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR favours of the sixth and twentieth instant I received yesterday, with the several resolves of Congress alluded to; for which I return you my thanks.

Knowing the great importance Canada will be of to us in the present interesting contest, and the relief our friends there stand in need of, I should be happy, were it in my power to detach a battalion from this camp: but it can­not be done. On the nineteeth instant, I had the hon­our to write to you, which will fully convey the resolu­tions of a council of war, and the sentiments of the gener­al officers here, as to the propriety and expediency of sending troops from these lines, for the defence of which we have been and now are obliged to call in the militia;—to which I beg leave to refer you. You may rest as­sured that my endeavours and exertions shall not be want­ing, to stimulate the governments of Connecticut and New-Hampshire to raise and forward reinforcements as fast as possible; nor in any other instance that will pro­mote the expedition.

I shall, in obedience to the order of Congress, though interdicted by general Howe, propose an exchange of governor Skene for Mr. Lovell and family, and shall be happy to have an opportunity of putting this deserving man (who has distinguished his fidelity and regard to his country to be too great for persecution and cruelty to overcome) in any post agreeable to his wishes and in­clination.

[Page 81] I do not know that there is any particular rank annex­ed to the office of aide-de-camp. Generally they are captains, and rank as such: but higher rank is often given on account of particular merit and particular circum­stances. Aides to the king have the rank of colonels. Whether any distinction should be made between those of your commander-in-chief and the other generals, I really know not:—I think there ought.

You may rely that Conolly had instructions conceal­ed in his saddle. Mr. * * * who was one of lord Dunmore's family, and another gentleman who wishes his name not to be mentioned, saw them cased in tin, put in the tree, and covered over. He probably has exchanged his saddle, or withdrew the papers when it was mended, as you conjecture. Those that have been discovered are sufficiently bad; but I doubt not of the others being worse, and containing more diabolical and extensive plans. I hope he will be taken proper care of, and meet with re­wards equal to his merits.

I shall appoint officers in the places of those who are in Canada, as I am fully persuaded they will wish to con­tinue there, for making our conquest complete in that quarter. I wish their bravery and valour may be attend­ed with the smiles of fortune.

It gives me great pleasure to hear of the measures Con­gress are taking for manufacturing powder. I hope their endeavours will be crowned with success. I too well know and regret the want of it. It is scarcely possible to describe the disadvantages an army must labour under, when not provided with a sufficient supply of this nec­essary. It may seem strange, that, after having received about eleven tons, added to about five tons which I found here, and no general action has happened, we should be so deficient in this article, and require more. But you will please to consider, that, besides its being in its nature sub­ject to waste, and (whilst the men lay in bad tents) una­voidably damaged by severe and heavy rains (which could not have been prevented, unless it had been entirely with­drawn from the men, and an attack hazarded against us without ammunition in their hands)—the armed vessels, our own occasional firings, and some small supplies I have [Page 82] been obliged to afford the sea-port towns threatened with destruction,—to which may be added the supply to the mi­litia, and going off of the old troops,—have occasioned, and ever will, a large consumption of it, and waste, in spite of all the care in the world. The king's troops never have less than sixty rounds a man in their possession, independ­ent of their stores. To supply an army of twenty thou­sand men in this manner, would take near four hundred barrels, allowing nothing for stores, artillery, &c. I have been always afraid to place more than twelve or fifteen rounds at a time in the hands of our men, lest, any acci­dent happening to it, we should be left destitute, and be undone. I have been thus particular, not only to shew our poverty, but to exculpate myself from even a suspicion of unnecessary waste.

I shall inform the pay-master-general of the resolution of Congress respecting his draughts, and the mode and account of them.

The companies at Chelsea and Malden are and have always been regimented. It was not my intention to re­place with continental troops the independent companies at Hingham, Weymouth and Braintree. These places are exposed, but not more than Cape-Ann, Beverly, Sa­lem, Marblehead, &c. &c. &c.

Is it the intention of Congress that the officers of the army should pay postage? They are not exempted by the resolve of the ninth instant.

The Congress will be pleased, I have no doubt, to recol­lect that the five hundred thousand dollars, now coming, are but little more than enough to bring us up to the first day of this month; that to-morrow will be the last of it; and, by their resolves, the troops are to be paid monthly.

I wish it was in my power to furnish Congress with such a general as they desire, to send to Canada. Since the un­happy reverse of our affairs in that quarter, general Schuy­ler has informed me, that, though he had thoughts of declin­ing the service before, he would now act. My letter of the eleventh will inform them of general Lee's being at New-York. He will be ready to obey their orders, should they incline to send him: but, if I am not greatly deceived, he or some other spirited able officer will be wanted there [Page 83] in the spring, if not sooner; as we have undoubted intelli­gence that general Clinton has sailed with some troops. The reports of their number are various, from between four and five hundred to nineteen companies of grenadiers and light infantry. It is also imagined that the regiments, which were to sail the first of December, are intended for that place or Virginia. General Putnam is a most valuable man, and a [...]ine executive officer: but I do not know how he would conduct in a separate department. He is a young­er major-general than Mr. Schuyler, who, as I have ob­served, having determined to continue in the service, will, I expect, repair into Canada. A copy of my letter to him, on this and other subjects, I inclose you, as it will explain my motives for not stopping the regiments from these gov­ernments.

When captain Cockran arrives, I will give him every assistance in my power, in obedience to the orders of Con­gress: but I fear it will be the means of laying up our own vessels, as these people will not bear the distinction. Should this be the consequence, it will be highly preju­dicial to us, as we sometimes pick up their provision-vessels, and may continue to distress them in this way.

Last week captain Manly took a ship and a brig bound to Boston from Whitehaven, with coals chiefly, and some potatoes, for the army. I have, for his great vigilance and industry, appointed him commodore of our little squad­ron; and he now hoists his flag on board the schooner Hancock.

I congratulate you upon the recovery of Smith, and am exceedingly glad to hear of the measures Congress are tak­ing for the general defence of the continent. The clouds thicken fast: where they will burst, I know not: but we should be armed at all points.

I have not succeeded in my applications to these govern­ments for arms. They have returned for answer, that they cannot furnish any. Whether I shall be more lucky in the last resource left me in this quarter, I cannot deter­mine, having not received returns from the officers sent out to purchase of the people. I greatly fear that but very few will be procured in this way, as they are exceedingly scarce, and but a small part of what there are, fit for ser­vice. [Page 84] When they make their report, you shall be in­formed.

The quarter-master-general has just received from gen­eral Schuyler clothing for the soldiery, amounting to about seventeen hundred pounds York currency. It has come very seasonably, as they are in great want, and will con­tribute a little to their relief.

Since writing the above, I saw Mr. * * *, and men­tioning that nothing had been found in the tree of Conol­ly's saddle, he told me there had been a mistake in the matter; that the instructions were artfully concealed on the two pieces of wood which are on the mail-pillion of his portmanteau-saddle; that, by order of lord Dun­more, he saw them contrived for the purpose, the papers put in, and first covered with tin, and over that with a waxed canvass cloth. He is so exceedingly pointed and clear in his information, that I have no doubt of its being true. I could wish them to be discovered, as I think they contain some curious and extraordinary plans.

In my letter of the twenty-fourth instant I mentioned the arrival of thirteen of our Caghnewaga friends. They honoured me with a talk to-day, as did three of the tribes of the St. John's and Pafmiquoddi Indians;—copies of which I beg leave to inclose you. I shall write to general Schuyler respecting the tender of service made by the for­mer, and not to call for their assistance, unless he shall at any time want it, or be under the necessity of doing it to prevent their taking the side of our enemies.

I had the honour of writing you on the nineteenth of November, and then I informed you of having engaged two persons to go to Nova-Scotia on the business recom­mended in your letter of the tenth; and also that the state of the army would not th [...]n admit of a sufficient force be­ing sent, for carrying into execution the views of Congress respecting the d [...]ck-yards, &c.—I would now beg leave to mention, that, if the persons, sent for information, should report favourably of the expediency and practicability of the measure, it will not be in my power to detach any men from these lines: the situation of our affairs will not allow it. I think it would be adviseable to raise them in the east­ern parts of this government. If it is attempted, it must [Page 85] be by people from the country. A colonel * * * and a captain * * * have been with me:—they think the men necessary may be easily engaged there, and the measure prac­ticable: provided there are not more than two hundred British troops at Halifax, they are willing and ready to embark in the matter, upon the terms mentioned in their plan, which I inclose you. I would wish you to advert to the considerations inducing them to the expedition, as I am not without apprehension, should it be undertaken upon their plan, that the innocent and guilty will be involved in one common ruin. I presume they do not expect to receive more than the five or ten thousand pounds mentioned in their scheme, and to be at every expense. If we had men to spare, it might be undertaken for less than either, I con­ceive. Perhaps, if Congress do not adopt their proposi­tion, they will undertake to raise men for that particular purpose, who may be disbanded as soon as it is effected, and upon the same terms that are allowed the continental troops in general. Whatever may be the determination of Congress upon the subject, you will please to communicate it to me immediately: for the season most favourable for the enterprise is advancing fast; and we may expect in the spring, that there will be more troops there, and the meas­ure be more difficult to execute.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE purport of this letter will be directed to a single object: through you, I mean to lay it before Congress; and, at the same time that▪ I beg their serious attention to the subject, to ask pardon for intruding an opinion, not only unasked, but, in some measure, repugnant to their resolves.

The disadvantages attending the l [...]mited enlistment of troops are too apparent to those who are eye-witnesses of them, to render any animadversions necessary: but to gen­tlemen at a distance, whose attention is engrossed by a thou­sand important objects, the case may be otherwise.

That this cause precipitated the fate of the brave and much-to-be-lamented general Montgomery, and brought on [Page 86] the defeat which followed thereupon, I have not the most distant doubt: for, had he not been apprehensive of the troops leaving him at so important a crisis, but continued the blockade of Quebec, a capitulation (from the best ac­counts I have been able to collect) must inevitably have followed. And that we were not at one time obliged to dispute these lines under disadvantageous circumstances (proceeding from the same cause, to wit, the troops disband­ing of themselves before the militia could be got in) is to me a matter of wonder and astonishment: and proves that general Howe was either unacquainted with our situation, or restrained by his instructions from putting any thing to a hazard till his reinforcements should arrive.

The instance of general Montgomery—(I mention it be­cause it is a striking one; for a number of others might be adduced)—proves, that instead of having men to take advantage of circumstances, you are in a manner compelled, right or wrong, to make circumstances yield to a secondary consideration. Since the first of December, I have been devising every means in my power to secure these encamp­ments; and, though I am sensible that we never have, since that period, been able to act upon the offensive, and at times not in a condition to defend, yet the cost of marching home one set of men,—bringing in another,—the havoc and waste occasioned by the first,—the repairs necessary for the sec­ond, with a thousand incidental charges and inconveniences which have arisen, and which it is scarce possible either to recollect or describe—amount to near as much, as the keeping up a respectable body of troops the whole time, ready for any emergency, would have done. To this may be added, that you never can have a well-disciplined army.

To bring [...] well acquainted with the duties of a sol­dier, requires time. To bring them under proper discipline and subordination, not only requires time, but is a work of great difficulty, and, in this army where there is so little distinction between the officers and soldiers, requires an uncommon degree of attention. To expect then the same service from raw and undisciplined recruits as from veteran soldiers, is to expect what never did and perhaps never will happen. Men who are familiarised to danger meet it with­out shrinking▪ whereas those who have never seen service [Page 87] often apprehend danger where no danger is. Three things prompt men to a regular discharge of their [...] in time of action—natural bravery, hope of reward, and [...] of pun­ishment. The two first are common to the untutored and the disciplined soldier: but the latter most obviously dis­tinguishes the one from the other. A coward, when taught to believe, that, if he breaks his ranks and abandons his colours, he will be punished with death by his own party—will take his chance against the enemy: but a [...] who thin [...]s little of the one▪ and is fearful of the other, [...] from present feelings, regardless of consequences.

Again, men of a day's standing will not look forward: and from experience we find, that, as the time approaches for their discharge, they grow careless of their arms, am­munition, camp utensils, &c. [...]ay, even the barracks them­selves have felt uncommon marks of wanton depredation, and lay us under fresh trouble and additional expense in providing for every fresh set, when we find it next to im­possible to procure such articles as are absolutely necessary in the first instance. To this may be added the seasoning which new recruits must have to a camp, and the loss con­sequent thereupon. But this is not all. Men, engaged for a short limited time only, have the officers too much in their power: for, to obtain a degree of popularity in order to induce a second enlistment, a kind of familiarity takes place, which brings on a rel [...]tion of discipline, unlicens­ed furloughs, and other indulgences incompatible with order and good government; by which means, the latter part of the time for which the soldier was engaged is spent in undoing what you were aiming to inculcate in the first.

To go into an enumeration of all the evils we have ex­perienced in this late great change of the army, and the expenses incidental to it—to say nothing of the hazard we have run, and must run, between the discharging of one army and enlistment of another, unless an enormous ex­pense of militia is incurred—would greatly exceed the bounds of a letter. What I have already taken the liberty of saying will serve to convey a general idea of the matter; and therefore I shall, with all due deference, take the freedom to give it as my opinion, that, if the Congress have any reason to believe that there will be occasion for [Page 88] troops another year, and consequently of another enlist­ment, they would save money, and have infinitely better troops, if they were, even at a bounty of twenty, thirty, or more dollars, to engage the men already enlisted (till Jan­uary next) and such others as may be wanted to complete the establishment, for and during the war. I will not un­dertake to say that the men can be had upon these terms: but I am satisfied that it will never do to let the matter alone, as it was last year, till the time of service was near expiring. The hazard is too great in the first place:—in the next, the trouble and perplexity of disbanding one ar­my and raising another at the same instant, and in such a critical situation as the last was, is scarcely in the power of words to describe, and such as no man, who has experi­enced it once, will ever undergo again.

If Congress should differ from me in sentiment upon this point, I have only to beg that they will do me the justice to believe, that I have nothing more in view than what to me appears necessary to advance the public weal, although in the first instance it will be attended with a capital ex­pense;—and that I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

IN compliance with the resolves of Congress, I have applied to general Howe for the exchange of Mr. Lovell. A copy of my letter, and his answer thereto, you have inclosed.

Captain Watters and captain Tucker, who command two of the armed schooners, have taken and sent into Gloc [...]ster a large brigantine, laden with wood, a hundred and fifty butts for water, and forty suits of bedding, bound from La Have in Nova-Scotia, for Boston. She is one of the transports in the ministerial service. The captain says that he was at Halifax the seventeenth of January, and that general Massey was arrived there with two regi­ments from Ireland.

The different prizes were all libelled immediately on the receipt of the resolves of Congress pointing out the mode; but none of them yet brought to trial, owing to a difference be­tween [Page 89] the law passed in this province, and the resolutions of Congress. The general court are making an amendment to their law, by which the difficulties that now occur will be removed, as I understand it is to be made conformable to your resolves. The unavoidable delay attending the bring­ing the captures to trial is grievously complained of by the masters of these vessels, as well as the captors. Many of the former have applied for liberty to go away without waiting the decision—which I have granted them.

I beg leave to recall the attention of Congress to their appointing a commissary in these parts, to attend the pro­viding of necessaries for the prisoners who are dispersed in these provinces. Complaints are made by some of them, that they are in want of bedding and many other things. As I understand that Mr. Franks has undertaken that business, I wish he was ordered to send a deputy immedi­ately to see that the prisoners get what is allowed them by Congress; also to supply the officers with money as they may have occasion. It would save me much time and much trouble.

There are yet but few companies of the militia come in. This delay will, I am much afraid, frustrate the intention of their being called upon, as the season is [...]lipping fast away when they may be of service.

The demands of the army were so very pressing before your last remittance came to hand, that I was under the necessity of borrowing twenty-five thousand pounds lawful money from this province. They very cheerfully lent it, and passed a vote for as much more, if required. I have not repaid the sum borrowed, as I may stand in need of it before the arrival of another supply, which the demands of the commissary-general, quarter-master-general, and paying off the arrearages, will very soon require.

Your esteemed favour of the twenty-ninth ultimo is just come to hand. It makes me very happy to find my con­duct to hath met the approbation of Congress. I am entirely of your opinion, that, should an accommodation take place, the terms will be severe or favourable in proportion to our ability to resist, and that we ought to be on a respectable footing to receive their armaments in the spring. But how far we shall be provided with the means, is a matter I pro­fess [Page 90] not to know, under my present unhappy want of arms, ammunition, and,. I may add, men—as our regiments are very incomplete. The recruiting goes on very slow, and will, I apprehend, be more so, if for other service the men receive a bounty, and none is given here.

I have tried every method I could think of, to procure arms for our men. They really are not to be had in these governments (belonging to the public;) and if some meth­od is not fallen upon, in the southern governments, to supply us, we shall be in a distressed situation for want of them. There are near two thousand men now in camp without firelocks. I have wrote to the committee of New-York this day, requesting them to send me those arms which were taken from the disaffected in that government. The Congress interesting themselves in this request will doubtless have a good effect. I have sent officers into the country, with money to purchase arms in the different towns. Some have returned, and brought in a few:—many are still out:—what their success will be, I cannot determine.

I was in great hopes that the expresses, resolved to be established between this place and Philadelphia, would ere now have been fixed. It would, in my opinion, rather save than increase the expense; as many horses are de­stroyed by one man coming the whole way. It will cer­tainly be more expeditious, and safer, than writing by the post or private hands, which I am often under the necessity of doing.

I am, with great respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I BEG leave to inform you, at the request of the committee of pay-table of the colony of Connecticut, that I have not advanced, to any of the regiments from that gov­ernment, any money except the sum of seven thousand one hundred and seventy-two dollars and one ninth on the twentieth of November last to major general Putnam, for the thirty-fourth regiment under his command. I should have paid them in the same manner I did the rest of the [Page 91] army, had I not been prevented by the colonels, who ex­pressed their inclination to receive the whole at once upon their return home at the expiration of service, as was cus­tomary in their colony. For this reason I never included them in my estimates of money, and have made no pro­vision for their payment, always imagining that, whatever payments the colony made them, Congress would apply to their credit in the general account against the United Col­onies, or refund upon application.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THROUGH you, I beg leave to lay before Con­gress the inclosed letter from lord Drummond to general Robertson, which came to my hands a few days ago in order to be sent into Boston.

As I never heard of his lordship being vested with pow­er to treat with Congress upon the subject of our grievances, nor of his having laid any propositions before them for an accommodation, I confess it surprised me much, and led me to form various conjectures of his motives, and intend­ed application to general Howe and admiral Shuldham for a passport for the safe-conduct of such deputies as Congress might appoint for negociating terms of reconciliation be­tween Great Britain and us. Whatever his intentions are, however benevolent his designs may be, I confess that his letter has embarrassed me much; and I am not without suspicion of its meaning more than the generous purposes it professes. I should suppose, that, if the mode for negoci­ation, which he points out, should be adopted (which I hope will never be thought of) it ought to have been fixed and settled previous to any application of this sort; and at best, that his conduct in this instance is premature and of­ficious, and leading to consequences of a fatal and injurious nature to the rights of this country. His zeal and desire perhaps of an amicable and constitutional adjustment's tak­ing place may have suggested and precipitated the measure. Be that as it may, I thought it of too much importance, to suffer it to go in without having the express direction of [Page 92] Congress for that purpose; and that it was my indispensable duty to transmit them the original, to make such interpre­tations and inferences as they may think right.

Messrs. Willard and Child, who were sent to Nova-Scotia in pursuance of the resolve of Congress, have just returned, and made their report, which I do myself the honour to inclose you. They have not answered the pur­poses of their commission by any means, as they only went a little way into that country, and found their intelligence upon the information of others. You will see the reasons they assign in excuse or justification of their conduct, in the report itself.

Last night a party of regulars, said to be about five hun­dred, landed on Dorchester neck, and burned some of the houses there, which were of no value to us; nor would they have been, unless we take post there: they then might be of some service. A detachment went after them as soon as the fire was discovered: but, before it could arrive, they had executed their plan, and made their retreat.

Inclosed is a letter for David Franks, esquire, from Mr. Chamier in Boston, upon the subject of victualling such of the king's troops as may be prisoners within the limits of his contract, which I beg the favour of you to deliver him, and that proper agents may be appointed by him, to see that it is done. I could wish, too, that Congress would fall upon some mode for supplying the officers with such money as they may really stand in need of, and depute proper persons for that purpose, and furnishing the privates with such clothing as may be absolutely necessary. I am appli­ed to, and wearied by their repeated requests. In some in­stances I have desired the committees to give the prisoners within their appointments what they should judge absolutely necessary for their support—as the only means in my pow­er of relieving the [...] distress. But I imagine, that, if there were persons to superintend this business, their wants would be better attended to, and many exorbitant charges prevented and saved to the continent; and the whole would then be brought into a proper account.

I am, Sir, with great esteem, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I send a return of the strength of the regiments.

[Page 93]
SIR,

THE late freezing weather having formed some pretty strong ice from Dorchester point to Boston neck, and from Roxbury to the Common, thereby affording a more expanded and consequently a less dangerous ap­proach to the town, I could not help thinking,—notwith­standing the militia were not all come in, and we had little or no powder to begin our operation by a regular cannonade or bombardment,—that a bold and resolute a [...]ault upon the troops in Boston with such men as we had (for it could not take many men to guard our own lines at a time when the enemy were attacked in all quarters) might be crowned with success: and therefore, seeing no certain prospect of a supply of powder on the one hand, and a certain dissolution of the ice on the other, I called the general officers together, for their opinion, agreeably to the re [...]ove of Congress, of the twenty-second of De­cember.

The result will appear in the inclosed council of war; and, being almost unanimous, I must suppose it to be right; although, from a thorough conviction of the necessity of attempting something against the ministerial troops before a reinforcement should arrive, and while we were favoured with the ice, I was not only ready, but willing, and desir­ous of making the assault, under a firm hope (if the men would have stood by me) of a favourable issue, notwith­standing the enemy's advantage of ground, artillery, &c.

Perhaps the irksomeness of my situation may have given different ideas to me, than those which influenced the gentlemen I consulted, and might have inclined me to put more to the hazard than was consistent with pru­dence:—if it had, I am not sensible of it, as I endeavour­ed to give it all the consideration that a matter of such importance required. True it is, and I cannot help ac­knowledging, that I have many disagreeable sensations on account of my situation: for, to have the eyes of the whole continent fixed with anxious expectation of hear­ing of some great event,—and to be restrained in every military operation, for want of the necessary means of carrying it on,—is not very pleasing, especially as the [Page 94] means used to conceal my weakness from the enemy, conceal it also from our friends, and add to their wonder.

I do not utter this by way of complaint. I am sensible that all that the Congress can do, they have done; and I should feel most powerfully the weight of conscious in­gratitude were I not to acknowledge this. But as we have accounts of the arrival of powder in captain Mason, I would beg to have it sent on in the most expeditious manner: otherwise we not only lose all chance of the ben­efits resulting from the season, but of the militia, who are brought in at a most enormous expense, upon a presump­tion that we should, long ere this, have been amply supplied with powder, under the contracts entered into with the committee of Congress.

The militia, contrary to an express requisition, are come and coming in without ammunition. To supply them alone with twenty-four rounds (which is less, by three fifths, than the regulars are served with) will take between fifty and sixty barrels of powder; and to complete the other troops to the like quantity, will take near as much more, and leave in store not more than about sixty barrels, besides a few rounds of cannon cartridges ready filled for use. This, Sir, Congress may be assured, is a true state of our powder, and will, I hope, bear some testimony of my in­capacity for action in such a way as may do any essential service.

February 21.—When I began this letter, I proposed to have sent it by express. But recollecting that all my late letters have been as expressive of my want of powder and arms as I could paint them, and that Mr. Hooper was to set off in a day or two, I thought it unnecessary to run the continent to the expense of an express, merely to re­peat what I had so often done before, when I am certain that Congress, knowing our necessities, will delay no time that can possibly be avoided in supplying them.

My duty is offered to Congress; and, with great respect and esteem, I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.

P. S. Hearing of the arrival of a small parcel of powder in Connecticut, I have been able to obtain three thousand [Page 95] weight of it, which is in addition to the sixty barrels before mentioned.

SIR,

I HAD the honour of addressing you on the eigh­teenth and twenty-first instant, by Mr. Hooper; since which, nothing material has occurred.

We are making every necessary preparation for taking possession of Dorchester heights as soon as possible, with a view of drawing the enemy out. How far our expecta­tions may be answered, time only can determine: but I should think, if any thing will induce them to hazard an en­gagement, it will be our attempting to fortify these heights; as, on that event's taking place, we shall be able to com­mand a great part of the town and almost the whole har­bour, and to make them rather disagreeable than otherwise, provided we can get a sufficient supply of what we greatly want.

Within these three or four days, I have received sundry accounts from Boston, of such movements there—(such as taking the mortars from Bunker's hill—the putting them, with several pieces of heavy ordnance, on board of ship, with a quantity of bedding—the ships all taking in water—the baking a large quantity of biscuit, &c.)—as to indicate an embarkation of the troops from thence. A Mr. Ides, who came out yesterday, says that the inhabitants of the town generally believe that they are about to remove either to New-York or Virginia, and that every vessel in the har­bour on Tuesday last was taken up for government's ser­vice, and two months' pay advanced them. Whether they really intend to embark, or whether the whole is a feint, is impossible for me to tell. However I have thought it expedient to send an express to general Lee, to inform him of it—(in order that he may not be taken by surprise, if their destination should be against New-York)—and con­tinued him on to you. If they do embark, I think the possessing themselves of that place, and of the North-river, is the object they have in view, thereby securing the com­munication with Canada, and rendering the intercourse be­tween [Page 96] the northern and southern United Colonies exceed­ingly precarious and difficult. To prevent them from ef­fecting their plan, is a matter of the highest importance, and will require a large and respectable army, and the most vigilant and judicious exertions.

Since I wrote by Mr. Hooper, some small parcels of powder have arrived from Connecticut, which will give us a little assistance.

On Thursday night a party of our men at Roxbury made the enemy's out-centries, consisting of a corporal and two privates, prisoners, without firing a gun or giving the least alarm.

I shall be as attentive to the enemy's motions as I can, and obtain all the intelligence in my power; and, if I find them embark, shall in the most expeditious manner detach a part of the light troops to New-York, and repair thither myself if circumstances shall require it. I shall be better able to judge what to do, when the matter happens. At present, I can only say that I will do every thing that shall appear proper and necessary.

Your letter of the twelfth instant, by colonel Bull, came to hand yesterday evening: and I shall, agreeable to your recommendation, pay proper notice to him. The supply of cash came very seasonably, as our treasury was just ex­hausted, and nothing can be done here without it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. This was intended to have been sent by express: but meeting with a private opportunity, the express was countermanded.

SIR,

ON the twenty-sixth ultimo I had the honour of ad­dressing you, and then mentioned that we were making prep­arations for taking possession of Dorchester heights. I now beg leave to inform you, that, a council of general officers having determined a previous bombardment and cannonade expedient and proper, in order to harass the enemy and divert their attention from that quarter—on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights last, we carried [Page 97] them on from our posts at Coble-hill, Leechmore's-point, and Lam's-dam. Whether they did the enemy any con­siderable and what injury, I have not yet heard, but have the pleasure to acquaint you that they greatly facilitated our schemes, and would have been attended with success equal to our most sanguine expectations, had it not been for the unlucky bursting of two thirteen, and three ten-inch mortars, among which was the brass one taken in the ord­nance brig. To what cause to attribute this misfortune, I know not—whether to any defect in them, or to the inex­perience of the bombardiers. But to return—on Monday evening, as soon as our firing commenced, a considerable detachment of our men, under the command of brigadier-general Thomas, crossed the neck, and took possession of the two hills, without the least interruption or annoyance from the enemy; and by their great activity and industry, before the morning, advanced the works so far as to be se­cure against their shot. They are now going on with such expedition, that in a little time I hope they will be com­plete, and enable our troops stationed there to make a vig­orous and obstinate stand. During the whole cannonade, which was incessant the last two nights, we were fortunate enough to lose but two men—one, a lieutenant, by a can­non ball's taking off his thigh—the other, a private, by the explosion of a shell, which also slightly wounded four or five more.

Our taking possession of Dorchester heights is only pre­paratory to taking post on Nuke-hill, and the points oppo­site the south end of Boston. It was absolutely necessary that they should be previously fortified, in order to cover and command them. As soon as the works on the former are finished and complete, measures will be immediately adopted for securing the latter, and making them as strong and defensible as we can. Their contiguity to the enemy will make them of much importance, and of great service to us.

As mortars are essential, and indispensably necessary for carrying on our operations, and for the prosecution of our plans, I have applied to two furnaces to have some thirteen-inch ones cast with all expedition imaginable, and am en­couraged to hope, from the accounts I have had, that they [Page 98] will be able to do it. When they are done, and a proper supply of powder obtained, I flatter myself, from the posts we have just taken and are about to take, that it will be in our power to force the ministerial troops to an attack, or to dispose of them in some way that will be of advantage to us. I think from these posts they will be so galled and annoy­ed, that they must either give us battle or quit their present possessions. I am resolved that nothing on my part shall be wanting, to effect the one or the other.

It having been the general opinion that the enemy would attempt to dislodge our people from the hills, and force their works as soon as they were discovered, which proba­bly might have brought on a general engagement,—it was thought adviseable that the honourable council should be applied to, to order in the militia from the neighbouring and adjacent towns. I wrote to them on the subject, which they most readily complied with: and, in justice to the militia, I cannot but inform you that they came in at the appointed time, and manifested the greatest alertness, and determined resolution to have acted like men engaged in the cause of freedom.

When the enemy first discovered our works in the morning, they seemed to be in great confusion, and, from their movements, to have intended an attack. It is much to be wished that it had been made: the event, I think, must have been fortunate, and nothing less than success and victory on our side, as our officers and men appeared impatient for the appeal, and to have possessed the most animated sentiments and determined resolution.

On Tuesday evening a considerable number of their troops embarked on board of their transports, and fell down to the castle, where part of them landed before dark. One or two of the vessels got a-ground, and were fired at by our people [...] field-piece, but without any dam­age. What was the design of this embarkation and land­ing, I have not been able to learn. It would seem as if they meant an attack; for it is most probable, that, if they make one on our works at Dorchester at this time, they will first go to the castle, and come from thence. If such was their design, a violent storm that night, and which lasted till eight o'clock the next day, rendered the exe­cution [Page 99] of it impracticable. It carried one or two of their vessels a-shore, which have since got off.

In case the ministerial troops had made an attempt to dislodge our men from Dorchester hills, and the number detached upon the occasion had been so great as to have afforded a probability of a successful attack's being made upon Boston,—on a signal given from Roxbury for that purpose, agreeable to a settled and concerted plan, four thousand chosen men, who were held in readiness, were to have embarked at the mouth of Cambridge river, in two divisions, the first under the command of brigadier-general Sullivan, the second under brigadier-general Greene,—the whole to have been commanded by major-general Putnam. The first division was to land at the powder-house, and gain possession of Beacon-hill and Mount-Horam,—the second at Barton's point or a little south of it, and, after securing that post, to join the other division, and force the enemy's gates and works at the neck, for letting in the Roxbury troops. Three floating batteries were to have preceded, and gone in front of the other boats, and kept up a heavy fire on that part of the town were our men were to land.

How far our views would have succeeded, had an op­portunity offered for attempting the execution, is impossi­ble for me to say; nothing less than experiment could determine with precision. The plan was thought to be well digested; and, as far as I could judge from the cheer­fulness and alacrity which distinguished the officers and men who were to engage in the enterprise, I had reason to hope for a favourable and happy issue.

The militia who were ordered in from the adjacent towns brought with them three days' provision. They were only called upon to act under the idea of an attack's being immediately made, and were all discharged this afternoon.

I beg leave to remind Congress that three major-gen­erals are essential and necessary for this army; and that by general Lee's being called from hence to the command in Canada, the left division is without one. I hope they will fill up the vacancy by the appointment of another. General Thomas is the first brigadier, stands fair in point [Page 100] of reputation, and is esteemed a brave and good officer. If he is promoted, there will be a vacancy in the briga­dier-generals, which it will be necessary to supply by the appointment of some other gentleman that shall be agreea­ble to Congress: but justice requires me to mention that William Thompson, esquire, of the rifle regiment, is the first colonel in this department, and, as far as I have had an opportunity of judging, is a good officer and a man of courage. What I have said of these two gentlemen, I conceived to be my duty, at the same time acknowledg­ing, whatever promotions are made will be satisfactory to me.

March [...].—Yesterday evening, a captain Irvine, who escaped from Boston the night before with six of his crew, came to head-quarters, and gave the following intelligence:—"That our bombardment and cannonade caused a great deal of surprise and alarm in town, as many of the soldiery said they never heard or thought we had mortars of shells;—that several of the officers acknowledg­ed they were well and properly directed; that they made much distress and confusion;—that the cannon-shot, for the greatest part, went through the houses; and he was told that one took off the legs and arms of six men lying in the barracks on the neck;—that a soldier, who came from the lines there on Tuesday morning, informed him that twenty men had been wounded the night before:—(it was reported that others were also hurt, and one of the light-horse torn to pieces by the explosion of a shell: this was afterwards contradicted)—that, early on Tuesday morning, admiral Shuldham, discovering the works our people were throwing up on Dorchester heights, imme­diately sent an express to general Howe, to inform him that it was necessary they should be attacked and dislodged from thence, or he would be under the necessity of with­drawing the ships from the harbour, which were under his command;—that preparations were directly made for that purpose, as it was said; and, from twelve to two o'clock, about three thousand men embarked on board the trans­ports, which fell down to the castle with a design of land­ing on that part of Dorchester next to it, and attacking our works on the heights at five o'clock next morning;— [Page 101] that lord Percy was appointed to command;—that it was generally believed the attempt would have been made, had it not been for the violent storm which happened that night, as I have mentioned before;—that he heard several of the privates, and one or two serjeants, say as they were embarking, that it would be another Bunker's-hill affair."

He further informs—"that the army is preparing to leave Boston, and that they will do it in a day or two;—that the transports necessary for their embarkation were getting ready with the utmost expedition;—that there had been great movements and confusion among the troops, the night and day preceding his coming out, in hurrying down their cannon, artillery and other stores, to the wharfs, with the utmost precipitation; and they were putting them on board the ships in such haste, that no account or memoran­dum was taken of them;—that most of the cannon were removed from their works, and embarked or embarking;—that he heard a woman say, whom he took to be an officer's wife, that she had seen men go under the ground at the lines on the neck, without returning;—that the ship he commanded was taken up, places fitted, and fitting, for of­ficers to lodge, and several shot, shells, and cannon already on board;—that the tories were to have the liberty of go­ing where they please, if they can get seamen to man the vessels, of whom there was a great scarcity;—that, on that account, many vessels could not be carried away, and would be burned;—that many of the inhabitants apprehended the town would be destroyed; and that it was generally thought their destination is Halifax."

The account given by captain Irvine, as to the embark­ation, and their being about to leave the town, I believe true. There are other circumstances corroborating; and it seems fully confirmed by a paper signed by four of the selectmen of the town, (a copy of which I have the hon­our to inclose you) which was brought out yesterday even­ing by a flag, and delivered to colonel Learned, by major Basset of the tenth regiment, who desired it might be deliv­ered me as soon as possible. I advised with such of the general officers upon the occasion as I could immediately assemble; and we determined it right (as it was not ad­dressed to me or any one else, nor authenticated by the [Page 102] signature of general Howe, or any other act obliging him to a performance of the promise mentioned on his part) that I should give it no answer; at the same time, that a letter should be returned, as going from colonel Learned, signifying his having laid it before me,—with the reasons assigned for not answering it. A copy of this is sent.

To-night I shall have a battery thrown up on Nuke-hill (Dorchester point) with a design of acting as circumstances may require; it being judged adviseable to prosecute our plans of fortification, as we intended before this informa­tion from the selectmen came.

It being agreed on all hands that there is no possibility of stopping them in case they determine to go,—I shall order look-outs to be kept upon all the head-lands, to dis­cover their movements and course, and moreover direct commodore Manly and his little squadron to dog them, as well for the same purpose as for picking up any of their vessels that may chance to depart their convoy. From their loading with such precipitancy, it is presumable they will not be in the best condition for sea.

If the ministerial troops evacuate the town and leave it standing, I have thoughts of taking measures for fortifying the entrance into the harbour, if it shall be thought proper, and the situation of affairs will admit of it.

Notwithstanding the report from Boston that Halifax is the place of their destination, I have no doubt but that they are going to the southward of this,—and, I appre­hend, to New-York. Many reasons lead to this opinion: it is in some measure corroborated by their sending an ex­press ship there, which, on Wednesday week, got on shore and bilged at Cape-Cod. The dispatches, if written, were destroyed when she was boarded. She had a parcel of coal, and about four thousand cannon-shot, six carriage-guns, a swivel or two, and three barrels of powder.

I shall hold the riflemen and other parts of our troops in readiness to march at a moment's warning, and govern my movements by the events that happen, or such orders as I may receive from Congress, which I beg may be am­ple, and forwarded with all possible expedition.

On the sixth instant, a ship bound from London, with stores for the ministerial army, consisting of coal, porter, [Page 103] and krout, fell in with our armed vessels, four of them in company, and was carried into Portsmouth. She had had a long passage, and of course brought no papers of a late date. The only letters of importance, or in the least interesting that were found, I have inclosed.

I beg leave to mention to Congress that money is much wanted. The militia from these governments, engaged till the first of April, are then to be paid: and, if we march from hence, the expense will be very considerable, must be defrayed, and cannot be accomplished without it. The necessity of making the earliest remittance for these purposes is too obvious for me to add more.

When I wrote that part of this letter which is antece­dent to this date, I fully expected it would have gone be­fore now by colonel Bull, not deeming it of sufficient importance to send a special messenger. But he deferred his return from time to time, and never set off till to-day. These reasons I hope will excuse the delay, and be re­ceived as a proper apology for not transmitting it sooner.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IN my letter of the seventh and ninth instant which I had the honour of addressing you, I mentioned the in­telligence I had received respecting the embarkation of the troops from Boston; and fully expected, before this, that the town would have been entirely evacuated. Al­though I have been deceived, and was rather premature in the opinion I had then formed, I have little reason to doubt but the event will take place in a very short time, as other accounts which have come to hand since, of the sailing of a great number of transports from the har­bour to Nantasket-road, and many circumstances corres­ponding therewith, seem to confirm and render it un­questionable.

Whether the town will be destroyed, is a matter of much uncertainty: but it would seem, from the destruc­tion they are making of sundry pieces of furniture, of many of their waggons, carts, &c. which they cannot take [Page 104] with them as it is said, that it will not: for, if they in­tended it, the whole might be involved in one general ruin.

Holding it of the last importance in the present contest that we should secure New-York, and prevent the enemy from possessing it,—and conjecturing they have views of that sort, and their embarkation to be for that purpose,—I judged it necessary, under the situation of things here, to call a council of general officers to consult of such measures as might be expedient to be taken at this inter­esting conjuncture of affairs. A copy of the proceedings I have the honour to inclose you.

Agreeable to the opinion of the council, I shall detach the rifle regiment to-morrow, under the command of brig­adier-general Sullivan, with orders to repair to New-York with all possible expedition;—which will be suc­ceeded, the day after, by the other five in one brigade,—they being all that it was thought adviseable to send from hence till the enemy shall have quitted the town. Imme­diately upon their departure, I shall send forward major-general Putnam, and follow myself with the remainder of the army as soon as I have it in my power,—leaving here such a number of men as circumstances may seem to require.

As the badness of the roads at this season will greatly retard the march of our men, I have, by advice of the gen­eral officers, wrote to governor Trumbull by this express, to use his utmost exertions for throwing a reinforcement, of two thousand men into New-York, from the western parts of Connecticut,—and to the commanding officer there, to apply to the provincial convention or committee of safety of New-Jersey, for a thousand more for the same purpose, to oppose the enemy and prevent their getting possession in case they arrive before the troops from hence can get there; of which there is a probability, unless they are impeded by contrary winds. This measure, though it may be attended with considerable expense, I flatter myself, will meet with the approbation of Congress. Past experience, and the lines in Boston and on Boston neck, point out the propriety, and suggest the necessity of keep­ing [Page 105] our enemies from gaining possession and making a lodgement.

Should their destination be further southward, or for Halifax (as reported in Boston) for the purpose of going into Canada,—the march of our troops to New-York will place them nearer the scene of action, and more convenie [...] for affording succours.

We have not taken post on Nuke-hill, and fortified it, as mentioned that we should, in my last. On hearing that the enemy were about to retreat and leave the town, it was thought imprudent and unadviseable to force them with too much precipitation, that we might gain a little time, and prepare for a march. To-morrow evening we shall take possession, unless they are gone.

As New-York is of such importance, prudence and policy require that every precaution that can be devised should be adopted, to frustrate the designs which the ene­my have of possessing it. To this end I have ordered ves­sels to be provided and held ready at Norwich, for the embarkation and transportation of our troops thither. This I have done with a view not only of greatly expedit­ing their arrival, (as it will save several days marching) but also that they may be fresh and sit for intrenching and throwing up works of defence as soon as they get there, if they do not meet the enemy to contend with:—for nei­ther of which would they be in a proper condition after a long and fatiguing march in bad roads. If Wallace, with his ships, should be apprised of the measure, and at­tempt to prevent it by stopping up the harbour of New-London, they can but pursue their march by land.

You will please to observe that it is the opinion of the general officers, if the enemy abandon the town, that it will be unnecessary to employ or keep any part of this ar­my for its defence; and that I have mentioned, on that event's happening, I shall immediately repair to New-York with the remainder of the army not now detached, leaving only such a number of men here as circumstances may seem to require. What I partly allude to, is, that, as it will take a considerable time for the removal of such a body of men, and the divisions must precede each other in such order as to allow intermediate time sufficient for [Page 106] them to be covered and provided for, and many things done previous to the march of the whole, for securing and forwarding such necessaries as cannot be immediately car­ried, and others which it may be proper to keep here,—that directions might be received from Congress respecting the same, and as many men ordered to remain for that and other purposes, as they may judge proper. I could wish to have their commands upon the subject, and in time; as I may be under some degree of embarrassment as to their views.

Congress having been pleased to appoint colonel Thompson a brigadier-general, there is a vacancy for a colonel in the regiment he commanded, to which I would beg leave to recommend the lieutenant-colonel Hand. I shall also take the liberty of recommending captain Hugh Stephenson, of the Virginia riflemen, to succeed colonel Hand, and to be appointed in his [...] as lieuten­ant-colonel,—there being no major to the [...]egiment since the promotion of major Magaw to be lieutenant-colonel of one of the Pennsylvania battalions, and who is gone from hence. He is, in my opinion, the fittest person in this army for it, as well as the oldest captain in the service, having distinguished himself at the head of a rifle company all the last war, and highly merited the approbation of his superior officers.

Colonel Mifflin informed me to-day of his having re­ceived tent-cloths from Mr. Barrell, of Philadelphia, to the amount of seven thousand five hundred pounds Penn­sylvania currency, and applied for a warrant for payment of it. But, as our fund is low, and many necessary de­mands against it which must be satisfied,—and our calls for [...]oney are and will be exceedingly great,—I could not gr [...]nt it, thinking it might be convenient for payment to be made in Philadelphia, by your order on the treasury there.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IT is with the greatest pleasure I inform you, that, on Sunday last, the seventeenth instant, about nine o'clock in [Page 107] the forenoon, the ministerial army evacuated the town of Boston, and that the forces of the United Colonies are now in actual possession thereof. I beg leave to congratu­late you, Sir, and the honorable Congress, on this happy event, and particularly as it was effected without endanger­ing the lives and property of the remaining unhappy inhab­itants.

I have great reason to imagine their flight was precipitat­ed by the appearance of a work which I had ordered to be thrown up last Saturday night on an eminence at Dorches­ter which lay nearest to Boston neck, called Nuke-hill.

The town, although it has suffered greatly, is not in so bad a state as I expected to find it; and I have a particu­lar pleasure in being able to inform you, Sir, that your house has received no damage worth mentioning. Your furniture is in tolerable order, and the family pictures are all left en­tire and untouched. Captain Cazneau takes charge of the whole, until he shall receive further orders from you.

As soon as the ministerial troops had quitted the town, I ordered a thousand men, (who had had the small-pox) under command of general Putnam, to take possession of the heights, which I shall endeavour to fortify in such a man­ner as to prevent their return, should they attempt it. But, as they are still in the harbour, I thought it not prudent to march off with the main body of the army until I should be fully satisfied they had quitted the coast. I have there­fore only detached five regiments, besides the rifle battal­ion, to New-York, and shall keep the remainder here till all suspicion of their return ceases.

The situation in which I found their works evidently discovered that their retreat was made with the greatest precipitation. They have left their barracks and other works of wood at Bunker's hill, &c. all standing, and have destroyed but a small part of their lines. They have also left a number o [...] [...]ine pieces of cannon, which they first spiked up, also a very large iron mortar; and, as I am in­formed, they have thrown another over the end of your wharf. I have employed proper persons to drill the can­non, and doubt not I shall save the most of them.—I am not yet able to procure an exact list of all the stores they have left. As soon as it can be done, I shall take care to [Page 108] transmit it to you.—From an estimate of what the quar­ter-master-general has already discovered, the amount will be twenty-five or thirty thousand pounds.

Part of the powder mentioned in yours of the sixth in­stant has already arrived. The remainder I have ordered to be stopped on the road, as we shall have no occasion for it here. The letter to general Thomas, I immediately sent to him. He desired leave for three or four days, to settle some of his private affairs; after which, he will set out for his command in Canada. I am happy that my conduct in intercepting lord Drummond's letter is approved of by Congress.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

WHEN I had the honour to address you on the nineteenth instant upon the evacuation of the town of Bos­ton by the ministerial army, I fully expected, as their re­treat and embarkation were hurried and precipitate, that, before now, they would have departed the harbour, and been far in their passage to the place of destination. But, to my surprise and disappointment, the fleet is still in Nantas­ket-road. The purpose inducing their stay is altogether unknown; nor can I suggest any satisfactory reason for it. On Wednesday night last, before the whole of the fleet fell down to Nantasket, they demolished the castle and houses belonging to it, by burning them down, and the several for­tifications. They left a great number of the cannon, but have rendered all of them, except a very few, entirely use­less, by breaking off the trunnions; and those they spiked up: but they may be made serviceable again:—some are already done.

There are several vessels in the docks, which were taken by the enemy (some with and others without cargoes,) which different persons claim as their property and right. Are they to be restored to their former owners on making proof of their title, or to belong to the continent, as captures made from the enemy?—I wish Congress would direct a mode of proceeding against them, and establish a rule for [Page 109] decision: they appear to me to be highly necessary. In like manner, some of the cannon which are in Boston are said to have come from the castle. Supposing them, with those remaining at the castle, to have been purchased by and pro­vided originally at the expense of this province,—are they now to be considered as belonging to it, or to the public? I beg leave to refer the matter to the opinion of Congress, and pray their direction how I am to conduct respecting them.

It having been suggested to me that there was consider­able property, &c. belonging to persons who had, from the first of the present unhappy contest, manifested an unfriend­ly and invetera [...]e disposition, in the town of Boston, I thought it prudent to write to the honourable General Court upon the subject, that it might be inquired after and secured. A copy of the letter I herewith send you, and submit it to Congress, through you, whether they will not determine how it is to be disposed of, and as to the appropriation of the money arising from the sale of the same.

As soon as the town was abandoned by the enemy, I judged it adviseable to secure the several heights, lest they should attempt to return: and, for this purpose, have caus­ed a large and strong [...] be thrown up on Fort-hill, a post of great importance, as it commands the whole harbour, and, when fortified, if properly supported, will greatly an­noy any fleet the enemy may send against the town, and render the landing of their troops exceedingly difficult, if not impracticable. This work is almost done, and in a little time will be complete: and, that the communication between the town and country may be free and open, I have ordered all the lines upon the neck to be immediately de­stroyed, and the other works on the sides of the town facing the country, that the inhabitants from the latter may not be impeded, and afforded an easy entrance, in case the enemy should gain possession at any future time. These matters I conceived to be within the line of my duty; of which I advised the General Court, and recommended to their attention such other measures as they might think necessary for securing the town against the hostile designs of the enemy.

[Page 110] I have just got an inventory of stores and property be­longing to the crown, which the enemy left in Boston, at the castle, and Bunker's-hill,—which I have the honour to transmit you; and shall give strict orders that a careful attention be had to any more that may be found. I shall take such precautions respecting them, that they may be se­cure, and turn to the public advantage, as much as possible, or circumstances will admit of.

A Mr. Bulfinch from Boston, who acted as clerk to Mr. * * *, having put into my hands a list of rations drawn the Saturday before the troops evacuated the town, I have inclosed it for your inspection. He says, neither the staff officers nor women are included in the list; from which it appears that their number is greater than we had an idea of.

Major-general Ward and brigadier-general Frye are de­sirous of leaving the service; and, for that purpose, have requested me to lay the matter before Congress, that they may be allowed to resign their commissions. The papers containing their applications you will herewith receive. They will give you a full and more particular information upon the subject; and therefore I shall take the liberty of referring you to them.

I would mention to Congress that the commissary of artillery stores has informed me, that whatever powder has been sent to this camp has always come without any bill ascertaining the number of casks or quantity. This, it is probable, has proceeded from forgetfulness or inattention in the persons appointed to send it, or the negligence of those who brought it, though they have declared otherwise, and that they never had any. As it may in some measure prevent embezzlements, (though I do not suspect any to have been made) and the commissary will know what and how much to receive, and be enabled to discover mistakes if any should happen,—I should be glad if you will direct a bill of parcels to be always sent in future.

There have been so many accounts from England, all agreeing that commissioners are coming to America, to propose terms for an accommodation, as they say,—that I am inclined to think the time of their arrival not very far off. If they come to Boston, (which probably will be the [Page 111] case if they come to America at all) I shall be under much embarrassment respecting the manner of receiving them, and the mode of treatment that ought to be used. I there­fore pray that Congress will give me directions, and point out the line of conduct to be pursued—whether they are to be considered as ambassadors, and to have a pass or per­mit for repairing through the country to Philadelphia or to any other place—or whether they are to be restrained in any and what manner. I shall anxiously wait their orders, and, whatever they are, comply with them literally.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I RECEIVED your favour of the eleventh instant by Saturday night's post, and must beg pardon for not ac­knowledging it in my last of the twenty-fourth. The hur­ry I was then in occasioned the neglect, and I hope will apologize for it.

I now beg leave to inform you that I have just received intelligence, that the whole of the ministerial fleet, besides three or four ships, got under way this evening at Nantas­ket-road, and were standing out for sea: in consequence of which, I shall detach a brigade of six regiments immedi­ately from hence for New-York, under the command of brigadier-general Sullivan (brigadier-general Heath having gone with the first) which will be succeeded by another in a day or two; and directly after, I shall forward the re­mainder of the army (except four or five regiments which will be left for taking care of the barracks and public stores, and fortifying the town, and erecting such works for its defence as the honourable General Court may think neces­sary)—and follow myself.

Apprehending that general Thomas will stand in need of some artillerists in Canada, I have ordered two com­panies of the train to march immediately; and two mor­tars, with a quantity of shells and shot, to be sent him. He set out on the twenty-first instant.

Inclosed you have a copy of the return of ordnance stores left in Boston by the enemy. In it are not included [Page 112] the cannon left at the castle, amounting to a hundred and thirty-five pieces, as reported, all of which, except a very few, they have destroyed and rendered useless, by knock­ing off the trunnions, and spiking up.

I beg leave to transmit you the copy of a petition from the inhabitants of Nova-Scotia, brought me by * * *, es­quire, mentioned therein, who is now here with an Acadian. From this it appears they are in a distressed situation; and, from Mr. * * *'s account, are exceedingly apprehensive that they will be reduced to the disagreeable alternative of taking up arms and joining our enemies, or to flee their country, unless they can be protected against their insults and oppressions. He says that their committees think ma­ny salutary and valuable consequences would be derived from five or six hundred men being sent there, as it would not only quiet the minds of the people from the anxiety and uneasiness they are now filled with, and enable them to take a part in behalf of the colonies, but be the means of preventing the Indians (of whom there are a good many) from taking the side of government, and the ministerial troops from getting such supplies of provisions from thence as they have done.

How far these good purposes would be answered if such a force was sent as they ask for, is impossible to determine in the present uncertain state of things. For, if the army from Boston is going to Halifax (as reported by them be­fore their departure) that or a much more considerable force would be of no avail: if not, and they possess the friendly disposition to our cause, suggested in the petition and declared by Mr. * * *, it might be of great service, unless another body of troops should be sent thither by ad­ministration, too powerful for them to oppose. It being a matter of some importance, I judged it prudent to lay it before Congress for their consideration; and requesting their direction upon the subject, shall only add, if they de­termine to adopt it, that they will prescribe the number to be sent, and whether it is to be from the regiments which will be left here. I shall wait their decision, and, what­ever it is, will endeavour to have it carried into execution.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 113]
SIR,

THIS letter will be delivered you by * * *, esquire, the gentleman from Nova-Scotia whom I mentioned to you in mine of the twenty-seventh ultimo. He seemed desir­ous of waiting on the honourable Congress, in order to lay before them the state of public affairs, and situation of the inhabitants of that province. And, as it might be in his power to communicate many things personally which could not be so well done by letter, I encouraged him in his de­sign, and have advanced him fifty dollars to defray his ex­penses. The Acadian accompanies him: and, as they seem to be solid judicious men, I beg leave to recommend them both to the notice of Congress;—and am most re­spectfully, Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

AN express arrived this morning with a letter from governor Cooke of Rhode-Island, of which the inclosed is a copy. In consequence of this important intelligence, I immediately dispatched an express after general Sullivan who is on his march to Norwich with six regiments, and ordered him to file off to Providence, if he should be so desired by governor Cooke, to whom I have wrote on the subject.

General Greene was to have marched this morning with five more regiments, by way of Providence. I have order­ed him to hasten his march for that place; and hope to collect a force there, sufficient to prevent the enemy from effecting their purpose.

Whether this movement be only a feint to draw our at­tention from their principal object, or not, is at present im­possible to determine. I momently expect further intel­ligence from governor Cooke. If the alarm should be well grounded, I shall hasten to Providence, and make the necessary dispositions for their reception. I beg you to as­sure the honourable Congress I shall exert myself to the at­most to frustrate the designs of the enemy.

I am, Sir,
your most obedient, &c. G. W.
[Page 114]
SIR,

I WAS honoured with your favours of the twenty-first and twenty-fifth ultimo, on the second instant,—the former by Mr. Hanson, &c. the latter by Fessenden. I heartily wish the money had arrived sooner, that the militia might have been paid as soon as their time of service ex­pired. The disappointment has given them great uneasi­ness, and they are gone home much dissatisfied: nor have I been without severe complaints from the other troops on the same account. When I get to New-York, I hope a sufficient sum will be there, ready to pay every claim.

It is not in my power to make report of the deficie [...] of arms in compliance with the direction of Congress at [...] time, as some of the regiments are at, and most of the oth­ers on their march to New-York; nor do I know that is would answer any good purpose, if it were,—having made repeated applications to the several assemblies and conven­tions upon the subject, and constantly received for answer, that they could afford no relief.

When I arrive at New-York, I shall, in pursuance of the order of Congress, detach four battalions to Canada, if the situation of affairs will admit of it; and shall be ex­tremely happy if they and the troops already there can ef­fect the important end of their going.

In my letter of the first instant, per post, I inclosed you a copy of a letter from governor Cooke, advising me of the arrival of a ship of war, &c. at and near the harbour of Newport. I have now the pleasure to inform you that the report was entirely premature, and without any foundation. You have a copy of his letter of the first instant to this effect. I wish the alarm had never been given: it occasioned general Sullivan and his brigade to make an unnecessary and inconvenient diversion from their route.

Inclosed is a copy of an account, presented by the honourable General Court, of powder furnished the conti­nental army by this colony. From the account, it ap­pears that part of it was supplied before the army was un­der my command; and therefore I know nothing of it; but have not the smallest doubt of the justice of the charge. [Page 115] I shall leave about two hundred barrels of this article with major-general Ward, out of which Congress will direct him to make a return, if they think proper,—and also repayment of what may have been furnished by the other governments.

A proclamation of general Howe's, issued a few days before his departure from town, having fallen into my hands, I have inclosed you a copy, which may probably have been the occasion of large quantities of goods being carried away, and the removal of many persons, which otherwise would not have happened.

Colonel Warren, pay-master-general, finding the army likely to be removed from hence, informed me the other day that the situation of his affairs and engagements in the business of the colony are such, as to prevent him from personally attending the army; and offered, in case it should be required, to resign. This was rather embarras­sing. To me it appears indispensably necessary that the pay-master-general, with his books, should be at or near head-quarters. Indeed it is usual for the head of every department in the army, however dispersed tha [...] army may be, to be with the commanding general, keeping deputies in the smaller departments. On the other hand, colonel Warren's merit and attachment to the cause are such, that I could do nothing less than desire, (as some money must be left for the pay and contingent charges of the army which will remain here) he would wait here till Congress shall be pleased to give their sentiments upon the matter—sending in the mean time some person in whom he could confide, with the money, but little of which there will be to carry, though great the demands, as nine of the regi­ments which have marched to New-York have only re­ceived five hundred pounds each, towards their pay for the months of February and March—and six others, not a farthing. I hope therefore this matter will be consider­ed by Congress, and the result transmitted me as soon as done.

I would also mention to Congress, that the militia regi­ments which were last called upon, in making up their ab­stracts, charged pay—the officers, from the time they re­ceived orders to raise companies—and the privates, from [Page 116] the time they respectively engaged to come or were call­ed upon, though they did not march for a considerable time after—some not within three, four, to twenty days, during all which, they remained at home about their own private affairs, without doing any thing else than "prepar­ing for the march," as they say by way of plea. This appeared to me so exceedingly unreasonable, and so con­trary to justice, that the public should pay for a longer time than from the day of their march to that of their return, that I ordered the abstracts to be made out accordingly, and refused to give warrants on any other terms. They say that the enlisting orders, which went out from their governments, give them the pay they claim. The fact may be that something in these may seem to authorize it: but I must submit it to Congress, and wish for their deci­sion, whether the continent must pay it.

I am, with great esteem, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I shall set off to-day.

SIR,

I AM now to inform you that on the fourth instant I set out from Cambridge, and arrived here on Saturday last. I came through Providence, Norwich, and New-London, in order to see and expedite the embarkation of the troops. The third brigade, under the command of general Greene, was at New-London when I left it, where there was a sufficient number of transports to embark them—and most probably would have arrived here before this, had it not been for a severe storm which happened the night they sailed, which dispersed them, and, I fear, has done them some injury.

General Spencer, with the last brigade, marched from Roxbury the day I left Cambridge, and would be at New-London, ready to embark in the return transports which brought general Sullivan's division to this place. The whole of the troops may be reasonably expected here in the course of this week. The badness of the roads, and difficulty of procuring teams for bringing the stores, bag­gage, &c. have greatly prolonged their arrival at this place.

[Page 117] I have not had time, since I came, to look fully about me; but find many works of defence begun, and some finished. The troops are much dispersed—some on Long-Island, others on Staten-Island, &c.

I have ordered four battalions from hence to Canada, and am taking measures to have them forwarded to Albany, by water, with all possible expedition. This will greatly expedite their arrival, and ease the men of much fatigue. I have wrote general Schuyler of their coming, that he may have necessary measures taken to hurry their march to general Thomas.

I am informed by general Putnam that the militia, that were called in for the support of this town in case the ministerial army had arrived before our troops, are all dis­charged, it being unnecessary to keep them longer.

All the ships of war, besides the Asia moved out of this harbour on Saturday, and the Asia yesterday; some of which are now below the Narrows, and the rest gone to sea.

Your favour of the tenth instant, by major Sherburne, directed to general Putnam or the commanding officer here, came to hand on Saturday evening, with three boxes of money, which I shall deliver the pay-master as soon as he arrives, and transmit you his receipt for the same.

Having received information from hence before my de­parture from Camb [...]dge, that thirty pieces of heavy can­non were wanting, and essentially necessary for the defence of this place, in addition to those already here—I took the liberty of applying to admiral Hopkins, whom I saw at New-London, for that number, with the mortars and stores he brought from Providence,—a list of which he had transmitted you. He told me, that, as many were wanting for the defence of Providence river and the harbour at New-London, it was uncertain whether I could have all I wanted; but that he would send me all that could be spared.

I have not been able to get a return of the troops since I came:—as soon as I do, I will send it you.

I am, Sir, with great respects &c.
G. W.
[Page 118]
SIR,

PERMIT me, through you, to convey to the honour­able Congress the sentiments of gratitude I feel for the high honour they have done me in the public mark of ap­probation contained in your favour of the second instant, which came to hand last night. I beg you to assure them that it will ever be my highest ambition to approve myself a faithful servant of the public; and that, to be in any degree instrumental in procuring to my American brethren a restitution of their just rights and privileges, will consti­tute my chief happiness.

Agreeable to your request, I have communicated, in general orders, to the officers and soldiers under my com­mand, the thanks of Congress for their good behaviour in the service; and am happy in having such an opportunity of doing justice to their merit. They were indeed, at first, "a band of undisciplined husbandmen:" but it is (under God) to their bravery and attention to their duty that I am indebted for that success which has procured me the only reward I wish to receive—the affection and esteem of my countrymen.

The medal, intended to be presented to me by your honourable body, I shall carefully preserve as a memorial of their regard. I beg leave to return you, Sir, my warm­est thanks for the polite manner in which you have been pleased to express their sentiments of my conduct; and am, with sincere esteem and respect, Sir, yours and their most obedient and most humble servant,

G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE this moment received a letter from gen­eral Schuyler, containing inclosures of a very important nature, copies of which, I imagine, are contained in the inclosed letter to you, which I thought it my duty imme­diately to forward by express, that they may be laid before the honourable Congress, and proper measures pursued to prevent the fatal effects which are therein apprehended. For my own part, I have done my utmost to forward the four [Page 119] regiments ordered by Congress: but a variety of incidents have hitherto conspired to prevent their embarkation. The men had scarcely recovered themselves from the fa­tigues of their march from Boston, and are quite unpro­vided with necessaries. The colonels of the regiments, though repeatedly called upon for that purpose, had neg­lected making out the abstracts for their pay. All obsta­cles however are now removed; and I hope to begin the embarkation this day. Indeed it would have been best, in my opinion, to have sent the regiments, raised in this province and New-Jersey, upon that service, had not the peculiar circumstances under which they were raised pre­vented it. By the terms of their enlistment, they are to serve during the war, and at five dollars per month, on condition (as I am informed) that they shall not be sent out of those provinces. Besides, they are very ill provid­ed with arms, some companies not having any. It must be a great burden upon the continent to keep such a num­ber of useless men in pay: and yet, if they should be dis­missed, and an unexpected supply of arms should arrive, it may be found very difficult to replace them.

The officers of the several corps that have arrived here have been so busily employed in fixing their men in quar­ters, that I have not yet been able to procure an exact return of their numbers. Some are yet behind. As soon as the whole are collected, I shall order the proper returns, and transmit them to Congress.

You will please to notice what colonel Hazen says of the disposition of the Indians. In my opinion, it will be impossible to keep them in a state of neutrality. They must, and, no doubt, soon will take an active part either for or against us: and I submit it to the consideration of Congress, whether it would not be best immediately to engage them on our side, and to use our utmost endeav­ours to prevent their minds being poisoned by ministerial emissaries, which will ever be the case while a king's gar­rison is suffered to remain in their country. Would it not therefore be adviseable to send a sufficient force from the back counties of Pennsylvania, to take possession of the garrisons of Niagara and Detroit? This, I think, might easily be effected, and would answer the most salutary [Page 120] purposes. The Seneca Indians, who have hitherto ap­peared friendly to us, might be usefully employed in this business.

I am in hopes most of the difficulties mentioned in colonel Hazen's letter will be obviated by [...]he appearance of the respectable committee of Congress in Canada, and the forces that have been and will be sent there. The security of that country is of the utmost importance to us. This cannot be done so effectually by conquest▪ as by taking strong hold of the affections and confidence of the inhabitants. It is to be lamented that any conduct of the continental troops should tend to alienate their affec­tions from us.

The honourable Congress will be able to judge from the papers sent them by general Schuyler, and the in­formation they may receive of the designs of the enemy, whether it is expedient to send a further reinforcement to Canada. If such should be their determination, I stand ready to execute their orders; and am, with respect, Sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

G. W.

Inclosed is a return of the four regiments ordered to Canada; besides which, there will be two rifle companies, a company of artificers, and two artillery-men, all under the command of brigadier-general Thompson.

SIR,

I WAS this day honoured with the receipt of your favour of the twentieth instant. I have now the pleasure to acquaint you that the four regiments designed for Can­ada embarked yesterday with a fair wind for Albany, un­der the command of colonels Greaton, Patterson, Bond, and Poor; besides which there was a company of riflemen, a company of artificers, and two engineers,—the whole commanded by brigadier-general Thompson.

I have repeatedly mentioned to the honourable Con­gress the distressful situation we are in for want of arms. With much pains and difficulty I got most of the regi­ments from the eastward tolerably well furnished; but find the York regiments very badly provided. Colonel Ritze­ma's [Page 121] has scarcely any: and yet these men, being enlisted during the war, and at five dollars per month, ought not (in my judgment) to be discharged; as we find it almost as difficult to get men, as arms. This is a matter of some importance, which I should be glad to receive the particu­lar opinion of Congress upon.

Mr. Baldwin is one of the assistant engineers ordered to Canada. He is indeed a very useful man in his department, but declined the service on account of his pay, which he says is inadequate to his support. In order to induce him to continue, I promised to represent his case to Congress; and would recommend an increase of his pay, and that he should have the rank of lieutenant-colonel, of which he is very deserving. I beg leave therefore to recommend him to the Congress, and that they would make provision for him accordingly.

A few days ago, application was made to me by the com­mittee of safety for this colony, for an exchange of prison­ers. For the particulars I beg leave to refer you to their letter, a copy of which you have inclosed. As there is a standing order of Congress that no sailors or soldiers shall be exchanged for citizens, I did not incline to comply with the request without the particular direction of Congress: but I have been since informed that the prisoners, mention­ed in the committee's letter as citizens, are really seamen taken from private vessels, but not in arms. How far this may alter the case, or how far the reasons which induc­ed the Congress to pass the resolve above-mentioned may still exist, must be left to their determination.

The militia, who, on my application, were ordered to this place to keep possession until I should arrive with the continental forces, were obliged to return home without their pay, as there was not then money sufficient in the treasury for that purpose, and to answer the exigencies of the army. This occasioned great uneasiness among them, and may be attended with very bad consequences in case we should have occasion for their service on any future emergency. I therefore beg the Congress would make pro­vision for their pay, and point out particularly whether it is to be done by the commander of the continental forces, [Page 122] or by the provincial assemblies or conventions from whence they are sent.

As the time for which the riflemen enlisted will expire on the first of July next, and as the loss of such a valuable and brave body of men will be of great, injury to the service, I would submit it to the consideration of Congress, whether it would not be best to adopt some method to induce them to continue. They are indeed a very useful corps: but I need not mention this, as their importance is already well known to the Congress. It is necessary they should pay an early attention to this matter, as we know from past ex­perience that men are very slow in re-enlisting.

When I had the honour of seeing admiral Hopkins at New-London, he represented to me the weak state of his fleet, occasioned by sickness and the damage he received in his engagement with the enemy; and requested I would spare him two hundred men to assist him in a design he had formed of attacking Wallace. This I readily consented to; and the men are to be returned as soon as the service is performed.

I wish it was in my power at present to furnish general Lee with the companies of artillery he desires. I have al­ready sent two companies to Quebec; and I have not yet been able to procure a return of those that are here. I expect colonel Knox every moment, and shall then be able to determine whether any can be spared from hence. Blankets we are in great want of, ourselves; and it was with great difficulty a few could be procured for the rifle­men that were ordered for Canada.

I inclose you Mr. Winthrop's receipt for two hundred thousand dollars brought some time ago from Philadelphia by major Sherburne, which you will please to deliver to the continental treasurers.

On my arrival here, I found that Mr. Livingston had been appointed by the provincial Congress a commissary, to furnish the continental troops stationed in this city with provisions. I suppose this was done because there was no continental commissary then on the spot. Mr. Livingston still claims a right of furnishing all the troops but those lately arrived from Cambridge. Mr. Trumbull is now here: and, as I consider him as the principal in that office, [Page 123] I should be glad to know whether any part of the conti­nental troops is to be furnished by any other than their com­missary-general. I must needs say, that to me it appears very inconsistent, and must create great confusion in the accounts as well as in the contracts. I intended to have laid before Congress the amount of the rations, as supplied by colonel Trumbull and Mr. Livingston; and called upon those gentlemen to furnish me with a separate estimate for that purpose. Colonel Trumbull has given me his, by which it appears he supplies the troops at eight pence and one third per ration. I have not yet re­ceived any from Mr. Livingston; but am informed his contract is at ten pence half-penny. The difference is im­mense, as it will amount to no less than two hundred pounds per day, for twenty thousand men. It is indeed to be considered that Mr. Livingston's contract is, includ­ing every other charge; and that to Mr. Trumbull's must be added store hire, clerks, and every other contin­gent expense. But even then it will not amount to so much as Mr. Livingston's, by a penny per ration, which, in the gross, will be something very considerable. I thought it my duty, without prejudice or partiality, to state the matter fairly to Congress, that they might take such order upon it as to them shall seem necessary. I cannot however, in justice to Mr. Trumbull, help adding that he has been indefatigable in supplying the army; and I be­lieve, from his connexions in New-England, is able to do it on as good terms as any person in America.

The several matters contained in the foregoing, I must beg the early attention of Congress to; and that I may be favoured with an answer as soon as possible.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IN a letter which I had the honour to receive from Congress some considerable time ago, they were pleased to ask what rank aides-de-camp bore in the army? from whence I concluded that they had adverted to the extra­ordinary trouble and confinement of those gentlemen, with [Page 124] a view to make them an adequate allowance. But noth­ing being since done or said of the matter, I take the lib­erty, unsolicited by, and unknown to my aides-de-camp, to inform your honourable body that their pay is not by any means equal to their trouble and confinement.

No person wishes more to save money to the public, than I do: and no person has aimed more at it. But there are some cases in which parsimony may be ill placed; and this I take to be one. Aides-de-camp are persons in whom entire confidence must be placed: it requires men of abilities to execute the duties with propriety and dispatch, where there is such a multiplicity of business, as must at­tend the commander-in-chief of such an army as ours▪ and persuaded I am, that nothing but the zeal of those gentle­men (who live with me, and act in this capacity) for the great American cause, and personal attachment to me, has induced them to undergo the trouble and confinement they have experienced since they have become members of my family.

I give in to no kind of amusements myself; and conse­quently those about me can have none, but are confined from morning till eve, hearing and answering the applica­tions and letters of one and another, which will now, I expect, receive a pretty considerable addition, as the busi­ness of the northern and eastern departments (if I continue here) must. I suppose, pass through my hands. If these gentlemen had the same relaxation from duty as other of­ficers have in their common routine, there would not be so much in it. But, to have the mind always upon the stretch—scarce ever unbent—and no hours for recreation, makes a material odds. Knowing this, and at the same time how inadequate the pay is, I can scarce find inclina­tion to impose the necessary duties of their office upon them. To what I have here said, this further remark may be made, and is a matter of no small concernment to me, and, in its consequences, to the public:—and that is, that, while the duty is hard and the pay small, it is not to be wondered at, if there should be found a promptness in them to seek preferment, or in me to do justice to them by facilitating their views; by which means I must lose their aid when they have it most in their power to assist [Page 125] me. Influenced by these motives, I have taken the liberty of laying the matter fully, and with all due deference, be­fore your honourable body, not doubting its meeting with a patient hearing.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THAT I might be in readiness to take the field in the spring, and prepared for any service Congress should think proper to send me upon, this campaign—I desired colonel Reed, when he left Cambridge in the fall, to get me a set of camp equipage, tents, and a baggage-waggon, made at Philadelphia under his own inspection, and sent to me. This, he informs me, is now done, and ready to come on. I have therefore to beg the favour of Congress, through you, to order payment of them from the treasury, as it will save the expense and hazard of a remittance from hence, where we stand much in need of every farthing we have.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I RECEIVED by last evening's post a letter from Joshua Wentworth, esquire, of Portsmouth, whom I had appointed agent for our little fleet in that province. It is dated the fifteenth instant; an extract from which I have the honour of transcribing for your perusal.

"The third instant, commodore Manly brought in the brigantine Elizabeth, one of the third division which sailed from Nantasket, with a valuable cargo of English goods, and a few hogsheads of rum and sugar, by a Mr. J * * *, who was passenger, part freighter, and a very tory. Sup­pose the cargo worth twenty thousand pounds sterling. Those goods are, the greater part, owned by the late in­habitants of Boston, and by some that were inhabitants when the troops left it,—the residue of this Mr. J * * *, and others of the same cast. The complicate state of this [Page 126] prize required my immediate setting off for Boston, ex­pecting I might find some directions for my government there; when I waited on general Ward, who was obliging enough to give me his opinion (but not able to direct, hav­ing received no instructions to the point) that the vessel and cargo must be libelled, and a dividend to the captors would follow, of all such goods as might be legally claim­ed by the friends to America; and those that were the property of them inimical, might be decreed forfeited. Upon further inquiry, I was informed a resolve passed in Congress that all vessels and goods, retaken previous to a condemnation by a British court of admiralty, were liable to a partial decree (by every colony judge) to the captors, not more than one-third, nor less than one-fourth. The present prize falls under this resolve: and any other, that [makes the] property of our internal enemies liable to a full confiscation, may be necessary for my government: there­fore shall be much obliged by your full direction of this capture, and a copy of the continental resolves thereon. This brigantine is owned by a Mr. Richard Hart, of this town, taken on her return from the West-Indies last Oc­tober, and carried into Boston, not condemned: The rum on board are seventeen hogsheads,—and four of sugar, not removed out of her from the time of capture. The other cargo was in general stolen by virtue of general Howe's proclamation (which undoubtedly you have seen) appointing one C * * * B * * * superintendant, who, by the way, was taken in the prize, and is now confined in the Massachusetts colony, with Mr. J * * * and sundry others, by order of the general court, to whom general Ward delivered them.

"There were a serjeant and twelve privates of the fourth, or king's own regiment, taken prisoners on board, with the others, making sixty-three souls. * * *

"There appeared from the pillage of this cargo by ma­ny of the passengers, the property was in him who could secrete the most. For, when examining the chests and bedding of the prisoners, I found great quantity of goods that they had collected while on board, which were taken out of ware-houses without packing, and hove promiscu­ously on board the vessel. Even the sailors had provided [Page 127] for their disposal at pleasure. In fact, the destruction of property, under cover of general Howe's proclamation, is unparell [...]led. * * *

"I am now discharging the cargo, as it is in a perishing situation; and, when selected, and the regular course pursued through the admiralty, shall advertise agreeable to his Excellency's instructions to general Ward, who was obliging enough to give me an abstract.

"The general court of this province, finding a difficul­ty in making a code of laws for the admiralty-court, did not complete that institution their last session, when they adjourned to June; which lapse of time will not admit my facilitating the disposal of the prizes under my care, so early as I could wish, for the safety of part of the interest of the Susanna's cargo, viz. the porter, which I fear may be spoiled by lying so long,—it not having equal body to that commonly imported for sale;—which induces me to desire your direction for a disposal of that article either at private or public sale."

That, Sir, is an exact copy of part of Mr. Went­worth's letter to Mr. Moylan. I now request you will please to direct me, in what manner I shall instruct the agent respecting the complicated cargo, and whether he may be empowered to dispose of the porter or any other articles on board the prizes under his care, which the de­lay of establishing the court of admiralty may make liable to perish.

I have not yet heard that there has been any trial of the prizes carried into Massachusetts-Bay. This procrastina­tion is attended with very bad consequences. Some of the vessels I had fitted out are now laid up, the crews be­ing dissatisfied that they cannot get their prize-money. I have tired the Congress upon this subject: but the import­ance of it makes me again mention, that, if a summary way of proceeding is not resolved on, it will be impossi­ble to get our vessels manned. I must also mention to you, Sir, that captain Manly and his crew are desirous to know when they may expect their part of the value of the ordnance stores taken last fall. They are anxious to know what the amount may be. As the inventory of that car­go is in the hands of Congress, I would humbly submit it [Page 128] to them, whether a valuation thereof should not be made, and the captors' dividend be remitted them as soon as pos­sible. It will give them spirit, and encourage them to be alert in looking out for other prizes.

Several officers belonging to the regiments raised in these middle colonies inform me that their men (notwithstanding their agreement) begin to murmur at the distinction of pay made between them and the regiments from the east-ward. I would be glad that the Congress would attend to this in time, lest it may get to such a pitch as will make it difficult to suppress. They argue that they perform the same duty, undergo the same fatigue, and receive five dol­lars, when the eastern regiments receive six dollars and two-thirds per month. For my own part, I wish they were all upon the same footing: for, if the British army will not face this way, it will be necessary to detach a great part of our troops: in that case, I would, for many rea­sons, be sorry there should be any distinctions of regiments that are all in the pay of the United Colonies.

The deficiency of arms (in the New-York regiments es­pecially) is very great. If I am rightly informed, there are scarce as many in colonel Ritzema's regiment as will arm one company. Can the Congress remedy this evil? If they can, there should not a moment be lost in effecting it, as our strength at present is, in reality, on paper only. Should we think of discharging those men who are without arms, the remedy would be worse than the disease: for, by vigorous exertions, I hope arms may be procured; and I well know that the raising men is exceeding difficult, especially to be engaged during the continuance of the war, which is the footing on which colonel Ritzema's regiment is engaged.

April 26.—I had wrote thus far before I was hon­oured with your favour of the twenty-third instant. In obedience to the order therein contained, I have directed six regiments more for Canada, which will embark as soon as vessels and other necessaries can be provided. These regiments will be commanded by general Sullivan. I shall give him instructions to join the forces in that country un­der general Thomas, as soon as possible.

With respect to sending more troops to that country, I [Page 129] am really at a loss what to advise, as it is impossible at present to know the designs of the enemy. Should they send the whole force under general Howe up the river St. Lawrence, to relieve Quebec and recover Canada, the troops gone and now going will be insufficient to stop their progress: and should they think proper to send that or an equal force this way from Great-Britain for the purpose of possessing this city and securing the navigation of Hudson's river, the troops left here will not be sufficient to oppose them: and yet, for any thing we know, I think it not im­probable they may attempt both,—both being of the great­est importance to them,—if they have men.

I could wish indeed that the army in Canada should be more powerfully reinforced: at the same time I am con­scious that the trusting this important post (which is now become the grand magazine of America) to the handful of men remaining here, is running too great a risk. The securing this post and Hudson's river is to us also of so great importance, that I cannot at present advise the send­ing any more troops from hence:—on the contrary, the general officers now here, whom I thought it my duty to consult, think it absolutely necessary to increase the army at this place with at least ten thousand men, especially when it is considered, that, from this place only, the army in Canada must draw its supplies of ammunition, provisions, and, most probably, of men; and that all reinforcements can be sent from hence much easier than from any other place. By the inclosed return, you will fee the state of the army here, and that the number of effective men is far short of what the Congress must have expected.

I have found it necessary to order colonel Dayton's regiment from New-Jersey to march as one of the six to Canada: wherefore I must recommend it to Congress to order two companies of one of the regiments still in Penn­sylvania to march to Cape-May, which can be done much sooner: for, had this destination of that regiment not tak­en place, it would have been very inconvenient to have de­tached two companies from it to that place; as the march would (according to lord Stirling's and other accounts) have been at least two hundred miles from Amboy, and they must have passed within twenty miles of Philadelphia, [Page 130] there being no practicable road along the sea-coast of New-Jersey for their baggage to have passed.

Dr. Potts, who is bearer hereof, was, I understand, ap­pointed director of the hospital for these middle colonies: but the army being removed, with the general hospital, from the eastward, does in course supersede him. He is inclined to go to Canada, where he may be very useful, if a person is not already appointed for that department. I would humbly beg leave to ask the Congress whether, in all these appointments, it would not be best to have but one chief, to whom all the others should be subordinate.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I MEAN, through you, to do myself the honour of laying before Congress a copy of a [...] address transmitted them some time ago by the assembly of Rhode-Island, which governor Cooke favoured me with in the month of January, at the same time requesting me to interest myself in procuring a body of forces on the continental establish­ment, for the defence of that colony. I doubt not but the address and the subject of it have had the attention and consideration of Congress before now. But if they have not decided upon the matter, I would beg leave to mention that I have made inquiry into the situation and condition of the colony, and find it to be as stated▪ in the address; and, with all deference to the opinion of Congress, con­ceive it highly necessary and expedient that they should adopt some measures for relieving their distress, and grant­ing the aid prayed for. The importance of it in the chain of the union,—its extensive sea-coast, affording harbours for our shipping and vessels, at the same time exposing and subjecting the inhabitants to the ravages and depredations of our enemies,—the zeal and attachment which it has shewn, and which still actuates it, towards the common cause,—their incapacity to pay a sufficient number of men for its defence, should they be able to furnish them after so many engaged in other sevices;—these, and many other reasons which are too obvious to be mentioned, plead pow­erfully [Page 131] for the notice and attention of Congress, and seem to me to claim their support.

Having thus stated the matter to Congress for their con­sideration, agreeable to my promise to governor Cooke when I had the honour of seeing him on my way here,—I shall leave it with them, not doubting but they will duly weigh its importance, and give such assistance as they may think reasonable and just. What they chiefly wish for is that the troops they have raised may be taken into con­tinental pay, and commanding officers appointed by Con­gress.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with your favour of the thirtieth ul­timo, and observe what Congress have done respecting the settlement of the paymaster's accounts. This seems expe­dient, as he is out of office, and, I am certain, will be at­tended with but little if any difficulty; nothing more being necessary, than to compare the warrants with his debts, and the receipts he has given, with his credits. I wish every other settlement as easy, and that a committee was appoint­ed to examine and audit the accounts upon which the war­rants are founded, particularly those of the quarter-master and commissary generals. They are long and of high amount, consisting of a variety of charges,—of course more intricate, and will require time and an extraordinary degree of attention to adjust and liquidate in a proper manner.—Upon this subject, I did myself the honour to write you a considerable time ago.

Having had several complaints from the officers in the eastern regiments who have been and are engaged in recruit­ing, about the expense attending it, and for which they have never yet been allowed any thing, though the officers in these governments have, as I am informed,—I shall be glad to know whether the allowance of ten shillings, grant­ed to the officers for every man enlisted, by the resolve of Congress in [January] is general and indiscriminate, or confined to the middle districts. If general, must I have [Page 132] retrospect to the time of the resolve, and pay for the ser­vices since, or only for future enlistments?

In a letter I wrote to Congress the twenty-fifth of De­cember, I inclosed one I had received from Jacob Baily, esquire, about opening a road from Newbury to Canada. I have received another of the fifteenth ultimo: and, from his account and the intelligence I have from others upon inquiry, I have no doubt of the practicability of the meas­ure; and am well informed that the distance will be con­siderably shortened, insomuch that our people going from any part of the New-England governments eastward of Connecticut-river, to Canada, or returning from thence home, will perform their march in five or six days less time than by coming or going any way now used. Add to this, that the road may be so conducted (as it is said) as to go to the river Missisque, from whence the water-carriage to St. John's is good, except forty odd miles,—or be carried so far to the northward, as to keep clear of the Lakes altogether, and afford an easy pass into Canada at all seasons. The advantage resulting from this route being so great and important, I have advanced colonel Bai­ley two hundred and fifty pounds to begin with, and di­rected him to execute his plan. No doubt it will require a considerable advance to accomplish it: but that will be soon sunk. The expense saved, by taking off six day's pay and provisions from the soldiers returning to the east­ern governments at the expiration of this campaign, will be almost if not more than equal to the charge incur­red in opening it. If not,—as in all probability there will be often a necessity for sending detachments of our troops to Canada from those governments, and for others to return, it will soon be repaid.

By a letter from general Schuyler, of the twenty-seventh ultimo, I find general Thompson and his brigade were at Albany;—general Sullivan with the last (except three or four companies of colonel Wayne's regiment, not yet come) is embarked and gone, and probably will be soon there. I am apprehensive, from general Schuyler's account, that they will not proceed with the wished-for expedition, owing to a difficulty in getting teams and provender for cattle neces­sary to carry their baggage, and a scarcity of batteaux at [Page 133] the Lakes for so large a number, though he is taking the ut­most pains to procure them. Should they be stopped for any time, it will be exceedingly unfortunate, as their going from hence has weakened us here much, and our army in Canada will not be strengthened.

I have sent with the last brigade sixty barrels of powder, and other stores and intrenching tools, a supply being ask­ed for; also the chain for a boom at the narrows of Rich­elieu, and the three boxes of money brought by Mr. Han­son; and have wrote to general Schuyler to have the boom fixed as soon as possible. The commissary too has for­warded about eight hundred barrels of pork, and is in ex­pectation of a further quantity from Connecticut, which will go on without stopping here.

As the magazine from whence the northern and eastern armies will occasionally receive supplies of powder will probably be here, and our stock is low and inconsiderable, being much reduced by the sixty barrels sent to Canada, I shall be glad to have a quantity immediately forwarded. Our stores should be great: for if the enemy make an at­tack upon the town, or attempt to go up the North-river, the expenditure will be very considerable. Money too is much wanted:—the regiments that are paid have only re­ceived to the first of April, except those of Pennsylvania and Jersey which are gone to Canada: they are paid to the last of April. By a letter from general Ward, I find his chest is just exhausted; the money which was left with him for the payment of the five regiments at Boston and Beverly being almost expended by large draughts in favour of the commissary and quarter-master, and in fitting out the armed vessels.

I would here ask a question, to wit, whether, as Mr. Warren's commission is superseded by Mr. Palfrey's ap­pointment, it will not be necessary to fix upon some person to pay the troops there: or are the payments to go through his hands?—He does not incline to do any thing in the affair without the direction of Congress.

I have inclosed you a return of the last brigade detached, and also of the forces remaining here. And as it is a matter of much importance to know the whole of our strength from time to time, and to see it at one view, for [Page 134] regulating our movements with propriety, I wish it were a direction from Congress to the commanding officers in the different districts to make monthly returns to the command­er-in-chief of the continental army, of the state of the troops in their departments, and also of the military stores. Such direction will probably make them more attentive than they otherwise would be. I could not get a return of the army in Canada all last year.

I beg leave to lay before Congress a copy of the pro­ceedings of a court-martial upon lieutenant * * * *, of the second regiment, and of his defence—which I should not have troubled them with, had I not conceived the court's sentence, upon the facts stated in the proceedings, of a sin­gular nature, to be by no means adequate to the enormity of his offence, and to be of exceeding dangerous and per­nicious tendency. Upon these principles I thought it my duty to transmit the proceedings to them, in order that they may form such a judgment upon the facts stated, as they may conceive right and just, and advancive of the public good. At the same time I would mention to Con­gress that I think it of material consequence that they should pass a resolve, cutting off the right of succession in the military line from one rank to another, which is claim­ed by many upon the happening of vacancies—(upon which principle this offence seems to have originated in a great measure, and the extraordinary judgment in this instance to be founded)—declaring that no succession or promotion can take place upon any vacancy, without a continental commission giving and authorising it. It is of much con­sequence to check and entirely suppress this opinion and claim, which is becoming too prevalent, and has an obvi­ous tendency to introduce mutiny and disorder;—or, if they conceive the claim good, and that it should take place, that they will declare it so, that the point may be settled and known in future.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE so often and so fully communicated my want of arms to Congress, that I should not have given [Page 135] them the trouble of receiving another letter upon this sub­ject at this time, but for the particular application of colo­nel Wayne, of Pennsylvania, who has pointed out a method by which he thinks they may be obtained.

In the hands of the committee of safety at Philadelphia, there are, according to colonel Wayne's account, not less than two or three thousand stand of arms for provincial use. From hence he thinks a number might b [...] borrowed by Congress, provided they are replaced w [...] continental arms as they are brought into the magazine in that city. At a crisis so important as this, such a loan might be at­tended with the most signal advantages—while the de­fenceless state of the regiments, if no relief can be had, may be productive of fatal consequences.

To give Congress some idea of our situation with respect to arms—(and justice to my own character requires that it should be known to them, although the world at large will form their opinion of our strength from numbers, with­out attending to circumstances)—it may not be amiss to inclose a copy of a return which I received a few days ago from the forts in the Highlands, and add, that, by a report fr [...] colonel Ritzema's regiment, of the twenty-ninth ul­timo, there appeared to be only ninety-seven firelocks and seven bayonets belonging thereto; and that all the regi­ments from the eastward are deficient from twenty to fifty of the former. Four of those companies at the fortifica­tions in the Highlands belong to colonel Clinton's regi­ment: but in what condition the residue are on account of arms, and how colonel Wynkoop's men are provided, I cannot undertake to say, but am told, most miserably; as colonel Dayton's of New-Jersey and colonel Wayne's of Pennsylvania also are. This, Sir, is a true though mel­ancholy description of our situation. The propriety there­fore of keeping arms in store when men in actual pay are in want of them, and who (it is to be presumed) will, as they ought, bear the heat and burden of the day, is sub­mitted with all due deference to the superior judgment of others.

I cannot, by all the inquiries I have been able to make, learn what number of arms have been taken from the to­ries, where they lie, or how they are to be got at. The [Page 136] committee of safety for this colony have assured me that no exertions of theirs shall be wanting to procure arms: but our sufferings in the mean while may prove fatal, as men without are in a manner useless. I have therefore thoughts of employing an agent whose sole business it shall be to ride through the middle and interior parts of these governments, for the purpose of buying up such arms as the inhabitants may incline to sell, and are fit for use.

The designs of the enemy are too much behind the cur­tain for me to form any acc [...]ate opinion of their plan of operations for the summer's campaign. We are left to wander therefore in the field of conjecture: and as no place (all its consequences considered) seemed of more importance in the execution of their grand plan, than pos­sessing themselves of Hudson's river, I thought it advisea­ble to remove with the continental army to this city so soon as the king's troops evacuated Boston. But if Con­gress, from their knowledge, information, or belief, think it best for the general good of the service that I should go to the northward or elsewhere, they are convinced, I hope, that they have nothing more to do than signify their com­mands.

With the greatest respect, I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

AT a quarter after seven this evening, I received by express a letter from Thomas Cushing, esquire, chairman of a committee of the honourable general court, covering one to them from the committee of Salem; copies of which I do myself the honour to lay before Congress, that they may judge of the intelligence contained therein, and direct such measures to be taken upon the occasion as they may think proper and necessary.

I would observe, that supposing captain Lee's account to be true in part, I think there must be a mistake either in the number of troops or the transport ships. If there are no more ships than what are mentioned, it is certain there cannot be so many troops. Of this, however, Con­gress [Page 137] can judge as well as myself; and I submit to them, whether, upon the whole of the circumstances, and the uncertainty of their destination (if they were seen at all) they choose that any forces shall be detached from hence, as they will see, from the returns transmitted yesterday, that the number of men now here is but small and incon­siderable, and, (what is to be regretted) no small part of these without arms. Perhaps, by dividing and subdivid­ing our force too much, we shall have no one post suffi­ciently guarded.

I shall wait their direction; and, whatever their order is, shall comply with it as soon as possible.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have by the same express a letter from general Ward, containing a similar account to that from the Sa­lem committee, and by way of captain Lee.

Should the commissioners arrive that are mentioned, how are they to be received and treated?—I wish the di­rection of Congress upon the subject, by return of the bearer.

SIR,

I AM now to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the fourth and seventh instant with their several inclo­sures, and am exceedingly glad, that before the resolution respecting lieutenant-colonel Ogden came to hand, I had ordered him to join his regiment, and had qu [...]lled a disa­greeable spirit both of mutiny and desertion, which had taken place and seemed to be rising to a great degree in consequence of it. In order to effect it, I had the regi­ment paraded, and ordered two more at the same time un­der arms, convinced them of their error and ill conduct, and obtained a promise for their good behaviour in future. To such of the men as had absconded I gave pardons, on their assurances to return to their duty again.

In my letter of the fifth instant which I had the honour of addressing you, I mentioned to Congress the refractory and mutinous conduct of lieutenant * * * *, of the second regiment, and laid before them a copy of the proceedings [Page 138] of a court-martial upon him, and of his defence, with a view that such measures might be adopted as they should think adequate to his crime. I would now beg leave to inform them, that, since then, he has appeared sensible of his misconduct; and having made a written acknowledg­ment of his offence, and begged pardon for it, (as by the inclosed copy will appear) I thought it best to release him from his confinement, and have ordered him to join his regiment; which I hope will meet their approbation, and render any determination, as to him, unnecessary;—ob­serving at the same time that I have endeavoured, and, I flatter myself, not ineffectually, to support their authority, and a due subordination in the army. I have found it of importance and highly expedient to yield many points in fact, without seeming to have done it—and this, to avoid bringing on a too frequent discussion of matters, which, in a political view, ought to be kept a little behind the cur­tain, and not be made too much the subjects of disquisition. Time only can eradicate and overcome customs and prej­udices of long standing: they must be got the better of by slow and gradual advances.

I would here take occasion to suggest to Congress (not wishing or meaning of myself to assume the smallest degree of power in any instance) the propriety and necessity of having their sentiments respecting the filling up the vacan­cies and issuing commissions to officers, especially to those under the rank of field officers. Had I literally complied with the directions given upon this subject when I first en­gaged in the service, and which I conceived to be super­seded by a subsequent resolve for forming the army upon the present establishment, I must have employed one clerk for no other business than issuing warrants of appointment, and giving information to Congress for their confirmation or refusal. It being evident from the necessity of the thing, that there will be frequent changes and vacancies in office, from death and a variety of other causes, I now submit it to them, and pray their direction whether I am to pursue that mode and all the ceremonies attending it, or to be at liberty to f [...]ll up and grant commissions at once to such as may be fit and proper persons to succeed. * * *

[Page 139] Before I have done, with the utmost deference and re­spect I would beg leave to remind Congress of my former letters and applications respecting the appointment of prop­er persons to superintend and take direction of such pris­oners as have already fallen and will fall into our hands in the course of the war—being fully convinced, that, if there were persons appointed who would take the whole management of them under their care, the continent would save a considerable sum of money by it, and the prisoners be better treated and provided with real necessaries than they now are;—and shall take the liberty to add that it appears to me a matter of much importance, and worthy of consideration, that particular and proper places of secu­rity should be fixed on and established in the interior parts of the different governments for their reception.

Such establishments are agreeable to the practice and usage of the English and other nations, and are founded on principles of necessity and public utility. The advantages which will arise from them are obvious and many:—I shall only mention two or three. They will tend much to prevent escapes, (which are difficult to effect when the public is once advertised that the prisoners are restrained to a few stated and well-known places, and not permitted to go from thence,) and the more ingenious among them from disseminating and spreading their artful and per­nicious intrigues and opinions throughout the country, which would influence the weaker and wavering part of mankind, and meet with but too favourable a hearing. Further, it will be less in their power to join and assist our enemies in cases of invasion, and will give us an oppor­tunity always to know, from the returns of those appoint­ed to superintend them, what number we have in posses­sion, the force sufficient to check and suppress their hostile views in times of emergency, and the expenses necessary for their maintenance and support. Many other reasons might be adduced to prove the necessity and expediency of the measure:—I shall only subjoin one more, and then have done on the subject,—which is, that many of the towns where prisoners have been already sent, not having convenience for or the mean of keeping them, complain they are burdensome; and have become careless, inat­tentive, [Page 140] and altogether indifferent whether they escape or not; and those of them that are restricted to a closer con­finement (the limits of jail) are neglected, and not treated with that care and regard which Congress wish.

I have not received further intelligence of the German troops since my letter of the seventh instant, covering Mr. Cushing's dispatches. But, lest the account of their coming should be true, may it not be adviseable and good policy to raise some companies of our Germans to send among them when they arrive, for exciting a spirit of disaffection and desertion?—If a few sensible and trusty fellows could get with them, I should think they would have great weight and influence with the common soldiery, who certainly have no enmity towards us, having received no injury nor cause of quarrel from us. The measure having oc­curred, and appearing to me expedient, I thought it pru­dent to mention it for the consideration of Congress.

Having received a letter from general Ward, advising that Congress have accepted his resignation, and praying to be relieved,—and it being necessary that a general of­ficer should be sent to take the command of the troops at Boston, especially if the army should arrive which is talk­ed of, and which some consider as a probable event,—I must beg leave to recommend to Congress the appoint­ment of some brigadier-generals, not having more here (nor so many at this time) than are essential to the gov­ernment and conducting the forces and the works that are carrying on. Generals Sullivan and Thompson being ordered to Canada, I cannot spare one more general of­ficer from hence without injuring the service greatly, and leaving the army here without a sufficient number.

Having frequent applications from the committee of safety and others, about an exchange of prisoners, and not having authority to pursue any other mode in this instance, than that marked out by a resolve of Congress some con­siderable time ago, I hope they will pardon me when I wish them to take under consideration such parts of my letter of the twenty-second ultimo as relate to this subject; and for their determination upon it. I shall then have it in my power to give explicit and satisfactory answers to those who shall apply.

I am, Sir, &c.
G. W.
[Page 141]
SIR,

SINCE my last of the eleventh instant which I had the honour to address you, nothing of moment or import­ance has occurred; and the principal design of this is to communicate to Congress the intelligence I received last night from general Schuyler by a letter of the tenth, re­specting the progress of our troops in getting towards Can­ada, not doubting of their impatience and anxiety to h [...]r of it and of every thing relating to the expedition. For their more particular information and satisfaction, I have done myself the pleasure to extract the substance of his letter on this head, which is as follows:—"that general Thompson, with the last of his brigade, on the morning of Tuesday se'nnight, embarked at Fort-George; and, in the evening of the next day, general Sullivan arrived at Albany; that he had ordered an additional number of carpenters to assist in building boats: who, finishing eight every day, would have a hundred and ten complete by the twenty-first, before which he was fearful the last of general Sullivan's brigade could not embark;—that they would carry thirty men each, besides the baggage, ammu­tion, and intrenching tools." * * *

He also informs, "that the sixty barrels of powder had arrived, and would be forwarded that day;—that the first regiment of general Sullivan's brigade marched that morn­ing; and that the intrenching tools and about six hundred barrels of pork were also gone on;—that he cannot pos­sibly send more than half of the three hundred thousand dollars into Canada, (being greatly in debt on the public account, and the creditors exceedingly clamorous and im­portunate for payment) which sum he hopes will be suf­ficient till the Canadians agree to take our paper currency, to which they are much averse, and of which he is ex­ceedingly doubtful;—that he had got the chain, and would forward it that day to general Arnold, with orders to fix it at the rapids of Richelieu." He adds "that he had reviewed general Sullivan's brigade in presence of about two hundred and sixty Indians, who were greatly pleased with the order and regularity of the troops, and surprised at the number, which, the tories had industrious­ly [Page 142] propagated, consisted only of three companies, and that they were kept always walking the streets, to induce them to believe their number was much greater than it really was."

I have inclosed a copy of general Schuyler's instructions to James Price, esquire, deputy commissary-general, for the regulation of his conduct in that department, which I received last night, and which general Schuyler requested me to forward you. I also beg leave to lay before Con­gress a copy of a letter from Samuel Stringer, director of one of the hospitals, purporting an application for an in­crease of surgeons'-mates, &c. an estimate of which is also inclosed; and submit it to them, what number must be sent from hence or got elsewhere. It is highly probable that many more will be wanted in Canada than are already there, on account of the late augmentation of the army: but I thought it most adviseable to make his requisition known to Congress, and to take their order and direction upon it. As to the medicines, I shall speak to Dr. Mor­gan (not yet arrived) as soon as he comes, and order him to forward such as may be necessary and can be possibly spared.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I THIS moment received by express from general Schuyler an account of the melancholy prospect and re­verse of our affairs in Canada: and presuming that the letters which accompany this will give Congress full infor­mation upon the subject, I shall only add that general Schuy­ler, in pursuance of orders from the honourable commis­sioners, has directed brigadier-general Sullivan to halt his brigade; as a further reinforcement (on account of the scar­city of provisions) would not relieve, but contribute great­ly to distress our troops already in Canada. Before he received these orders, all the brigade, except Dayton's and Wayne's regiments, had left Albany: but I suppose he will be able to stop their march.

[Page 143] By my letter of the fifteenth, Congress will perceive the quantity of pork already gone from hence: and the commissary has assured me that he will forward a further supply as soon as it can be possibly collected. I had also directed five tons of lead to be sent to general Schuyler for the Canada expedition, before I received this unfortu­nate account; which was as much as could be spared for the present (our stock being inconsiderable in proportion to the demand we may reasonably expect for it;) and shall do every thing in my power to relieve our affairs from their present distressed and melancholy situation in that quarter, which occurs to me and appears neces­sary.

I am also to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the tenth and thirteenth instant, with their several in­closures. The money, accompanying the latter, came to the paymaster's hands safe.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to transmit to you the in­closed letters and papers I received this morning in the state they now are, which contain sundry matters of in­telligence of the most interesting nature. As the con­sideration of them may lead to important consequences and the adoption of several measures in the military line, I have thought it adviseable for general Gates to attend Con­gress—(he will follow to-morrow, and satisfy, and ex­plain to them some points they may wish to be informed of in the course of their deliberations)—not having an opportunity at this time to submit my thoughts to them upon these interesting accounts.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be delivered you by general Gates who sets out to-day for Congress, agreeable to my letter of [Page 144] yesterday. I have committed to him the heads of sundry matters to lay before Congress for their consideration, which, from the interesting intelligence contained in my last, appear to me of the utmost importance, and to de­mand their most early and serious attention.

Sensible that I have omitted to set down many things necessary, and which probably, when deliberating, they will wish to be acquainted with,—and not conceiving my­self at liberty to depart from my post (though to attend them) without their previous approbation,—I have request­ed general Gates to subjoin such hints of his own, as he may apprehend material. His military experience and intimate acquaintance with the situation of our affairs will enable him to give Congress the fullest satisfaction about the measures necessary to be adopted at this alarming crisis; and, with his zeal and attachment to the cause of America, have a claim to their notice and favours.

When Congress shall have come to a determination on the subject of this letter, and such parts of my former let­ters as have not been determined on, you will be pleased to honour me with the result.

I am, Sir, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR favour of the sixteenth, with several resolu­tions of Congress therein inclosed, I had not the honour to receive till last night. Before the receipt, I did not think myself at liberty to wait on Congress, although I wished to do it; and therefore the more readily consented to general Gates's attendance, as I knew there were many matters which could be better explained in a personal in­terview than in whole volumes of letters. He accordingly set out for Philadelphia yesterday morning, and must have been too far advanced on his journey (as he proposed ex­pedition) to be overtaken.

I shall, if I can settle some matters which are in agita­tion with the provincial Congress here, follow to-morrow or next day; and therefore, with every sentiment of regard, attachment, and gratitude to Congress for their kind atten­tion [Page 145] to the means which they think may be conducive to my health, and with particular thanks to you for the po­liteness of your invitation to your house, conclude, dear Sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE perused the petition preferred by the in­dependent corps of Boston, and beg leave, through you, to inform Congress that the five regiments there are extremely deficient in arms, as are many other regiments in continent­al pay; and submit it to their consideration, whether any part of the arms lately taken, under these circumstances, should be delivered to the gentlemen applying for them; determining at the same time, that whatever decision they come to will be agreeable to me, and be literally complied with, by, sir, your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to inform Congress that I arrived here yesterday afternoon about one o'clock, and found all in a state of peace and quiet. I had not time to view the works carrying on, and those ordered to be be­gun when I went away; but have reason to believe, from the report of such of the general and other officers as I had the pleasure to see, that they have been prosecuted and forwarded with all possible diligence and dispatch.

I am much concerned for the situation of our affairs in Canada, and am fearful, ere this, it is much worse than was first reported at Philadelphia. The intelligence from thence, in a letter from captain Wilkinson of the second regiment, to general Greene, is truly alarming. It not only confirms the account of colonel Biddle and major Sherburne's defeat, but seems to forebode general Arnold's, with the loss of Montreal. I have inclosed a copy of the letter, which will but too well shew that there is founda­tion for my apprehensions.

[Page 146] On Wednesday evening I received an express from gen­eral Schuyler, with sundry papers respecting Sir John John­ston, which I have not time to copy, as the post is just go­ing off, but will do myself the honour of transmitting you as soon as I possibly can.

Before I left Philadelphia, I employed a person to super­intend the building of the gondolas which Congress had resolved on for this place. He is arrived, and all things seem to be in a proper channel for facilitating the work: but when they are done, we shall be in much want of guns, having never received any of those taken by commodore Hopkins.

Be pleased to mention me to Congress with the utmost respect; and I am, Sir, with every sentiment of regard and esteem, your and their most obedient servant,

G. W.

P. S. I this minute received your favour of the fifth in­stant. I am in need of commissions, and beg Congress to point out precisely the line I am to pursue in filling them up. This I mentioned in my letter of the eleventh ultimo. I am much pleased at the fortunate captures, and the gen­erous conduct of the owners and masters, for the tender of the money to Congress.

SIR,

IN my letter of yesterday which I had the honour of addressing you, and which was designed to have gone by post, but was prevented by his departure before the usu­al time, I mentioned my having received by express a let­ter and sundry papers from general Schuyler, respecting Sir John Johnston, copies of which I herewith transmit you for your inspection and perusal. They will shew you what measures were planned and attempted for apprehending him, and securing the Scotch Highlanders in Tryon county.

Having heard that the troops at Boston are extremely uneasy and almost mutinous for want of pay, (several months being now due) I must take the liberty to repeat a question contained in my letter of the fifth ultimo—"What mode is to be pursued respecting it? whether is money to be sent from hence by the paymaster general, or some person sub­ordinate [Page 147] ordinate to him to be appointed there for that purpose?" I expected some direction would have been given in this in­stance, long ere this, from what was contained in yours ac­companying (or about the time of) the last remittance. I presume it has been omitted by reason of the multiplicity of important business before Congress.

In perusing the several resolves you honoured me with when at Philadelphia and since my return, I find one allow­ing a chief engineer for the army in a separate department. The service requiring many of them, I wish Congress, if they know any persons skilled in this business, would ap­point them. General Schuyler has frequently applied, and suggested the necessity of having some in Canada. I my­self know of none.

I also find there is a resolve of the third of June for taking Indians into the service, which, if literally constru­ed, confines them to that in Canada. Is that the meaning of Congress, or that the commander-in-chief may order their service to any place he may think necessary?

In respect to the establishing expresses between the sever­al continental posts,—who is to do it? the resolve does not say. Is it expected by Congress that I should? Who­ever the work is assigned to, I think, should execute it with the utmost dispatch. The late imperfect and contradicto­ry accounts respecting our defeat at the Cedars, strongly point out the necessity there is for it. No intelligence is yet come from any officer in command there, (and most probably for want of a proper channel to convey it) though this misfortune happened so long ago.

When I had the honour of being in Congress, if I mis­take not, I heard a resolve read, or was told of one, allow­ing the New-York troops the same pay as others in the continental service. This, if any such, I do not find; and if there is not such a one, I shall be under some embarrass­ment, how to pay the militia to be provided by this prov­ince. The resolve providing them says they are to be paid, while in service, as other troops are. But if those enlisted heretofore in this province are to receive according to the first establishment, it is a matter of doubt what the militia are to have.

Before this comes to hand, a hand-bill, containing an [Page 148] account of a victory gained by general Arnold over the party that had defeated colonel Biddle and major Sher­burne, will most probably have reached you. I have in­quired into the authenticity of this fortunate report, and have found there is no dependence to be put in it; nor do I believe it deserving of the least credit. I shall be happy not to hear the reverse.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. If Congress have come to any resolution about an allowance to induce men to re-enlist, you will please to fa­vour me with it, as the time the rifle regiment is engaged for is just expired.

As the militia will be coming in, and they will be in much need of covering, please to have all the tents, and cloth proper for making them that can be procured, for­warded as soon as possible.

SIR,

I WAS honoured yesterday with your favour of the seventh, with its inclosures. When Dr. Potts arrives, I shall order him to Canada or Lake-George, as may appear most proper. It is certainly necessary that he or Dr. S [...]inge [...] should go to the former. The resolve respecting general Wooster's recal I will immediately transmit him, with directions to repair hither without delay.

The situation of our affairs in Canada, as reported by the honourable commissioners, is truly alarming; and I am sorry that my opinion of the ill consequences resulting from the short enlistment of the army should be but too well confirmed by the experience they have had of the want of discipline and order in our soldiery there. This induces me again to wish Congress to determine on a lib­eral allowance to engage the troops already in service to re-enlist for a longer period, or during the continuance of the war; nor can I forbear expressing my opinion of the propriety of keeping the military chest always supplied with money, as evils of the most interesting nature are often pro­duced for want of a regular payment of troops. The neg­lect makes them impatient and uneasy.

[Page 149] I am much surprised at the scarcity of provisions there, particularly of flour; as, from several accounts I had re­ceived from thence, I was led to expect that considerable supplies of that article could be procured there. That our misfortunes may not become greater, I have wrote to the commissary to forward more provisions, in addition to those already sent.

An adjutant and quarter-master-general are indispensably necessary, with assistants. The money saved to the conti­nent by their non-appointment will be but small and trifling, when put in competition with the loss for want of them. Colonel Fleming, who acted in the former capacity under general Montgomery, is now here: but his indisposition is such as to render him unfit, at this time, for the post:—it is an important one, and requires vigour and activity to discharge the duties of it. He will be of much service to colonel Reed, the business of whose office will increase considerably by the augmentation of the army.

It will be necessary, too, that the commissaries in Can­ada, and the deputy quarter-master-generals, should have several assistants and clerks: nor do I think a precise num­ber can be fixed on, as a variety of circumstances may and must occur, to render the number, essential for doing the business in those departments, greater or less at different times. It will be better, I apprehend, to leave it indef­inite, and with power to the commanding officer to allow such as may be wanted.

I am still in the dark, how the unfortunate affair ended at the Cedars, or on what terms the surrender was made, as the last letter from the commissioners has reference to a former, and mentions an agreement entered into, which I have not seen: but I know of i [...] more than I could wish.

I have received from Providence, in consequence of Mr. Morris's order, as chairman of the secret committee of Congress, two hundred and thirty-four muskets, in part of the two hundred and forty-four directed to be sent. The inclosed copy of a letter from Mr. Brown will ac­count for the deficiency.

I shall be much obliged by your ordering a quantity of lead and flints to be immediately forwarded: our demands for both are and will be very pressing. There are also want­ed [Page 150] some particular and necessary medicines to complete our hospital chests, of which I will get Dr. Morgan to furnish Congress with a list, when he writes or waits on them about some other matters necessary to be fixed in his de­partment.

As general Wooster, in all probability, will be here in a little time in compliance with the resolve of Congress and my order transmitted to him, I wish to know what I am to do with him when he comes.

General Schuyler, in his letter of the thirty-first ultimo, of which I transmitted you a copy yesterday, mentions that sundry persons had a design to seize him as a tory, and probably still have; and wishes Congress to give him some public mark of their approbation, if they are convinc­ed of his zeal and attachment to the cause of his country. Whether he intended that I should communicate his desire to them, or not, I am not certain: but, supposing that he did, I must beg leave to request that you will lay the par­agraph before them, that they may do, in the instance of his requisition, whatever they may judge necessary.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. If Congress have agreed to the report of the committee for allowing the Indians fifty pounds for every prisoner they shall take at Niagara, &c. it is material I should be informed of it. This will be a favourable oppor­tunity for them to embrace, to gain possession of Detroit and the other posts, whilst the enemy are engaged towards Montréal, &c.

SIR,

SINCE I did myself the honour of writing to you yesterday, I have had the satisfaction of seeing, and for a few minutes conversing with Mr. Chase and Mr. Car­roll, from Canada. Their account of our troops and the situation of affairs in that department cannot possibly sur­prise you more than it has done me. But I need not touch upon a subject which you will be so well informed of from the fountain-head; nor should I have given you the trouble of a letter by this day's post, but for the distraction [Page 151] which seems to prevail in the commissary's department, as well as others in that quarter,—the necessity of having it under one general direction,—and the dissatisfaction of colonel Trumbull at the allowance made him by Congress as an equivalent for his trouble. With respect to this particular matter, I can only say that I think he is a man well [calculated] for the business, and that, where a shil­ling is saved in the pay, a pound may be lost by misman­agement in the office; and that his resignation at this time (I mean this campaign) may possibly be attended with fa­tal consequences. I therefore humbly submit to Congress the propriety of handsomely rewarding those gentlemen who hold such very important, troublesome, and hazard­ous offices, as commissary and quarter-master.

In speaking to the former about the supplies necessary for the troops to be raised, he informed me that the quan­tity of salt provisions which was shipping from hence might render his attempts to do it precarious; in consequence of which, I desired him to lay the matter before the con­vention of this colony, which he will do this day, but in the mean while desired Congress might be informed of the matter, which I cannot better do than in his own words inclosed, and submit the consideration of it to the wisdom of that honourable body.

To Congress I also submit the propriety of keeping the two continental battalions (under the command of colonels Shee and McGaw) at Philadelphia, when there is the greatest probability of a speedy attack upon this place from the king's troops. The encouragements given by gover­nor Tryon to the disaffected, which are circulated, no one can well tell how,—the movements of these kind of peo­ple, which are more easy to perceive than describe,—the confident report, which is said to have come immediately from governor Tryon, and brought by a frigate from Hal­ifax, that the troops at that place were embarking for this,—added to a thousand incidental circumstances, trivial in themselves, but strong from comparison,—leave not a doubt upon my mind but that troops are hourly expected at the Hook.

I had no doubt when I left this city for Philadelphia, but that some measures would have been taken to secure [Page 152] the suspected and dangerous persons of this government before now, and left orders for the military to give every aid to the civil power. But the subject is delicate, and nothing is done in it. We may therefore have internal as well as external enemies to contend with.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE the honour of transmitting to Congress a letter which came by express last night from general Schuyler, inclosing a copy of a letter to him from colonel Kirkland. I have likewise inclosed the copy of one di­rected to general Putnam or the commanding officer at New-York. The representations contained in these letters have induced me, without waiting the determination of Congress, to direct general Schuyler immediately to com­mence a treaty with the Six Nations, and to engage them in our interest, upon the best terms he and his colleagues in commission can procure: and I trust the urgency of the occasion will justify my proceeding to the Congress:—the necessity for decision and dispatch in all our meas­ures, in my opinion, becomes every day more and more apparent.

The express, Mr. Bennet, was overtaken at Albany by general Schuyler, who had received intelligence at Fort-George that a considerable body of Mohawk Indians were coming down the Mohawk river under the conduct of Sir John Johnston. The general's extreme hurry would not allow him to write: but it seems his intention is to collect at Albany a sufficient force to oppose Sir John. I have given him my opinion that colonel Day­ton's regiment should be employed in that service, and to secure the post where Fort-Stanwix formerly stood.

In consequence of an information that several mer­chants were exporting salt pork and beef from this place, I requested the commissary to make application to the provincial Congress for a restraint to be laid on the ex­portation of those articles, as I apprehended, not only that the enemy might receive supplies by the capture of [Page 153] our vessels, but that our people might shortly experience a scarcity. The provincial Congress have accordingly made a resolution (a copy of which is inclosed) to stop the exportation for fourteen days. They expect Congress will in the mean time frame some general regulations on this head. They are unwilling (they say) to subject their constituents to partial restraints.

I once mentioned to Congress that I thought a war-office extremely necessary, and they seemed inclined to in­stitute one for our army; but the affair seems to have been since dropped. Give me leave again to insist on the util­ity and importance of such an establishment. The more I reflect upon the subject, the more I am convinced of its necessity, and that affairs can never be properly con­ducted without it.

It is with pleasure I receive the resolve inclosed in your favour of the eleventh instant. One considerable ground of dissatisfaction in the army is thereby removed.

I have employed persons in building the gondolas and rafts which the Congress thought necessary for the defence of this place; and, in conjunction with the provincial Congress, have determined to sink chevaux-de-frise, one of which is already begun.

I am, with the utmost respect and esteem, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HEREWITH transmit you copies of a letter from general Schuyler and its several inclosures, which I received since I had the honour of addressing you yester­day. From these you will learn that general Thomas died the second instant; and the apprehensions of our frontier friends in this colony, that our savage foes are meditating an attack against them.

I must beg leave to refer you to a paragraph in the copy of general Schuyler's letter to general Putnam or the com­manding officer here, inclosed in mine of the thirteenth, where he requests a supply of cloathing to be sent for the army in Canada. As there is but little or no probability of [Page 154] getting it here, I shall be glad to know whether there will be any chance of procuring it in Philadelphia; and, if it should be sent through the hands of the quarter-master here, to what account it is to be charged.

I was last evening favoured with yours of the eleventh instant, and hope the two battalions, which Congress have ordered from Philadelphia for the defence of this place, will come provided with arms. If they do not, they will be of no service, as there are more troops here already than are armed.

From general Schuyler's letter, he has in view the tak­ing post where Fort-Stanwix formerly stood. I wrote him I thought it prudent, previous to that, to secure a post lower down, about the falls below the German-Flats, lest the savages should possess themselves of the country, and pre­vent supplies of men and provisions that may be necessary to send there in future. He says he is in want of cannon and ammunition; but has expressed himself so ambiguously, that I am at a loss to know whether he meant what he has said as an application or not,—this being the only intelli­gence on the subject, and the first mention of his want. I have desired him to explain the matter, and, in his future requisitions for necessaries, to be more certain and explicit as to quantity and quality. In the mean time I shall send him some intrenching tools, and inquire whether there are any cannon that can be spared from hence.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to transmit to Congress a copy of a letter covering copies of other papers, which I re­ceived yesterday evening from general Sullivan. The intel­ligence communicated by him is pleasing and interesting, and such as must afford the greatest satisfaction, if the conduct the Canadians have discovered since his arrival among them is ingenuous and sincere.

General Sullivan mentions his having given commissions to some of the Canadians as a measure founded in necessity, and requests my approbation of it. But not considering [Page 155] myself empowered to say any thing upon the subject, it may not be improper for Congress to give him their opinion in this instance.

I have also inclosed copies of general Schuyler's letters received at the same time. They contain accounts respect­ing the Indians, variant from what was reported by Mr. Kirkland, but amounting to the same thing,—the probabil­ity of the savages attacking our frontiers.

By last night's post I had information of a capture made by our armed vessels, of one of the transports with a com­pany of Highlanders on board, bound to Boston. The in-closed extract from general Ward's letter to me will give you the intelligence more particularly. There are accounts in the city mentioning other valuable prizes: but as general Ward has said nothing of them, I fear they want authen­ticity.

I beg leave to mention that a further sum of money will be wanted for our military chest by the time it can be sent. The inclosed note from the pay-master-general shews the necessity for it; and, I may add, besides his estimate of draughts to be made, there are the claims of the eastern troops at Boston for three or four months' pay, not included, and now due.

Colonel McGaw is arrived with part of his battalion; and by Wednesday evening the whole both of his and colonel Shee's will be here, as I am told.

As it is and may be of great importance to have a com­munication with the Jersies and Long-Island, I have had several flat-bottomed boats built for the purpose, and have thoughts of getting more for Posaic and Hackinsac rivers, where they may be equally necessary for transporting our army or part of it occasionally, or succours coming to or going from it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I BEG leave to inform Congress that general Woos­ter has repaired to head-quarters in obedience to their resolve transmitted him; and shall be extremely glad if [Page 156] they will give me such further directions about him as they may conceive necessary. He is desirous of seeing his family in Connecticut, as I am informed, having been a good while from it. I shall wait their instructions as to his future employment.

I am, Sir, with sentiments of much esteem, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM now to acknowledge the receipt of your fa­vours of the fourteenth and eighteenth instant, and the interesting resolves contained in them, with which I have been honoured. The several matters recommended to my attention shall be particularly regarded, and the directions of Congress and your requests complied with in every in­stance, as far as in my power.

The instituting a war-office is certainly an event of great importance, and, in all probability, will be recorded as such in the historic page. The benefits derived from it, I flatter myself, will be considerable, though the plan upon which it is first formed may not be entirely perfect. This, like other great works, in its first edition, may not be free from error:—time will discover its defects, and ex­perience suggest the remedy, and such further improvements as may be necessary; but it was right to give it a begin­ning, in my opinion.

The recommendation to the convention of New-York for restraining and punishing disaffected persons, I am hopeful, will be attended with salutary consequences; and the prohibition against exporting provisions appears to have been a measure founded in sound policy, lest proper supplies should be wanted, wherewith to supply our armies.

I have transmitted general Schuyler the resolves about the Indians, and the others on which he is to act; and have requested his strict attention and exertions in or­der to their being carried into execution with all possible dispatch.

I note your request respecting Mr. Hancock. He shall have such directions as may be necessary for conducting [Page 157] his office; and I am happy he will have so early a re­mittance for paying the troops in his department.

The silver and paper money designed for Canada will be highly serviceable, and I hope will be the means of re­establishing our credit there in some degree with the Can­adians, and also encourage our men too, who have com­plained in this instance. When it arrives, I will send it forward under a proper guard.

I have communicated to major-general Gates the re­solve of Congress for him to repair to Canada, and di­rected him to view Point-au-fer, that a fortress may be erected if he shall judge necessary. He is preparing for his command, and in a few days will take his departure for it. I would fain hope his arrival there will give our af­fairs a complexion different from what they have worn for a long time past, and that many essential benefits will result from it.

The kind attention Congress have shewn to afford the commander-in-chief here every assistance, by resolving that recommendatory letters be written to the conventions of New-Jersey, New-York, and assembly of Connecticut, to authorize him to call in the militia in case of exigency, claims my thankful acknowledgments; and, I trust, if carried into execution, will produce many advantages in case it may be expedient at any time to call in early rein­forcements. The delays incident to the ordinary mode may frequently render their aid too late, and prove ex­ceedingly injurious.

I this evening received intelligence of the nineteenth instant from captain Pond, of the armed sloop Schuyler, of his having taken, about fifty miles from this, on the south side of Long-Island, a ship and a sloop bound to Sandy-Hook. The ship, from Glasgow, with a company of the forty-second regiment, had been taken by one of commodore Hopkins's fleet, who took the soldiers out, and ordered her to Rhode-Island; after which, she was retaken by the Cerberus, and put under the convoy of the sloop. As captain Pond informs me, there were five com­missioned officers, two ladies, and four privates on board. They are not yet arrived at head-quarters. Inclosed is an invoice of what they have on board.

[Page 158] General Wooster having expressed an inclination and wish to wait on Congress, I have given him permission, not having any occasion for him here. He set out this morning.

I have been up to view the grounds about Kingsbridge, and find them to admit of several places well calculated for defence; and, esteeming it a pass of the utmost importance, have ordered works to be laid out, and shall direct part of the two battalions from Pennsylvania to set about the ex­ecution immediately, and will add to their number several of the militia when they come in, to expedite them with all possible dispatch. Their consequence, as they will keep open the communication with the country, requires the most speedy completion of them.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with your favour of the nineteenth instant, with sundry resolves of Congress, which came to hand after I had closed mine of the twenti­eth. I shall appoint a deputy muster-master-general as soon as I can fix upon a proper person for the office, and direct him immediately to repair to Canada.

Mr. Bennet, the bearer of this, delivered me a letter to-day from general Schuyler, inclosing the proceedings of the commissioners of Indian affairs at a meeting at Albany in consequence of the resolution of Congress (as they say) which I transmitted, the seventh instant, for engaging the Indians in our service. The gentlemen appear to me to have widely mistaken the views of Congress in this in­stance, and to have formed a plan for engaging such Indians as were not in contemplation. I cannot account upon what principles they have gone, as a part of their proceed­ings shews they are about to hold a conference with the Six Nations. I suppose they esteemed what they have done a necessary measure:—a copy of which I have the honour to inclose you.

I shall now beg leave to lay before Congress a proposi­tion made to me by captain Leary of this city, in behalf [Page 159] of a body of men who are desirous of being employed in the continental service as a troop of horse, and at the same time to offer my opinion that such a corps may be ex­tremely useful in many respects. In a march, they may be of the utmost service in reconnoitring the enemy and gaining intelligence, and have it in their power to render many important benefits. The terms on which they are willing to engage are inclosed, which appear to me mod­erate and reasonable. I am also informed that another company might readily be made up, and most probably upon the same terms. I would therefore submit the pro­priety and expediency of the measure to the consideration of Congress, and wish their opinion whether it will be agreeable to them that both or either of them should be formed and incorporated in this army, in manner as has been proposed by captain Leary, if it can be done.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be delivered to you by the chevalier de Kirmovan and monsieur de Vermonet. They are French gentlemen just arrived in this place, who have made appli­cation to me to be received into the continental service. They bring letters to Dr. Franklin and some other gen­tlemen of the Congress. I suppose it will better appear from those letters, than from any information I can give, whether it will be proper to employ them in the capacity they are desirous of.

I am, Sir, with the greatest esteem, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HEREWITH transmit you an extract of a letter from general Ward which came to hand by last night's post containing the agreeable intelligence of their having obliged the king's ships to leave Nantasket-road, and of two transports more being taken by our armed vessels, with two hundred and ten Highland troops on board.

[Page 160] I sincerely wish the same success had attended our arms in another quarter—but it has not. In Canada, the situation of our affairs is truly alarming. The inclosed copies of generals Schuyler, Sullivan, and Arnold's letters will in­form you that general Thompson has met with a repulse at Three-Rivers, and is now a prisoner in the hands of gen­eral Burgoyne, who (these accounts say) is arrived with a considerable army. Nor do they seem to promise an end of our misfortunes here:—it is greatly to be feared that the next advices from thence will be, that our shattered, divided, and broken army (as you will see by the return) have been obliged to abandon the country, and retreat, to avoid a greater calamity,—that of being cut off or becom­ing prisoners. I will have done upon the subject, and leave you to draw such conclusions as you conceive from the state of facts are most likely to result, only adding my apprehensions that one of the latter events,—either that they are cut off, or become prisoners,—has already happened, if they did not retreat while they had an oppor­tunity. General Schuyler and general Arnold seem to think it extremely probable: and if it has taken place, it will not be easy to describe all the fatal consequences that may flow from it. At least our utmost exertions will be necessary, to prevent the advantages they have gained being turned to our greater misfortunes. General Gates will cer­tainly set out to-morrow, and would have gone before now had he not expected to receive some particular instructions from Congress, which colonel Braxton said he imagined would be given, and transmitted here.

Inclosed is a copy of a letter from general Arnold, re­specting some of the Indian tribes, to general Schuyler, and of a talk had at Albany with thirteen of the Oneidas. They seemed then to entertain a friendly disposition towards us, which I wish may not be changed by the misfortunes we have sustained in Canada.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I THIS morning received, by express, letters from generals Schuyler and Arnold, with a copy of one from [Page 161] general Sullivan to the former, and also of others to gener­al Sullivan; of all which I do myself the honour to trans­mit you copies. They will give you a further account of the melancholy situation of our affairs in Canada, and shew that there is nothing left to save our army there but evacu­ating the country.

I am hopeful general Sullivan would retreat from the Isle-aux-noix without waiting for previous orders for that purpose; as, from generals Schuyler and Arnold's letters, it is much to be feared, by remaining there any considera­ble time, his retreat would be cut off, or at least be a mat­ter of extreme difficulty. I would observe to Congress that it is not in my power to send any carpenters from hence to build the gondolas and gallies general Arnold mentions, without taking them from a work equally necessary (if not more so) here, of the same kind:—and submit it to them whether it may not be adviseable (as it is of great import­ance to us to have a number of those vessels on the Lake, to prevent the enemy's passing) to withdraw the carpenters for the present from the frigates building up the North-river, and detach them immediately, with all that can be got at Philadelphia, for that purpose and carrying on those here.

I have the pleasure to inform you of another capture made by our armed vessels, of a transport, on the nine­teenth instant, with a company of Highland grenadiers on board. The inclosed extract of a letter from general Ward, by last night's post, contains the particulars; to which I beg leave to refer you.

I have been honoured with your favours of the twenty-first and twenty-fifth instant in due order, with their im­portant inclosures, to which I shall particularly attend. I have transmitted general Schuyler a copy of the resolve of Congress respecting the Mohickan and Stockbridge In­dians, and directed him to put an immediate stop to the raising the two companies.

The quarter-master-general has been called upon for stopping the tents designed for Massachusetts-Bay, and or­dered to forward them immediately. He means to write to Congress upon the subject, and hopes his conduct will [Page 162] not appear to deserve their reprehension. Of this they will judge from his relation of the matter.

Being extremely desirous to forward the intelligence from Canada to Congress, well knowing their anxiety about our affairs there, I must defer writing upon some other matters I want to lay before them, until the next oppor­tunity, which I hope will be to-morrow, when I will in­form them fully upon the subject of rations, having desired the commissary-general to furnish me with some things necessary in that instance.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

UPON information that major * * * was travelling through the country under suspicious circumstances, I thought it necessary to have him secured. I therefore sent after him. He was taken at South-Amboy, and brought up to New-York. Upon examination, he inform­ed me that he came from New-Hampshire, the country of his usual abode, where he had left his family; and pre­tended he was destined to Philadelphia on business with Congress.

As by his own confession he had crossed Hudson's­river at New-Windsor, and was taken so far out of his proper and direct route to Philadelphia—this consideration, added to the length of time he had taken to perform his journey,—his being found in so suspicious a place as Am­boy,—his unnecessary stay there on pretence of getting some baggage from New-York, and an expectation of re­ceiving money from a person here, of bad character, and in no circumstances to furnish him out of his own stock,—the major's reputation, and his being a half-pay officer, have increased my jealousies about him.

The business, which he informs me he has with Con­gress, is a secret offer of his services, to the end that, in case it should be rejected, he might have his way left open to an employment in the East-Indies, to which he is assigned: and in that case he flatters himself he will ob­tain leave of Congress to go to Great-Britain.

[Page 163] As he had been put upon his parole by Congress, I thought it would be improper to stay his progress to Phil­adelphia, should he be in fact destined thither. I there­fore send him forward, but (to prevent imposition) under the care of an officer, with letters found upon him, which, from their tenour, seem calculated to recommend him to Congress. I submit it to their consideration, whether it would not be dangerous to accept of the offer of his services.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IN compliance with the request of Congress contain­ed in your favour of the twenty-fifth instant, and my prom­ise of yesterday, I do myself the honour to inform you that the cost of a ration, according to the commissary-general's estimate, from the first of July to the first of December, will be from eight-pence to eight-pence halfpen­ny, York currency.

Having discharged the obligation I was under in this instance, and finding that many applications have been made for victualling the flying camp, I would, with all possible deference, wish Congress to consider the matter well before they come to any determination upon it. Who the gentlemen are that have made offers upon this occasion, I know not: consequently my objections to their appointment cannot proceed from personal dislike; nor have I it in view to serve Mr. Trumbull the commissary-general, by wishing him to have the direction of the whole supplies for his emolument; because whatever rations are taken from him save him the trouble of supplying provis­ions to the amount, without diminishing his pay,—that being fixed and certain:—but what influences me is a re­gard to the public good. I am morally certain, if the business is taken out of Mr. Trumbull's hands and put in­to another's, that it may and will in all probability be at­tended with great and many inconveniences. It is likely, during the continuance of the war between us and Great-Britain, that the army here, or part of it, and the troops [Page 164] composing the flying camp, will be frequently joined, and under the necessity of affording each other mutual aid. If this event is probable (and most certainly it is) the same confusion and disorder will result from having two com­missaries, or one commissary and one contractor in the [...] army in the same department, as did between Mr. Trumbull and Mr. Livingston on the coming of the form­er to New-York. I cannot discriminate the two cases; and not foreseeing that any good consequences will flow from the measure, but that many bad ones will,—such as clashing of interests,—a contention for stores, carriages,—and many other causes that might be mentioned if hurry of business would permit,—I confess I cannot perceive the propriety of appointing a different person, or any but the commissary.

I would also add, that few armies, if any, have been better supplied than the troops under Mr. Trumbull's care in this instance; which, I should suppose, ought to have considerable weight, especially as we have strong reasons to believe that a large share of the misfortunes our arms have sustained in Canada sprang from a want of proper and necessary supplies of provisions.

Mr. Trumbull too (I am informed) has already made provision in New-Jersey for the flying camp which will be stationed there, and employed proper persons in that colony to transact the business incident to his department, in obe­dience to my orders, and in full confidence that it was to come under his management.

My great desire to see the affairs of this important post, on which so much depends, go on in an easy, smooth and uninterrupted course, has led me to say thus much upon the subject, and will, I hope, (if I am unhappy enough to differ in opinion with Congress) plead my excuse for the liberty I have taken.

I would also beg leave to mention to Congress the ne­cessity there is of some new regulations being entered into, respecting the chaplains of this army. They will remem­ber that applications were made to increase their pay, which was conceived too low for their support; and that it was proposed (if it could not be done for the whole) that the number should be lessened, and one be appointed [Page 165] to two regiments, with an additional allowance. This latter expedient was adopted, and, while the army con­tinued all together at one encampment, answered well, or at least did not produce many inconveniences. But the army now being differently circumstanced from what it then was,—part here, part at Boston, and a third part detached to Canada,—has introduced much confusion and disorder in this instance; nor do I know how it is possible to remedy the evil, but by affixing one to each regiment, with salaries competent to their support. No shifting, no change from one regiment to another can answer the pur­pose; and in many cases it could never be done though the regiments should consent,—as where detachments are composed of unequal numbers, or ordered from different posts. Many more inconveniences might be pointed out: but these, it is presumed, will sufficiently shew the defect of the present establishment, and the propriety of an alter­ation. What that alteration shall be, Congress will please to determine.

Congress, I doubt not, will have heard of the plot that was forming among many disaffected persons in this city and government for aiding the king's troops upon their arrival. No regular plan seems to have been digested: but several persons have been enlisted, and sworn to join them. The matter, I am in hopes, by a timely discovery, will be suppressed and put a stop to. Many citizens and others, among whom is the mayor, are now in confine­ment. The matter has been traced up to governor Tryon; and the mayor appears to have been a principal agent, or go-between him and the persons concerned in it. The plot had been communicated to some of the army, and part of my guard engaged in it. T * * * H * * *, one of them, has been tried, and, by the unanimous opinion of a court-martial, is sentenced to die,—having enlisted himself, and engaged others. The sentence, by the advice of the whole council of general officers, will be put in execution to-day at eleven o'clock. The others are not tried. I am hopeful this example will produce many salutary con­sequences, and deter others from entering into the like traitorous practices.

[Page 166] The inclosed copy of a resolve of the provincial Con­gress will shew that some of the disaffected on Long-Island have taken up arms. I have, agreeable to their request, sent a party after them, but have not as yet been able to apprehend them,—having concealed themselves in differ­ent woods and morasses.

General Gates set out on Tuesday with a fine wind which has been fair ever since, and would soon arrive at Albany.

I this moment received a letter from lieutenant Davison, of the Schuyler armed sloop, a copy of which I have in-closed; to which I beg leave to refer you for the intelli­gence communicated by him.

I could wish general Howe and his armament not to arrive yet, as not more than a thousand militia have yet come in, and our whole force (including the troops at all the detached posts, and on board the armed vessels, which are comprehended in our returns) is but small and incon­siderable, when compared with the extensive lines they are to defend, and (most probably) the army that he brings. I have no further intelligence about him than what the lieutenant mentions: but it is extremely probable his ac­counts and conjectures are true.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have inclosed a general return:—and it may be certainly depended on, that general Howe and fleet have sailed from Halifax. Some of the men, on board the prizes mentioned in the lieutenant's letter, were on board the Greyhound, and saw general Howe.

SIR,

I was last night honoured with your favour of the twenty-sixth instant, and, agreeable to your request, shall pay proper attention to the resolves it inclosed.

I observe the augmentation Congress have resolved to make to the forces destined for the northern department, and the bounty to be allowed such soldiers as will enlist for three years. I hope many good consequences will re­sult from these measures; and that, from the latter, a con­siderable [Page 167] number of men may be induced to engage in the service.

I should esteem myself extremely happy to afford the least assistance to the Canada department in compliance with the desire of Congress and your requisition, were it in my power: but it is not. The return which I trans­mitted yesterday will but too well convince Congress of my incapacity in this instance, and point out to them that the force I now have is trifling, considering the many and important posts that are necessary, and must be supported, if possible. But few militia have yet come in, the whole being about twelve hundred, including the two battalions of this city, and one company from the Jersies. I wish the delay may not be attended with disagreeable conse­quences, and their aid may not come too late, or when it may not be wanted. I have wrote, I have done every thing I could, to call them in: but they have not come, though I am told that they are generally willing.

The accounts communicated yesterday through lieuten­ant Davison's letter are partly confirmed, and, I dare say, will turn out to be true on the whole. For two or three days past, three or four ships have been dropping in; and I just now received an express from an officer appointed to keep a look-out on Staten-Island, that forty-five arrived at the Hook to-day:—some say more; and I suppose the whole fleet will be in, within a day or two. I am hope­ful, before they are prepared to attack, that I shall get some reinforcements. Be that as it may, I shall attempt to make the best disposition I can of our troops, in order to give them a proper reception, and to prevent the ruin and destruction they are meditating against us.

As soon as the express arrived last night, I sent the let­ters for the northern colonies to the quarter-master-general, with orders to forward them immediately.

When monsieur Wiebert comes, (I have not seen him yet) I shall employ him as Congress have directed. The terms upon which he offers his service seem to promise something from him. I wish he may answer, and be skill­ed in the business he says he is acquainted with.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 168]
SIR,

I HAD the pleasure of receiving your favour of the twenty-ninth early this morning, with which you have been pleased to honour me, together with the resolves for a fur­ther augmentation of our army.

The battalion of Germans, which Congress have order­ed to be raised, will be a corps of much service; and I am hopeful that such persons will be appointed officers, as will complete their enlistments with all possible expedition.

I shall communicate to colonel Stevenson and one of his field-officers what you have requested, and direct them to re­pair immediately to Philadelphia. It is an unlucky cir­cumstance that the term of enlistment of these three com­panies, and of the rifle battalion, should expire at this time when a hot campaign is, in all probability, about to com­mence.

Canada, it is certain, would have been an important ac­quisition, and well worth the expenses incurred in the pur­suit of it. But as we could not reduce it to our possession, the retreat of our army with so little loss, under such a va­riety of distresses, must be esteemed a most fortunate event. It is true, the accounts we have received do not fully au­thorise us to say that we have sustained no loss: but they hold forth a probable ground for such conclusion. I am anxious to hear it confirmed.

I have the honour of transmitting you an extract of a letter received last night from general Ward. If the scheme the privateers had in view, and the measures he had planned, have been carried into execution, the Highland corps will be tolerably well disposed of: but I fear the for­tunate event has not taken place.

In general Ward's letter, was inclosed one from lieuten­ant-colonel Campbell, who was made prisioner with the Highland troops. I have transmitted you a copy. This will give you a full and exact account of the number of prisoners that were on board the four transports; and will prove, beyond a possibility of doubt, that the evacuation of Boston by the British troops was a matter neither known nor expected when he received his orders. Indeed so [Page 169] many facts had concurred before to settle the matter, that no additional proofs were necessary.

When I had the honour of addressing you yesterday, I had only been informed of the arrival of forty-five of the fleet in the morning. Since that, I have received authentic in­telligence from sundry persons (among them, from general Greene) that a hundred and ten sail came in before night, that were counted, and that more were seen about dusk in the offing. I have no doubt but the whole that sailed from Halifax are now at the Hook.

Just as I was about to conclude my letter, I received one from a gentleman upon the subject of calling the five regiments from Boston to the defence of Canada or New-York, and to have militia raised in their lieu. I have sent you a copy, and shall only observe, that I know the author well: his hand-writing is quite familiar to me: he is a member of the General Court, very sensible, of great influ­ence, and a warm and zealous friend to the cause of Amer­ica. The expedient proposed by him is submitted to Con­gress.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you, and on the same day, several ships more arrived within the Hook, making the number that came in then a hundred and ten; and there remains no doubt of the whole of the fleet from Halifax being now here. Yesterday evening fifty of them came up the bay and anchored on the Staten-Island side. Their views I cannot precisely determine; but am ex­tremely apprehensive, as part of them only came, that they mean to surround the island, and secure the stock upon it. I had consulted with a committee of the provincial Con­gress upon the subject, before the arrival of the fleet; and they appointed a person to superintend the business, and to drive the stock off. I also wrote to brigadier-general Heard, and directed him to the measure lest it might be neglected; but am fearful it has not been effected.

[Page 170] Our reinforcement of militia is yet but small:—I can­not ascertain the amount, not having got a return. How­ever, I trust, if the enemy make an attack, they will meet with a repulse, as I have the pleasure to inform you that an agreeable spirit and willingness for action seem to animate and pervade the whole of our troops.

As it is difficult to determine what objects the enemy may have in contemplation, and whether they may not detach some part of their force to Amboy, and to ravage that part of the country, if not extend their views farther, I submit it to Congress whether it may not be expedient for them to repeat and press home their requests to the different governments that are to provide men for the fly­ing camp, to furnish their quotas with all possible dis­patch. It is a matter of great importance, and will be of serious consequence, to have the camp established in case the enemy should be able to possess themselves of this river, and cut off the supplies of troops that might be nec­essary on certain emergencies to be sent from hence.

I must entreat your attention to an application I made some time ago for flints. We are extremely deficient in this necessary article, and shall be greatly distressed if we cannot obtain a supply. Of lead we have a sufficient quantity for the whole campaign, taken off the houses here.

Esteeming it of infinite advantage to prevent the enemy from getting fresh provisions, and horses for their waggons, artillery, &c, I gave orders to a party of our men on Staten-Island (since writing to general Heard) to drive the stock off without waiting for the assistance or direction of the committees there, lest their slow mode of transacting business might produce too much delay;—and have sent this morning to know what they have done. I am this morning informed by a gentleman, that the committee of Elizabeth-Town sent their company of light-horse on Mon­day to effect it, and that some of their militia were to give their aid yesterday. He adds that he was credibly told last night by a party of the militia coming to this place, that yesterday they saw a good deal of stock driving off the [Page 171] island, and crossing to the Jersies. If the business is not executed before now, it will be impossible to do it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be handed to you by colonel Stevenson, whom I have ordered, with the captains of the two rifle companies from Maryland, to wait on Congress. They will point out such measures as they conceive most likely to advance the raising of the new rifle battalion, and the persons they think worthy of promotion, that have served in the three companies here, agreeable to the inclosed list. I am not acquainted with them myself, but from their re­port and recommendation, which I doubt not to be just; and that, if Congress will please to inquire of them, they will mention other proper persons for officers.

Only about forty of the three old companies have re­enlisted, whom I shall form into one for the present, and place under an officer or two, till a further and complete arrangement is made of the whole battalion.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

WHEN I had the honour to address you on the thirtieth ultimo, I transmitted a copy of a letter I had re­ceived from a gentleman, a member of the honourable Gen­eral Court, [of Massachusetts] suggesting the improbability of succours coming from thence in any reasonable time, either for the defence of this place, or to reinforce our troops engaged in the Canada expedition. I am sorry to inform you, that, from a variety of intelligence, his appre­hensions appear to be just, and to be fully confirmed: nor have I reason to expect but that the supplies from the other two governments, Connecticut and New-Hampshire, will be extremely slow and greatly deficient in number.

As it now seems beyond question, and clear to demon­stration, that the enemy mean to direct their operations [Page 172] and bend their most vigorous efforts against this colony, and will attempt to unite their two armies,—that under general Burgoyne, and the one arrived here,—I cannot but think the expedient proposed by that gentleman is ex­ceedingly just; and that the continental regiments, now in the Massachusetts-Bay, should be immediately called from thence, and be employed where there is the strongest rea­son to believe their aid will be indispensably necessary. The expediency of the measure I shall submit to the con­sideration of Congress, and will only observe, as my opin­ion, that there is not the most distant prospect of an at­tempt being made, where they now are, by the enemy; and, if there should, that the militia that can be assembled upon the shortest notice will be more than equal to repel it. They are well armed, resolute, and determined, and will instantly oppose any invasion that may be made in their own colony.

I shall also take the liberty again to request Congress to interest themselves in having the militia raised and for­warded with all possible expedition, as fast as any consid­erable number of them can be collected, that are to com­pose the flying camp. This I mentioned in my letter yes­terday, but think proper to repeat it, [...]ing more and more convinced of the necessity. The camp will be in the neighbourhood of Amboy: and I shall be glad that the conventions, or committees of safety, of those governments from whence they come, may be requested to give me previous notice of their marching, that I may form some plan, and direct provision to be made for their reception.

The disaffection of the people at that place and others not far distant is exceedingly great; and, unless it is checked and overawed, it may become more general, and be very alarming. The arrival of the enemy will encour­age it. They, or at least a part of them, are already land­ed on Staten-Island, which is quite contiguous; and about four thousand were marching about it yesterday, as I have been advised, and are leaving no arts un-essayed to gain the inhabitants to their side, who seem but too favourably disposed. It is not unlikely that in a little time they may attempt to cross to the Jersey side, and induce many to [Page 173] join them, either from motives of interest or fear, unless there is a force to oppose them.

As we are fully convinced that the ministerial army we shall have to oppose this campaign will be great and numer­ous, and well know that the utmost industry will be used, as it already has been, to excite the savages and every body of people to arms against us whom they can influence, it certainly behoves us to strain every nerve to counteract their designs. I would therefore submit it to Congress, whether (especially as our schemes for employing the west­ern Indians do not seem to be attended with any great prospect of success, from general Schuyler's accounts) it may not be adviseable to take measures to engage those of the eastward, the St. John's, Nova-Scotia, Penobscot, &c. in our favour. I have been told that several might be got, perhaps five or six hundred or more, readily to join us. If they can, I should imagine it ought to be done. It will prevent our enemies from securing their friendship; and further they will be of infinite service in annoying and harassing them, should they ever attempt to penetrate the country. Congress will be pleased to consider the measure: and if they determine to adopt it, I conceive it will be necessary to authorise and request the General Court of the Massachusetts-Bay to carry it into execution. Their situation and advantages will enable them to negociate a treaty and an alliance better than it can be done by any persons else.

I have been honoured with your two favours of the first instant; and, agreeable to the wishes of Congress, shall put monsieur Wiebert in the best place I can to prove his abilities in the art he professes. I shall send him up imme­diately to the works erecting towards Kingsbridge under the discretion of general Mifflin, whom I shall request to employ him.

I this moment received a letter from general Greene, an extract of which I have inclosed. The intelligence it contains is of the most important nature, and evinces the necessity of the most spirited and vigorous exertions on our part.

The expectation of the fleet under admiral Howe is cer­tainly the reason the army already come have not begun [Page 174] their hostile operations. When that arrives, we may look for the most interesting events, and such as, in all probabil­ity, will have considerable weight in the present contest. It behoves us to be prepared in the best manner: and I submit it again to Congress, whether the accounts given by their prisoners do not shew the propriety of calling the sev­eral continental regiments from the Massachusetts govern­ment, raising the flying camp with all possible dispatch, and engaging the eastern Indians.

July 5.—General Mercer arrived here on Tuesday, and, the next morning, was ordered to Paulus-Hook to make some arrangements of the militia as they came in, and the best disposition he could to prevent the enemy cross­ing from Staten-Island, if they should have any such views. The distressed situation of the inhabitants of Elizabeth-Town and Newark has since induced me, upon their appli­cation, to give up all the militia from the Jersies, except those engaged for six months. I am hopeful they will be able to repel any incursions that may be attempted. Gen­erals Mercer and Livingston are concerting plans for that purpose. By a letter from the latter last night, I am in­formed the enemy are throwing up small works at all the passes on the north side of Staten-Island, which it is prob­able they mean to secure.

None of the Connecticut militia are yet arrived: so that the reinforcement we have received is very inconsiderable.

A letter from general Schuyler, with sundry inclosures, (of which No 1, 2 and 3 are exact copies) this moment came to hand, and will no doubt claim, as it ought to do, the immediate attention of Congress. The evils which must inevitably follow a disputed command, are too obvi­ous and alarming to admit a moment's delay in your deci­sion thereupon: and, although I do not presume to advise in a matter, now, of this delicacy, yet as it appears evi­dent that the northern army has retreated to Crown-Point, and mean to act upon the defensive only, I cannot help giving it as my opinion that one of the major-gener­als in that quarter would be more usefully employed here, or in the flying camp, than there: for it becomes my du­ty to observe, if another experienced officer is taken from hence in order to command the flying camp, that your [Page 175] grand army will be entirely stripped of generals who have seen service,—being in a manner already destitute of such. My distress on this account,—the appointment of general Whitcomb to the eastern regiments,—a convic­tion in my own breast that no troops will be sent to Bos­ton,—and the certainty of a number coming to this place,—occasioned my postponing, from time to time, sending any general officer from hence to the eastward heretofore: and now I shall wait the sentiments of Congress relative to the five regiments in Massachusetts-Bay, before I do any thing in this matter.

The commissary-general has been with me this morning concerning the other matter contained in general Schuy­ler's letter respecting the business of that department. He has, I believe, (in order to remove difficulties) re­called Mr. Avery, but seems to think it necessary in that case that Mr. Livingston should be left to himself, as he cannot be responsible for persons not of his own appoint­ment. This matter should also be clearly defined by Congress. I have already given my opinion of the ne­cessity of these matters being under one general direction, in so full and clear a manner, that I shall not take up the time of Congress to repeat it in this place.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

CONGRESS having resolved to raise a regiment of Germans to counteract the designs of our enemies, I must beg leave to recommend to their notice John David Wilpert, now a first-lieutenant in colonel Shee's battalion, to the office of captain in said regiment. I am personally acquainted with him, and know that he joined the Vir­ginia forces under my command in the year 1754, and continued in service the whole war, during which he con­ducted himself as an active, vigilant, and brave officer. He is a German; and his merit, as a soldier, entitles him much to the office he wishes for.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 176]
SIR,

I AM now to acknowledge the receipt of your two favours of the fourth and sixth instant, which came duly to hand, with their important inclosures.

I perceive that Congress have been employed in delib­erating on measures of the most interesting nature. It is certain that it is not with us to determine in many in­stances what consequences will flow from our councils: but yet it behoves us to adopt such, as, under t [...] smiles of a gracious and all-kind Providence, will be most likely to promote our happiness. I trust the late decisive part they have taken is calculated for that end, and will secure us that freedom and those privileges, which have been and are refused us, contrary to the voice of nature and the British constitution. Agreeable to the request of Congress, I caused "THE DECLARATION" to be proclaimed before all the army under my immediate com­mand; and have the pleasure to inform them that the measure seemed to have their most hearty assent,—the ex­pressions and behaviour, both of officers and men, testify­ing their warmest approbation of it. I have transmitted a copy to general Ward at Boston, requesting him to have it proclaimed to the continental troops in that de­partment.

It is with great pleasure that I hear the militia from Maryland, the Delaware government, and Pennsylvania, will be in motion every day to form the flying camp. It is of great importance, and should be accomplished with all possible dispatch. The readiness and alacrity with which the committee of safety of Pennsylvania and the other conferees have acted in order to forward the asso­ciated militia of that State to the Jersies for service till the men to compose the flying camp arrive, strongly ev­idence their regard to the common cause, and that noth­ing on their part will be wanting to support it. I hope, and I doubt not, that the associated militia, impressed with the expediency of the measure, will immediately carry it into execution, and furnish in this instance a proof of the continuance of that zeal which has so eminently marked their conduct. I have directed the commissary [Page 177] to make the necessary provision for their reception, who will also supply the army for the flying camp with rations. A proper officer will be appointed to command it.

In pursuance of the power given me by Congress, and the advice of my general officers, I have wrote to general Ward, and desired him forthwith to detach three of the fullest regiments from the Massachusetts-Bay to join the northern army,—esteeming it a matter of the greatest im­portance to have a sufficient force there to prevent the en­emy passing the Lake and making an impression in that quarter. The gondolas and gallies will be of great ser­vice; and I am hopeful the carpenters you have sent from Philadelphia, and that will go from the eastward on your application, will be able to build a sufficient number in time to answer every exigency.

I have requested governor Cooke, if the duck men­tioned in Mr. Greene's letter is proper for tents, to have it made up as early as possible, and forwarded here. I have also desired him to send the [...]lints and small arms, as I have general Ward those of the latter that were tak­en out of the Scotch transports,—our deficiency in these necessary articles being still great.

Observing that Congress have particularly mentioned a bounty of ten dollars, to be paid to men of some corps directed to be raised in two or three instances since their resolve of the twenty-sixth of June, allowing such boun­ty, I have been led to doubt how that resolve is to be construed; whether it is a general regulation, and ex­tends to all men that will engage for three years,—for in­stance, the soliders of the present army, if they will en­list for that time. If it is, and extends to them, it will be necessary to forward a large sum of money: many per­haps would engage.

I also observe, by their resolve of the twenty-fifth of June for raising four regiments of militia in the eastern governments to augment the troops in the northern de­partment, that the assemblies of those governments are em­powered to appoint paymasters to the said regiments. This appears to me a regulation of great use, and I could wish that it was made general, and one allowed to eve­ry [Page 178] regiment in the service. Many advantages would re­sult from it.

The Connecticut militia begin to come in: but from every account the battalions will be very incomplete, owing, they say, to the busy season of the year. That government, lest any inconvenience might result from their militia not being here in time, ordered three regi­ments of their light-horse to my assistance, part of which have arrived. But, not having the means to support them (and, if it could be done, the expense would be enormous) I have thanked the gentlemen for their zeal, and the at­tachment they have manifested upon this occasion, and informed them that I cannot consent to their keeping their horses,—at the same time wishing them to stay themselves. I am told they or part of them mean to do so.

General Mercer is now in the Jersies, for the purpose of receiving and ordering the militia coming for the flying camp: and I have sent over our chief engineer to view the ground within the neighbourhood of Amboy, and to lay out some necessary works for the encampment, and such as may be proper at the different passes in Bergen-Neck, and other places on the Jersey shore opposite Staten-Island, to prevent the enemy making impres­sions, and committing depredations on the property of the inhabitants.

The intelligence we have from a few deserters that have come over to us, and from others, is that general Howe has between nine and ten thousand men, who are chiefly landed on the island, posted in different parts, and securing the several communications from the Jersies with small works and intrenchments, to prevent our people from paying them a visit;—that the islanders have all joined them, seem well disposed to favour their cause, and have agreed to take up arms in their behalf. They look for admiral Howe's arrival every day with his fleet and a large reinforcement; are in high spirits, and talk confi­dently of success, and carrying all before them when he comes. I trust, through divine favour and our own exer­tions, they will be disappointed in their views: and, at all events, any advantages they may gain will cost them [Page 179] very dear. If our troops will behave well (which I hope will be the case, having every thing to contend for that freemen hold dear) they will have to wade through much blood and slaughter before they can carry any part of our works, if they carry them at all,—and, at best, be in pos­session of a melancholy and mournful victory. May the sacredness of our cause inspire our soldiery with sentiments of heroism, and lead them to the performance of the no­blest exploits!—

With this wish, I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS honoured with your favour of the eighth in­stant by yesterday morning's post, with the several resolves to which you referred my attention. I shall duly regard them, and attempt their execution as far as I am able.

By virtue of the discretionary power that Congress were pleased to vest me with, and by advice of such of my gen­eral officers as I have had an opportunity of consulting, I have ordered the two remaining continental regiments in the Massachusetts-Bay to march immediately for the defence of this place, in full confidence that nothing hostile will be attempted against that State in the present campaign.

I have wrote to the General Court of Massachusetts-Bay, and transmitted a copy of the resolve for employing the eastern Indians, entreating their good offices in this instance, and their exertions to have them forthwith engaged and marched to join this army. I have desired five or six hun­dred of them to be enlisted for two or three years, if they will consent to it,—subject to an earlier discharge if it shall be thought necessary,—and upon the same terms as the con­tinental troops, if better cannot be had,—though I am hopeful they may.

In my letter of yesterday, I mentioned the arrival of part of the Connecticut light-horse to assist in the defence of this place, and my objection to their horses being kept. Four or five hundred of them are now come in; and, in justice to their zeal and laudable attachment to the cause of [Page 180] their country, I am to inform you that they have consented to stay as long as occasion may require, though they should be at the expense of maintaining their horses themselves. They have pastured them out about the neighbourhood of Kingsbridge (being unwilling to send them away) at the rate of half a dollar per week each, meaning to leave in en­tirely with Congress either to allow or refuse it, as they shall judge proper. I promised to make this representation and thought it my duty; and will only observe that the motives which induced them at first to set out were good and praise-worthy, and were, to afford the most speedy and early succour, which they apprehended would be wanted before the militia arrived. Their services may be extreme­ly important,—being most of them, if not all, men of rep­utation and of property.

The subject of the inclosed copy of a letter from gover­nor Trumbull I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress. They will perceive from his representation the disquieting apprehensions that have seized on the minds of the people since the retreat of the northern army, and how exposed the northern frontiers of New-York and New-Hampshire are to the ravages and incursions of the Indians. How far it may be expedient to raise the battalion he con­ceives necessary to prevent the calamities and distresses he points out, they will determine, upon what he has said, and the necessity that may appear to them for the measure;—what I have done, being only to lay the matter before them in compliance with his wishes.

I have also inclosed a memorial from the surgeons'-mates, setting forth the inadequacy of their pay to their ser­vices and maintenance, and praying that it may be increas­ed. I shall observe that they have a long time complained in this instance, and that some additional allowance may not be unnecessary.

As I am truly sensible the time of Congress is much taken up with a variety of important matters, it is with un­willingness and pain I ever repeat a request after having once made it, or take the liberty of enforcing any opinion of mine after it is once given: but as the establishing of some office for auditing accounts is a matter of exceeding importance to the public interest, I would beg leave once [Page 181] mere to call the attention of Congress to an appointment competent to the purpose. Two motives induce me to urge the matter; first, a conviction of the utility of the meas­ure—secondly, that I may stand exculpated if hereafter it should appear that money has been improperly expended, and necessaries for the army obtained upon unreasonable terms.

For me, whose time is employed from the hour of my rising till I retire to bed again, to go into an examination of the accounts of such an army as this with any degree of precision and exactness, without neglecting other matters of equal importance, is utterly impracticable. All that I have been able to do (and that, in fact, was doing nothing) was, when the commissary, and quarter-master, and director-general of the hospital (for it is to these the great advances are made) applied for warrants,—to make them at times produce a general account of their expenditures. But this answers no valuable purpose. It is the minutiae that must be gone into,—the propriety of each charge examined,—the vouchers looked into;—and, with respect to the com­missary-general, his victualling returns and expenditures of provisions should be compared with his purchases: other­wise a person in this department, if he was inclined to be knavish, might purchase large quantities with the public money, and fell one half of it again for private emolument; and yet his accounts upon paper would appear fair, and be supported with vouchers for every charge.

I do not urge this matter from a suspicion of any [...]nfair practices in either of the departments before mentioned; and sorry should I be if this construction was put upon it, having a high opinion of the honour and integrity of these gentlemen. But there should nevertheless be some con­trol as well upon their discretion as honesty:—to which may be added, that accounts become perplexed and con­fused by long standing, and the errors therein not so dis­coverable as if they underwent an early revision and exam­ination. I am well apprised that a treasury-office of ac­counts has been resolved upon, and an auditor-general for settling all public accounts: but, with all deference and submission to the opinion of Congress, these institutions are not calculated to prevent the inconveniences I have men­tioned; [Page 182] nor can they be competent to the purposes, circum­stanced as they are.

We have intelligence from a deserter that came to us, that on Wednesday morning the Asia, Chatham, and Grey­hound men-of-war weighed anchor, and (it was said) in­tended to pass up the North-river above the city, to pre­vent the communication with the Jersies. They did not attempt it, nor does he know what prevented them. A prisoner belonging to the tenth regiment, taken yesterday, informs that they hourly expected admiral Howe and his fleet. He adds that a vessel has arrived from them, and the prevailing opinion is, that an attack will be ma [...] im­mediately on their arrival.

By a letter from general Ward, I am informed that the small-pox has broke out at Boston, and infected some of the troops. I have wrote to him to place the invalids under an officer, to remain till they are well; and to use every possible precaution to prevent the troops from thence bringing the infection. The distresses and calam­ities we have already suffered by this disorder in one part of our army, I hope, will excite his utmost care that they may not be increased.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

The design of this is to inform Congress, that, about half after three o'clock this evening, two of the enemy's ships of war, one of forty and the other of twenty guns, with three tenders, weighed anchor in the bay opposite Staten-Island, and, availing themselves of a brisk and fa­vourable breeze, with a flowing tide, ran past our batteries up the North-river, without receiving any certain damage that I could perceive, notwithstanding a heavy and inces­sant cannonade was kept up from our several batteries here, as well as from that at Paulus-Hook. They, on their part, returned and continued the fire as they ran by. I dispatched an express to brigadier-general Mifflin, at our encampment towards the upper end of the island; [Page 183] but have not heard whether they have got by, or received any damage.

The account transmitted by this morning's post, re­specting the arrival of one of the fleet, seems to be confirm­ed. Several ships have come in to-day: among them, one this evening, with a Saint-George's flag at her fore-top-mast-head, which we conclude to be admiral Howe, from the circumstance of the flag, and the several and gen­eral salutes that were paid. It is probable they will all arrive in a day or two, and immediately begin their ope­rations.

As it will be extremely necessary that the flying camp should be well provided with powder and ball, and it may be impracticable to send supplies from hence on account of our hurry and engagements, (besides, the communication may be uncertain) I must beg the attention of Congress to this matter, and request that they will forward with all possible expedition such a quantity of musket-powder and lead, (if balls of different sizes cannot be had) as will be sufficient for the militia to compose that camp.

By an express this minute arrived from general Mifflin, the ships have passed his works.

I am, in haste, with sentiments of great regard, &c.
G. W.
A quarter past eight, P. M.
SIR,

My last of Friday evening, which I had the honour of addressing you, advised that two of the enemy's ships of war and three tenders had run above our batteries here and the works at the upper end of the island. I am now to inform you, that, yesterday forenoon, receiving intelli­gence from general Mifflin that they had passed the Tap­pan-Sea, and were trying to proceed higher up,—by advice of R. R. Livingston, esquire, and other gentlemen, I dis­patched expresses to general Clinton of Ulster, and the committee of safety for Duchess-county, to take measures for securing the passes in the Highlands, lest they might have designs of seizing them, and have a force concealed [Page 184] for the purpose. I wrote the evening before to the com­manding officer of the two garrisons there to be vigilant and prepared against any attempts they or any disaffected persons might make against them, and to forward expres­ses all the way to Albany, that provision and other vessels might be secured and prevented falling into their hands.

The information given general Mifflin was rather pre­mature, as to their having gone past the Sea. A letter from the committee of Orange-county, which came to hand this morning, says they were there yesterday, and that a regiment of their militia was under arms, to prevent their landing and making an incursion. The messenger who brought it, and to whom it refers for particulars, adds that a party of them, in two or three boats, had approach­ed the shore, but were forced back by our people firing at them. Since the manoeuvre of Friday, there have been no other movements in the fleet.

General Sullivan, in a letter of the second instant, in­forms me of his arrival with the army at Crown-Point, where he is fortifying and throwing up works. He adds that he has secured all the stores except three cannon left at Chamblee, which in part is made up by taking a fine twelve-pounder out of the Lake. The army is sickly,—many with the small-pox; and he is apprehensive the militia, ordered to join them, will not escape the infection. An officer he had sent to reconnoitre had reported that he saw at Saint John's about a hundred and fifty tents,—twenty at Saint Roy's, and fifteen at Chamblee; and works at the first were busily carrying on.

I have inclosed a general return of the army here, which will shew the whole of our strength. All the detached posts are included.

A letter from the eastward, by last night's post, to Mr. Hazard, post-master in this city, advises that two ships had been taken and carried into Cape-Ann,—one from Antigua, consigned to general Howe, with four hundred and thirty-nine puncheons of rum,—the other a Jamaica­man, with four hundred hogsheads of sugar, two hundred puncheons of rum, thirty-nine bales of cotton, pimento, fustic, &c. &c. Each mounted two guns, six-pounders.

About three o'clock this afternoon I was informed that [Page 185] a flag from lord Howe was coming up, and waited with two of our whale-boats, until directions should be given. I immediately convened such of the general officers as were not upon other duty, who agreed in opinion that I ought not to receive any letter directed to me as a private gentleman: but if otherwise, and the officer desired to come up to deliver the letter himself, as was suggested, he should come under a safe-conduct. Upon this, I directed colonel Reed to go down and manage the affair under the above general instruction.

On his return, he informed me, that, after the common civilities, the officer acquainted him that he had a letter from lord Howe to Mr. Washington, which he shewed un­der a superscription, "To George Washington, esquire." Colonel Reed replied there was no such person in the ar­my, and that a letter intended for the general could not be received under such a direction. The officer expressed great concern,—said it was a letter rather of a civil than military nature,—that lord Howe regretted he had not ar­rived sooner,—that he (lord Howe) had great powers. The anxiety to have the letter received was very evident, though the officer disclaimed all knowledge of its contents. However, colonel Reed's instructions being positive, they parted. After they had got some distance, the officer with the flag again put about, and asked [...]der what direc­tion Mr. Washington chose to be addressed:—to which colonel Reed answered, his station was well known, and that certainly they could be at no loss how to direct to him. The officer said they knew it and lamented it; and again repeated his wish that the letter could be received. Colonel Reed told him a proper direction would obviate all difficulties, and that this was no new matter,—this sub­ject having been [...]ully discussed in the course of the last year; of which lord Howe could not be ignorant:—upon which they parted.

I would not upon any occasion sacrifice essentials to punc­tilio: but in this instance, the opinion of others concurring with my own, I deemed it a duty to my country and my appointment, to insist upon that respect, which, in any oth­er than a public view, I would willingly have waved. Nor do I doubt, but, from the supposed nature of the message, [Page 186] and the anxiety expressed, they will ei [...]her repeat their flag, or fall upon some mode to communicate the import and [contents] of it.

I have been duly honoured with your two letters, that of the tenth by Mr. Anderson,—and the eleventh, with its inclosures. I have directed the quarter-master to pro­vide him with every thing he wants to carry his scheme in­to execution. It is an important one, and I wish it suc­cess; but am doubtful that it will be better in theory than practice.

The passage of the ships of war and tenders up the river is a matter of great importance, and has excited much con­jecture and speculation. To me two things have occurred, as leading them to this proceeding,—first a design to seize on the narrow passes on both sides of the river, giving almost the only land-communication with Albany, and of conse­quence with our northern army; for which purpose they might have troops concealed on board, which they deemed competent of themselves, as the defiles are narrow,—or that they would be joined by many disaffected persons in that quarter. Others have added a probability of their having a large quantity of arms on board, to be in readi­ness to put into the hands of the tories immediately on the arrival of the fleet, or rather at the time they intend to make their attack. The second is, to cut off entirely all intercourse between this and Albany by water, and the up­per country, and to prevent supplies of every kind going and coming.

These matters are truly alarming, and of such importance that I have wrote to the provincial Congress of New-York, and recommended to their serious consideration the adoption of every possible expedient to guard against the two first; and have suggested the propriety of their employing the militia, or some part of them, in the counties in which these defiles are, to keep the enemy from possessing them, till further provision can be made; and to write to the sev­eral leading persons on our side in that quarter, to be atten­tive to all the movements of the ships and the disaffected, in order to discover and frustrate whatever pernicious schemes they have in view.

[Page 187] In respect to the second conjecture of my own, and which seems to be generally adopted, I have the pleasure to in­form Congress, that, if their design is to keep the armies from provision, the commissary has told me upon inquiry, he has forwarded supplies to Albany (now there, and above it) sufficient for ten thousand men for four months; that he has a sufficiency here for twenty thousand men for three months, and an abundant quantity secured in differ­ent parts of the Jersies for the flying camp, besides having about four thousand barrels of flour in some neighbouring part of Connecticut. Upon this head, there is but little occasion for any apprehensions, at least for a considerable [...]me.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have sent orders to the commanding officer o [...] the Pennsylvania militia to march to Amboy, as their re­maining at Trenton can be of no service.

SIR,

THIS will be handed you by Mr. Griffin, who has also taken upon him the charge and delivery of two pack­ets containing sundry letters which were sent to Amboy yesterday by a flag, and forwarded to me to-day by gen­eral Mercer. The letter addressed to governor Franklin came open to my hands.

I was this morning h [...]oured with yours of the thir­teenth instant, with its important and necessary inclosures; and, in obedience to the commands of Congress, have transmitted general Howe the resolves intended for him. Those for general Burgoyne I inclosed and sent to gen­eral Schuyler, with directions immediately to forward them to him.

The inhuman treatment of the whole, and murder of part of our people, after their surrender and capitulation, was certainly a flagrant violation of that faith which ought to be held sacred by all civilized nations, and founded in the most savage barbarity. It highly deserved the severest reprobation; and I trust the spirited measures Congress have adopted upon the occasion will prevent the like in [Page 188] future: but if they should not, and the claims of human­ity are disregarded, justice and policy will require recourse to be had to the law of retaliation, however abhorrent and disagreeable to our natures in cases of torture and cap­ital punishments.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with yours of the fifteenth instant, with sundry resolves.

I perceive the measures Congress have taken to expe­dite the raising of the flying camp, and providing it with articles of the greatest use. You will see by a postscript to my letter of the fourteenth, I had wrote to the com­manding officer of the Pennsylvania militia, ordering them to be marched from Trenton to Amboy, as their remain­ing there could not answer the least public good. For, having consulted with sundry gentlemen, I was informed, if the enemy mean to direct their views towards Pennsyl­vania or penetrate the Jersies, their route will be from near Amboy, and either by way of Brunswic or Bound-brook,—the lower road from South-Amboy being through a woody, sandy country. Besides, they will be then able to throw in succour here, and to receive it from hence in cases of emergency.

The Connecticut light-horse, mentioned in my letter of the eleventh, notwithstanding their then promise to continue here for the defence of this place, are now dis­charged, and about to return home,—having peremptorily refused all kind of fatigue duty, or even to mount guard, claiming an exemption as troopers. Though their assist­ance is much needed, and might be of essential service in case of an attack, yet I judged it adviseable, on their ap­plication and claim of such indulgences, to discharge them; as granting them would set an example to others, and might produce many ill consequences. The number of men included in the last return, by this, is lessened about five hundred.

[Page 189] I last night received a letter from general Schuyler, with several inclosures, copies of which I have herewith transmitted. They will give Congress every information I have respecting our northern army and the situation of our affairs in that quarter;—to which I beg leave to re­fer their attention. I cannot but express my surprise at the scarcity of provision which general Schuyler mentions, after what the commissary assured me, and which formed a part of my letter of the fourteenth. He still assures me of the same. This is a distressing circumstance, as every article of provision, and every thing necessary for that de­partment, can have no other now than a land-conveyance, the water-communication from hence to Albany being en­tirely cut off.

Congress will please to consider the inclosure, No 6, about raising six companies out of the inhabitants about the Lakes, to prevent the incursions of the Indians. The general officers, in their minutes of council, have deter­mined it a matter of much importance;—and their atten­tion to the price of goods furnished the soldiery may be extremely necessary. They have complained much upon this head.

The retreat from Crown-Point seems to be considered in opposite views by the general and field officers. The former (I am satisfied) have weighed the matter well; and yet the reasons assigned by the latter against it appear strong and forcible. I hope whatever is done will be for the best. * * *

By a letter from the committee of Orange-county, re­ceived this morning, the men-of-war and tenders were yes­terday at Haversham-bay, about forty miles above this. A number of men, in four barges from the tenders, at­tempted to land, with a view (they suppose) of taking some sheep and cattle, that had been previously removed. A small number of militia that were collected obliged them to retreat, without their doing any damage with their cannon. They were sounding the water up towards the Highlands; by which it is probable they will attempt to pass with part of the fleet, if possible.

Yesterday evening a flag came from general Howe with a letter addressed "To George Washington, esquire, &c. [Page 190] &c. &c." It was not received, upon the same principle that the one from lord Howe was refused.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been duly honoured with your favours of the sixteenth and seventeenth, with the several resolves they contained; to the execution of which, so far as shall be in my power, I will pay proper attention.

In my letter of the seventeenth I transmitted you a copy of one from general Schuyler, and of its several in­closures. I confess the determination of the council of general officers on the seventh, to retreat from Crown-Point, surprised me much: and the more I consider it, the more striking does the impropriety appear. The reasons assigned against it by the field-officers, in their re­monstrance, coincide greatly with my own ideas and those of the other general officers I have had an opportunity of consulting with, and seem to be of considerable weight,—I may add, conclusive. I am not so fully acquainted with the geography of that country and the situation of the different posts, as to pronounce a peremptory judg­ment upon the matter: but, if my ideas are right, the possession of Crown-Point is essential, to give us the su­periority and mastery upon the Lake.

That the enemy will possess it as soon as abandoned by us, there can be no doubt; and if they do, whatever gallies or force we keep on the Lake will be unquestiona­bly in their rear. How they are to be supported there, or what succour can be drawn from them there, is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps it is only meant that they shall be employed on the communication between that and Ticonderoga. If this is the case, I fear the views of Con­gress will not be answered, nor the salutary effects be de­rived from them, that were intended.

I have mentioned my surprise to general Schuyler, and would, by the advice of the general officers here, have directed that that post should be maintained, had it not been for two causes,—an apprehension that the works [Page 191] have been destroyed, and that, if the army should be or­dered from Ticonderoga, or the post opposite to it (where I presume they are) to repossess it, they would have nei­ther one place nor another secure and in a defensible state: the other, lest it might increase the jealousy and diversity of opinions which seem already too prevalent in that ar­my, and establish a precedent for the inferior officers to set up their judgments whenever they would, in opposi­tion to those of their superiors,—a matter of great deli­cacy, and that might lead to fatal consequences, if coun­tenanced;—though in the present instance I could wish their reasoning had prevailed.

If the army has not removed, what I have said to gen­eral Schuyler may perhaps bring on a reconsideration of the matter; and it may not be too late to take measures for maintaining that post. But of this I have no hope.

In consequence of the resolve of Congress for three of the eastern regiments to reinforce the northern army, I wrote to general Ward, and, by advice of my gen­eral officers, directed them to march to Norwich, and there to embark for Albany; conceiving that two val­uable purposes might result therefrom,—first, that they would sooner join the army, by pursuing this route, and be saved from the distress and fatigue that must attend every long march through the country at this hot and un­comfortable season; and secondly, that they might give succour here, in case the enemy should make an attack about the time of their passing. But the enemy having now, with their ships of war and tenders, cut off the water-communication from the hence to Albany, I have wrote this day and directed them to proceed by land across the country. If Congress disapprove the route, or wish to give any orders about them, you will please to certify me thereof, that I may take measures accordingly.

Inclosed I have the honour to transmit you copies of a letter and sundry resolutions which I received yesterday from the convention of this State. By them you will per­ceive they have been acting upon matters of great impor­tance, and are exerting themselves in the most vigorous manner to defeat the wicked designs of the enemy, and such disaffected persons as may incline to assist and facili­tate [Page 192] their news. In compliance with their request, and on account of the scarcity of money for carrying their salutary views into execution, I have agreed to lend them, out of the small stock now in hand, (not more than sixty thousand dollars) twenty thousand dollars, in part of what they want; which they promise speedily to re­place. Had there been money sufficient for paying the whole of our troops and no more, I could not have done it. But as it was otherwise, and by no means proper to pay a part and not the whole, I could not foresee any in­conveniences that would attend the loan;—on the con­trary, that it might contribute in some degree to forward their schemes. I hope my conduct in this instance will not be disapproved.

I inclosed governor Trumbull a copy of their letter and of their several resolves, to-day, by colonel Broom and Mr. Duer, two members of the convention, who are go­ing to wait on him; but did not think myself at liberty to urge or request his interest in forming the camp of six thousand men, as the levies, directed by Congress to be furnished the third of June, for the defence of this place, by that government, are but little more than one third come in. At the same time, the proposition I think a good one, if it could be carried into execution. In case the enemy should attempt to effect a landing above Kingsbridge, and to cut off the communication between this city and the country, an army to hang on their rear would distress them exceedingly.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

The inclosed paper should have been sent before, but was omitted through hurry.

P. S. After I had closed my letter, I received one from general Ward, a copy of which is herewith transmit­ted. I have wrote him to forward the two regiments now at Boston, by the most direct r [...]ad, to Ticonderoga, as soon as they are well, with the utmost expedition; and consider their having had the small-pox, as a fortunate cir­cumstance. When the three arrive which have marched for Norwich, I shall immediately send one of them on, if Congress shall judge it expedient;—of which you will please to inform me.

[Page 193]
SIR,

I HAVE just time to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the nineteenth. The interesting intelligence of the success of our arms in the southern department gives me the highest satisfaction. Permit me to join my joy to the congratulations of Congress upon this event. To-mor­row I will write more fully.

Two o'clock, P. M.—I this moment had report made me, that ten ships were seen in the offing, coming in,—I sup­pose, part of admiral Howe's fleet.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR favours of the eighteenth and nineteenth, with which you have been pleased to honour me, have been duly received, with the several resolves alluded to.

When the letter and declaration, from lord Howe to Mr. Franklin and the other late governors, come to be pub­lished, I should suppose the warmest advocates for depend­ence on the British crown must be silent, and be convinc­ed beyond all possibility of doubt, that all that has been said about the commissioners was illusory, and calculated expressly to deceive and unguard, not only the good peo­ple of our own country, but those of the English nation that were averse to the proceedings of the king and minis­try. Hence we see the cause why a specification of their powers was not given the mayor and city of London, on their address requesting it. That would have been danger­ous, because it would then have been manifest that the line of conduct they were to pursue would be totally variant from that they had industriously propagated, and amused the public with. The uniting the civil and military offices in the same persons too, must be conclusive to every think­ing one, that there is to be but little negociation of the civil kind.

I have inclosed, for the satisfaction of Congress, the sub­stance of what passed between myself and lieutenant-colo­nel Patterson, adjutant-general, at an interview had yester­day [Page 194] in consequence of a request from general Howe the day before;—to which I beg leave to refer them for par­ticulars.

Colonel Knox of the train having often mentioned to me the necessity of having a much more numerous body of artillerists than what there now is, in case the present con­test should continue longer,—and knowing the deficiency in this instance, and their extreme usefulness,—I desired him to commit his ideas upon the subject to writing, in or­der that I might transmit them to Congress for their con­sideration. Agreeable to my request, he has done it; and the propriety of his plan is now submitted for their decision. It is certain that we have not more at this time than are sufficient for the several extensive posts we now have,—including the draughts which he speaks of, and which, I presume (not only from what he has informed me, but from the nature of the thing) can never be qualified to render the same service as if they were regularly appointed and formed into a corps for that particular purpose.

I beg leave to remind Congress that some time ago I laid before them the proposals of some persons here for forming a company of light-horse; and the president's an­swer, a little time after, intimated that the plan seemed to be approved of. As those who wanted to make up the troop are frequently pressing me for an answer, I could wish to be favoured with the decision of Congress upon the subject.

By a letter from general Schuyler, of the fourteenth instant, dated at Albany, he informs me, that, the day before, some desperate designs of the tories in that quar­ter had been discovered, the particulars of which he could not divulge, being under an oath of secrecy;—however, that such measures had been taken, as to promise a pre­vention of the intended mischief; and that four of the conspirators (among them, a ringleader) were apprehend­ed about one o'clock that morning, not far from the town. What the plot was, or who were concerned in it, is a matter I am ignorant of as yet.

With my best regards to Congress, I have the honour to be your and their most obedient servant.
G. W.
[Page 195]

P. S. Congress will please to observe what was propos­sed respecting the exchange of Mr. Lovell, and signify their pleasure in your next. The last week's return is also inclosed.

SIR,

CONGRESS having been pleased to appoint Mr. Wilper to the command of a company in the German bat­talion now raising, I have directed him to repair to Phila­delphia for their orders. From my acquaintance with him, I am persuaded his conduct as an officer will merit their approbation: and, thanking them for their kind at­tention to my recommendation of him, I have the honour to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I WAS honoured with your favour of the twentieth by yesterday's post, since which, and my letter, nothing of moment has occurred.

The ships, mentioned in my letter of the twenty-first to have been in the offing, got in that day, and are supposed to be part of the Scotch fleet, having landed some High­landers yesterday.

Inclosed I have the honour to transmit you copies of a letter and sundry resolutions which I received last night from the convention of this State. They will inform you of the computed number of inhabitants and stock upon Nassau-Island, and their sentiments on the impracticability of removing the latter; and also of the measures they think necessary and likely to secure them.

I have also inclosed a letter from Mr. Faesh to lord Stirling upon the subject of a cannon-furnace for the use of the States. Congress will see his plan and proposals, and determine upon them as they shall judge proper.

I am, Sir, with every sentiment of respect, &c.
G. W.
[Page 196]
SIR,

SINCE I had the pleasure of writing you by this morning's post, I was favoured with a letter from gover­nor Trumbull, a copy of which is inclosed, and to which I beg leave to refer you. In regard to the stock he men­tions, I wrote to him, requesting that they might be re­moved from the islands on which they were, as I conceiv­ed it of great importance to distress the enemy as much as possible in the article of fresh provision. I wish the other governments may follow his example, and have it remov­ed from the islands belonging to them respectively.

When the s [...]ps of war and tenders went up the river, it was thought expedient that application should be made for the Connecticut row-gallies and those belonging to Rhode-Island, in order to attempt something for their destruction. As soon as they arrive we shall try to employ them in some useful way,—but in what, or how successfully, I cannot at present determine.

Congress will please to observe what Mr. Trumbull says respecting the continental regiment raising under colonel Ward. If they incline to give any orders about their des­tination, you will please to communicate them by the ear­liest opportunity, as their march will be suspended till they are known.

The orders Mr. Trumbull has given to the officers of their cruisers, to stop provision-vessels, seem to be necessary. We have too much reason to believe that some have gone voluntarily to the enemy, and that there are many persons who would continue to furnish them with large supplies: and, however upright the intentions of others may be, it will be a matter of the utmost difficulty, if not an impossi­bility, for any to escape falling into their hands now, as every part of the coast (it is probable) will swarm with their saips of war and tenders. I had proposed writing to the convention of this State upon the subject before I re­ceived his letter; and am now more persuaded of the ne­cessity of their taking some steps to prevent further expor­tations down the Sound. In my next I shall inform them of the intelligence received from Mr. Trumbull, and rec­ommend the matter to their attention.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 197]

P. S. It appears absolutely necessary that the expor­tation of provision should be stopped. Our army is large, and otherwise may want. Nor can individuals be injured, as they have a ready-money market for every thing they have to dispose of in that way.

SIR,

DISAGREEABLE as it is to me and unpleasing as it may be to Congress to multiply officers, I find myself under the unavoidable necessity of asking an increase of my aides-de-camp. The augmentation of my command,—the increase of my correspondence,—the orders to [...],—the instructions to draw,—cut out more business than I am able to execute in time with propriety. The business of so many different departments centring with me, and by me to be handed on to Congress for their information,—added to the intercourse I am obliged to keep up with the adjacent States,—and incidental occurrences,—all of which require confidential and not hack writers to execute,—renders it impossible, in the present state of things, for my family to discharge the several duties expected of me, with that precision and dispatch that I could wish. What will it be then, when we come into a more active scene, and I am called upon from twenty different places perhaps at the same instant?

Congress will do me the justice to believe (I hope) that it is not my inclination or wish to run the continent to any unnecessary expense; and those who better know me will not suspect that shew and parade can have any influence on my mind in this instance. A conviction of the neces­sity of it, for the regular discharge of the trust reposed in­me, is the governing motive for the application; and, as such, is submitted to Congress by, Sir, your most obe­dient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I WAS yesterday morning honoured with your fa­vour of the twenty-fourth instant with its several inclos [...]res, to which I shall pay the [...] attention.

[Page 198] The confidence Congress are pleased to repose in my judgment demands my warmest acknowledgments, and they may rest assured it shall be invariably employed, so far as shall be in my power, to promote their views and the public weal. * * *

Since my last, nothing material has occurred. Yester­day evening report was made that eight ships were seen in the offing, standing towards the Hook. The men-of-war and tenders are still up the river. They have never attempt­ed to pass the Highland fortifications; and, a day or two ago, quitted their station, and fell down the river eight or ten miles. The vigilance and activity of the militia oppo­site where they were have prevented their landing and do­ing much injury. One poor peasant's cot they plundered and then burnt.

I would wish to know whether the allowance given to officers, the seventeenth of January, of a dollar and one-third for every man they enlist, Congress mean to extend to the officers who enlist for the new army for three years. At first it may appear wrong, or rather exorbitant, suppos­ing that many will be recruited out of the regiments now in service, and under them: but the allowance will be of great use, as it will interest the officers, and call forth their exertions, which otherwise would be faint and languid. In­deed I am fearful, from the inquiries I have made, that their utmost exertions will be attended with but little success. It is objected that the bounty of ten dollars is too low; and argued,—"if the States, furnishing men for five or six months, allow considerably more, why should that be ac­cepted when the term of enlistment is to be for three years." I heartily wish a bounty in land had been or could be giv­en, as was proposed some time ago. I think it would be attended with salutary consequences.

In consequence of my application to governor Trumbull, he has sent me two row-gallies; and I expect another from him. None from governor Cooke are yet come; nor have I heard from [...]m on the subject. One is complete here. The fire-ships are going on under Mr. Anderson's direction, but rather slowly; and I am preparing some ob­structions for the channel nearly opposite the works at the upper end of this island. When all things are ready, I in­tend [Page 199] to try, if it shall seem practicable, to destroy the ships and tenders above, and to employ the gallies, if they can be of advantage.

The militia for the flying camp come in but slowly. By a return from general Mercer yesterday, they are but little more than three thousand. If they were in, or can be there shortly, and the situation of the enemy remains the same, I would make some efforts to annoy them, keeping our posts here well guarded, and not putting too much to the hazard, or in any manner to the risk.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR favour of the twenty-fourth I received on Sat­urday evening, and, agreeable to your request, shall expunge the preamble to the resolution subjecting the property of subjects to the British crown to forfeiture and confisca­tion.

Our stock of musket-powder is entirely made up in car­tridges. I therefore request that Congress will order four or five tons more of that sort to be immediately forwarded; it being not only necessary that we should have more for that purpose, but also some stock to remain in barrels.

Yesterday evening Hutchinson's and Sergeant's regi­ments from Boston arrived; also two row-gallies from Rhode-Island. I am fearful the troops have not got en­tirely clear of the small-pox. I shall use every possible precaution to prevent the infection spreading; and, for that purpose, have ordered them to an encampment separate and detached from the rest.

By Saturday's report from Long-Island camp, five ships, a brig, and five schooners, had got into the Hook; by yes­terday's, two ships more, and a sloop, were standing in. What they are, I have not been able to learn.

I have transmitted a general return herewith, by which Congress will perceive the whole of our force at the time it was made.

I have inclosed you an account of sundry prizes, which was transmitted to several gentlemen here by Saturday's [Page 200] post. The two last prizes I did not see mentioned in the letters shewn me; and I fear the report of the second pro­vision-vessel is premature. I was also this minute informed that captain Biddle had taken a ship with sugars for Bri­tain, and, in bringing her in, unfortunately lost her on Fisher's-Island.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with your two favours of yesterday's date; and, agreeable to your request, have given Mr. Palfrey liberty to negociate your claim with Mr. Brimer, and wish it may be satisfied agreeably to you.

I last night received a letter from general Schuyler, a copy of which I do myself the honour to transmit you. You will thereby perceive his reasons for leaving Crown-Point, and preferring the post the council of officers deter­mined to take opposite to Ticonderoga. I am totally un­acquainted with those several posts and the country about them, and therefore cannot determine on the validity of his observations, or think myself at liberty to give any di­rection in the matter.

Congress will please to observe what he says of their dis­tress for money. From hence he can have no relief, there being only about three or four thousand dollars in the pay­master's hands, according to his return this morning,—and all but two months pay due to the army, besides many other demands. I could wish that proper supplies of money could be always kept:—the want may occasion consequen­ces of an alarming nature.

By a letter from him, of a prior date to the copy inclos­ed, he tells me that a Mr. Ryckman, who has just returned through the country of the Six-Nations, reports that the Indians who were at Philadelphia have gone home with very favourable ideas of our strength and resources. This he heard in many of their villages:—a lucky circumstance if it will either gain their friendship or secure their neu­trality.

[Page 201] In my letter of the twenty-seventh I informed Congress of my views and wishes to attempt something against the troops on Staten-Island. I am now to acquaint them, that, by the advice of general Mercer and other officers at Amboy, it will be impracticable to do any thing upon a large scale, for want of craft, and as the enemy have the entire command of the water all round the island. I have desired general Mercer to have nine or ten flat-bot­tomed boats built at Newark-bay and Elizabeth-Town, with a design principally to keep up the communication across Hackinsac and Passaic rivers, which I deem a matter of great importance, and extremely necessary to be attend­ed to.

Since I wrote you yesterday, eleven ships more, four brigs, and two sloops, have come into the Hook. I have not yet received intelligence what any of the late arrivals are: but I suppose we shall not long remain in a state of uncertainty.

Having reason to believe that lord Howe will readily come into an exchange of such prisoners as may be more immediately under his command, and that something will be offered on this subject within a day or two, or rather come in answer to the propositions I have made general Howe. I should be glad to have Congress's interpretation of the resolve of the twenty-second instant, empowering the commanders to exchange, &c. whether by the word 'sailor,' they mean sailors generally, as well those taken in the vessels of private adventurers by the enemy, as those be­longing to the continental cruisers, or vessels in the conti­nent's employ; or whether they only design to extend the exchange to the latter,—those in their particular em­ploy.

I would also observe, that, heretofore, sailors belonging to merchant ships that have fallen into our hands, and those employed merely as transports, have not generally been considered as prisoners. I submit it to Congress whether it may not be now necessary to pass a resolve declaring their sentiments on this subject, and, in general, who are to be treated as prisoners of war, that are taken on board vessels belonging to the subjects of the British crown, &c. [Page 202] The result of their opinion upon the first question propos­ed, you will be pleased to transmit me by the earliest op­portunity.

I have inclosed, for the consideration of Congress, a memorial and petition by captain Holdridge, praying to be relieved against the loss of money stolen from him,—not conceiving myself authorised to grant his request. The certificate which attends it proves him a man of character; and his case is hard, on his state of it. Whether making the loss good may not open a door to others, and give rise to applications not so just as his may be, I cannot deter­mine. That seems to be the only objection to relieving him.

I am informed by general Putnam that there are some of the Stockbridge Indians here (I have not seen them myself) who express great uneasiness at their not being employed by us, and have come to inquire into the cause. I am sensible Congress had them not in contemplation when they resolved that Indians might be engaged in our service. However, as they seem so anxious,—as they were led to expect it, from what general Schuyler and the other commissioners did,—as we are under difficulties in getting men, and there may be danger of their (or some of them) taking an unfavourable part,—I beg leave to sub­mit it as my opinion, under all these circumstances, that they had better be employed.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR favour of the thirtieth ultimo, with its sev­eral inclosures, I was honoured with by Wednesday's post.

Congress having been pleased to leave with me the direction of colonel Ward's regiment, I have wrote to governor Trumbull, and requested him to order their march to this place, being fully satisfied that the enemy mean to make their grand push in this quarter, and that the good of the service requires every aid here that can be obtained. I have also wrote to colonel Elmore, and [Page 203] directed him to repair hither with his regiment. When it comes, I shall fill up commissions for such officers as ap­pear with their respective companies.

Colonel Holman, with a regiment from the Massachu­setts State, is arrived. Colonel Cary from thence is also here, waiting the arrival of his regiment which he hourly expects. He adds, when he left New-London he heard that the third regiment from the Massachusetts was almost ready, and would soon be in motion.

The enemy's force is daily augmenting and becoming stronger by new arrivals. Yesterday, general Greene re­ports that about forty sail, including tenders, came into the Hook. What they are, or what those have brought that have lately got in, I remain uninformed. How­ever, I think it probable they are part of lord Howe's fleet, with the Hessian troops:—it is time to look for them.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I am extremely sorry to inform Congress our troops are very sickly.

SIR,

I WAS honoured with your favour of the thirty-first ultimo on Friday, with its several inclosures; and return you my thanks for the agreeable intelligence you were pleased to communicate, of the arrival of one of our ships with such valuable articles as arms and ammunition; also of the capture made by a privateer.

The mode for the exchange of prisoners, resolved on by Congress, is acceded to by general Howe, so far as it comes within his command. A copy of my letter and his answer upon this subject I have the honour to inclose you; to which I beg leave to refer Congress.

The inclosed copy of a letter from colonel Tupper, who had the general command of the gallies here, will inform Congress of the engagement between them and the ships of war up the North-river on Saturday evening, and of the damage we sustained. What injury was done to the ships, I cannot ascertain. It is said they were hulled sev­eral [Page 204] times by our shot. All accounts agree that our of­ficers and men, during the whole of the affair, behaved with great spirit and bravery. The damage done the gallies shews beyond question that they had a warm time of it. The ships still remain up the river; and, before any thing further can be attempted against them (should it be thought adviseable) the gallies must be repaired.

I have also transmitted Congress a copy of a letter I received by Saturday's post from governor Cooke, to which I refer them for the intelligence it contains. The seizure of our vessels by the Portuguese is, I fear, an event too true. Their dependence upon the British crown for aid against the Spaniards must force them to comply with every thing required of them. I wish the Morris may get safe in with her cargo. As to the ships captain Buch­lin saw on the twenty-fifth ultimo, they are probably ar­rived; for yesterday twenty-five sail came into the Hook.

By a letter from general Ward, of the twenty-ninth ultimo, he informs me that two of our armed vessels, the day before, had brought into Marblehead a ship bound from Halifax to Staten-Island. She had in about fifteen hundred and nine pounds' worth of British goods, besides a good many belonging to tories. A Halifax paper, found on board her, I have inclosed, as also an account sent me by Mr. Hazard, transmitted him by some of his friends, as given by the tories taken in her. Their intel­ligence, I dare say, is true respecting the arrival of part of the Hessian troops. General Ward in his letter men­tions, that, the day this prize was taken, captain Burke, in another of our armed vessels, had an engagement with a ship and a schooner which he thought were transports, and would have taken them, had it not been for an un­lucky accident in having his quarter-deck blown up. Two of his men were killed, and several more were wounded.

The hulks and chevaux-de-frise, that have been pre­paring to obstruct the channel, have got up to the place they are intended for, and will be sunk as soon as pos­sible.

I have transmitted Congress a general return of the ar­my in and about this place on the third instant, by which they will perceive the amount of our force.

[Page 205] Before I conclude, I would beg leave to remind Con­gress of the necessity there is of having some major-gener­als appointed for this army, the duties of which are great, extensive, and impossible to be discharged as they ought and the good of the service requires, without a competent number of officers of this rank. I mean to write more fully upon the subject: and, as things are drawing fast to an issue, and it is necessary to make every proper dis­position and arrangement that we possibly can, I pray that this matter may be taken into consideration, and claim their early attention. I well know what has prevented appointments of this sort for some time past: but the sit­uation of our affairs will not justify longer delays in this instance. By the first opportunity, I shall take the liber­ty of giving you my sentiments more at large upon the propriety and necessity of the measure.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IN my letter of the fifth which I had the honour of addressing you, I begged leave to recal the attention of Congress to the absolute necessity there is for appointing more general officers,—promising at the same time, by the first opportunity, to give my sentiments more at large upon the subject.

Confident I am that the postponing this measure has not proceeded from motives of frugality: otherwise I should take the liberty of attempting to prove that we put too much to the hazard by such a saving. I am but too well apprised of the difficulties that occur in the choice. They are, I acknowledge, great; but at the same time it must be allowed they are of such a nature as to present themselves whenever the subject is thought of. Time on the one hand does not remove them; on the other, delay may be pro­ductive of fatal consequences.

This army, though far short as yet of the numbers in­tended by Congress, is by much too unwieldy for the com­mand of any one man, without several major-generals to assist. For it is to be observed that a brigadier-general at [Page 206] the head of his brigade is no more than a colonel at the head of a regiment, except that he acts upon a larger scale. Officers of more general command are at all times wanted for the good order and government of an army, especially when the army is composed chiefly of raw troops: but in an action they are indispensably necessary. At present there is but one major-general for this whole department and the flying camp; whereas, at this place alone, less than three cannot discharge the duties with that regularity they ought to be.

If these major-generals are appointed, as undoubtedly they will, out of the present brigadiers, you will want for this place three brigadiers at least. The northern depart­ment will require one, if not two (as general Thompson is a prisoner, and the baron Woedtke reported to be dead or in a state not much better) there being at present only one brigadier-general (Arnold) in all that department. For the eastern governments there ought to be one, or a major-general, to superintend the regiments there, and to prevent impositions that might otherwise be practised. These make the number wanted to be six or seven: and who are to be appointed, Congress can best judge.

To make brigadiers of the oldest colonels would be the least exceptionable way: but it is much to be questioned whether by that mode the ablest men would be appointed to office. And I would observe, though the rank of the colonels of the eastern governments was settled at Cam­bridge last year, it only respected themselves and is still open as to officers of other governments. To pick a col­onel here and a colonel there through the army according to the opinion entertained of their abilities, would no doubt be the means of making a better choice, and nominating the fittest persons: but then the senior officers would get disgusted, and, more than probable, with their connexions, quit the service. Th [...] might prove fatal at this time. To appoint gentlemen as brigadiers, that had not served in this army, (in this part of it at least) would not wound any one in particular, but hurt the whole equally, and must be considered in a very discouraging light by every officer of merit. View the matter therefore in any point of light you will, there are inconveniences on the one hand, and [Page 207] difficulties on the other, which ought to be avoided. Would they be remedied by appointing the oldest colonels from each State?—If this mode should be thought ex­pedient, the inclosed list gives the names of the colonels, from New-Hampshire to Pennsylvania inclusive, speci­fying those who rank first, as I am told, in the several colony lists.

I have transmitted a copy of a letter from Mr. John Glover, setting forth the nature and grounds of a dispute between him and a Mr. Bradford respecting their agency. Not conceiving myself authorised, nor having the smallest inclination to interefere in any degree in the matter, it is referred to Congress, who will determine and give direc­tion upon it in such manner as they shall judge best. I will only observe that Mr. Glover was recommended to me as a proper person for an agent when we first fitted out armed vessels, and was accordingly appointed one; and, so far as I know, discharged his office with fidelity and industry.

I received yesterday evening a letter from general Schuyler, containing lieutenant McMichael's report, who had been sent a scout to Oswego. A copy of the report I have inclosed for the information of Congress, le [...]t gen­eral Schuyler should have omitted it in his letter which accompanies this. He was at the German-Flats when he wrote, which was the second instant, and the treaty with the Indians not begun; nor had the whole expected then arrived. But of these things he will have advised you more fully, I make no doubt.

The pay-master informs me he received a supply of mon­ey yesterday. It came very seasonably: for the applica­tions and clamours of the troops had become incessant and distressing beyond measure. There is now two months' pay due to them.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE closing the letter which I had the honour to write you this morning, two deserters have come in, [Page 208] who left the Solebay man-of-war last evening. One of them is a native of New-York. Their account is that they were in the engagement with colonel Moultrie at Sullivan's island on the ninth of July—(the particulars they give nearly correspond with the narrative sent by general Lee)—that they left Carolina three weeks ago as a con­voy to forty-five transports having on board general Clin­ton, lord Cornwallis, and the whole southern army con­sisting of about three thousand men, all of whom were landed last week on Staten-Island in tolerable health;—that, on Sunday, thirteen transports, part of lord Howe's [...]leet, and having on board Hessians and Highlanders, came to Staten-Island;—that the remainder of the fleet, which was reported to have, in the whole, twelve thou­sand men, had parted with these troops off the banks of Newfoundland, and were expected to come in every mo­ment;—that they were getting their heavy carriages and cannon on board, had launched eight gondolas with flat bottoms, and two rafts or stages to carry cannon.

These men understand that the attack will soon be made, if the other troops arrive;—that they give out they will lay the Jersies waste with fire and sword;—that the computed strength of their army will be thirty thousand men. They further add, that, when they left Carolina, one transport got on shore, so that they were not able to give her relief; upon which, she surrendered, with five com­panies of Highlanders, to general Lee, who, after taking every thing valuable out of her, burnt her;—that the ad­miral turned general Clinton out of his ship after the en­gagement, with a great deal of abuse;—great differences between the principal naval and military gentlemen;—that the ships, left in Carolina, are now in such a weakly distressed condition, they would fall an easy prey.

I am, Sir, with great respect, &c.
G. W.

The ships are changing their position, and the men-of-war forming into a line: but I still think they will wait the arrival of the remaining Hessians before any general attack will be made. Monday's return will shew our strength here.

[Page 209]
SIR,

By yesterday morning's post, I was honoured with your favour of the second instant, with sundry resolutions of Congress, to which I shall pay strict attention.

As the proposition for employing the Stockbridge In­dians has been approved, I have wrote to Mr. Edwards, one of the commissioners, and who lives among them, re­questing him to engage them, or, such as are willing, to enter the service. I have directed him to indulge them with liberty to join this or the northern army, or both, as their inclination may lead.

I wish the salutary consequences may result from the regulation respecting seamen taken, that Congress have in view. From the nature of this kind of people, and the privileges granted on their entering into our service, I should suppose many of them will do it. We want them much.

I yesterday transmitted the intelligence I received from the deserters from the Solebay man-of-war. The inclos­ed copy of a letter by last night's post, from the honoura­ble Mr. Bowdoin, with the information of a captain Ken­nedy lately taken, corroborate their accounts respecting the Hessian troops. Indeed his report makes the fleet and armament, to be employed against us, greater than what we have heard they would be. However there re­mains no doubt of their being both large and formidable, and such as will require our most vigorous exertions to oppose them. Persuaded of this, and knowing how much inferior our numbers are and will be to theirs when the whole of their troops arrive,—of the important conse­quences that may and will flow from the appeal that will soon be made,—I have wrote to Connecticut and New-Jersey, for all the succour they can afford, and also to the convention of this State. What I may receive, and in what time, the event must determine. But I would fain hope, the situation and the exigency of our affairs will call forth the most strenuous efforts and early assistance of those who are friends to the cause. I confess there is but too much occasion for their exertions. I confidently trust they will not be withheld.

[Page 210] I have inclosed a copy of a letter from Mr. Bowdoin respecting the eastern Indians. Congress will thereby perceive that they profess themselves to be well attached to our interest,—and the summary of the measures taken to engage them in our service. I have the treaty at large between the honourable council of the Massachusetts, on behalf of the United States, with the delegates of the Saint John's and Mickmac tribes. The probability of a copy's being sent already, and its great length, prevent one coming herewith. If Congress have not had it for­warded to them, I will send a copy by the first oppor­tunity after notice that it has not been received.

August 9.—By a report received from general Greene last night, at sunset and a little after, about a hundred boats were seen bringing troops from Staten-Island to the ships, three of which had fallen down towards the narrows, having taken in soldiers from thirty of the boats. He adds, that, by the best observations of several officers, there appeared to be a general embarkation.

I have wrote to general Mercer for two thousand men from the flying camp. Colonel Smallwood's battalion, as part of them, I expect this forenoon: but where the rest are to come from, I know not, as, by the general's last re­turn, not more than three or four hundred of the new levies had got in.

In my letter of the fifth I inclosed a general return of the army under my immediate command; but I imagine the following state will give Congress a more perfect idea, though not a more agreeable one, of our situation. For the several posts on New-York, Long and Governor's islands, and Paulus-Hook, we have, fit for duty, ten thou­sand five hundred and fourteen,—sick present, three thou­sand and thirty-nine,—sick absent, six hundred and twen­ty-nine,—on command, two thousand nine hundred and forty six,—on furlough, ninety-seven,—total, seventeen thousand two hundred and twenty-five. In addition to these, we are only certain of colonel Smallwood's battalion in case of an immediate attack. Our posts too are much divided, having waters between many of them, and some distant from others fifteen miles. These circumstances, sufficiently distressing of themselves, are much aggravated [Page 211] by the sickness that prevails through the army. Every day more or less are taken down; so that the proportion of men that may come in cannot be considered as a real and serviceable augmentation on the whole.

These things are melancholy; but they are neverthe­less true. I hope for better. Under every disadvantage, my utmost exertions shall be employed to bring about the great end we have in view: and, so far as I can judge from the professions and apparent disposition of my troops, I shall have their support. The superiority of the enemy and the expected attack do not seem to have depressed their spirits. These considerations lead me to think, that, though the appeal may not terminate so happily in our favour as I could wi [...]h, yet they will not succeed in their views without considerable loss. Any advantage they may get, I trust, will cost them dear.

Eight o'clock, P. M.

By the reverend Mr. Madison and a Mr. Johnson, two gentlemen of Virginia, who came from Staten-Island yes­terday, where they arrived the day before in the packet with colonel Guy Johnson, I am informed that nothing material had taken place in England when they left it:—that there had been a change in the French ministry, which, many people thought, foreboded a war;—that it seemed to be believed by many that Congress would attempt to buy off the foreign troops, and that it might be effect­ed without great difficulty. Their accounts from Staten-Island nearly correspond with what we had before: they say that every preparation is making for an attack;—that the force now upon the island is about fifteen thousand;—that they appear very impatient for the arrival of the for­eign troops, but a very small part having got in. Wheth­er they would attempt any thing before they come, they are uncertain: but they are sure they will as soon as they arrive, if not before. They say, from what they could collect from the conversation of officers, &c. they mean to hem us in by getting above us and cutting off all commu­nication with the country.

That this is their plan, seems to be corroborated and confirmed by the circumstance of some ships of war going out at different times within a few days past, and other [Page 212] vessels. It is probable that a part are to go round and come up the Sound.

Mr. Madison says lord Howe's powers were not known when he left England;—that general Conway moved, before his departure, that they might be laid be­fore the commons; and had his motion rejected by a large majority.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been duly honoured with your favours of the eighth and tenth instant, with their several inclosures. I shall pay attention to the resolution respecting lieutenant Josiah, and attempt to relieve him from his rigorous usage. Your letters to such of the gentlemen as were here have been delivered. The rest will be sent by the first op­portunity.

Since my last, of the eighth and ninth, the enemy have made no movements of consequence. They remain nearly in the same state; nor have we any further in­telligence of their designs. They have not been yet joined by the remainder of the fleet with the Hessian troops.

Colonel Smallwood and his battalion got in on Fri­day; and colonel Miles is also here with two battalions more of Pennsylvania riflemen.

The convention of this State have been exerting them­selves to call forth a portion of their militia to an encamp­ment forming above Kingsbridge, to remain in service for the space of one month after their arrival there; and also half of those in King and Queen's counties, to reinforce the troops on Long-Island till the first of September, un­less sooner discharged. General Morris too is to take post with his brigade on the Sound and Hudson's-river for ten days, to annoy the enemy in case they attempt to land; and others of their militia are directed to be in readiness, in case their aid should be required. Upon the whole, from the information I have from the convention, the militia ordered are now in motion, or will be in a lit­tle [Page 213] time, and will amount to about three thousand or more. From Connecticut, I am not certain what succours are coming. By one or two gentlemen who have come from thence, I am told some of the militia were assembling, and, from the intelligence they had, would march this week.

By a letter from governor Trumbull, of the fifth, I am advised that the troops from that State, destined for the northern army, had marched for Skenesborough. Gener­al Ward too, by a letter of the fourth, informs me that the two regiments would march from Boston last week, having been cleansed and generally recovered from the small-pox. I have also countermanded my orders to col­onel Elmore, and directed him to join the northern army, having heard, after my orders to Connecticut for his march­ing hither, that he and most of his regiment were at Alba­ny or within its vicinity. General Ward mentions that the council of the Massachusetts State will have in from two to three thousand of their militia to defend their lines and different posts, in lieu of the regiments ordered from thence agreeable to the resolution of Congress.

The inclosed copy of a resolve of this State, passed the tenth instant, will discover the apprehension they are un­der of the defection of the inhabitants of King's county from the common cause, and of the measures they have taken thereupon. I have directed general Greene to give the committee such assistance as he can, and they may re­quire, in the execution of their commission; though at the same time I wish the information the convention have re­ceived upon the subject may prove groundless.

I would beg leave to mention to Congress, that, in a letter I received from general Lee, he mentions the valua­ble consequences that would result from a number of cav­alry being employed in the southern department. With­out them (to use his own expressions) he can answer for nothing:—with one thousand, he would ensure the safety of those States. I should have done myself the honour of submitting this matter to Congress before at his particular request, had it not escaped my mind. From his acquaint­ance with that country, and the nature of the grounds, I doubt not he has weighed the matter well, and presume he [Page 214] has fully represented the advantages that would arise from the establishment of such a corps: all I mean, is, in com­pliance with his requisition, to mention the matter, that such consideration may be had upon it (if not already de­termined) as it may be deserving of.

I have transmitted a general return, whereby Congress will perceive the whole of our strength, except the two bat­talions under colonel Miles, which, coming since it was made out, are not included.

I have inclosed a letter just come to hand from Marti­nique. Congress will please to consider of the purport, fa­vouring me with their answer and a return of the letter.

This moment (ten o'clock) report is made by general Greene that a man-of-war came in yesterday, and that six­ty sail of ships are now standing i [...]. No doubt, they are a further part of the Hessian fleet.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be handed to you by colonel * * * from the northern army, whom the inclosed letter and proceed­ings of a general court-martial will shew to have been in arrest, and tried for sundry matters charged against him. As the court-martial was by order of the commander in that department, the facts committed there, the trial there,—I am much at a loss to know why the proceedings were referred to me to approve or disapprove. As my interfer­ing in the matter would carry much impropriety with it, and shew a want of regard to the rules and practice in such in­stances,—and as colonel * * * is going to Philadelphia, I have submitted the whole of the proceedings to the con­sideration of Congress for their decision upon his case,—perfectly convinced that such determination will be had therein, as will be right and just.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 215]
SIR,

AS there is reason to believe that but little time will elapse before the enemy make their attack, I have thought it adviseable to remove all the papers in my hands, respect­ing the affairs of the States, from this place. I hope the event will shew the precaution was unnecessary: but yet prudence required that it should be done, le [...]t by any acci­dent they might fall into their hands. They are all con­tained in a large box, nailed up, and committed to the care of lieutenant colonel Reed, brother of the adjutant-general to be delivered to Congress, in whose custody I would beg leave to deposite them until our affairs shall be so circumstanced as to admit of their return.

The enemy, since my letter of yesterday, have received a further augmentation of thirty-six ships to their fleet, making the whole that have arrived since yesterday morn­ing, ninety-six.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I would observe that I have sent off the box privately, that it might raise no disagreeable ideas; and have enjoined colonel Reed to secrecy.

SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on Mon­day, nothing of importance has occurred here, except that the enemy have received an augmentation to their fleet, of ninety-six ships:—some reports make them more. In a letter I wrote you yesterday by lieutenant-colonel Reed, I advised you of this: but pre [...]ming it may not reach you so soon as this will, I have thought proper to mention the intelligence again.

Inclosed I have the honour to transmit a copy of the examination of a deserter sent me this morning by general Mercer, to which I beg leave to refer Congress for the latest accounts I have from the enemy. Whether the intelligence he has given is literally true, I cannot de­termine: but as to the attack, we daily expect it.

[Page 216] Your favour of the tenth, with its inclosures, was duly received; and I have instructed the several officers who were promoted, to act in their stations as you requested, though their commissions were not sent.

As we are in extreme want of tents and covering for this army,—a great part of those at the out-posts having nothing to shelter them, nor houses to go into,—I submit it to Congress whether it may not be prudent to remand those that were lately sent to Boston, where there are no troops at present; and, if there were, the necessity for them would not be great, as the town, and barracks at several of the posts, would be sufficient to receive them.

The inclosed letter from lieutenant-colonel Henshaw will discover to Congress his views and wishes, which they will consider and determine on, in whatever way they think right and conducive to the public good;—meaning only to lay his letter before them.

I take the liberty of mentioning that colonel Varnum of Rhode-Island has been with me this morning to resign his commission, conceiving himself to be greatly injured in not having been noticed in the late arrangement and promotion of general officers. I remonstrated against the impropriety of the measure at this time; and he has con­sented to stay till affairs wear a different aspect from what they do at present.

Eleven o'clock.—By a report just come to hand from general Green, twenty ships more are coming in.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be delivered you by captain Moeballe, a Dutch gentleman from Surrinam, who has come to the con­tinent with a view of entering into the service of the States, as you will perceive by the inclosed letters from Mr. Brown, of Providence, and general Greene. What oth­er letters and credentials he has, I know not; but, at his request, have given him this line to Congress, to whom he wishes to be introduced, and where he will make his pre­tensions known▪

[Page 217] I have ordered the quarter-master immediately to write to Mr. Brown for the Russia duck he mentions, with directions to have it instantly made into tents there,—be­ing in great distress for want of a sufficient number to cover our troops.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

AS the situation of the two armies must engage the attention of Congress, and lead them to expect that each returning day will produce some important events, this is meant to inform them that nothing of moment has yet cast up. In the evening of yesterday there were great move­ments among their boats; and, from the number that ap­peared to be passing and repassing about the Narrows, we were induced to believe they intended to land a part of their force upon Long-Island; but, having no report from general Greene, I presume they have not done it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Your favour of the thirteenth was received by yesterday's post. I wrote on Monday by the return express, as you supposed.

SIR,

I BEG leave to inform you, that since I had the pleasure of addressing you yesterday, nothing interesting between the two armies has happened. Things remain nearly in the situation they then were.

It is with peculiar regret and concern that I have an op­portunity of mentioning to Congress the sickly condition of our troops. In force regiments there are not any of the field-officers capable of doing duty: in others the duty is extremely difficult for want of a sufficient number. I have been obliged to nominate some till Congress transmit the appointments of those they wish to succeed to the several vacancies occasioned by the late promotions. This [Page 218] being a matter of some consequence, I presume will have their early attention, and that they will fill up the several vacancies also mentioned in the list I had the honour of transmitting some few days ago to the board of war.

I am, Sir, with the utmost respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE circumstances of the two armies having under­gone no material alteration since I had the honour of writ­ing to you last, I have nothing particular or important to communicate respecting them.

In my letter of yesterday I forgot to mention the arrival of lord Dunmore here. By the examination of a captain Hunter (who escaped from the enemy, and came to Am­boy on the fourteenth) transmitted me by general Rober­deau, I am certainly informed his lordship arrived on the thirteenth. The examination does not say any thing about the ships he brought with him; it only extends to his force, which it mentions to be weak.

I before now expected the enemy would have made their attack; nor can I account for their deferring it, unless the intelligence, given by captain Hunter and another per­son who escaped about the same time, is the cause, to wit, that they are waiting the arrival of another division of the Hessian troops, which (they say) is still out. Whether that is the reason of the delay, I cannot undertake to deter­mine: but I should suppose things will not long remain in their present state. I have inclosed a copy of general Rob­erdeau's letter, and of the examination of those two persons, which will shew Congress all the information they have given upon these subjects.

I am just now advised by Mr. Aires, who came from Philadelphia to build the row-gallies, that two of our fire-vessels attempted last night to burn the enemy's ships and tenders up the river. He says that they burned one tender, and one of them boarded the Phoenix, and was grappled with her for near ten minutes; but she cleared herself. We lost both of the vessels. His account is not so partic­ular as I could wish; however, I am certain the attempt [Page 219] has not succeeded to our wishes. In a little time it is prob­able the matter will be more minutely reported.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been honoured with your favour of the sixteenth with the inclosure, and am sorry it is not in my power to transmit Congress a copy of the treaty as they require, having sent it away with the other papers that were in my hands.

The resolution they have entered into respecting the for­eign troops, I am persuaded, would produce salutary effects if it could be properly circulated among them. I fear it will be a matter of difficulty. However, I will take every measure that shall appear probable to facilitate the end.

I have the honour to inclose you, for the perusal and consideration of Congress, sundry papers marked No 1 to No 7, inclusive; the whole of which, except No 2 and 7, (my answers to lord Drummond and general Howe) I received yesterday evening by a flag, and to which I beg leave to refer Congress.

I am exceedingly at a loss to know the motives and causes inducing a proceeding of such a nature at this time, and why lord Howe has not attempted some plan of nego­ciation before, as he seems so desirous of it. If I may be allowed to conjecture and guess at the cause, it may be that part of the Hessians have not arrived, as mentioned in the examination transmitted yesterday,—or that general Burgoyne has not made such progress as was expected, to form a junction of their two armies,—or, what I think equally probable, they mean to procrastinate their opera­tions for some time, trusting that the militias which have come to our succour will soon become tired and return home, as is but too usual with them. Congress will make their observations upon these several matters, and favour me with the result as soon as they have done. They will observe my answer to lord Drummond, who (I am pretty confident) has not attended to the terms of his parole, but [Page 220] has violated it in several instances. It is with the rest of the papers; but, if my memory serves me, he was not to hold any correspondence directly or indirectly with those in arms against us, or to go into any port or harbour in America, where the enemy themselves were or had a fleet, or to go on board their ships.

The treaty with the Indians is in the box which lieuten­ant-colonel Reed, I presume, has delivered before this. If Congress are desirous of seeing it, they will be pleased to have the box opened. It contains a variety of papers, and all the affairs of the army, from my first going to Cam­bridge, till it was sent away.

This morning the Phoenix and Rose men-of-war, with two tenders, availing themselves of a favourable and brisk wind, came down the river, and have joined the fleet. Our several batteries fired at them in their passage, but without any good effect that I could perceive.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE nothing of moment to communicate to Congress, as things are in the situation they were when I had last the honour of addressing them.

By a letter from general Ward, of the twelfth, I find that Whitcomb's regiment, on the eighth, and Phi [...]ey's, on the ninth, marched from Boston for Ticonderoga.

Governor Trumbull also, in a letter of the thirteenth, advises me that Ward's regiment in the service of the States was on the march to this army, and that he and his coun­cil of safety had in the whole ordered fourteen militia regiments to reinforce us. Three of them have arrived, and amount to about a thousand and twenty men. When the whole come in, we shall be on a much more respect­able foot [...]g than we have been: but I greatly fear, if the enemy defer their attempt for any considerable time, they will be extremely impatient to return home; and if they should, we shall be reduced to distress again.

He also [...]dds that captain Van Buren, who had been sent for that purpose, had procured a sufficient supply of [Page 221] sail-cloth for the vessels to be employed on the Lake, and a part of the cordage, in that State; and had a prospect of getting the remainder.

As there will be a difficulty in all probability to circu­late the papers designed for the foreign troop [...], and many miscarriages may happen before it can be effected, it may be proper to furnish me with a larger quantity than what I already have.

Inclosed I have the honour to transmit you a general return of our whole force at this time, in which are com­prehended the three regiments of militia above mentioned. I am sorry it should be so much weakened by sickness. The return will shew you how it distresses us.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. The post just now arrived has brought a further supply of papers for the Hessians, which makes my requi­sition unnecessary.

SIR,

I WAS yesterday morning favoured with yours of the seventeenth, accompanied by several resolutions of Congress, and commissions for officers appointed to the late vacancies in this army.

I wrote some days ago to general Schuyler to propose to generals Carleton and Burgoyne an exchange of prison­ers in consequence of a former resolve of Congress authorising their commanders in each department to negociate one. That of major Meigs for major French, and cap­tain Dearborn's for any officer of equal rank, I submitted to general Howe's consideration, by letter, on the seven­teenth, understanding their paroles had been sent him by general Carleton; but have not yet received his answer upon the subject.

In respect to the exchange of the prisoners in Canada, if à proposition on that head has not been already made, (and I believe it has not) the inclosed copy of general Carleton's orders (transmitted me under seal by major Bigelow, who was sent with a flag to general Burgoyne [Page 222] from Ticonderoga, with the proceedings of Congress on the breach of capitulation at the Cedars, and the inhuman treatment of our people afterwards) will shew it is unnec­essary, as he has determined to send them to their own provinces, there to remain as prisoners; interdicting at the same time all kind of intercourse between us and his army, except such as may be for the purpose of imploring the king's mercy. The assassination he mentions, of brigadier-general Gordon, is a fact entirely new to me, and what I never heard of before. I shall not trouble Congress with my strictures upon this * * * performance, * * * on­ly observing that its design is somewhat artful, and that each boatman with major Bigelow was furnished with a copy.

I have also transmitted Congress a copy of the major's journal, to which I beg leave to refer them for the intelli­gence reported by him on his return from the [...]uce.

By a letter from general Greene yesterday evening, he informed me he had received an express from Hog-Island inlet, advising that five of the enemy's small vessels had ap­peared at the mouth of the creek, with some troops on board;—also that he had heard two peri [...]guas were off Oyster-bay, the whole supposed to be after live stock; and to prevent their getting it, he had detached a party of horse, and two hundred and twenty men, among them twenty ri­flemen. I have not received further intelligence upon the subject.

I am also advised by the examination of a captain Button (master of a vessel that had been taken) transmitted me by general Mercer, that the general report among the ene­my's troops, when he came off, was, that they were to attack Long-Island, and to secure our works there if possi­ble, at the same time that another part of their army was to land above this city. This information is corroborated by many other accounts, and is probably true: nor will it be possible to prevent them landing on the island, as its great extent affords a variety of places favourable for that purpose, and the whole of our works on it are at the end [Page 223] opposite to the city. However, we shall attempt to harass them as much as possible, which will be all that we can do.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

INCLOSED I have the honour to transmit you a copy of my letter to lord Howe (as well on the subject of a general exchange of prisoners in the naval line, as th [...] of lieutenant Josiah in particular) and of his lordship's an­swer, which, for its matter and manner, is very different from general Carleton's orders which were forwarded yes­terday.

The situation of the armies being the same as when I had the pleasure of addressing you last, I have nothing special to communicate on that head, nor more to add, than that I am, with all possible respect, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to transmit Congress a copy of a letter I received yesterday evening by express from governor Livingston, also copies of three reports from col­onel Hand.

Though the intelligence reported by the spy on his re­turn to governor Livingston has not been confirmed by the event he mentions, (an attack last night) there is every reason to believe that one is shortly designed. The fall­ing down of several ships yesterday evening to the Nar­rows, crowded with men,—those succeeded by many more this morning, and a great number of boats parading around them (as I was just now informed) with troops, are all circumstances indicating an attack: and it is not improbable it will be made to-day. It could not have hap­pened last night, by reason of a most violent gust.

We are making every preparation to receive them; and I trust, under the smiles of Providence, with our own [Page 224] exertions, that my next, if they do attack, will transmit an account that will be pleasing to every friend of Amer­ica, and of the rights of humanity.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I BEG leave to inform Congress, that, yesterday morning and in the course of the preceding night, a con­siderable body of the enemy, amounting by report to eight or nine thousand, and these all British, landed from the transport-ships mentioned in my last, at Gravesend-bay on Long-Island, and have approached within three miles of our lines, having marched across the low cleared grounds near the woods at Flat-bush, where they are halt­ed, from my last intelligence.

I have detached from hence six battalions as a rein­forcement to our troops there, which are all that I can spare at this time, not knowing but the fleet may move up with the remainder of their army, and make an attack here, on the next flood-tide. If they do not, I shall send a further reinforcement, should it be necessary; and have ordered five battalions more to be in readiness for that purpose.

I have no doubt but a little time will produce some im­portant events. I hope they will be happy. The rein­forcement detached yesterday went off in high spirits; and I have the pleasure to inform you that the whole of the army, that are effective and capable of duty, discover the same, and great cheerfulness. I have been obliged to appoint major-general Sullivan to the command on the island, owing to general Greene's indisposition:—he has been extremely ill for several days, and still continues bad.

By Wednesday evening's post I received a letter from general Ward, inclosing a copy of the invoice of the ord­nance stores taken by captain Manly, with the appraisement of the same, (made in pursuance of my direction, founded on the order of Congress) which I do myself the honour [Page 225] of transmitting. You will also receive the treaty be­tween the commissioners and the Indians of the Six Na­tions, and others, at the German-Flats, which general Schuyler requested me to forward, by his letter of the eighteenth instant.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE irregularity of the post prevents your receiv­ing the early and constant intelligence it is my wish to communicate. This is the third letter which you will probably receive from me by the same post. The first was of little or no consequence: but that of yesterday gave you the best information I had been able to obtain of the enemy's landing and movements upon Long-Island. Having occasion to go over thither yesterday, I sent my letter to the post-office at the usual hour, being informed that the rider was expected every moment, and would go out again directly: but in the evening when I sent to inquire, none had come in.

I now inclose you a report made to me by general Sullivan after I left Long-Island yesterday. I do not conceive that the enemy's whole force was in motion, but a detached party rather. I have sent over four more regi­ments, with boats, to be ready either to reinforce the troops under general Sullivan, or to return to this place, if the remainder of the fleet at the watering-place should push up to the city; which hitherto (I mean, since the landing upon Long-Island) they have not had in their power to do, on account of the wind which has either been a-head or too small when the tide has served. I have nothing further to trouble the Congress with at pres­ent, than that I am theirs and your most obedient humble servant▪

G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been duly honoured with your favours of the twentieth and twenty-fourth, and am happy to find [Page 226] my answer to lord Drummond has met the approbation of Congress. Whatever his views were, most certainly his conduct respecting his parole is highly reprehensible.

Since my letter of the twenty-fourth, almost the whole of the enemy's fleet have fallen down to the Narrows; and, from this circumstance, and the striking of their tents at their several encampments on Staten-Island from time to time previous to the departure of the ships from thence, we are led to think they mean to land the main body of their army on Long-Island, and to make their grand push there. I have ordered over considerable reinforcements to our troops there, and shall continue to send more as circumstances may require. There has been a little skir­mishing and irregular firing kept up between their and our advanced guards, in which colonel Martin of the Jersey levies has received a wound in his breast, which, it is ap­prehended, will prove mortal; a private has had his leg broke by a cannon-ball, and another has received a shot in the groin from their musketry. This is all the damage they have yet done us:—what they have sustained, is not known.

The shifting and changing the regiments have undergone of late has prevented their making proper returns, and of course put it out of my power to transmit a general one of the army. However, I believe our strength is much the same as it was when the last was made, with the ad­dition, of nine militia regiments come from the State of Connecticut, averaging about three hundred and fifty men each. These are nine of the fourteen regiments mention­ed in my letter of the nineteenth. Our people still con­tinue to be very sickly.

The papers designed for the foreign troops have been put into several channels, in order that they might be conveyed to them; and, from the information I had yes­terday, I have reason to believe many have fallen into their hands.

I have inclosed a copy of lord Drummond's second let­ter (in answer to mine) which I received since I trans­mitted his first, and which I have thought necessary to lay before Congress, that they may possess the whole of the [Page 227] correspondence between us, and see how far he has excul­pated himself from the charge alleged against him. The log-book he mentions to have sent colonel Moylan proves nothing in his favour. That shews he had been at Ber­muda, and from thence to some other island, on his pas­sage from which to this place, the vessel he was in was boarded by a pilot who brought her into the Hook, where he found the British fleet, which his lordship avers he did not expect were there, having understood their destination was to the southward.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

[The following letter is from one of the General's secretaries, whose signature will also appear to a few of the subsequent letters in this volume.]

SIR,

I THIS minute returned from our lines on Long-Island, where I left his excellency the General. From him I have it in command to inform Congress, that yes­terday he went there, and continued till evening, when, from the enemy's having landed a considerable part of their forces,—and many of their movements,—there was reason to apprehend they would make in a little time a general attack. As they would have a wood to pass through before they could approach the lines, it was thought expedient to place a number of men there on the different roads leading from where they were stationed, in order to harass and annoy them in their march. This being done, early this morning a smart engagement ensued between the enemy and our detachments, which, being unequal to the force they had to contend with, have sus­tained a pretty considerable loss: at least many of our men are missing. Among those that have not returned, are generals Sullivan and lord Stirling. The enemy's loss is not known certainly: but we are told by such of our troops as were in the engagement and have come in, that they had many killed and wounded. Our party brought off a lieutenant, serjeant, and coporal, with twen­ty privates, prisoners.

[Page 228] While these detachments were engaged, a column of the enemy descended from the woods, and marched to­wards the centre of our lines with a design to make an impression, but were repulsed. This evening they ap­peared very numerous about the skirts of the woods, where they have pitched several tents: and his excellency in­clines to think they mean to attack and force us from our lines by way of regular approaches, rather than in any other manner.

To-day, five ships of the line came up towards the town, where they seemed desirous of getting, as they turn­ed a long time against an unfavourable wind: and on my return this evening, I found a deserter from the twenty-third regiment, who informed me that they design, as soon as the wind will permit them to come up, to give us a severe cannonade, and to silence our batteries, if possible. I have the honour to be, in great haste, Sir, your most obedient,

ROBERT H. HARRISON.
SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with your favour of the twenty-seventh, accompanied by sundry resolutions of Congress. Those respecting the officers, &c. that may be wounded in the service of the States, are founded much in justice, and (I should hope) may be productive of ma­ny salutary consequences. As to the encouragement to the Hessian officers, I wish it may have the desired effect. Perhaps it might have been better had the offer been sooner made.

Before this, you will probably have received a letter from Mr. Harrison, of the twenty-seventh, advising of the engagement between a detachment of our men and the enemy on that day. I am sorry to inform Congress that I have not yet heard either of general Sullivan or lord Stirling, who (they would observe) were among the missing after the engagement: nor can I ascertain our loss. I am hopeful, part of our men will yet get in: several did yesterday morning. That of the enemy is also un­certain: [Page 229] the a [...]ounts are various. I incline to think they suffered a good deal. Some deserters say five hun­dred were killed and wounded.

There was some skirmishing, the greatest part of yes­terday, between parties from the enemy and our people: in the evening it was pretty smart. The event I have not yet learned.

The weather of late has been extremely wet. Yester­day it rained severely the whole afternoon, which dis­tressed our people much,—not having a sufficiency of tents to cover them, and what we have, not being got over yet. I am in hopes they will all be got to-day, and that they will be more comfortably provided, though the great scarcity of these articles distresses us beyond meas­ure, not having any thing like a sufficient number to pro­tect our people from the inclemency of the weather;—which has occasioned much sickness, and the men to be almost broken down.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

INCLINATION as well as duty would have in­duced me to give Congress the earliest information of my removal and that of the troops, from Long-Island and its dependencies, to this city, the night before last: but the extreme fatigue which myself and family have undergone, as much from the weather since as the engagement on the twenty-seventh, rendered me and them entirely unfit to take pen in hand. Since Monday, scarce any of us have been out of the lines till our passage across the East-river was effected yesterday morning; and, for forty-eight hours preceding that, I had hardly been off my horse, and never closed my eyes; so that I was quite unfit to write or dic­tate till this morning.

Our retreat was made without any loss of men or am­munition, and in better order than I expected from troops in the situation ours were. We brought off all our cannon and stores, except a few heavy pieces, which, in the condition the earth was by a long-continued rain, we [Page 230] found, upon trial, impracticable. The wheels of the car­riages sinking up to the hobs rendered it impossible for our whole force to drag them. We left but little provisions on the island, except some cattle which had been driven within our lines, and which, after many attempts to force across the water, we found impossible to effect, circum­stanced as we were.

I have inclosed a copy of the council of war held pre­vious to the retreat, to which I beg leave to refer Congress for the reasons, or many of them, that led to the adoption of that measure.

Yesterday evening and last night, a party of our men were employed in bringing our stores, cannon, tents, &c. from Governor's-Island, which they nearly completed. Some of the heavy cannon remain there still, but (I ex­pect) will be got away to-day.

In the engagement on the twenty-seventh, generals Sullivan and Stirling were made prisoners. The former has been permitted, on his parole, to return for a little time. From my lord Stirling I had a letter by general Sullivan (a copy of which I have the honour to transmit) that contains his information of the engagement with his brigade. It is not so full and certain as I could wish:—he was hurried most probably, as his letter was unfinished:—nor have I been yet able to obtain an exact account of our loss;—we suppose it from seven hundred to a thousand killed and taken.

General Sullivan says lord Howe is extremely desirous of seeing some of the members of Congress; for which purpose he was allowed to come out, and to communicate to them what has passed between him and his lordship. I have consented to his going to Philadelphia, as I do not mean, or conceive it right, to withhold, or prevent him from giving, such information as he possesses in this in­stance.

I am much hurried and engaged in arranging and mak­ing new dispositions of our forces; the movements of the enemy requiring them to be immediately had;—and there­fore have only time to add, that I am, with my best re­gards to Congress, their and your most obedient, &c.

G. W.
[Page 231]
SIR,

AS my intelligence of late has been rather unfavour­able, and would be received with anxiety and concern, pe­culiarly happy should I esteem myself, were it in my pow­er at this time to transmit such information to Congress, as would be more pleasing and agreeable to their wishes:—but, unfortunately for me,—unfortunately for them,—it is not.

Our situation is truly distressing. The check our de­tachment sustained on the twenty-seventh ultimo has dis­pirited too great a proportion of our troops, and filled their minds with apprehension and despair. The militia, instead of calling forth their utmost efforts to a brave and manly opposition in order to repair our losses, are dismayed, in­tractable, and impatient to return. Great numbers of them have gone off,—in some instances, almost by whole regiments, by half ones, and by companies at a time. This circumstance, of itself, independent of others, when fronted by a well-appointed enemy superior in number to our whole collected force, would be sufficiently disagreea­ble:—but, when their example has infected another part of the army,—when their want of discipline, and refusal of almost every kind of restraint and government, have pro­duced a like conduct but too common to the whole, and an entire disregard of that order and subordination necessa­ry to the well doing of an army, and which had been in­culcated before, as well as the nature of our military es­tablishment would admit of,—our condition is still more alarming: and with the deepest concern I am obliged to confess my want of confidence in the generality of the troops.

All these circumstances fully confirm the opinion I ev­er entertained, and which I more than once in my letters took the liberty of mentioning to Congress, that no depend­ence could be put in a militia, or other troops than those enlisted and embodied for a longer period than our regula­tions heretofore have prescribed. I am persuaded, and as fully convinced as I am of any one fact that has happened, that our liberties must of necessity be greatly hazarded if not entirely lost, if their defence is left to any but a per­manent [Page 232] standing army,—I mean, one [...]xist during the war. Nor would the expense, incident to the support of such a body of troops as would be competent to almost every exigency, far exceed that which is daily incurred by calling in succour, and new enlistments, which, when ef­fected, are not attended with any good consequences. Men who have been free, and subject to no control, cannot be reduced to order in an instant; and the privileges and exemptions they claim and will have, influence the con­duct of others; and the aid derived from them is nearly counterbalanced by the disorder, irregularity, and confusion they occasion.

I cannot find that the bounty of ten dollars is likely to produce the desired effect. When men can get double that sum to engage for a month or two in the militia, and that militia frequently called out, it is hardly to be expect­ed. The addition of land might have a considerable in­fluence on a permanent enlistment.

Our number of men at present fit for duty is under twenty thousand; they were so by the last returns and best accounts I could get after the engagement on Long-Island; since which, numbers have deserted. I have or­dered general Mercer to send the men intended for the flying camp to this place, about a thousand in number, and to try with the militia, if practicable, to make a diversion upon Staten-Island.

Till of late, I had no doubt in my own mind, of de­fending this place: nor should I have yet, if the men would do their duty: but this I despair of. It is painful, and ex­tremely grating to me, to give such unfavourable accounts: but it would be criminal to conceal the truth at so critical a juncture. Every power I possess shall be exerted to serve the cause; and my first wish is, that, whatever may be the event, the Congress will do me the justice to think so.

If we should be obliged to abandon the town, ought it to stand as winter quarters for the enemy? They would derive great conveniences from it on the one hand; and much property would be destroyed on the other. It is an important question, but will admit of but little time for de­liberation. At present I dare say the enemy mean to pre­serve it if they can. If Congress therefore should resolve [Page 233] upon the destruction of it, the resolution should be a pro­found secret, as the knowledge of it will make a capital change in their plans.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on the second, our affairs have not undergone a change for the better, nor assumed a more agreeable aspect than what they then wore. The militia, under various pretences, of sick­ness, &c. are daily diminishing; and in a little time, I am persuaded, their number will be very inconsiderable.

On Monday night a forty-gun ship passed up the Sound between Governor's and Long-Island, and anchored in Turtle-bay. In her passage she received a discharge of cannon from our batteries, but without any damage; and, having a favourable wind and tide, soon got out of their reach. Yesterday morning I dispatched major Crane of the artillery, with two twelve-pounders and a howitzer, to annoy her; who, hulling her several times, forced her from that station, and to take shelter behind an island, where she still continues. There are several other ships of war in the Sound, with a good many transports or store-ships which came round Long-Island, so that that communication is entirely cut off. The admiral, with the main body of the fleet, is close in with Governor's-Island.

Judging it expedient to guard against every contingency as far as our peculiar situation will admit, and that we may have resources left if obliged to abandon this place, I have sent away and am removing above Kingsbridge all our stores that are unnecessary, and that will not be immedi­ately wanted.

I have inclosed several original letters from some of our officers prisoners at Quebec, which fell into general Gates's hands, and were transmitted by him to general Schuyler who sent them to me. General Gates adds, that the per­sons who brought them said general Burgoyne had sent messages to the inhabitants upon the lakes; inviting their [Page 234] continuance on their farms, and assuring them that they should remain in security.

The post-master having removed his office from the city to Dobbs's-ferry, as it is said, makes it extremely incon­venient, and will be the means of my not giving such con­stant and regular intelligence as I could wish. Cannot some mode be devised, by which we may have a pretty constant and certain intercourse and communication kept up? It is an interesting matter, and of great importance; and, as such, I am persuaded, will meet with due attention from Congress.

I have transmitted the copy of general Gates's letter as sent me by general Schuyler, from which Congress will discover all the information I have respecting general Bur­goyne's message, and my latest intelligence from Ticonde­roga, with the returns of the army there. Those of the army here it is, impossible to obtain, till the hurry and bus­tle we are now in are a little over.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Congress will perceive, by general Gates's letter, his want of musket-cartridge-paper. It is impossible to supply him from hence. They will therefore be pleased to order what he wants (if it can be procured) to be im­mediately sent him from Philadelphia.

SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with your favour of the third, with sundry resolutions of Congress; and perceiving it to be their opinion and determination that no damage [...] shall be done the city in case we are obliged to abandon it, I shall take every measure in my power to prevent it.

Since my letter of the fourth, nothing very material has occurred, unless it is that the fleet seem to be drawing more together, and all getting close in with Governor's-Island. Their designs we cannot learn; nor have we been able to procure the least information of late, of any of their plans or intended operations.

As the enemy's movements are very different from what we expected,—and, from their large encampments a [Page 235] considerable distance up the Sound, there is reason to be­lieve they intend to make a landing above or below Kings­bridge, and thereby to hem in our army, and cut off the communication with the country,—I mean to call a coun­cil of general officers to-day or to-morrow, and endeavour to digest and fix upon some regular and certain system of conduct to be pursued in order to battle their efforts and counteract their schemes; and also to determine of the ex­pediency of evacuating or attempting to maintain the city and the several posts on this island. The result of their opinion and deliberations I shall advise Congress of by the earliest opportunity, which will be by express, having it not in my power to communicate any intelligence by post, as the office is removed to so great a distance, and entirely out of the way.

I have inclosed a list of the officers who are prisoners, and from whom letters have been received by a flag. We know there are others not included in the list.

General Sullivan having informed me that general Howe was willing that an exchange of him for general Prescot should take place, it will be proper to send general Prescot immediately, that it may be effected.

As the milltia regiments in all probability will be impa­tient to return, and become pressing for their pay, I shall be glad of the direction of Congress, whether they are to receive it here or from the conventions or assemblies of the respective States to which they belong. On the one hand, the settlement of their abstracts will be attended with trou­ble and difficulty: on the other, they will go away much better satisfied, and be more ready to give their aid in future, if they are paid before their departure.

Before I conclude, I must take the liberty of mentioning to Congress the great distress we are in for want of money. Two months' pay (and more to some battalions) is now due to the troops here, without any thing in the military chest to satisfy it. This occasions much dissatisfaction, and almost a general uneasiness. Not a day passes without complaints and the most importunate and urgent demands on this head. As it may injure the service greatly, and the want of a regular supply of cash produce consequences of the most fatal tendency, I entreat the attention of Congress [Page 236] to this subject, and that we may be provided as soon as can be with a sum equal to every present claim.

I have wrote to general Howe, proposing an exchange of general McDonald for lord Stirling, and shall be ex­tremely happy to obtain it, as well as that of general Sul­livan for general Prescot, being greatly in want of them, and under the necessity of appointing, pro tempore, some of the colonels to command brigades.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. As two regiments from North-Carolina and three regiments more from Virginia are ordered here,—if they could embark at Norfolk, &c. and come up the bay with security, it would expedite their arrival, and prevent the men from a long fatiguing march. This however should not be attempted if the enemy have vessels in the bay, which might probably intercept them.

SIR,

THIS will be delivered you by captain Martindale and lieutenant Turner, who were taken last fall in the arm­ed brig Washington, and who, with Mr. Childs the second lieutenant, have lately effected their escape from Halifax. Captain Martindale and these two officers have applied to me for pay from the first of January till this time: but, not conceiving myself authorised to grant it, however reasona­ble it may be, as they were only engaged till the last of De­cember,—at their instance I have mentioned the matter to Congress, and submit their case to their consideration.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on the sixth instant, I have called a council of the general officers, in order to take a full and comprehensive view of our situa­tion, and thereupon form such a plan of future defence as may be immediately pursued, and subject to no other alter­ation [Page 237] than a change of operations on the enemy's side may occasion.

Before the landing of the enemy on Long-Island, the point of attack could not be known, or any satisfactory judgment formed of their intentions. It might be on Long-Island, or Bergen, or directly on the city. This made it necessary to be prepared for each, and has occa­sioned an expense of labour which now seems useless, and is regretted by those who form a judgment from after-knowledge. But I trust, men of discernment will think differently, and see that by such works and preparations we have not only delayed the operations of the campaign till it is too late to effect any capital incursion into the country, but have drawn the enemy's forces to one point and obliged them to [disclose] their plan, so as to enable us to form our defence on some certainty.

It is now extremely obvious from all intelligence,—from their movements, and every other circumstance,—that having landed their whole army on Long-Island (except about four thousand on Staten-Island) they mean to inclose us on the island of New-York, by taking post in our rear while the shipping effectually secure the front; and thus, either by cutting off our communication with the country, oblige us to fight them on their own terms, or surrender at discretion,—or by a brilliant stroke en­deavour to cut this army in pieces, and secure the col­lection of arms and stores, which they well know we shall not be able soon to replace.

Having therefore their system unfolded to us, it became an important consideration how it could be most success­fully opposed. On every side there is a choice of diffi­culties; and every measure on our part (however painful the reflection is from experience) to be formed with some apprehension that all our troops will not do their duty. In deliberating on this great question, it was impossible to forget, that history, our own experience, the advice of our ablest friends in Europe, the fears of the enemy, and even the declarations of Congress, demonstrate, that on our side the war should be defensive—(it has ever been called a war of posts)—that we should on all occasions avoid a general action, nor put any thing to the risk, un­less [Page 238] compelled by a necessity into which we ought never to be drawn.

The arguments on which such a system was founded were deemed unanswerable; and experience has given her sanction. With these views, and being fully persuaded that it would be presumption to draw out our young troops into open ground against their superiors both in number and discipline, I have never spared the spade and pickaxe. I confess I have not found that readiness to defend even strong posts at all hazards, which is necessary to derive the greatest benefit from them. The honour of making a brave defence does not seem to be a sufficient stimulus when suc­cess is very doubtful, and the falling into the enemy's hands probable: but I doubt not, this will be gradually attained. We are now in a strong post, but not an impregnable one, nay, acknowledged by every man of judgment to be unten­able, unless the enemy will make the attack upon lines when they can avoid it, and their movements indicate that they mean to do so.

To draw the whole army together in order to arrange the defence proportionate to the extent of lines and works, would leave the country open for an approach, and put the fate of this army and its stores on the hazard of making a successful defence in the city, or the issue of an engagement out of it. On the other hand, to abandon a city which has been by some deemed defensible, and on whose works much labour has been bestowed, has a tendency to dispirit the troops and enfeeble our cause. It has also been con­sidered as the key to the northern country. But as to that, I am fully of opinion that the establishing of strong posts at Mount-Washington on the upper part of this island, and on the Jersey side opposite to it, with the as­sistance of the obstructions already made (and which may be improved) in the water, not only the navigation of Hudson's-river, but an easier and better communication may be more effectually secured between the northern and southern States. This, I believe, every one acquainted with the situation of the country will readily agree to; and it will appear evident to those who have an opportuni­ty of recurring to good maps.

[Page 239] These and many other consequences, which will be in­volved in the determination of our next measure, have given our minds full employ, and led every one to form a judgment as the various objects presented themselves to his view.

The post at Kingsbridge is naturally strong, and is pretty well fortified: the heights about it are command­ing, and might soon be made more so. These are im­portant objects, and I have attended to them accordingly. I have also removed from the city all the stores and am­munition except what was absolutely necessary for its de­fence, and made every other disposition that did not es­sentially interfere with that object,—carefully keeping in view, until it should be absolutely determined on full consideration, how far the city was to be defended at all events.

In resolving points of such importance, many circum­stances peculiar to our own army also occur. Being only provided for a summer's campaign, their clothes, shoes, and blankets, will soon be unfit for the change of weather which we every day feel. At present we have not tents for more than two thirds, many of them old and worn out: but if we had a plentiful supply, the season will not admit of continuing in them long. The case of our sick is also worthy of much consideration. Their number, by the returns, forms at least one fourth of the army. Policy and humanity require they should be made as comfort­able as possible.

With these and many other circumstances before them, the whole council of general officers met yesterday in order to adopt some general line of conduct to be pursued at this important crisis. I intended to have procured their sepa­rate opinions on each point; but time would not admit. I was therefore obliged to collect their sense more generally than I could have wished. All agreed the town would not be tenable if the enemy resolved to bombard and can­nonade it: but the difficulty attending a removal operated so strongly, that a course was taken between abandoning it totally and concentring our whole strength for its defence: nor were some a little influenced in their opinion, to whom the determination of Congress was known, against an evac­uation [Page 240] totally, as they were led to suspect Congress wished it to be maintained at every hazard.

It was concluded to arrange the army under three divi­sions;—five thousand to remain for the defence of the city;—nine thousand to Kingsbridge and its dependencies, as well to possess and secure those posts, as to be ready to attack the enemy who are moving eastward on Long-Isl­and, if they should attempt to land on this side;—the re­mainder to occupy the intermediate space, and support ei­ther;—that the sick should be immediately removed to Orangetown, and barracks prepared at Kingsbridge with all expedition to cover the troops.

There were some general officers, in whose judgment and opinion much confidence is to be reposed, that were for a total and immediate removal from the city,—urging the great danger of one part of the army being cut off be­fore the other can support it, the extremities being at least sixteen miles apart;—that our army, when collected, is inferior to the enemy;—that they can move with their whole force to any point of attack, and consequently must succeed by weight of numbers, if they have only a part to oppose them;—that, by removing from hence, we deprive the enemy of the advantage of their ships, which will make at least one half of the force to attack the town;—that we should keep the enemy at bay, put nothing to the hazard, but at all events keep the army together, which may be recruited another year;—that the unspent stores will also be preserved; and, in this case, the heavy artille­ry can also be secured. But they were overruled by a majority, who thought for the present a part of our force might be kept here, and attempt to maintain the city a while longer.

I am sensible a retreating army is encircled with diffi­culties; that the declining an engagement subjects a gener­al to reproach; and that the common cause may be affect­ed by the discouragement it may throw over the minds of many. Nor am I insensible of the contrary effects, if a brilliant stroke could be made with any probability of suc­cess, especially after our loss upon Long-Island. But, when the fate of America may be at stake on the issue, when the wisdom of cooler moments and experienced men [Page 241] have decided that we should protract the war if possible, I cannot think it safe or wise to adopt a different system when the season for action draws so near a close.

That the enemy mean to winter in New-York, there can be no doubt:—that, with such an armament, they can drive us out, is equally clear. The Congress having re­solved that it should not be destroyed, nothing seems to remain, but to determine the time of their taking posses­sion. It is our interest and wish to prolong it as much as possible, provided the delay does not affect our future measures.

The militia of Connecticut is reduced, from six thou­sand, to less than two thousand, and in a few days will be merely nominal. The arrival of some Maryland troops, &c. from the flying camp, has in a great degree supplied the loss of men: but the ammunition they have carried away will be a loss sensibly felt. The impulse for going home was so irresistible, it answered no purpose to oppose it. Though I would not discharge, I have been obliged to acquiesce; and it affords one more melancholy proof, how delusive such dependencies are.

Inclosed I have the honour to transmit a general return, the first I have been able to procure for some time; also a report of captain Newel from our works at Horn's-Hook or Hell-gate. Their situation is extremely low, and the Sound so very narrow, that the enemy have them much within their command.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. The inclosed information this minute came to hand. I am in hope [...] we shall henceforth get regular in­telligence of the enemy's movements.

SIR,

I WAS yesterday honoured with your favour of the eighth instant, accompanied by sundry resolutions of Con­gress, to which I shall pay the strictest attention, and, in the instances required, make them the future rule of my conduct.

[Page 242] The mode of nego [...]iation pursued by lord Howe I did not approve of; but as general Sullivan was sent out upon the business, and with a message to Congress, I could not conceive myself at liberty to interfere in the matter, as he was in the character of a prisoner, and totally subject to their power and direction.

The list of prisoners, before omitted through hurry, is now inclosed; though it will probably have reached Con­gress before this. I shall write by the first opportunity for major Hawsackse to repair to Philadelphia—(he is in the northern army;)—and will also mention the several ap­pointments in consequence of colonel St. Clair's promo­tion.

As soon as generals Prescot and McDonald arrive, I shall take measures to advise general Howe of it, that the proposed exchange for general Sullivan and lord Stirling may be carried into execution.

Since my letter of the eighth, nothing material has oc­curred, except that the enemy have possessed themselves of Montezore's-island, and landed a considerable number of troops upon it. This island lies in the mouth of Haerlem-river, which runs out of the Sound into the North-river, and will give the enemy an easy opportunity of landing either on the low grounds of Morrisania, if their views are to seize and possess the passes above Kingsbridge, or on the plains of Haerlem, if they design to intercept and cut off the communication between our several posts. I am making every disposition and arrangement that the divided state of our troops will admit of, and which ap­pear most likely and the best calculated to oppose their attacks; for I presume there will be several. How the event will be, God only knows: but you may be assured that nothing in my power, circumstanced as I am, shall be wanting, to effect a favourable and happy issue.

By my letter of the eighth you would perceive that several of the council were for holding the town, con­ceiving it practicable for some time. Many of them now, upon seeing our divided state, have altered their opinion, and allow the expediency and necessity of concentring our whole force, or drawing it more together. Convinced of the propriety of this measure, I am ordering our stores [Page 243] away, except such as may be absolutely necessary to keep as long as any troops remain; that, if an evacuation of the city becomes inevitable (which certainly must be the case) there may be as little to remove as possible.

The inclosed packet contains several letters for particu­lar members of Congress and for some gentlemen in Phil­adelphia. They came to hand yesterday, and were brought from France by a captain Levez lately arrived at Bedford in the Massachusetts State. I must request the favour of you to open the packet, and to have the letters put in a proper channel of conveyance to the gentlemen they are addressed to.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

HIS excellency being called from Head-Quarters to­day on business of importance which prevents his writing, I therefore do myself the honour to inform Congress of what has happened since his letter of yesterday.

Last evening the enemy transported a number of men from Buchanan's to Montezore's-island, and, by their several movements, more strongly indicate their intention to land somewhere about Haerlem or Morrisania,—most likely, at both at the same time. This morning one of the ships that have been for some time in the Sound mov­ed down towards Hell-gate; but, the tide leaving her, she could not get near enough to bring her guns to bear upon our fortification. If she means to attack it, it is probable she will warp in the next tide. Their batteries have kept up a pretty constant fire against ours at that place, but without any considerable effect. This morn­ing they opened a new one.

I do not recollect any other material occurrence, and shall only add, that I have the honour to be, &c.

R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

I HAVE been duly honoured with your favour of the tenth, with the resolution of Congress which accompani­ed [Page 244] it, and thank them for the confidence they repose i [...] my judgment respecting the evacuation of the city. I could wish to maintain it, because I know it to be of im­portance: but I am fully convinced that it cannot be done, and that an attempt for that purpose, if persevered in, might and most certainly would be attended with conse­quences the most fatal and alarming in their nature.

Sensible of this, several of the general officers, since the determination of the council mentioned in my last, petitioned that a second council might be called to recon­sider the propositions which had been before them upon the subject. Accordingly I called one on the twelfth, when a large majority not only determined a removal of the army prudent, but absolutely necessary,—declaring they were entirely convinced from a full and minute inquiry into our situation, that it was extremely perilous; and, from every movement of the enemy, and the intelligence received, their plan of operations was to get in our rear, and, by cutting off the communication with the main, oblige us to force a passage through them on the terms they wish, or to become prisoners in some short time for want of necessary supplies of provision.

We are now taking every method in our power to re­move the stores, &c, in which we find almost insuperable difficulties. They are so great and so numerous, that I fear we shall not effect the whole before we meet with some interruption. I fully expected that an attack some­where would have been made last night. In that I was disappointed; and happy shall I be, if my apprehensions of one to-night, or in a day or two, are not confirmed by the event. If it is deferred a little while longer, I flatter myself all will be got away, and our force be more con­centred, and of course more likely to resist them with success.

Yesterday afternoon, four ships of war, two of forty and two of twenty-eight guns, went up the East-river, passing between Governor's and Long-Island, and anchored about a mile above the city, opposite Mr. Stivansent's, where the Rose man-of-war was lying before. The design of their going not being certainly known, gives rise to various con­jectures,—some supposing they are to cover the landing of [Page 245] a party of the enemy above the city,—others that they are to assist in destroying our battery at Horn's-hook, that they may have a free and uninterrupted navigation in the Sound. It is an object of great importance to them, and what they are industriously trying to effect by a pretty constant can­nonade and bombardment.

Before I conclude, I would beg leave to mention to Congress, that the pay now allowed to nurses for their at­tendance on the sick is by no means adequate to their ser­vices; the consequence of which is, that they are extremely difficult to procure: indeed they are not to be got; and we are under the necessity of substituting in their place a number of men from the respective regiments, whose service by that means is entirely lost in the proper line of their du­ty, and but little benefit rendered to the sick. The officers I have talked with upon the subject all agree that they should be allowed a dollar per week, and that for less they cannot be had.

Our sick are extremely numerous, and we find their re­moval attended with the greatest difficulty. It i [...] [...] matter that employs much of our time and care; and what makes it more distressing is the want of proper and convenient places for their reception. I fear their sufferings will be great and many. However, nothing on my part, that humanity or policy can require, shall be wanting to make them comfortable, so far as the state of things will ad­mit of.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

ON Saturday about sunset, [...]ix more of the enemy's ships, one or two of which were men-of-war, passed be­tween Governor's-island and Red hook, and went up the East-river to the station taken by those mentioned in my last. In half an hour I received two expresses,—one from colonel Serjeant at Horn's-hook [Hell-gate] giving an account that the enemy, to the amount of three or four thousand, had ma [...]ched to the river, and were embarking [Page 246] for Barns's or Montezore's-island, where numbers of them were then encamped;—the other from general Mifflin, that uncommon and formidable movements were discovered among the enemy; which being confirmed by the scouts I had sent out, I proceeded to Haerlem, where it was supposed (or at Morrisania opposite to it) the principal at­tempt to land would be made. However, nothing re­markable happened that night: but in the morning they began their operations. Three ships of war came up the North-river as high as Bloomingdale, which put a total stop to the removal, by water, of any more of our provi­sion, &c. and about eleven o'clock those in the East-river began a most severe and heavy cannonade, to scour the grounds, and cover the landing of their troops between Turtle-bay and the city, where breastworks had been thrown up to oppose them.

As soon as I heard the firing, I rode with all possible dispatch towards the place of landing, when, to my great surprise and mortification, I found the troops that had been posted in the lines retreating with the utmost precipitation, and those ordered to support them (Parsons's and Fellows's brigades) flying in every direction, and in the greatest con­fusion, notwithstanding the exertions of their generals to form them. I used every means in my power to rally and get them into some order: but my attempts were fruitless and ineffectual; and on the appearance of a small party of the enemy, not more than sixty or seventy, their disorder increased, and they ran away in the greatest confusion, without firing a single shot.

Finding that no confidence was to be placed in these brigades, and apprehending that another party of the ene­my might pass over to Haerlem plains and cut off the re­treat to this place, I sent orders to secure the heights in the best manner with the troops that were stationed on and near them; which being done, the retreat was effected with but little or no loss of men, though, of a considerable part of our baggage,—occasioned by this disgraceful and [...]stardly conduct. Most of our heavy cannon, and a part of our stores and provisions which we were about removing, was unavoidably left in the city, though every means (after [Page 247] it had been determined in council to evacuate the post) had been used to prevent it.

We are now encamped with the main body of the army on the heights of Haerlem, where I should hope the ene­my would meet with a defeat in case of an attack, if the generality of our troops would behave with tolerable brave­ry. But experience to my extreme affliction has convinc­ed me, that this is rather to be wished for than expected. However, I trust that there are many who will act like men, and shew themselves worthy of the blessings of freedom.

I have sent out some reconnoitring parties to gain intel­ligence, if possible, of the disposition of the enemy, and shall inform Congress of every material event by the earliest opportunity.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

AS my letter of the sixteenth contained intelligence of an important nature, and such as might lead Congress to expect that the evacuation of New-York and retreat to the heights of Haerlem, in the manner they were made, would be succeeded by some other interesting event, I beg leave to inform them that as yet nothing has been attempt­ed upon a large and general pla [...] of attack.

About the time of the post's departure with my letter, the enemy appeared in several large bodies upon the plains about two and a half miles from hence. I rode down to our advanced posts, to put matters in a proper situation if they should attempt to come on. When I arrived there I heard a firing, which, I was informed, was between a party of our rangers under the command of lieutenant-col­onel Knolton, and an advanced party of the enemy. Our men came in and told me that the body of the enemy, who kept themselves concealed, consisted of about three hundred as near as they could guess. I immediately ordered three companies of colonel Weeden's regiment from Virginia, under the command of major Leitch, and colonel Knolton with his rangers composed of volunteers from different [Page 248] New-England regiments to try to get in their rear, while a disposition was making as if to attack them in front, and thereby draw their whole attention that way.

This took effect as I wished on the part of the enemy. On the appearance of our party in front, they immediately ran down the hill, took possession of some fences and bush­es, and a smart firing began, but at too great a distance to do much execution on either side. The parties under col­onel Knolton and major Leitch unluckily began their at­tack too soon, as it was rather in flank than in rear. In a little time major Leitch was brought off wounded, having received three balls through his side; and in a short time after colonel Knolton got a wound which proved mortal. Their men however persevered, and continued the engage­ment with the greatest resolution.

Finding that they wanted a support, I advanced part of colonel Griffith's and colonel Richardson's Maryland regi­ments, with some detachments from the eastern regiments who were nearest the place of action. These troops charg­ed the enemy with great intrepidity, and drove them from the wood into the plain, and were pushing them from thence (having silenced their fire in a great measure) when I judged it prudent to order a retreat, fearing the enemy (as I have since found was really the case) were sending a large body to support their party.

Major Leitch, I am in hopes, will recover: but colonel Knolton's fall is much to be regretted, as that of a brave and good officer. [...] [...]ad about forty wounded: the number of slain is not yet ascertained: but it is very in­considerable.

By a sergeant who deserted from the enemy and came in this morning, I find that their party was greater than I imagined. It consisted of the second battalion of light in­fantry, a battalion of the royal Highlanders, and three companies of Hessian riflemen, under the command of brigadier-general Leslie. The deserter reports that their loss in wounded and missing was eighty-nine, and eight killed. In the latter, his account is too small, as our peo­ple discovered and buried double that number. This af­fair, I am in hopes, will be attended with many salutary consequences, as it seems to have greatly inspirited the [Page 249] whole of our troops. The sergeant further adds that a considerable body of men are now encamped from the East to the North-river, between the seven and eight-mile stones, under the command of general Clinton. General Howe, he believes, has his quarters at Mr. Apthorp's house.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I should have wrote to Congress by express be­fore now, had I not expected the post every minute; which, I flatter myself, will be a sufficient apology for my delaying it. The late losses we have sustained in our bag­gage and camp necessaries have added much to our distress which was very great before. I must therefore take the liberty of requesting Congress to have forwarded as soon as possible such a supply of tents, blankets, camp-kettles, and other articles, as can be collected. We cannot be overstocked.

SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you yester­day, nothing material has occurred. However, it is prob­able in a little time the enemy will attempt to force us from hence, as we are informed they are bringing many of their heavy cannon towards the heights and the works we have thrown up. They have also eight or nine ships of war in the North-river, which (it is said) are to cannonade our right flank when they open their batteries against our front. Every disposition is making on our part for de­fence: and Congress may be assured that I shall do every thing in my power to maintain the post so long as it shall appear, practicable, and conducive to the general good.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been honoured with your favour of the six­teenth with its inclosures. To prevent the injury and [Page 250] abuses which would arise from the militia and other troops carrying away ammunition and continental property, I have published the substance of the resolves upon the subject in general orders.

Since my letter of yesterday, nothing of importance has cast up. The enemy are forming a large and extensive encampment in the plains mentioned in my last, and are busily employed in transporting their cannon and stores from Long-Island. As they advance them this way, we may reasonably expect their operations will not long be deferred.

Inclosed are sundry letters, &c. to which Congress will be pleased to pay such regard as they may think them de­serving of. The letter from monsieur . . . . . came open under cover of one to me. Those from colonel Hand and colonel Ward contain a list of vacancies in their regi­ments, and of the persons they esteem proper to fill them. The former, I believe, returned no li [...]t before: the latter says he never got any commissions. Generals Howe and Erskine's proclamations shew the measures that have been pursued, to force and seduce the inhabitants of Long-Island from their allegiance to the States, and to assist in their destruction.

As the period will soon arrive, when the troops com­posing the present army (a few excepted) will be disband­ed according to the tenor of their enlistments, and the most fatal consequences may ensue if a suitable and timely pro­vision is not made in this instance, I take the liberty of suggesting to Congress not only the expediency but the absolute necessity there is that their earliest attention should be had to this subject. In respect to the time that troops should be engaged for, I have frequently given my senti­ments; nor have I omitted to express my opinion of the difficulties that will attend raising them, nor of the imprac­ticability of effecting it without the allowance of a large and extraordinary bounty.

It is a melancholy and painful consideration to those who are concerned in the work and have the command, to be forming armies constantly, and to be left by troops just when they begin to deserve the name, or perhaps at a moment when an important blow is expected. This, I [Page 251] am informed, will be the case at Ticonderoga with part of the troops there, unless some system is immediately come into, by which they can be induced to stay. General Schuyler tells me in a letter received yesterday, that De Haas's, Maxwell's, and Wind's regiments stand engaged only till the beginning of next month, and that the men, he is fearful, will not remain longer than the time of their enlistment.

I would also beg leave to mention to Congress, that the season is fast approaching when clothes of every kind will be wanted for the army. Their distress is already great, and will be increased as the weather becomes more severe. Our situation is now bad, but is much better than that of the militia that are coming to join us from the States of Massachusetts-Bay and Connecticut in consequence of the requisition of Congress. They, I am informed, have not a single tent or a necessary of any kind; nor can I conceive how it will be possible to support them. These circumstances are extremely alarming, and oblige me to wish Congress to have all the tents, clothing of every kind, and camp necessaries, provided and forwarded, that are to be procured. These eastern reinforcements have not a single necessary, not a pan or a kettle,—in which we are now greatly deficient. It is with reluctance that I trouble Congress with these matters: but to whom can I resort for relief unless to them? The necessity therefore, which urges the application, will excuse it, I am persuaded.

I have not been able to transmit Congress a general re­turn of the army this week, owing to the peculiar situation of our affairs, and the great shifting and changing among the troops. As soon as I can procure one, a copy shall be forwarded to Congress.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. September 21, 1776. Things with us remain in the situation they were yesterday.

SIR,

I HAVE nothing in particular to communicate to Congress respecting the situation of our affairs: it is much the same as when I had the honour of addressing you last.

[Page 252] On Friday night▪ about eleven or twelve o'clock, a fire broke out in the city of New-York, near the new or St. Paul's church, as it is said, which continued to burn pretty rapidly till after sunrise the next morning. I have not been informed how the accident happened, nor received any certain account of the damage. Report says many of the houses between the Broadway and the river were con­sumed.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE post being about to depart, I have only time to add that so event of importance has taken place on this side Hudson's-river since my last of the twenty-second instant.

The inclosed letter, received last night from general Greene who now commands in the Jer [...]ie [...] ▪ will give Con­gress all the information I have respecting the evacuation of Paulus-Hook and the landing of the enemy to possess it.

I this minute obtained a copy of the general return of our force, the first I have been able to procure for some time past, which I do myself the honour of transmitting for the satisfaction of Congress.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.
G. W.

P. S. The thirteen militia regiments from Connecticut being reduced to a little more than seven hundred men rank and file fit for duty, I have thought proper to dis­charge the whole, to save the States the immense charge that would arise for officers' pay. There are many mi­litia too that have just come in, and on their way from that State, none of whom are provided with a tent, or a single camp utensil. This distresses me beyond measure.

SIR,

FROM the hours allotted to sleep I will borrow a few moments to convey my thoughts on sundry important matters to Congress. I shall offer them with the sincerity [Page 253] which ought to characterize a man of candour, and with the freedom which may be used in giving useful informa­tion without incurring the imputation of presumption.

We are now, as it were, upon the eve of another disso­lution of our army. The remembrance of the difficulties which happened upon the occasion last year, the conse­quences which might have followed the change if proper advantages had been taken by the enemy, added to a knowledge of the present temper and situation of the troops, reflect but a very gloomy prospect upon the appearances of things now, and satisfy me beyond the possibility of doubt, that, unless some speedy and effectual measures are adopted by Congress, our cause will be lost.

It is in vain to expect that any or more than a trifling part of this army will again engage in the service on the encour­agement offered by Congress. When men find that their townsmen and companions are receiving twenty, thirty, and more dollars, for a few months' service (which is truly the case,) it cannot be expected, without using compulsion; and to force them into the service would answer no valua­ble purpose. When men are irritated, and the passions in­flamed, they fly hastily and cheerfully to arms: but after the first emotions are over * * *, a soldier, reasoned with upon the goodness of the cause he is engaged in and the inestimable rights he is contending for, hears you with pa­tience, and acknowledges the truth of your observations, but adds that it is of no more importance to him than others. The officer makes you the same reply, with this further remark, that his pay will not support him, and he cannot ruin himself and family to serve his country, when every member of the community is equally interested and benefited by his labours. * * *

It becomes evidently clear then, that, as this contest is not likely to be the work of a day,—as the war must be carried on systematically,—and to do it you must have good officers,—there are, in my judgment, no other possible means to obtain them but by establishing your army upon a permanent footing, and giving your officers good pay. This will induce gentlemen and men of character to en­gage: and, till the bulk of your officers are composed of such persons as are actuated by principles of honour and a [Page 254] spirit of enterprise, you have little to expect from them. They ought to have such allowances as will enable them to live like and support the characters of gentlemen. * * * Besides, something is due to the man who puts his life in [your] hands, hazards his health, and forsakes the sweets of domestic enjoyment. Why a captain in the continen­tal service should receive no more than five shillings cur­rency per day for performing the same duties that an officer of the same rank in the British service receives ten shillings sterling for, I never could conceive, especially when the latter is provided with every necessary he requires upon the best terms, and the former can scarce procure them at any rate. There is nothing that gives a man consequence and renders him fit for command, like a support that renders him independent of every body but the State he serves.

With respect to the men, nothing but a good bounty can obtain them upon a permanent establishment: and for no shorter time than the continuance of the war, ought they to be engaged; as facts incontestibly prove that the diffi­culty and cost of enlistments increase with time. When the army was first raised at Cambridge, I am persuaded the men might have been got, without a bounty, for the war. After this, they began to see that the contest was not likely to end so speedily as was imagined, and to feel their consequence by remarking, that, to get in the militia in the course of the last year, many towns were induced to give them a bounty.

Foreseeing the evils resulting from this, and the de­structive consequences which unavoidably would follow short enlistments, I took the liberty in a long letter (date not now recollected, as my letter-book is not here) to rec­ommend the enlistments for and during the war, assigning such reasons for it as experience has since convinced me were well founded. At that time, twenty dollars would, I am persuaded, have engaged the men for this term. But it will not do to look back: and, if the present opportunity is slipped, I am persuaded that twelve months more will increase our difficulties four-fold. I shall therefore take the freedom of giving it as my opinion, that a good bounty be immediately offered, aided by the proffer of at least a hundred or a hundred and fifty acres of land, and a suit of [Page 255] clothes and blanket to each non-commissioned officer and soldier; as I have good authority for saying, that, however high the men's pay may appear, it is barely sufficient, in the present scarcity and dearness of all kinds of goods, to keep them in clothes, much less afford support to their families.

If this encouragement then is given to the men, and such pay allowed the officers as will induce gentlemen of character and liberal sentiments to engage, and proper care and precaution used in the nomination (having more re­gard to the characters of persons than the number of men they can enlist,) we should in a little time have an army able to cope with any that can be opposed to it, as there are excellent materials to form one out of. But while the only merit an officer possesses is his ability to raise men,—while those men consider and treat him as an equal, and (in the character of an officer) regard him no more than a broomstick, being mixed together as one common herd, no order nor discipline can prevail; nor will the officer ever meet with that respect which is essentially necessary to due subordination.

To place any dependence upon militia is assuredly rest­ing upon a broken staff,—men just dragged from the ten­der scenes of domestic life,—unaccustomed to the din of arms,—totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill; which being followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to troops regularly trained, dis­ciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge and supe­rior in arms, makes them timid and ready to fly from their own shadows. Besides, the sudden change in their man­ner of living (particularly in the lodging) brings on sick­ness in many, impatience in all, and such an unconquera­ble desire of returning to their respective homes, that it not only produces shameful and scandalous desertions among themselves, but infuses the like spirit into others.

Again; men accustomed to unbounded freedom and no control, cannot brook the restraint which is indispensably necessary to the good order and government of an army; without which, licentiousness and every kind of disorder triumphantly reign. To bring men to a proper degree of subordination is not the work of a day, a month, or even [Page 256] a year: and, unhappily for us and the cause we are enga­ged in, the little discipline I have been labouring to estab­lish in the army under my immediate command is in a manner done away, by having such a mixture of troops as have been called together within these few months.

Relaxed and unfit as our rules and regulations of war are for the government of an army, the militia (those prop­erly so called; for of these we have two sorts, the six-months-men, and those sent in as a temporary aid) do not think themselves subject to them, and therefore take liber­ties which the soldier is punished for. This creates jeal­ousy: jealousy begets dissatisfactions; and these by de­grees ripen into mutiny, keeping the whole army in a con­fused and disordered state,—rendering the time of those who wish to see regularity and good order prevail, more un­happy than words can describe. Besides this, such repeated changes take place, that all arrangement is set at nought, and the constant fluctuation of things deranges every plan as fast as adopted.

These, Sir, Congress may be assured, are but a small part of the inconveniences which might be enumerated, and attributed to militia: but there is one that merits particular attention, and that is the expense. Certain I am, that it would be cheaper to keep fifty or a hundred thousand in constant pay, than to depend upon half the number and supply the other half occasionally by militia. The time the latter are in pay before and after they are in camp, assembling and marching,—the waste of ammu­nition, the consumption of stores, which, in spite of every resolution or requisition of Congress, they must be furnish­ed with, or sent home,—added to other incidental ex­penses consequent upon their coming and conduct in camp, surpasses all idea, and destroys every kind of regularity and economy which you could establish among fixed and set­tled troops, and will, in my opinion, prove (if the scheme is adhered [...]) the ruin of our cause.

The jealousies of a standing army, and the evils to be apprehended from one, are remote, and, in my judgment, situated and circumstanced as we are, not at all to be dreaded: but the consequences of wanting one, according to my ideas formed from the present view of things, is [Page 257] certain and inevitable ruin. For, if I was called upon to declare upon oath, whether the militia have been most serviceable or hurtful upon the whole, I should subscribe to the latter. I do not mean by this, however, to arraign the conduct of Congress: in so doing I should equally con­demn my own measures, if I did not my judgment: but experience, which is the best criterion to work by, so fully, clearly and decisively reprobates the practice of trusting to militia, that no man who regards order, regularity and economy, or who has any regard for his own honour, char­acter, or peace of mind, will risk them upon this issue. * * *

An army formed of good officers moves like clock­work: but there is no situation upon earth less enviable nor more distressing than that person's wh [...]s at the head of troops who are regardless of order and discipline, and who are unprovided with almost every necessary. In a word, the difficulties which have forever surrounded me since I have been in the service, and kept my mind con­stantly upon the stretch,—the wounds which my feelings (as an officer) have received by a thousand things which have happened contrary to my expectation and wishes, * * *—added to a consciousness of my inability to gov­ern an army composed of such discordant parts, and under such a variety of intricate and perplexing circumstances,—induce not only a belief, but a thorough conviction in my mind, that it will be impossible (unless there is a thorough change in our military system) for me to conduct matters in such a manner as to give satisfaction to the public, which is all the recompense I aim at, or ever wished for.

Before I conclude, I must apologize for the liberties taken in this letter, and for the blots and scratchings there­in, not having time to give it more correctly. With truth I can add, that, with every sentiment of respect and esteem,

I am yours and the Congress's most obedient, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

HAVING wrote you fully on sundry important subjects this morning, as you will perceive by the letter which accompanies this, I mean principally now to inclose [Page 258] a copy of a letter received from general Howe on Sunday morning, with the lists of the prisoners in his hands,—of those in our possession belonging to the army immediately under his command,—and of my answer, which were omitted to be put in the other. His letter will discover to Congress his refusal to exchange lord Stirling for Mr. McDonald, considering the latter only as a major. They will be pleased to determine how he is to be ranked in future.

The number of prisoners according to these returns is greater than what we expected. However, I am inclined to believe, that, among those in the list from Long-Island, are several militia of general Woodhull's party, who were never arranged [...] this army. As to those taken on the fifteenth, they greatly exceed the number that I supposed fell into their hands in the retreat from the city. At the time that I transmitted an account of that affair, I had not obtained returns, and took the matter upon the offi­cers' reports. They are difficult to get with certainty at any time. In the skirmish of Monday se'nnight, they could have taken but very few.

Before I conclude, I shall take occasion to mention that those returns made with such precision, and the difficulty that will attend the proposed exchange on account of the dispersed and scattered state of the prisoners in our hands, will clearly evince the necessity of appointing commissaries and proper persons to superintend and conduct in such in­stances. This I took the liberty of urging more than once, as well on account of the propriety of the measure and the saving that would have resulted from it, as that the prison­ers might be treated with humanity, and have their wants particularly attended to.

I would also observe (as I esteem it my duty) that this army is in want of almost every necessary,—tents, camp kettles, blankets, and clothes of all kinds. But what is to be done with respect to the two last articles, I know not, as the term of enlistment will be nearly expired by the time they can be provided. This may be exhibited as a further proof of the disadvantages attending the levy­ing of an army upon such a footing as never to know how to keep them without injuring the public or incommoding [Page 259] the men. I have directed the colonel or commanding officer of each corps to use his endeavours to procure such clothing as is absolutely necessary: but at the same time I confess, that I do not know how they are to be got.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE nothing in particular to communicate to Congress by this day's post, as our situation is the same as when I last wrote.

We are now sitting on the business the committee came upon, which, it is probable, will be finished this evening. The result they will duly report upon their return.

I received yesterday the inclosed declaration by a gen­tleman from Elizabethtown, who told me many copies were found in the possession of the soldiers from Canada, that were landed there a day or two ago by general Howe's permission. I shall not comment upon it. It seems to be founded on the plan that has been artfully pursued for some time past.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. The account of the troops, &c. in Canada, comes from a person who is among the prisoners sent from Cana­da. It was anonymous, nor do I know the intelligencer. According to him, the enemy in that quarter are stronger than we supposed, and their naval force much greater on the lakes than we had any idea of. I trust he has taken the matter up on the enemy's report.

SIR,

BEING about to cross the North-river this morning in order to view the post opposite, and the grounds be­tween that and Paulus-Hook, I shall not add much more than that I have been honoured with your favour of the twenty-fourth and its several inclosures; and that, since my letter of yesterday, no important event has taken place.

[Page 260] As colonel Hugh Stephenson, of the rifle regiment or­dered lately to be raised, is dead according to the infor­mation I have received, I would beg leave to recommend to the particular notice of Congress captain Daniel Morgan, just returned among the prisoners from Canada, as a fit and proper person to succeed to the vacancy occasioned by his death. The present field-officers of the regiment can­not claim any right in preference to him, because he ranked above them, and as a captain, when he first entered the service. His conduct as an officer, on the expedition with general Arnold last fall,—his intrepid behaviour in the assault upon Quebec, when the brave Montgomery fell,—the inflexible attachment he professed to our cause during his imprisonment, and which he perseveres in,—added to these, his residence in the place colonel Stephen­son came from, and his interest and influence in the same circle, and with such men as are to compose such a regi­ment,—all, in my opinion, entitle him to the favour of Congress, and lead me to believe that in his promotion the States will gain a good and valuable officer for the sort of troops he is particularly recommended to com­mand. * * *

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you last, nothing of importance has transpired: though, from some movements yesterday on the part of the enemy, it would seem as if something was intended.

The inclosed memorial, from lieutenant-colonel Shep­hard of the fourth regiment, I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress, and shall only add that I could wish they would promote him to the command of the regi­ment and send him a commission, being a good and valua­ble officer, and especially as the vacancy is of a pretty long standing, and I have not had (nor has he) any intelligence from colonel Learned himself, (who had the command, and who obtained a discharge on account of his indisposi­tion) of his design to return. I have also inclosed a letter [Page 261] from captain Ballard, which Congress will please to de­termine on, the subject being new and not within my au­thority.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. A commission was sent for colonel Learned, which is now in my hands, having received no application, or heard from him since it came.

SIR,

I DO myself the honour of transmitting to you the inclosed letter from lieutenant-colonel Livingston, with sundry copies of general Delancey's orders, which discover the measures the enemy are pursuing on Long-Island for raising recruits and obtaining supplies of provisions. In con­sequence of the intelligence they contain, and authentic advices through other channels respecting th [...]se matters, I have sent brigadier-general George Clinton to meet gener­al Lincoln, who has got as far as Fairfield with part of the troops lately ordered by the Massachusetts assembly, to concert with him and others an expedition across the Sound with those troops, three companies under colonel Livingston, and such further aid as governor. Trumbull can afford, in order to prevent if possible their effecting those important objects, and to assist the inhabitants in the removal of their stock, grain, &c. or in destroying them, that the enemy may not derive any advantage or benefit from them.

The recruiting scheme they are prosecuting with un­common industry; nor is it confined to Long-Island alone. Having just now received a letter from the committee of West-Chester county, advising that there are several com­panies of men in that and Duchess county preparing to go off and join the king's army, I have given directions to our guard-boats and the centries at our works at Mount-Washington to keep a strict look-out in case they attempt to come down the North-river; also to general Heath at Kingsbridge, that the utmost vigilance may be observed by the regiments and troops stationed above there and down [Page 262] towards the East-river, that they may intercept them, should they take that route with a view of crossing to Long-Island. I will use every precaution in my power to pre­vent those parricides from accomplishing their designs: but I have but little hopes of success, as it will be no difficult matter for them to procure a passage over some part or other of the Sound.

I have been applied to lately by colonel Weedon of Vir­ginia, for permission to recruit the deficiency of men in his regiment out of the troops composing the flying camp,—informing me at the same time that some of those from Maryland had offered to engage. Colonel Hand of the rifle battalion made a similar application to-day. If the enlistments could be made, they would have this good consequence,—the securing of so many in the service. However, as the measure might occasion some uneasiness in their own corps, and be considered as a hardship by the States to which they belong, and the means of their fur­nishing more than the quota extracted from them in the general arrangement, and would make it more difficult for them to complete their own levies, I did not conceive myself at liberty to authorise it without submitting the pro­priety of it to the consideration of Congress, and obtain­ing their opinion whether it should be allowed or not.

I have inclosed a list of warrants granted from the sec­ond to the thirtieth ultimo inclusive, the only return of the sort that I have been able to make since the resolution for that purpose,—owing to the unsettled state of our affairs, and my having sent my papers away. You will also receive sundry letters, &c. from general Schuyler, which came under cover to me, and which I have the honour of for­warding.

By a letter just received from the committee of safety of the State of New-Hampshire, I find a thousand of their militia were about to march on the twenty-fourth ultimo to reinforce this army in consequence of the requisition of Congress. Previous to their march, general Ward writes me he was obliged to furnish them with five hundred pounds of powder and a thousand pounds of musket-ball; and I have little reason to expect that they are better pro­vided with other articles than they were with ammunition. [Page 263] In such case they will only add to our present distress which is already far too great, and become disgusted with the service, though the time they are engaged for is only till the first of December. This will injure their enlisting for a longer term, if not wholly prevent it.

By three deserters who came from the Galatea man-of-war about five days ago, we are informed that several trans­ports had sailed, before they left her, for England, as it was generally reported, in order to return with a supply of provisions, of which they say there is a want. General Mercer, in a letter, informed me that general Thompson said he had heard they were going to dismiss about a hun­dred of the ships from the service. I am also advised by a letter from Mr. Derby at Boston, of the twenty-sixth ultimo, that, the day before, a transport snow had been taken and sent into Piscataqua by a privateer, in her passage from New-York to the West-Indies. She sailed with five more under the convoy of a man-of-war, in order to bring from thence the troops that are there, to join general Howe. They were all victualled for four months. From this intelligence it would seem as if they did not apprehend any thing to be meditating against them by the court of France.

October 3. I have nothing in particular to commu­nicate respecting our situation, it being much the same as when I wrote last. We had an alarm this morning a lit­tle before four o'clock, from some of our out-centries, who reported that a large body of the enemy was advan­cing towards our lines. This put us in motion: however, it turned out entirely premature; or at least we saw noth­ing of them.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

BEFORE I knew of the late resolutions of Con­gress which you did me the honour to inclose in your let­ter of the twenty-fourth, and before I was favoured with the visit of your committee, I took the liberty of giving you my sentiments on several points which seemed to be [Page 264] of importance. I have no doubt but that the committee will make such report of the state and condition of the army, as will induce Congress to believe that nothing but the most vigorous exertions can put matters upon such a footing as to give this continent a fair prospect of success. Give me leave to say, Sir,—I say it with due deference and respect (and my knowledge of the facts, added to the importance of the cause, and the stake I hold in it, must justify the freedom,)—that your affairs are in a more unpromising way than you seem to apprehend.

Your army, as I mentioned in my last, is on the eve of its political dissolution. True it is, you have voted a larger one in lieu of it: but the season is late; and there is a material difference between voting of battalions and raising of men. In the latter there are more difficulties than Congress are aware of; which makes it my duty (as I have been informed of the prevailing sentiments of this army) to inform them, that, unless the pay of the of­ficers, especially that of the field-officers, is raised, the chief part of those that are worth retaining will leave the service at the expiration of the present term, as the soldiers will also, if some greater encouragement is not offered them than twenty dollars and a hundred acres of land.

Nothing less, in my opinion, than a suit of clothes an­nually given to each non-commissioned officer and soldier▪ in addition to the pay and bounty, will avail; and I ques­tion whether that will do, as the enemy (from the infor­mation of one John Mash, who, with six others, was ta­ken by our guards) are giving ten pounds bounty for re­cruits, and have got a battalion under major Rogers nearly completed upon Long-Island.

Nor will less pay, according to my judgment, than I have taken the liberty of mentioning in the inclosed esti­mate, retain such officers as we could wish to have contin­ued. The difference per month in each battalion will amount to better than a hundred pounds. To this may be added the pay of the staff-officers; for it is presumable they will also require an augmentation: but, being few in number, the sum will not be greatly increased by them, and consequently is a matter of no great moment: but it is a matter of no small importance to make the several of­fices [Page 265] desirable. When the pay and establishment of an officer once become objects of interested attention, the sloth, negligence, and even disobedience of orders, which at this time but too generally prevail, will be purged off. But while the service is viewed with indifference,—while the officer conceives that he is rather conferring than receiving an obligation,—there will be a total relaxation of all order and discipline, and every thing will move heavily on, to the great detriment of the service, and inexpressible trouble and vexation of the general.

The critical situation of our affairs at this time will jus­tify my saying that no time is to be lost in making of fruit­less experiments. An unavailing trial of a month to get an army upon the terms proposed may render it impracti­cable to do it at all, and prove fatal to our cause; as I am not sure whether any rubs in the way of our enlist­ments, or unfavourable turn in our affairs, may not prove the means of the enemy recruiting men faster than we do. To this may be added the inextricable difficulty of form­ing one corps out of another, and arranging matters with any degree of order, in the face of an enemy who are watching for advantages.

At Cambridge, last year, where the officers (and more than a sufficiency of them) were all upon the spot, we found it a work of such extreme difficulty to know their sentiments (each having some terms to propose) that I despaired once of getting the arrangements completed: and I do suppose, that at least a hundred alterations took place before matters were finally adjusted. What must it be then under the present regulation, where the officer is to negociate this matter with the State he comes from, distant perhaps two or three hundred miles?—some of whom, without leave or license from me, set out to make personal application, the moment the resolve got to their hands. What kind of officers these are, I leave Congress to judge.

If an officer of reputation (for none other should be applied to) is asked to stay, what answer can he give, but in the first place, that he does not know whether it is at his option to do so, no provision being made in the resolu­tion of Congress, even recommendatory of this measure; [Page 266] consequently, that it rests with the State he comes from (surrounded perhaps with a variety of applications, and influenced probably by local attachments) to determine whether he can be provided for or not? In the next place, if he is an officer of merit, and knows that the State he comes from is to furnish more battalions than it at present has in the service, he will scarcely, after two years' faith­ful services, think of continuing in the rank he now bears, when new creations are to be made, and men appointed to offices (nowise superior in merit, and ignorant perhaps of service) over his head. A committee, sent to the army from each State, may upon the spot [...]ix things with a de­gree of propriety and certainty, and is the only method I can see of bringing matters to a decision with respect to the officers of the army. But what can be done in the meanwhile towards the arrangement in the country, I know not. In the one case you run the hazard of losing your officers; in the other, of encountering delay, unless some method could be devised of forwarding both at the same instant.

Upon the present plan, I plainly foresee an intervention of time between the old and new army, which must be fil [...]ed up with militia (if to be had) with whom no man who has any regard for his own reputation can undertake to be answerable for consequences. I shall also be mistaken in my conjectures, if we do not lose the most valuable offi­cers in this army, under the present mode of appointing them: consequently, if we have an army at all, it will be composed of materials not only entirely raw, but (if un­common pains are not taken) entirely unfit: and I see such a distrust and jealousy of military power, that the commander in chief has not an opportunity, even by rec­ommendation, to give the least assurances of reward for the most essential services. In a word, such a cloud of perplexing circumstances appear before me, without one flattering hope, that I am thoroughly convinced, unless the most vigorous and decisive exertions are immediately adopted to remedy these evils, that the certain and abso­lute loss of our liberties will be the inevitable consequence; as one unhappy stroke will throw a powerful weight into the scale against us, enabling general Howe to recruit his [Page 267] army as fast as we shall ours,—numbers being disposed [to join him] and many actually doing so already. Some of the most probable remedies, and such as experience has brought to my more intimate knowledge, I have taken the liberty to point out: the rest I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress.

I ask pardon for taking up so much of their time with my opinions. But I should betray that trust which they and my country have reposed in me, were I to be silent upon a matter so extremely interesting. With the most perfect esteem, I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with your favour of the second with sundry resolutions of Congress. * * *

In respect to the exchange of prisoners, I fear it will be a work of great difficulty, owing to their dispersed and scattered situation throughout the States. In order to ef­fect it, I have wrote to the eastern governments to have them collected, and to transmit me an account of their number, distinguishing the names and ranks of the field and commissioned officers, and the corps they belong to. I have also wrote to governor Livingston of the Jerseys up­on the subject, and must take the liberty of requesting Con­gress to give directions that a similar return may be made of those in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and for their be­ing brought to Brunswic, that they may be ready to be exchanged for an equal number of those of the same rank.

I observe, by the resolve of the twenty-sixth ultimo, that the exchange in particularly directed to be made of the of­ficers and soldiers taken on Long-Island. But should not that follow the exchange of those officers and men who have lately returned from Quebec, whose imprisonment has been much longer, and whose service has not been less severe, and, in many instances, conducted with great in­trepidity? I have had many applications since their arrival, by which they claim a kind of preference as far as their number and the circumstances of their rank will allow, [Page 268] and which I thought it my duty to mention, that I may obtain some direction upon the subject.

You will observe by a paragraph of a letter received yes­terday from general Howe, a copy of which you have at▪ length, that the non-performance of the agreement between captain Forster and general Arnold, by which the latter stipulated for the return of an equal number of officers and prisoners in our hands for those delivered him, is consider­ed in an unfavourable light, and entirely imputed to me, as having the chief command of the armies of the States, and a controlling power over general Arnold. The point­ed manner in which Mr. Howe is pleased to express him­self could not personally affect me, supposing there had been no good grounds for the treaty not being ratified, having been nothing more than an instrument of conveying to him the resolutions formed upon the subject. * * *

However, I would beg leave to observe, from the letters from the hostages,—from what has been reported by others respecting captain Forster's having used his endeavours to restrain the savages from exercising their wonted barbarities, though in some instances they did,—his purchasing some of the prisoners for a pretty considerable premium,—but, above all, from the delicate nature of such treaties, and be­cause the non-observance of them must damp the spirits of the officers who make them, and add affliction to the mis­fortunes of those whom necessity and the nature of the case force into captivity to give them a sanction by a long and irksome confinement,—for these reasons and many more that will readily occur, I could wish Congress to reconsid­er the matter, and to carry it into execution.

I am sensible the wrong was originally in their employ­ing savages, and that whatever cruelties were committed by them should be esteemed their own acts: yet perhaps, in point of policy, it may not be improper to overlook these infractions on their part, and to pursue that mode which will be the most likely to render the hardships in­cident to war most tolerable, and the greatest benefits to the State.

I have ventured to say thus much upon the subject from a regard to the service, and because such gentlemen of the [Page 269] army as I have heard mention it seem to wish the treaty had been ratified rather than disallowed.

Inclosed is a list of vacancies in the third regiment of Virginia troops, in part occasioned by the death of major Leitch who died of his wounds on Tuesday morning,—and of the gentlemen who stand next in regimental order, and who are recommended to succeed to them. You will observe that captain John Fitzgerald is said to be appoint­ed to the duty of major. This I have done in order, be­ing the oldest captain in the regiment, and, I believe, an offi­cer of unexceptionable merit, and as it was highly necessary at this time to have the corps as well and fully officered as possible. There is also a vacancy in the first continental battalion by the promotion of lieutenant Clarke to a major­ity in the flying camp, to which colonel Hand has recom­mended William Patten to succeed, as you will perceive by his letter inclosed.

I have taken the liberty to transmit a plan for establish­ing a corps of engineers, artificers, &c. sketched out by colonel Putnam, and which is proposed for the considera­tion of Congress. How far they may incline to adopt it, or whether they may choose to proceed upon such an ex­tensive scale, they will be pleased to determine. However, I conceive it a matter well worthy of their consideration, being convinced from experience, and from the reasons suggested by colonel Putnam who has acted with great dil­igence and reputation in the business, that some establishment of the sort is highly necessary, and will be productive of the most beneficial consequences.

If the proposition is approved by Congress, I am inform­ed by good authority that there is a gentleman in Virginia, in the colony service, John Stadler, esquire, a native of Germany, whose abilities in this way are by no means in­considerable. I am told he was an engineer in the army under general Stanwix, and is reputed to be of skill and ingenuity in the profession. In this capacity I do not know him myself, but am intimately acquainted with him in his private character, as a man of understanding and of good behaviour. I would submit his merit to the inquiry of Congress; and if he should answer the report I have [Page 270] had of him, I make no doubt but he will be suitably pro­vided for.

The convention of this State have lately seized and had appraised two new ships, valued at six thousand two hun­dred and twenty-nine pounds York currency, which they have sent down for the purpose of sinking, and obstructing the channel opposite Mount-Washington. The price being high, and the opinions various as to the necessity of the measure, some conceiving the obstruction nearly sufficient already, and others that they would render it secure, I would wish to have the direction of Congress upon the sub­ject by the earliest opportunity, thinking myself, that, if the enemy should attempt to come up, they should be used, sooner than to hazard their passing. I must be governed by circumstances, yet hope for their sentiments before any thing is necessary to be done.

Sundry disputes having arisen of late between officers of different regiments and of the same rank, respecting the right of succession to such vacancies as happen from death or other causes,—some suggesting that it should be in a co­lonial line and governed by the priority of their commissions; others, that it should be regimentally,—and there being an instance now before me, between the officers of the Vir­ginia regiments, occasioned by the death of major Leitch; it has become absolutely necessary that Congress should determine the mode by which promotions are to be regu­lated,—whether colonially and by priority of commissions, or regimentally, reserving a right out of the general rule they adopt, to reward for particular merit, or of withhold­ing from office such as may not be worthy to succeed.

I have only proposed two modes for their consideration, being satisfied that promotions through the line (as they are called) can never take place without producing discord, jealousy, distrust, and the most fatal consequences. In some of my letters upon the subject of promotions, and one which I had the honour of addressing to the board of war on the thirtieth ultimo, I advised that the mode should be rather practised than resolved on: but I am fully con­vinced now of the necessity there is of settling it in one of the two ways I have taken the liberty to point out, and under the restrictions I have mentioned; or the disputes [Page 271] and applications will be endless, and attended with great inconveniences.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour of transmitting to you a copy of a letter from the comte D'Emery, governor-gen­eral of the French part of St. Domingo, which I received yesterday, and also my answer, which I have inclosed and left open for the consideration of Congress, wishing that it may be sealed if they approve of the sieur De Chambea [...]'s releasement, which I think may be attended with many valuable consequences. If Congress concur in sentiment with me, they will be pleased to give direction for his passage by the first opportunity to the French islands: if they do not, I shall be obliged by your returning my letter.

I have also the pleasure of inclosing a copy of a letter from monsieur P. Pennel, which came to hand last night, and which contains intelligence of an agreeable and inter­esting nature, for which I beg leave to refer you to the copy. The polite manner in which monsieur Pennel has requested to be one of my aides-de-camp demands my acknowledgments. As the appointment will not be at­tended with any expense, and will shew a proper regard for his complaisance and the attachment he is pleased to express for the service of the American States, I shall take the liberty of complying with his requisition, and transmit him a brevet commission, provided the same shall be agree­able to Congress. Their sentiments upon this subject you will be kind enough to favour me with by the first opportunity. The inclosed letter for the sieur De Chambeau you will please to forward to him (if he is to be enlarged) after closing it.

Before I conclude, I must take the liberty to observe that I am under no small difficulties on account of the French gentlemen that are here in consequence of the commissions they have received,—having no means to employ them, or to afford them an opportunity of ren­dering that service they themselves wish to give, or which [Page 272] perhaps is expected by the public. Their want of our language is an objection to their being joined to any of the regiments here at this time, were there vacancies, and not other obstacles. These considerations induce me to wish that Congress would adopt and point out some par­ticular mode to be observed respecting them. What it should be, they will be best able to determine. But to me it appears that their being here now can be attended with no valuable consequences, and that, as the power of appointing officers for the new army is vested in the con­ventions, &c. of the several States, it will be necessary for Congress to direct them to be provided for in the regiments to be raised, according to the ranks they would wish them to bear—(or I am convinced they will never be taken in, let their merit be what it may;)—or to form them into a distinct corps which may be increased in time. They seem to be genteel, sensible men; and I have no doubt of their making good officers as soon as they can learn as much of our language as to make themselves well under­stood: but, unless Congress interfere by their particular direction to the States, they will never be incorporated in any of the regiments to be raised: and, without they are, they will be entirely at a loss, and in the most irksome situation, for something to do, as they now are.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of writing you yester­day, I have been favoured with a letter from the honour­able council of Massachusetts-Bay, covering one from Richard Derby, esquire, a copy of which is herewith transmitted, as it contains intelligence of an important and interesting nature.

As an exchange of prisoners is about to take place, I am induced, from a question stated in a letter I received from governor Trumbull this morning, to ask the opinion of Congress, in what manner the States that have had the care of them are to be reimbursed the expenses incurred on their account. My want of information in this instance, [Page 273] or whether any account is to be sent in with the prisoners, would not allow me to give him an answer, as nothing that I recollect has ever been said upon the subject. He also mentions another matter, viz. whether such privates as are mechanics, and others who may desire to remain with us, should be obliged to return. In respect to the latter, I conceive there can be no doubt of our being under a necessity of returning the whole, a proposition having been made on our part for a general exchange, and that agreed to: besides, the balance of prisoners is greatly against us; and I am informed it was particularly stipulated by gen­eral Montgomery, that all those that were taken in Canada should be exchanged whenever a cartel was settled for the purpose.

Under these circumstances, I should suppose the several committees having the care of them should be instructed to make the most exact returns of the whole, however wil­ling a part should be to continue with us. At the same time I should think, it not improper to inform them of the reasons leading to the measure, and that they should be in­vited to escape afterwards, which, in all probability, they may effect without much difficulty if they are attached to us, extending their influence to many more, and bringing them away also.

The situation of our affairs and the present establishment of the army requiring our most vigorous exertions to en­gage a new one, I presume it will be necessary to furnish the pay-master-general as early as possible with money to pay the bounty, lately resolved on, to such men as will enlist. Prompt pay perhaps may have a happy effect, and induce the continuance of some who are here: but, with­out it, I am certain that nothing can be done; nor have we time to lose in making the experiment. But then it may be asked, who is to recruit? or who can consider themselves as officers for that purpose, till the conventions of the different States have made the appointments?

Yesterday afternoon the exchange between lord Stirling and governor Browne was carried into execution; and his lordship is now here. He confirms the intelligence men­tioned by captain Souther, about the transports he met, by the arrival of the Daphne man-of-war (a twenty-gun ship) [Page 274] a few days ago, with twelve ships under her convoy, having light-horse on board. They sailed with about twenty in each, and lost about eighty in their passage, besides those in the vessel taken by captain Souther. He further adds that he had heard it acknowledged more than once, that, in the action of the sixteenth ultimo, the enemy had a hundred men killed,—about sixty Highlanders of the for­ty-second regiment, and forty of the light-infantry. This confession coming from themselves, we may reasonably conclude, did not exaggerate the number. * * *

October 9. About eight o'clock this morning, two ships, of forty-four guns each (supposed to be the Roebuck and Phenix,) and a frigate of twenty guns, with three or four tenders, got under way from about Bloomingdale where they had been lying some time, and stood with an [...]asy southerly breeze towards our chevaux-de-frise, which we hoped would have inter [...]epted their passage while our batteries played upon them: but, to our surprise and mor­tification, they ran through without the least difficulty, and without receiving any apparent damage from our forts, though they kept up a heavy fire from both sides of the river. Their destination or views cannot be known with certainty: but most probably they are sent to stop the navigation, and cut off the supplies of boards, &c. which we should have received, and of which we are in great need. They are standing up, and I have dispatched an express to the convention of this State, that notice may be immediately communicated to general Clinton at the Highland fortifications, to put him on his guard in case they should have any designs against them, and that pre­cautions may be taken to prevent the craft belonging to the river falling into their hands.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I BEG leave to inform you, that, since my letter of the eighth and ninth instant which I had the honour of addressing you, nothing of importance has occurred, except that the ships of war which I then mentioned, in their [Page 275] passage up the river, took a sloop that was at anchor off the mouth of Spitendevil, and two of our row-gallies which they out-sailed. The crews, finding that they could not prevent them falling into the enemy's hands, ran them near the shore, and effected their own escape. From the intel­ligence I have received, the ships are now lying at Tarry-town, without having landed any men (which seemed to be apprehended by some) or attempted any thing else. Their principal views, in all probability, are, to interrupt our navigation, and to receive such disaffected persons as incline to take part against us. The former they will ef­fect beyond all question; and I fear that their expectations respecting the latter will be but too fully answered.

October 12. The inclosed copy of a letter received last night from the convention of this State will shew you the apprehensions they are under on account of the disaf­fected among them. I have ordered up a part of the mi­litia from Massachusetts under general Lincoln, to pre­vent, if possible, the consequences which they suggest may happen, and which there is reason to believe the conspira­tors have in contemplation. I am persuaded that they are upon the eve of breaking out, and that they will leave nothing unessayed that will distress us and favour the designs of the enemy, as soon as their schemes are ripe for it.

October 13. Yesterday the enemy landed at Frog's-Point, about nine miles from hence, further up the Sound. Their number we cannot ascertain, as they have not ad­vanced from the point,—which is a kind of island,—but the water that surrounds it is fordable at low tide. I have ordered works to be thrown up at the passes from the point to the main. From the great number of sloops, schooners, and nine ships, that went up the Sound in the evening, full of men, and from the information of two deserters who came over last night, I have reason to believe that the greatest part of their army has moved upwards or is about to do it, pursuing their original plan of getting in our rear, and cutting off our communication with the country.

The grounds from Frog's-Point are strong and defensi­ble, being full of stone fences, both along the road and across the adjacent fields, which will render it difficult for [Page 276] artillery, or indeed a large body of foot, to advance in any regular order, except through the main road. Our men who are posted on the passes seemed to be in great spirit [...] when I left them last night.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

HIS excellency having gone this morning to visit our posts beyond Kingsbridge and the several passes leading from Frog's-Point and the necks adjacent, I have the honour to inform you by his command, that no interesting event has taken place since his letter by yesterday's post.

Every day's intelligence from the convention of this State holds forth discoveries of new plots and of new conspira­cies. Some of the members seem to apprehend that insur­rections are upon the eve of breaking out, and have sug­gested the necessity of seizing and securing the passes through the Highlands, left the disaffected should do it. Their preservation being a matter of the greatest import­ance, his excellency, notwithstanding the situation we are in with respect to troops, has detached colonel Tash with his regiment, lately from New-Hampshire, in addition to the militia mentioned in his last, with directions to receive orders from the convention, as to the station and post he is to occupy.

There are now in our possession several persons, inhabit­ants of this State, who had engaged to join the enemy, and were intercepted in going to them. There are also two who confess they have been with them, and that they had actually engaged in their service; but, finding the terms (the bounty, pay, &c.) not so advantageous as they ex­pected from the information they had received, they were induced to return. As the affairs of this government are in a precarious situation, and such as, the convention them­selves seem to think, forbid their interposition farther than taking measures to apprehend them, his excellency would wish to obtain the sentiments of Congress, and their direc­tion upon a subject so extremely critical and delicate, and [Page 277] which, in the consideration of it, involves many important consequences.

Your favour of the ninth, with its several inclosures, his excellency received yesterday morning by the express, who proceeded immediately on his journey.

October 17. I am directed by his excellency to ac­quaint you that we are again obliged to change our dispo­sition, to counteract the operations of the enemy. Declin­ing an attack upon our front, they have drawn the main body of their army to Frog's-Point, with a design of hem­ming us in, and drawing a line in our rear. To prevent the consequences which would but too probably follow the execution of their scheme, the general officers determined yesterday that our forces must be taken from hence, and extended towards East and West-Chester, so as to out­flank them. General Lee, who arrived on Monday, has strongly urged the absolute necessity of the measure. It is proposed to leave a garrison at Fort-Washington, and to maintain it if possible, in order to preserve the communica­tion with the Jerseys. They are landing their artillery and waggons upon the Point; and there are now several boats passing up the Sound, full of men.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.

P. S. The post having not come in since Sunday, till to-day, has been the occasion of not writing to you since that time. He was expected as usual; which prevented an express being sent.

SIR,

I WAS yesterday morning honoured with your fa­vour of the fifteenth, with the resolutions of the eleventh and fourteenth. The latter, by which Congress have au­thorised me [...] appoint monsieur Pennel a brevet aide-de-camp, claims a return of my acknowledgments.

Last night I received a letter from Mr. Varick, secre­tary to general Schuyler, inclosing a copy of one from gen­eral Arnold to general Gates. The intelligence transmit­ted by general Arnold being of an extremely interesting and important nature, I thought it adviseable to forward the [Page 278] same immediately by express. You have a copy herewith, which contains the particulars, and to which I beg leave to refer you.

The accounts transmitted yesterday by post will inform you of the movements of the enemy, and of the measures judged necessary to be pursued by us, to counteract their designs. I have nothing to add on this head, except that ten or eleven ships, which have been prevented passing Hell-gate for two or three days for want of wind, are now under way, and proceeding up the Sound. Amongst them there appear to be two frigates: the rest probably have in stores, &c.

Inclosed is a copy of the last general return I have been able to obtain. It only comes down to the fifth instant: the situation of our affairs, and the almost constant necessi­ty of sending detachments from one place to another to watch the enemy's motions, have prevented the officers from making them with regularity.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE it in command from his excellency to trans­mit you the inclosed copies of dispatches which just now came to hand, and which contain intelligence of the most interesting and important nature respecting our affairs in the northern department. His excellency would have wrote himself, but was going to our several posts, when the express arrived.

The enemy are pursuing with great industry their plan of penetrating the country from the Sound, and of forming a line in our rear. They are now extended from Frog's-Point to New-Rochelle, from whence it is generally con­jectured they mean to take their route by way of the White-Plains, and from thence to draw a line to the North-river. We on our part have drawn our whole force, ex­cept the regiments intended to garrison Fort-Washington, from the island of New-York, and have possessed ourselves of the heights, passes, and advantageous grounds, between [Page 279] New-Rochelle where the van of their army now lies, and the North-river. They will in all probability attempt to effect their purpose by moving higher up. If they do, our forces will move accordingly, it being a principal object to prevent their outflanking us.

On Friday, one of their advanced parties, near East-Chester, fell in with part of colonel Glover's brigade, and a smart and close [...] ensued, in which, I have the pleasure to inform you, our men behaved with great cool­ness and intrepidity, and drove the enemy back to their main body.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

HIS excellency being absent on a visit to the several posts on the left of our lines and at the White-Plains, I have the honour to inform you, by the favour of colonel Whipple, that, since my letter of yesterday, no event of importance has occurred.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

I AM directed by his excellency, whose business has called him from hence, to acknowledge his receipt of your favours of the twelfth and fifteenth instant, and to inform you in answer to the first, that he will mention the case of the French gentlemen to general Lee, and obtain his opin­ion as to the best mode of providing for them in a useful way. The horses belonging to the light dragoons who were taken, he thinks, will be very serviceable; and he will write to general Ward or one of the agents to pur­chase them.

In respect to your requisition for an immediate return of ordnance stores, his excellency says it cannot possibly be complied with in the present unsettled state of the army. [Page 280] In order to effect the good purposes you have in view, he would take the liberty to recommend the establishing of magazines of ammunition and other ordnance stores in prop­er places of security, from whence supplies could be oc­casionally drawn. As large quantities are constantly in demand in time of war, he does not conceive your provi­sion in these instances can be too great.

He will direct the regimental returns in future to include arms and accoutrements, and the commissary-general to transmit monthly lists of rations. He thinks the regulation extremely proper, though he apprehends the information to be premature respecting the over-quantity suggested to have been drawn, having heard no suspicion of the sort in this army of late.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

THE whole of our army is now here and on the neighbouring heights, except the troops left at Mount-Wash­ington and Kingsbridge, (about fourteen hundred at the former, and six hundred at the latter) and general Lee's division which now forms the rear, and which is on their march. Our removal, and that of the stores, have been attended with a great deal of trouble, owing to the scarcity and difficulty of procuring waggons. However, they are nearly effected, and without any loss. The general officers are now reconnoitring the several passes leading from the enemy, that the most important may be immediately secur­ed. The situation of their army remains nearly the same as when I had the honour of addressing you on the twenty-first instant. It differs in nothing unless it is that their main body is more collected about New-Rochelle. A few of their troops are extended as far as Momarioneck.

On Monday night a detachment of our men, under the command of colonel Hazlet, was sent out to surprise and cut off major Rogers, if possible, with his regiment which was posted there. By some accident or other the expedi­tion did not succeed so well as I could have wished. However, our advanced party, led on by major Greene of [Page 281] the first Virginia regiment, fell in with their out-guard, and brought off thirty-six prisoners, sixty muskets, and some blankets. The number killed is not certainly known: but it is reported by an officer who was there, that he counted about twenty-five. Our loss, two killed, and ten or twelve wounded; among the latter, major Greene, whose recov­ery is very doubtful.

On Wednesday there was also a smart skirmish between a party of colonel Hand's riflemen,—about two hundred and forty,—and nearly the same number of Hessian chas­seurs, in which the latter were put to the route. Our men buried ten of them on the field, and took two prisoners, one badly wounded. We sustained no other loss than having one lad wounded, supposed mortally.

The ships of war that are in the North-river fell down, yesterday morning or the evening before, to Dobbs's ferry, to prevent our bringing stores from below by water, and the removal of those that are landed there. As soon as the waggons, employed in bringing the baggage and stores of general Lee's division, are disengaged, they will be immediately sent to assist those already there to remove them.

On Saturday night we had the misfortune to lose one of the new ships intended to be sunk for obstructing the chan­nel. She parted her cables in a severe squall, when prop­erly ballasted, and bilged as soon as she struck the shore. The other ship was sunk well; and yesterday morning two brigs, both ready, were sent down for the same pur­pose.

About two o'clock this afternoon, intelligence was brought to Head-Quarters that three or four detachments of the enemy were on their march, and had advanced within about four miles of this place. It has been fully confirm­ed since by a variety of persons who have been out to rec­onnoitre. Their number cannot be ascertained: but it is generally conjectured that the detachments are or will be succeeded by as many columns composing their main body. Our drums have beat to arms, and the men are ordered to their several posts. Most probably some important event is upon the eve of taking place: I hope it will be victory in favour of our arms. General Lee, with his division, has not got up; but I hear he is on his march.

[Page 282] Experiment having proved it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the enemy from possessing the navigation of the North-river, and rendering the communication and inter­course between the States divided by it extremely hazard­ous and precarious by means of their ships of war, it has become a matter of important consideration how to remedy the evil, and to guard against the consequences which may result from it. I am charged by his excellency to men­tion it to Congress as a matter that has employed much of his thought, and that seems worthy of their most serious attention. He has communicated it to several of the gen­eral and other officers, and to many gentlemen of sense and discernment, who all agree with him, not only upon the propriety but the absolute necessity that two distinct armies should be formed,—one to act particularly in the States which lie on the east, the other in those that are on the south of the river;—the whole however to be raised on a general plan, and not to be confined to any particular place by the terms of enlistment. These matters,—the apparent difficulty and perhaps impracticability of succours being thrown across the river while the enemy can command it,—have induced his excellency to submit the measure to their consideration, not knowing how their operations may be directed, and foreseeing that innumerable evils may arise if a respectable force is not appointed to oppose their arms wheresoever they are carried.

I have the honour to be, in great haste, &c.

R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

THE situation of our affairs not permitting his ex­cellency to write himself, I have it in charge to inform you, that, on yesterday morning about ten o'clock, the enemy appeared in several large columns in our front, and, from their first movements, seemed as if they meant an at­tack there. However, halting for a little time, their main body filed off to our left, and presently began a most severe and incessant cannonade at a part of our troops who had taken post on a hill, with a view of throwing up some lines. At the same time they advanced in two divisions, and, af­ter a smart engagement for about a quarter of an hour, obliged our men to give way.

[Page 283] Our loss is not certainly known; but, from conjecture, is between four and five hundred in killed, wounded, and missing. What theirs was, we have not heard.

After gaining the hill, (upon which they are entrenching) and leaving a sufficient number of men and artillery to prevent our repossessing it, they proceeded to advance by our left; and, as far as I can discover, their posts or en­campments now form nearly a semicircle. It is evident their design is to get in our rear according to their original plan. Every measure is taking to prevent them: but the removal of our baggage, &c. is attended with infinite diffi­culty and delays.

Our post, from its situation, is not so advantageous as could be wished, and was only intended as temporary and occasional, till the stores belonging to the army, which had been deposited here, could be removed. The enemy com­ing on so suddenly has distressed us much. They are now close at hand, and most probably will in a little time com­mence their second attack: we expect it every hour:—perhaps it is beginning: I have just heard the report of some cannon. I have the honour to be, &c.

R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on the twenty-ninth instant, no event of importance has occurred. The enemy are throwing up some lines and redoubts in our front, with a view of cannonading as soon as they are ready; and at the same time are extending their wings far­ther by our right and left. It is supposed that one of their objects is to advance a part of their troops, and seize on the bridge over Cro [...]on river, that the communication may be cut off with the upper country. To prevent this, a part of our force is detached, with orders to proceed with the utmost expedition, and to secure the pass, if possible.

We are trying to remove, to guard against their designs, but are greatly impeded by reason of the scarcity of wag­gons in proportion to our baggage and stores. Every ex­ertion has been employed to obtain a sufficiency; but they cannot be had in this part of the country. The quarter-master has sent to Connecticut to get a supply, if possible.

[Page 284] Our army is decreasing fast. Several gentlemen, who have come to camp within a few days, have observed large numbers of militia returning home on the different roads: [...]or are any measures taken as yet to raise the new army, no commissions having come from the States to appoint or signify the nomination of their officers. If this was done, perhaps many who are now here might be induced to en­gage: but at present there are none authorised to recruit.

His excellency would have wrote himself by the person who carries this (to the care of general Greene;) but his attention is totally engaged in ordering the affairs of the army, and the best mode for its removal.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

I AM directed by his excellency to acknowledge his receipt of your favour of the twenty-eighth ultimo which came to hand yesterday evening, and to transmit you a copy of the letter. I had the honour of writing you by the Boston express by his command. Had the express been charged with no other letter, the loss would not have been attended with any material injury to us or advantage to the enemy, provided it should come to their hands: but there were others from his excellency, of a very interest­ing nature, the miscarriage of which gives him much con­cern. As the bundle was taken away in so sudden and secret a manner, I fear there is but little hope of recover­ing it,—being done most probably for the express purpose of furnishing the enemy with intelligence, and a state of our army. Besides his excellency's letters, the most ma­terial of which was to Mr. Rutledge, there were five or six more from the gentlemen of his family.

My letters of the twenty-ninth and of yesterday, which I had the honour of addressing you, will give a pretty full account of our situation, and of every matter respecting this army antecedent to this date. I only omitted to mention that we have taken thirteen of the Waldeckers, and that, for several days past, our scouting parties have brought in one, two, or three prisoners. In addition to th [...]se, we have every day a deserter or two.

[Page 285] About six o'clock this morning, a messenger arrived from lord Stirling (who is with [...]world [...] brigade between two and three miles from White-Plains, on our right, and rath­er nearer the North-river) with intelligence that the enemy were advancing towards him in two columns. This in­formation has carried his excellency and aides out. The result of their movement I have not heard: but most likely they are pursuing their original design of getting by our flanks and seizing the heights above us. Every precaution is taking to prevent them, and to hurry away our stores to a more interior part of the country.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.

P. S. His excellency has just returned, and says the alarm was premature. It arose from some of lord Stir­ling's advanced guards seeing a body of our men who had been ordered to reinforce him, who were supposed to be the enemy. His excellency is very apprehensive that the army will be greatly distressed for want of provision, par­ticularly in the article of flour, owing to the water conve [...] ­ance, both in the North and East river, being in the enemy's possession. He has wrote to the convention of this State, and directed Mr. Trumbull, that their utmost exertions in this instance may be used. There is a good deal of flour on the Jersey side: but there is no other way to get it, but by carting and ferrying it over to Peekskill. This I have wrote to general Greene to have done, by his excel­lency's direction.

SIR,

BY command of his excellency, I have the honour to inform you that our situation is nearly the same as when I had the pleasure of writing you last. It is altered in no instance, unless in the number of our troops, which is every day decreasing by their most scandalous desertion and re­turn home. The inclosed letter from general Parsons, who is stationed near the Saw-pits, and which his excel­lency directed me to transmit, will inform you of the prev­alency of this disgraceful practice.

I have the honour to be, &c.
R. H. HARRISON.
[Page 286]

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

BY command of his excellency, I have the honour to acknowledge his receipt of your favour of the twenty-fourth ultimo, and to inform you that he esteems the plan you propose to lay before Congress, for preventing more rations being drawn than may be due, well calculated to answer the end. That respecting the sick seems to him not entirely perfect. The captains or commanders of companies are prohibited from drawing pay for such sick as may be discharged from the hospitals as unfit for service. If, during their stay, and before it can be known whether their case will or will not admit of their return, it should become necessary to make up a regimental pay-abstract, in what manner are the officers to make up their rolls? are they to include the sick, or not?

As this is a case which may and must of necessity fre­quently happen, it appears to his excellency that the intend­ed regulations should be more general, and restrain the officers from including in their pay-abstracts or rolls all the sick they send to the hospitals, and the pay due them previ­ous to their going. In such case, those who are discharged as unfit for service may receive their pay as intended; and those who return to duty can obtain what was due to them when the regiment was paid, by applying to the paymaster with the officer and surgeon's certificates, or be included in a subsequent abstract. The inconveniences and abuses which are designed to be remedied by these regulations, his excellency does not apprehend to arise so much from necessity (as incident to the nature of armies) as from the imperfect institution of the present, and the great mix­ture and diversity of troops composing it, and also from the inattention of the officers. * * *

The defenceless state of Pennsylvania, as communicated by the committee of safety to your honourable body, is a matter of much concern to his excellency, which is not a little aggravated by the part too many seem ready to take in favour of the enemy. He trusts, however, the defec­tion will be too inconsiderable to threaten any alarming consequences.

[Page 287] Before the receipt of your letter, his excellency had wrote to the commanding officer of the Virginia regiments at Trenton, directing him to march them forward towards general Greene's post, and there remain under his com­mand till further orders, unless special instructions had been or should be given to the contrary by Congress, or for their particular destination.

Agreeable to your request, his excellency has consulted with general Lee upon the best mode for employing the French gentlemen, and making them serviceable. The result is that they should be appointed to regiments by Congress according to the ranks they have been pleased to give them, and with the same pay as is allowed other offi­cers in such cases. Their want of our language is rather an objection: but it is hoped they will attain a sufficient knowledge of it, ere it be long, to be of great service; and that, in the interim, their advice and assistance in di­recting of works may be of use where they may be sta­tioned. With great respect, I have the honour to be, &c.

R. H. HARRISON.
SIR,

I HAVE the honour to inform you that on yester­day morning the enemy made a sudden and unexpected movement from the several posts they had taken in our front. They broke up their whole encampments the pre­ceding night, and have advanced towards Kingsbridge and the North-river. The design of this manoeuvre is a mat­ter of much conjecture and speculation, and cannot be ac­counted for with any 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 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 [Page 288] be adopted in case they pursued their retreat to New-York; the result of which is herewith transmitted. 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 manoeuvre 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 milder, and much more favourable 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 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 dissolutión 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 shew of force and shadow of an army.

I expect the 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.

[Page 289] I am happy to inform you, that, in the engagement on Monday fe'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 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 toward Philadelphia.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

I HAVE been favoured with yours of the thirty-first ultimo, by monsieur 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 it 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 monsieur 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 the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 290]
SIR,

I HAVE the honour to transmit you a copy of a letter from general Gates to general Schuyler, and of an­other paper containing intelligence respecting the northern army and the situation of the enemy in that department. They this minute came to hand; and to them I beg leave to refer you for particulars.

By every information I can obtain, and the accounts I had last night by two deserters who were very intelligent and particular, general Howe still has in view an expedi­tion to the Jerseys, and is preparing for it with the greatest industry. I have detached the first division of our troops which was thought necessary to be sent, and which I hope will cross the river at Peekskill to-day. The second, I expect, will all march this evening; and to-morrow morn­ing I propose to follow myself, in order to put things in the best train I can, and to give him every possible opposition. I hope (when the two divisions arrive, and are joined to such other force as I expect to collect) to check his prog­ress and prevent him from penetrating any distance from the river, if not to oblige him to return immediately with some loss. Whatever is in my power to effect, shall be done.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE only time to acknowledge the honour of your letter of the fifth instant, 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, 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 to levying an army. I had anticipated the resolve respecting the militia, by writing to the eastern States and to the Jersey, by the [Page 291] 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 an 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 those from that State: but, as far as I can judge, we cannot rely on their staying.

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 Jer­sey: 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.

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 Congress to privates. It may perhaps be the means of their levying the quotas ex­acted from them 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 [Page 292] 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.

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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE the honour 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 Small-wood's, which I expect is now on their march.

That they may be ready to check any incursions the enemy may attempt in this neighbourhood, 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, 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 Dobbs'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 [Page 293] time: to me there appears a probability of it, which seems to be favoured by the advices we have that many transports are wooding and watering. General Greene's letter would give you the substance of the intelligence brought by Mr. Mer [...]erea [...] from Staten-Island in this instance, which he received before it came to me.

Inclosed 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 twenty-fifth ultimo, from whence I conclude that all the letters which went by the Boston express have come to his possession. You will also perceive that general 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 agreeable to the custom of war. This servant having been sent to Philadelphia with the Waldockers and other prisoners, I must request the favour of you to have him conveyed to general Greene by the earliest opportuni­ty, in order that he may be returned to his master.

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 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 to be apprehended. I would therefore, with the concurrence of all the officers whom I have spoken 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 [Page 294] 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, 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 to say, too ready an indulgence has been had 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 * * * 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 internal 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.

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 [Page 295] large sums of money which pass through 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 liberty to add that I think his complaint to be well founded, and 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 affected some delay, or to have been unmindful of the proposition I had made.

I propose to stay in this neighbourhood a few days, in 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.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

ON Wednesday evening I received the favour of your letter of the eighth instant, in consequence of which I stopped the flag that was going in with the ladies you mention, pointing out to them the necessity of the measure, and recommending them to write to their husbands and connexions to obtain general Howe's assurances for the release of Mrs. Lewis, and Mrs. Robinson and her chil­dren, with their baggage, as the condition on which they [Page 296] will be permitted to go in themselves. These terms I can only extend to Mrs. Barrow and Mrs. Kemp who had never obtained my leave: Mrs. Watts had, and my prom­ise that she should go in. The whole however were pre­pared to go, when the letter reached Newark. The mode I have adopted seems most likely, and the only proper one, to procure the enlargement of our ladies, which I wish for much.

I am, gentlemen, with great respect, &c.
G. W.

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

HAVING given my promise to general Howe, on his application, that Peter Jack, a servant of major Stewart, who was sent to Philadelphia with the Waldeckers and other prisoners, and who has nothing to do in the military line, should be returned to his master agreeable to the usage of war in such cases,—I must take the liberty to request the favour of you to have him conveyed to general Greene by the earliest opportunity, that he may be forwarded to his master in compliance with my promise.

I also wish that you would have all the British prisoners collected that you conveniently can, and sent to me as soon as possible with the Hessian prisoners, that I may ex­change them. The return of the latter I think will be attended with many salutary consequences: but, should it be made without that of a large proportion of other troops, it will carry the marks of design, and occasion precautions to be taken to prevent the ends we have in view.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you last, an important event has taken place, of which I wish to give you the earliest intelligence.

[Page 297] The preservation of the passage of the North-river was an object of so much consequence that I thought no pains o [...] 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-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 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 surrendry of the garrison, to which colonel Magaw returned a spirited refusal. 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 a manner as gave me great hopes the enemy was entirely repulsed. But at this time a body of troops cross­ed [Page 298] Haerlem-river in boats, and landed inside of the second lines, our troops being then engaged in the first.

Colonel Cadwallader, who commanded in the lines, sent off a detachment to oppose them: but they, being over-powered by numbers, gave way; upon which, colonel Cad­wallader ordered his troops to retreat in order to gain the sort 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. At this time I sent a billet to colonel Magaw, directing him to hold out, and I would endeavour 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 Cadwallader told another messenger who went over, that they had been able to obtain no other terms than to surrender as prisoners of war. 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 the 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 have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 299]
SIR,

I HAVE not been yet able to obtain a particular account of the unhappy affair of the sixteenth, 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, whose information is most direct, and 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 lieutenant-colonel Raw­lins, of the late colonel Stephenson's regiment, was posted.

They burned 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 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 defence. Being viewed in this light, and ap­prehending that the stores there would be precariously situ­ated, their removal has been determined on to Boundbrook above Brunswic, Princeton, Springfield, and Acquacke­nunk 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 repositories for some of our stores of provision and forage.

The troops belonging to the flying camp under generals Heard and Beall, with what remains of general 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 them, will be Hand's, Haz­lett's, the regiments from Virginia, and that, lately Small­wood's,—the latter greatly reduced by the losses it sustain­ed [Page 300] 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, who have been called in by governor Livingston. I shall make such a disposition of the whole at Brunswic 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.

The inclosed letter from colonels Miles and Atlee will shew Congress the distressed situation of our prisoners in New-York; and their distress 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 clothing. 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 seven­teenth, 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.

November 21. The unhappy affair of the sixteenth has been succeeded by further misfortunes. Yesterday morn­ing a large body of the enemy landed between Dobbs's ferry and Fort-Lee. Their object was, evidently, to in­close the whole of our troops and stores that lay between the North and Hackinsac rivers, which form a very nar­row neck of land. For this purpose, they formed and marched as soon as they had ascended the high grounds towards the fort. Upon the first information of their hav­ing landed, and of their movements, our men were order­ed [Page 301] 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 barrels of flour, and other stores in the quarter-master's department. This loss was inevitable. As many of the stores had been removed as circumstances and time would admit of. The ammunition had been happily got away.

Our present situation between Hackinsac 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, when the best disposition will be formed that circumstances will ad­mit of.

By colonel Cadwallader, who has been permitted by general Howe to return to his friends, I am informed the surrender of the garrison on the sixteenth 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. I beg leave to refer you to him for a more particu­lar account, and also for his relation of the distresses of our prisoners. Colonels Miles and Atlee's letter, men­tioned above, upon this subject, was through mistake sent from hence yesterday morning. The mode of relief pro­posed by them was a credit or supply of cash through the means of Mr. Franks. This seems to be doubtful, as he is said to be in con [...]inement by colonel Cadwallader,—provided it would have been otherwise practicable.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Your favour of the sixteenth was duly received. My letter to the board of war, on the subject of the return of the Wald [...]kers, I presume you will have seen.

[Page 302]
SIR,

I HAVE not yet heard that any provision is making to supply the place of the troops composing the flying camp, whose departure is now at hand. The situation of our affairs is truly critical, and such as requires uncommon ex­ertions on our part. From the movements of the enemy, and the information we have received, they certainly will make a push to possess themselves of this part of the Jersey. In order that you may be fully apprised of our weakness, and of the necessity there is of our obtaining early succours, I have, by the advice of the general officers here, directed general Mifflin to wait on you. He is intimately acquaint­ed with our circumstances, and will represent them better than my hurried state will allow.

I have wrote to general Lee to come over with the con­tinental regiments immediately under his command: those with general Health I have ordered to secure the passes through the Highlands. I have also wrote to governor Livingston requesting of him such aid as may be in his power; and would submit it to the consideration of Con­gress whether application should not be made for part of the Pennsylvania militia to step forth at this pressing time.

Before I conclude, I would mention, if an early and immediate supply of money could be sent to Mr. Dalham to pay the flying camp troops, it might have a happy effect. They would subsist themselves comfortably on their return, provide many necessaries of which they are in great want; and moreover, it might be the means of inducing many, after seeing their friends, to engage again.

I expected, on coming here, to have met with many of the militia, but find from inquiry that there are not more than from four to five hundred at the different posts.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the twenty-first and twenty-fourth, with [Page 303] their several inclosures. The execution of the resolves has been and will be attended to as far as in my power.

I have wrote to general Schuyler to send down as early as possible the troops in the northern department from this and the State of Pennsylvania. The proposition for ex­changing Mr. Franklin for general Thompson I shall submit to general Howe, as soon as circumstances will al­low me.

I have nothing in particular to advise you of, respecting the enemy, more than that they are advancing this way. Part of them have passed the Passaic; and I suppose the main body that they have on this side the North-river would have done the same before now, (as they are coming on) had their progress not been retarded by the weather which has been rainy for several days past. I have scouts and detachments constantly out to harass them and watch their motions, and to gain, if possible, intelligence of their designs.

Colonel Miles, who has been permitted to go to Phila­delphia for a few days by general Howe, will deliver you this, and inform you of the distresses of our prisoners, and the necessity of effecting their exchange as far as we have prisoners to give in return.

By a letter from the board of war on the subject of an exchange, they mention that several of the prisoners in our hands have enlisted. It is a measure, I think, that cannot be justified, though the precedent is furnished on the side of the enemy: nor do I conceive it good in point of pol­icy. But, as it has been done, I shall leave it with Con­gress to order them to be returned or not, as they shall judge fit.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been honoured with your favour of the twenty-sixth, and with its inclosures, by which I perceive the 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 [Page 304] such as demands the earliest aids. 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.

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 number, 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 at Amboy to co-operate 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 waggons 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 many conjectur­ed to be an object they had in view. This conjecture too had probability and some advices to support it.

I hoped we should have met with large and early suc­cours by this time: but as yet no great number of the mi­litia of this State has come in; no [...] 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 [Page 305] the first 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 advanced last night as far as Elizabeth-town, and some of their quarter-masters had proceeded about four or five miles on this side, to provide barns, &c. 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, 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 removing, and hope to secure.

I am, Sir, very respectfully, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have wrote to governor 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.

To the Board of War.

GENTLEMEN,

I AM to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twenty-third instant, which, from the unsettled situation of our affairs, I have not been able to answer before. That of the eighteenth [...]loses a list of stores [imported] 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 neighbourhood of Philadelphia, and there deposited till called for. It is by no means prop­er [Page 306] that so great a quantity of military stores should be lodg­ed with the army, especially at present, as we know not to-day where we shall be obliged to remove to-morrow: and that will in all probability be the case while the ene­my continue with a light army on this side the North-river.

In answer to that part of yours of the nineteenth 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 [...]or [...] instances, intimidating our men into their ser [...]e, we ought to follow their example. Before I had the honour 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 pun [...]hment: 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 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.

I met captain Hesketh on the road; and, as 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 have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I YESTERDAY had the honour of writing you, and to advise you of our arrival here. I am now to in­form [Page 307] you that the enemy are still advancing, and that their van-guard had proceeded as far as Bonem, a small town about four miles this side of Woodbridge, according to my last intelligence. As to their number, reports are various. Some say they were joined yesterday by a considerable re­inforcement from Staten-Island. How far this fact may be true, I cannot determine: but, from every information, before, they were between six and seven thousand strong.

I have for some time past supposed Philadelphia to be the object of their movement, and have every reason to be­lieve my opinion well founded,—the advices of sundry persons who have had an opportunity of mixing and con­versing with them on the march, agreeing that such is the report. I have wrote to governor Livingston upon the subject, requesting his utmost exertions to forward on eve­ry succour in his power. The same, I trust, will be at­tended to in Pennsylvania. Without a sufficient number of men and arms, their progress cannot be checked:—at pres­ent our force is totally inadequate to any attempt.

Several officers belonging to the enemy, who were pris­oners, have obtained permission to return. I have not yet sent in the names of those belonging to us, that are to be exchanged for them. By a Virginia paper, I perceive that captain Morgan and lieutenant Heath who were ta­ken prisoners at Quebec, and now on parole, are pro­moted in the late arrangement of officers in that State,—the former to a regiment, the latter to a majority. It would be well if they were released: but, being Virginians, and not knowing that any gentlemen who were taken at the same time are so circumstanced, I have declined claiming their return without the opinion of Congress, lest I should incur the charge of partiality.

I have sent forward colonel Humpton to collect proper boats and craft at the ferry for transporting our troops: and it will be of infinite importance to have every other craft besides what he takes for the above purpose, secured on the west side of Delaware: otherwise they may fall into the enemy's hands and facilitate their views.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Half after one o'clock, P. M. The enemy are fast advancing: some of them are now in sight. All the [Page 308] men of the Jersey flying camp under general Heard, being applied to, have refused to continue longer in service.

SIR,

IN a little time after I wrote you this evening, the enemy appeared in several parties on the heights opposite Brunswic, and were advancing in a large body towards the crossing-place. We had a smart cannonade whilst we were parading our men, but without any or but little loss on either side. It being impossible to oppose them with our present force with the least prospect of success, we shall retreat to the west side of Delaware (and have advanced about eight miles) where it is hoped we shall meet a rein­forcement sufficient to check their progress. I have sent colonel Humpton forward to collect the necessary boats for our transportation, and conceive it proper that the mi­litia from Pennsylvania should be ordered towards Trenton, that they may be ready to join us, and act as occasion may require.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
G. W.

P. S. I wish my letters of yesterday may arrive safe, being informed that the return-express who had them was idling his time, and shewing them on the road.

SIR,

I ARRIVED here this morning with our troops be­tween eight and nine o'clock, when I received the honour of your letter of the first with its inclosure.

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 them, I wrote to general 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 twenty-sixth ultimo mentioned that he had marched a brigade the day before, and should [Page 309] follow the next himself. The remainder of the troops I conceived necessary to guard the several passes through 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 thirtieth ultimo.

I understand there are now at Bristol several prisoners. As their exchange at this time cannot be effected with propriety, I think it will be necessary, under the present situation of affairs, to have them removed immediately to some more interior place, upon their paroles. If they re­main, they may be of infinite disadvantage.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
R. H. HARRISON.

[On the outside of the foregoing letter, which is, as usual, addressed to the president of Congress, appears the follow­ing line, to Mr. Peters, secretary to the board of war.]

Sir, dispatch an express immediately, to have the pris­oners at Bristol removed

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 neighbourhood, 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 are 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 twenty-sixth of last month; which surprises me not a little, as I have dispatched daily expresses to him, desiring to know when I might look for him. This makes me fear­ful [Page 310] 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 dispatched colonel Stew­ard (general Gates's aide-de-camp) to meet general Lee and bring me an account.

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 they are likely to do much.

General Heard just informs 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 mine.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you yesterday, I received a letter from general Lee. On the thirtieth ul­timo he was at Peekskill, and expected to pass the river with his division two days after. From this intelligence you will readily conclude that he will not be able to afford us any aid for several days. The report of general St. Clair's having joined him with three or four regiments, I believe to be altogether premature, as he mentions nothing of it. It has arisen, as I am informed, from the return of some of the Jersey and Pennsylvania troops from Ticon­deroga, whose time of service is expired. They have reached Pluckemin where I have wrote to have them halt­ed and kept together, if they can be prevailed on, till further orders.

The inclosed is a copy of a letter which came to hand last night from major Clark, to which I beg leave to refer you for the intelligence it contains. The number of the enemy said to be embarked is supposed to be rather exag­gerated. [Page 311] That there has been an embarkation is not to be doubted, it being confirmed through various channels. By colonel Griffin, who went from Brunswic on Sunday morning with a captain Sims, to pass him by our guards, and who was detained by lord Cornwallis till Monday evening on account of his situation, the amount of general Clinton's force, from what he could collect from the offi­cers, was about six thousand: as to their destination, he could not obtain the least information. By him I also learn the enemy were in Brunswic, and that some of their advanced parties had proceeded two miles on this side. The heavy rain that has fallen has probably checked their progress, and may prevent their further movement for some time.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

To Richard Peters, esquire, secretary to the Board of War.

SIR,

YOURS of the twentieth of last month was deliver­ed to me by the brigadier La Roche de Fermoy, who is now here, but unable to render me that service, which I dare say, from his character, he would, were he better ac­quainted with our language.

I yesterday received a letter from you without a date, mentioning that the prisoners from York-town were di­rected to halt at Newtown for my orders. On hearing they were there, I sent colonel Moylan to conduct them, and the prisoners from Reading who arrived nearly at the same time, over towards Brunswic, and deliver them in.

I hope you have not sent captain Price, lieutenant Pea­cock, and major Campbell, on to this place, as it is highly improper they should see and know the situation of our army here and at Princeton. They had better be sent up, under the care of some person, to Newtown or that neigh­bourhood, and there wait the arrival of some larger party, who, I imagine, will be soon forwarded from Lancaster, and go in with them.

[Page 312] Lieutenant Symes came over to me at Brunswic from Bethlehem without the least guard or escort; and a lieu­tenant of the seventh regiment went through our whole army, and was at last discovered by a mere accident. He had a pass from the council of safety, and that was all. Such an irregular mode of suffering prisoners to go in alone must be put a stop to, or the enemy will be as well ac­quainted with our situation as we are ourselves. If they are left at liberty to choose their own route, they will al­ways take that through our army, for reasons too obvious to mention.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
G. W.

I have been obliged to send down a number of our sick to Philadelphia, to make room for the troops, and to re­move them out of the way. Be pleased to have some care taken to have them properly accommodated. I should think part of the house-of-employment might be procured for that purpose. I have ordered down an officer from each regiment, and a surgeon's mate, if they can be spared: but I hope they will not want the assistance of the visiting physicians of the hospital.

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 sit for duty, under the command of lord Stirling and general Stephen, 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 sit for ser­vice, and march back to Princeton, and there govern my­self by circumstances and the movements of general Lee. [Page 313] At any event, the enemy's progress may be retarded by this means if they intend to come 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 (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 shew the disadvantages of short enlistments, and the little dependence upon militia in times of real danger. But, as yesterday cannot be recalled, 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 [...]o [...]d. 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.

[Page 314] I am clear in opinion, that, if forty thousand men had been kept in constant pay since the first commencement of hostilities, and the militia had been excused 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 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 shew, 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. 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 the 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 315]
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 who are advanced a 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 fourteenth ultimo 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 languague of this good man, The Lord deliver us from his mercy!

Your letter of the third, by major Livingston, was duly received. Before it came to hand, I had wrote to gene­ral Howe about governor Franklin's exchange, but am not certain whether the letter could not be recovered. I dispatched a messenger instantly for that purpose.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

COLONEL Reed would inform you of the intelli­gence which I first met with on the road from Trenton to Princeton yesterday. 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.

[Page 316] 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 co-operate 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 a colonel Humpton to bring me some accurate accounts of his situ­ation. I last night dispatched 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.

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 the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DID myself the honour 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, 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 with his brigade, to take post at the different landing-places, and prevent them from stealing a march upon us from above: [Page 317] for I am informed, if they cross at Coryel's ferry or there-abouts, 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, [as they may] 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 Schuylkill on the north entrance of the city, the lines to begin on the Schuylkill side, about the heights of Springate­b [...]ry, 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 b [...]al us, march directly in, and take possession. We have ever found that lin [...]s, however [...]light, are very formidable to them: they would at least give a check till people could recover of the fright and consternation that naturally attends the first appearance of an enemy.

In the mean time every step should be taken to collect force, not only from Pennsylvania, but from the most neigh­bourly 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 prope [...].

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have just received the inclosed from general 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 [Page 318] take charge of the stores, and have ordered major-general Putnam immediately down to superintend the works and give the necessary directions.

SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you yester­day, nothing of importance has occurred. In respect to the enemy's movements, I have obtained no other infor­mation than that they have a number of parties patroling up and down the river, particularly above. As yet they have not attempted to pass; nor do any of their patroles, though some are exceedingly small, meet with the least in­terruption from the inhabitants of Jersey.

By a letter received last night from general Lee, of the eighth instant, he was then at Morristown, where he en­tertained thoughts of establishing a post: but, on receiving my dispatches by major Hoops, I should suppose he would be convinced of the necessity of his proceeding this way with all the force he can bring.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Nine o'clock, A. M. I this minute received in­formation that the enemy were repairing the bridges three or four miles below Trenton; which seems to indicate an intention of their passing lower down, and suggests to me the necessity that some attention should be had to the fort at Billingsport, lest they should possess themselves of it; the consideration of which I beg leave to submit to Congress. I have wrote to the council of safety on the subject.

SIR,

AFTER I had wrote you yesterday, I received cer­ [...] information that the enemy, after repairing Croswix's br [...]ge, had advanced a party of about five hundred to Bordentown. 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 that purpose.

[Page 319] I last night directed commodore Seymour to station all his galleys between Bordentown and Philadelphia, to give the earliest intelligence of any appearance of the enemy on the Jersey shore.

I yesterday rode up the river about eleven miles, to lord Stirling's post, where I found a prisoner of the forty-second regiment who had been just brought in. He informed me that lord Cornwallis was at Pennytown with two battalions of grenadiers, and three of light infantry, all British, the Hessian grenadiers, the forty-second Highland regiment, and two other battalions, the names of which he did not remember. He knew nothing of the reasons of their be­ing assembled 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 accounted for their being there. They had made a forced march from Trenton on Sunday night, to Coryel's ferry, in hopes of surprising a sufficient number of boats to transport them; but, finding themselves disap­pointed, had marched back to Pennytown, 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 of 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 Mor­ristown) the eighth 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.

Major Sheldon, who commands the volunteer horse from Connecticut, waits upon Congress to establish some mode of pay. I can only say that the service of himself [Page 320] and his troop has been such as merits the warmest thanks of the public, and deserves a handsome compensation for their trouble. Whatever is settled now, will serve for a precedent in future. From the experience I have had, this campaign, of the utility of horse, I am convinced there is no carrying on the war without them; and I would therefore recommend the establishment of one or more corps (in proportion to the number of foot) in addition to those already raised in Virginia. If major Sheldon would undertake the command of a regiment of horse on the continental establishment, I believe he could very soon raise them; and I can recommend him as a man of activ­ity and spirit, from what I have seen of him.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I LAST night received the favour of Mr. Thomp­son's letter inclosing the proceedings of Congress, of the eleventh instant. As the publication of the [...] resolve, is 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 shew 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.

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 [Page 321] purpose. The latest I have received was from lord Stir­ling last night. He says that two grenadiers of the In­niskillen regiment, who were taken and brought in by some countrymen, inform that generals Howe, Corn­wallis, Vaughan, &c. with about six thousand of the flying army, were at Pennytown, waiting for pontons to come up, with which they mean to pass the river near the Blue Mounts, or at Coryel's ferry,—they believe, the latter;—that the two battalions of guards were at Brunswic, and the Hessian grenadiers, chasseurs, 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 yesterday morning. He had been sent over with a strong scouting party, and, at day-break, fell in with their advanced guards consisting of about four hundred 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 it 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 succours and exertions on the part of the people, what can we reasonably look for o [...] expect, but an event that will be severely felt by 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 [Page 322] 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 eighth, I am advised that lieutenant-colonel Vose was then there with Greaton's, Bond's, and Porter's regiment, 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 S [...]ark's, Poor's, and Read's regiments; but for what pur­pose he does not mention.

The inclosed 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 sixth regiment of Virginia troops commanded by colonel Buck­ner, agreeable to the latter, as they came through Phila­delphia.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
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 [Page 323] particular point as well as to harass 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 Stirling, Mercer, Stephen and De Fermoy, extend from Yardley's up to Coryel's 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. General 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. Colonel Cad­wallader, 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 third battalion of [Pennsylvania. ] A proper quantity of 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 general 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 general Smallwood should go to Maryland on the same business, I think it would have a happy effect: he is popular and of great influence, and, I am persuaded, would contribute greatly to that State's furnishing her quota of men in a little time. He is now in Philadelphia.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 324]
SIR,

ABOUT one o'clock to day I received a letter from general 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 general 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 Allentown. What their de­signs are, whether they mean to retreat, or only a feint, cannot be determined. I have parties out to watch their n [...]tions, 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 colonels Burd and Gil­breath are marching with their battalions of militia, and also that some small parties are assembling in Cumberland county. * * *

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

IN a late letter which I had the honour 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 un-essayed in the course of the next campaign to re­duce these States to the rule of a most * * *, must be obvious to every one; and that the militia is not to be depended on, or aid expected from them but in cases of the most pressing emergency, is not to be doubted. The [Page 325] 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 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 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 (for a failure in this instance, and who are well disposed) are making their submissions. 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 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 [Page 326] 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 inclosed extract of a letter from the commissary-general will shew his demands for money, and his plans for procuring salted provisions and a quantity of flour from the southward. The whole is submitted to the considera­tion of Congress; and I wish the result of their opinion to be transmitted him, with such supplies of money as may be necessary for himself and the departments he mentions.

The clothing 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 them 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.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE waited with much impatience to know the determinations of Congress on the propositions made some time in October last for augmenting our corps of artillery 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 twelfth in­stant, at the repeated instances 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 by his plan inclosed: 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.

[Page 327] The pay of our artillerists bearing no proportion with that in the English or French service,—the murmuring and dissatisfaction thereby occasioned, and 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 should be augmented twen­ty-five per cent, or that the [...] 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 the next campaign, I am as clear in, as I am of my existence. If therefore,—[when] we have to provide in this 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 necessarily elapse, as to defeat the end in view.

It 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 with truth declare that I have no lust after power, but wish with as much fervency as any man upon this wide-extend­ed continent for an opportunity of turning the sword into a 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.

[Page 328] 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, 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 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 forever 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 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 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 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,— [Page 329] the inestimable blessings of liberty at stake,—and a life de­voted,—must be my excuse.

I have heard nothing of the light-horse from Virginia, nor the regiment from the Eastern-Shore. 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 quarter-masters upon the communication, to supply their wants; the first or second officer of each bat­talion to forward them, and the other to 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 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 which I do not recollect at this time, and which, 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 [Page 330] 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 laboured, 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 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 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 agreea­ble to the plan laid before Congress in October last, colo­nel Putnam, who was at the 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 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.

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 a train, as also to have travelling car­riages [Page 331] and shot provided,—elaboratories to be establish­ed, one in Hartford [...] and another in York. Magazines of provisions should also be had [...]n. These I shall [...] with the commissar [...]. As our great loss last year proceeded from a want of teams. I shall direct the quarter master-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, has been great:—militia, flying-camp men, &c. coming in without, 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 forever 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 inclose a memo­randum given me 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.

The division of the army, late under the command of general Lee, now general Sullivan, is just upon the point of joining us. A strange kind of fatality has attended it. They had orders on the seventeenth 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 those important passes of the Highlands. But the convention of the State of [Page 332] New-York seeming 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 Jersey (where I understand about eight hundred militia had collected,) in order to inspirit the inhabitants, and, as far as possible, 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 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 inclosed is a copy. Previous to this, and immediately upon the first intelligence obtained of a fleet's going through the Sound, I dispatched orders to generals Spencer and Arnold to proceed without the least 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 the military line. He commanded the militia from Massachusetts last summer, or fall rather, and much to my satisfaction,—having proved himself on all [Page 333] 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 service: he ought not,—as I am told, by the severity of the small-pox, he is become both blind and deaf.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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.

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 develop and point out a remedy, in ours, present more and greater difficulties. Till of 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 authorised 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 [Page 334] 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,—and in others, 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 instant, 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 Rawlins's, Hand's from Pennsylvania, a part of Ward's from Connecticut, and the German battalion, amounting 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.

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,—his intentions being 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 sixteenth instant, the time of his writing, if the ice should be made;—advises him by no means to re­move their stores,—that 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 [Page 335] field-officers, should be appointed. In case an augmentation should be made to the eastern regiments, a deviation from the former m [...]de 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 inclosed letter from the paymaster-general will shew 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 pay of their claims. * * *

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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

To ROBERT MORRIS, esquire.

DEAR SIR,

I HAVE your obliging favours of the twenty-first and twenty-third. The blankets are come to hand; but I would not have any of the other goods sent on till you hear again from me.

I agree with you that it is in vain to ruminate upon, or even reflect upon the authors or causes of, our present mis­fortunes: we should rather exert ourselves, and look for­ward with hopes that some lucky chance may yet turn up in our favour. Bad as our prospects are, I should not have the least doubt of success in the end, did not the late treach­ery and defection of those, who stood foremost in the op­position [Page 336] while fortune smiled upon us, make me fearful that many more will follow their example, who, by using their influence with some and working upon the fears of others, may extend the circle so as to take in whole towns, coun­ties, nay, provinces. Of this we have a recent instance in Jersey; and I wish many parts of Pennsylvania may not be ready to receive the yoke.

The security of the continental ships of war in Delaware is certainly a capital object; and yet to draught the many hands, necessary to fit them out, from the militia, might be dangerous just now: perhaps in a little time hence their places may be supplied with country militia; and then, if the exigency of affairs requires it, they certainly ought to be spared. I will just hint to you a proposition that was made, or rather talked of, a few days ago by the officers of two New-England regiments whose time of service will expire on the first of January. They are most of them water men: and they said their men would willingly go on board the frigates, and navigate them round to any of the ports in New-England, if it was thought they would be safer there than in Delaware. You may think of this, and let me hear from you on the subject, if the proposition pleases you.

Lieutenant Boger of the navy is already gone in, and I have made a demand of lieutenant Josiah in exchange; but I have not heard whether lord Howe accedes to it. I will procure the release of doctor Hodge as soon as it can be done without injuring others by giving him the prefer­ence, as I have always made it a rule to demand those first who have been longest in captivity. I will take the same steps in regard to Mr. Jones, commander of the sloop taken by the Andrew Doria.

I shall take the earliest opportunity of sending in your letter to general Lee, with the bill drawn upon major Small.

From an intercepted letter from a person in the secrets of the enemy, I find their intentions are to cross Delaware as soon as the ice is sufficiently strong. I mention this, that you may take the necessary steps for the security of such public and private property as ought not to fall into their hands should they make themselves masters of Phil­adelphia, of which they do not seem to entertain the least doubt.

[Page 337] I hope the next Christmas will prove happier than the present, to you, and to, dear Sir, your sincere friend and humble servant,

G. W.

P. S. I would just ask whether you think Christiana a safe place for our stores? Do not you think they would be safer at Lancaster, or somewhere more inland?

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 twenty-fifth I ordered the troops in­tended for this service to parade back of McKonkey's fer­ry, 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 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 re-passing 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 post exactly at eight o'clock; and in three minutes after, I found, from the fire on the lower road, that that 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. [Page 338] 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 commanding officer, and seven others, were found wound­ed in the town. I do not exactly know how many they had 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 Lanspach, 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 Cadwallader 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 Cadwallader have passed the river, I should have been able with their assistance to have driven 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 same evening [Page 339] with the prisoners and the artillery we had taken. We found no stores of any consequence in the town.

In justice to the officers and men, I must add that their behaviour upon this occasion reflects the highest honour 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 ardour: 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 aide-de-camp, will have the honour of delivering this to you; and from him you may be made acquainted with many other particulars. His spirited behaviour upon every occasion requires me to rec­ommend him to your particular notice.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

Inclosed you have a particular list of the prisoners, artil­lery and other stores.

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 twenty-sixth. 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 Cadwallader crossed from Bristol on the twenty-seventh, and, by his letter of yester­day, was at Bordentown with about eighteen hundred men. In addition to these, general Mifflin sent over five hundred from Philadelphia on Friday, three hundred yesterday evening from Burlington, and will 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, in every instance, adopt such measures as the exigency of our affairs requires, and our situation will justify.

[Page 340] Had it not been for the unhappy failure of generals Ew­ing and Cadwallader in their attempts to pass on the night of the twenty-fifth,—and if the several concerted attacks could have been made,—I have no doubt but 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 succours on account of the season and situa­tion 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 honoured with your letter of the twenty-third and its several inclosures, 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, Robert Morris, esquire, 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 him, and which Mr. Morris will procure in time.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I am under great apprehensions about obtaining proper supplies of provision for our troops: I fear it will be extremely difficult, if not impracticable, as the enemy, from every account, have taken and collected every thing they could find.

END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
OFFICIAL LETTERS TO …
[Page]

OFFICIAL LETTERS TO THE HONOURABLE AMERICAN CONGRESS, WRITTEN DURING THE WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED COLONIES AND GREAT BRITAIN, BY HIS EXCELLENCY George Washington, COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL FORCES, NOW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Copied, by Special Permission, from the Original Papers preserved in the Office of the Secretary of State, Philadelphia.

VOL. II.

BOSTON: Printed by MANNING & LORING, For S. HALL, W. SPOTSWOOD, J. WHITE, THOMAS & ANDREWS, D. WEST, E. LARKIN, W.P BLAKE, and J. WEST.

1795.

[Page]

OFFICIAL LETTERS FROM GENERAL WASHINGTON TO CONGRESS.

SIR,

YOUR resolves of the twenty-seventh ultimo were trans­mitted me last night by messieurs Clymer, Morris, and Walton. The confidence which Congress have honoured me with by 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 honourable 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 interests, to promote which has ever been my study.

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 time of service is now expired, in or­der to 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 [Page 4] 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.

General Mifflin is at Bordentown with about eighteen hundred men, and general Cadwallader at Croswix's, 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 neighbouring 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 Brunswic. 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 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 compensation, protections have been granted them for the free enjoyment of their effects.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have not been able to procure returns of our force, owing to our situation. I suppose that about two or three and twenty hundred passed with me, which num­ber is now reduced to fifteen or sixteen hundred. No esti­mate [Page 5] of o [...] force can be formed from the number of regi­ments: many of them, by reason of sickness, cannot turn out more than a hundred men.

SIR,

I HAVE the honour 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 picquets, advanced to­wards Trenton,—their great preparations, and some intel­ligence I had received,—added to their knowledge that the first 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 which had first crossed the Delaware and were lying at Croswix's under general Cadwallader, 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 first instant.

On the second, 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 which runs through Tren­ton, at different places; but, finding the fords guarded, 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.

[Page 6] 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 round-about 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 course,—or to run the hazard of the whole army being cut off) 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 sun-rise 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 in 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 Virginia regiment, and four or five other valuable 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 Stoney-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 [Page 7] hay, and destroyed such other things as the shortness of the time would admit of.

My original plan, when I set out from Trenton, was, to have pushed on to Brunswic: but the harassed state 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 [...]esh 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 dffierent 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 endeavouring 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 endeavour to put them under the best cover I can:—hitherto we have been with­out any; and many of our poor soldiers quite barefoot, and ill clad in other respects.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM happy to inform you that the account of gen­eral Mercer's death, transmitted in my last, was premature, though it was mentioned as certain by many who saw him [Page 8] 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, though I believe it could not have been effected.

The enemy have totally evacuated Trent and Prince towns, 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 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 great fatigues they had 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 favourable 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 have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with yours of the first instant, inclos­ing sundry resolves relating to this and the northern army. Those that respect my department shall be properly at­tended to.

I am obliged by your notice of colonel Baylor, on whom I shall confer the command of horse to which you recom­mend him.—When the uniform for the regiment is fixed [Page 9] upon, a horse properly caparisoned shall be provided and presented to colonel Baylor.—There were no horses of any figure or value taken at Trenton.

Since I wrote to you last, the enemy have withdrawn all their out-garrisons, and centred their whole force at and near Brunswic; but whether with an intention to make a stand there or make another push towards Philadelphia, I cannot yet determine.—Upon the evacuation of Elizabethtown, general Maxwell fell upon the enemy's rear, and made sev­enty prisoners and took a parcel of baggage.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with yours of the sixth, inclosing sev­eral resolves of Congress respecting an exchange to be pro­posed between general Lee and the Hessian field-officers taken at Trenton. Colonel Ralle 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 a [...] offer of all that remain, in exchange for general Lee, except one whom you order to be proposed for 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 have ever done 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 of. 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.

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 ninth, he was be­ginning [Page 10] 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 West-Chester and the coun­ties to the northward of York-island.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I EMBRACE this opportunity, by Mr. Hopkins, of informing you that the enemy remain upon their old ground at Amboy and Brunswic. Our accounts still confirm their want of forage, which I hope will increase. If their horses are reduced this winter, it will be impossible for them to take the field in the spring.

General Warner, with two regiments from Massachusetts, is arrived here: general Heath, with the remainder of the troops from that State, has by this time begun to move down towards Kingsbridge.

I this day intend to send in a flag with letters to lord and general Howe upon the subject of general Lee's exchange, and remonstrating against the severe treatment of our prison­ers. I inclose you copies of both for your inspection and approbation.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE not had the honour of any of your favours since I wrote to you on the fourteenth instant.—No material alterations have happened in this quarter. The enemy, from every account, mean to make Brunswic their advanc­ed post for this winter. They are endeavouring to draw in all the forage they can get; in the course of which, they have daily skirmishes with our advanced parties: but I think, do what they will, they must be distressed greatly before the winter is over.

By a late resolve of Congress, the towns of Carlisle in Pennsylvania, and Brookfield in Massachusetts, are fixed upon for the proper places to erect elaboratories, and lay [Page 11] up magazines of military stores. Upon communicating this resolve to general Knox, who will have the principal direction of these matters, he was of opinion that Hartford in Connecticut would be on many accounts more conve­nient for that purpose than Brookfield, particularly in re­spect to buildings, which are already erected, and, though not such as are immediately fit for the uses they are intend­ed, may be easily converted to them.—General Knox, and others whom I have consulted upon the occasion, also think that Yorktown will be full as safe, and more convenient than Carlisle.—If these two alterations should, upon a re­consideration, appear to you in the same light, and no steps should have been taken towards carrying matters into exe­cution, I should be glad that you would, by a new resolve, permit me to direct the works to be carried on at the places last mentioned.

Since I began this letter, your favour of the tenth was delivered to me, inclosing sundry resolves of Congress, to which I shall pay due attention, and shall inform * * * and * * * of their dismission from the service of the States.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE fluctuating state of an army composed chiefly of militia bids fair to reduce us to the 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 to­day,—and the other two only remain a few days longer upon courtesy. The time for which a country 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 Warner arrived with [Page 12] about seven hundred Massachusetts militia engaged to the fifteenth 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 to us 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 on 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 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 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 endeavours with the States of Pennsylva­nia, Maryland and Virginia to turn out every man they possibly can, and for some longer time than they generally have 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 [Page 13] 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 of, 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 publickly 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM favoured with yours of the fifteenth instant, with the sundry resolves inclosed in it. If that respecting the continental currency is carried strictly into execution, it cannot fail of fully re-establishing its credit.

I have no objection to the three gentlemen who are recommended for field-officers in the New-Hampshire regi­ment; they seem fully entitled to it, as they have raised the regiment. I will furnish them with commissions from the date of their appointment, when applied to for that purpose.

There is something particular in the application of colonel Dubois and his officers for the sum of five hundred and thirteen dollars and two thirds. They were to have been commissioned provided they could raise the men; but, from their own pay-abstract, it appears that fourteen officers only brought twenty-five men into the field. As they certainly did not comply with their agreement, I would, after stating the matter as it really was, submit it to Congress who have the disposal of the public money.

I have perused the petition of monsieur Faneuil and other French gentlemen. If they could raise such a regiment as they propose, it would certainly be useful: but I have no conception that there are Canadians enough to be found even for a regiment of the common number, much less of two thousand three hundred and forty-seven, which is the number proposed. I know, neither colonel Livingston nor colonel Hazen could ever complete their Canadian regi­ments [Page 14] when they had the country open to them. As I would give encouragement to foreigners of real merit, I would put the thing upon this footing:—if monsieur Faneuil can procure a sufficient number of officers to fill a regiment of the common size, and they can give any assur­ances of being able to raise the men, I would grant them commissions.

I would beg leave to remark here, that, except we can throw the many foreigners who have commissions in our army into a corps together, they will be entirely useless, as they can neither converse with officers nor men in any other kind of regiment.

I am so well assured that you would not recommend doctor Potts to succeed doctor Stringer in the northern de­partment except you had sufficient proof of his abilities in the medical line, that I readily concur with you in the ap­pointment.

I have received a piece of information which I am afraid is true,—and that is, that the British cruisers have taken a French vessel, with a large parcel of cannon and mortars on board. I know such a one was expected, and therefore more readily credit the account.

I am, Sir, with respect and esteem, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

MY last to you was on the twentieth 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 waggons, 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 observed to carry off a good many dead and wounded in light waggons.—This action happened near Somerset court­house on Millstone river. General Dickinson's behaviour reflects the highest honour upon him: for, though his troops were all raw, he led them through the river middle-deep, [Page 15] 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 siring 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 four hundred prisoners in that fort, and that he invested Fort-Washington on Saturday, which oc­casioned the siring. 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.

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 [Page 16] 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 a very little 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, 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 Cad­wallader 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 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 [Page 17] the major-generals from the oldest brigadiers. Nine 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 laboured 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 supplied with a large sum, it may be done with the utmost expedition, and that you will endeav­our to keep up the supply by constantly sending on smaller parcels.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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.

SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with yours of the eigh­teenth instant, inclosing a letter from the State of New-York to Congress. From the particular situation of their 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 [Page 18] 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 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 complaints of the hospital on the east side of Hudson's-river. Doctor 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 labour and expense has been thrown away in endeavour­ing 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 [...]itting out the frigates at Poughkeepsie:—that must be left to the gentlemen of the marine committee.

[Page 19] 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 quarter-master-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 quarter-master-general, is also waggon-master, and forage-master-general.—I have wrote to two persons that I think qualified to fill the office of waggon-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 endeavoured 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,—the rivers, and bridges and fords over them,—the mountains, and passes through them—it would be of the greatest advantage.

I had, previous to the receipt of your letter, wrote to gene­ral Howe, and proposed the fixing 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 believe the evacuation of some detached redoubts gave rise to the report.—I have not heard from general Heath since the fourteenth instant, which I am amazed at. I am quite in the dark as to his numbers, and what progress he has made.

On the twenty-third, a party of four hundred of our men, under colonel * * *, fell in with two regiments of the enemy, convoying a number of waggons 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 [Page 20] were considerable. We lost only two men, who were made prisoners. Had colonel * * * come up with the main body, colonel Parker and the other officers think we should have put them to the rout, as their confusion was very great, and their ground disadvantageous. I have ordered * * * 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, or they have not horses to move their artillery, or they would not suffer us to remain undisturbed. I have repeatedly wrote 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 Head-Quarters with the greatest expedition.

By a resolve of 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 Morris: 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, 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 behaviour in two instances, he is a man of [Page 21] 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 gentlemen 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 favoured with their advice as speedily as possible; for the remains of the old army is much disarranged for want of a good adjutant-general, and the formation of the new in a great measure depends upon an able officer in that line.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE none of your favours unanswered at present. There is such a demand upon me from all quarters for money, which I am unable to answer, that I cannot help again pressing you to send on a supply. The recruiting ser­vice is almost at a stop here for want of money; and gov­ernor Trumbull writes me word that it is totally so in Con­necticut. He adds that their loan officers cannot proceed in their business for want of proper check-books and notes; but that, if they were furnished with them, they could soon take in a sufficient quantity to answer their purposes.

I shall be glad to be informed whether I have a right to draw warrants upon the loan-officers in the different States. The State of Connecticut advanced colonel Sheldon, at my request, ten thousand pounds lawful, to raise his regi­ment of horse. For their reimbursement they desired me to give them a draught upon the loan-office: but, not know­ing whether I had a right to draw upon that fund, I deferred it till I heard from you.

I must beg you to write to the assemblies of the different States, and insist upon their passing a law to inflict a severe and heavy penalty upon those who harbour deserters, know­ing [Page 22] them to be such. Our army is shamefully reduced by desertion; and, except the people in the country can be forced to give information when deserters return to their old neighbourhoods, we shall be obliged to detach one half of the army to bring back the other.

I have a letter from general Heath, of the twenty-fourth instant. He was at and near Kingsbridge with his army. I do not find that [...]e is likely to do more than to draw the attention of the enemy that way, and to cut them off from forage, of which they are in great wa [...]. The troops had not returned from Rhode-Island▪ by the last accounts, but were daily expected.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with yours of the twenty-fourth of January, with sundry resolves of Congress, and a peti­tion of monsieur 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 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, though of superior abilities, from being sent there. Besides, as a corps of engineers will in all probability be soon estab­lished, monsieur Pellisier's rank can then be settled with more propriety.

I forgot to mention in any of my former letters that I had appointed captain Nathaniel Guest, 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 behaviour 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 re-enlisting his regiment as continental troops. They were enlisted to serve in the colony; and the men [Page 23] 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. Ch [...]se, desiring I would ap­point proper persons to make inquiry into and take deposi­tions concerning the behaviour of the British and foreign troops in Jersey. This would 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 general Howe upon the treatment of our wounded at Princeton. You will see by the inclosed letter from him, that he disavows and detests the proceed­ing: but I fear that too much encouragement is given to such barbarous behaviour by the British officers; for, in a late skirmish in which Sir William Erskine commanded, lieutenant Kelly of the fifth Virginia regiment was flightly wounded in the thigh; but, before he could get off the field, he was overtaken and murdered 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.

By a letter from general Heath, of the thirteenth of last month, I find that he had decamped from the neighbour­hood 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 leave a body of light 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 West-Chester 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 waggons, horses, cattle and sheep, or as many as possible, from the neighbourhood 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 [Page 24] from getting fresh ones from the adjacent country, it will be impossible for them to move their artillery and waggons forward, should they incline to make another push towards Philadelphia.

I observe by your last resolves that the militia of Balti­more, Harford and Cecil counties in Maryland, are order­ed out and to march this way. Let me entreat you to suf­fer none to go forward to Philadelphia but what are equip­ped with arms, accoutrements and blankets: they hurt the service much by taking those things only for a short time from the continental troops, many of whom would other­wise be enabled to take the field.

The secretary of the board of war has transmitted me ex­tracts of general Schuyler's letters, in which he calls press­ingly for some general officers to be sent to his assistance. This will shew you the necessity of immediately making the promotions recommended in mine of the twenty-second of January; for at present I cannot spare a general officer from this quarter without injuring the service.

Nothing of consequence has happened since I wrote to you last, except a skirmish on the first 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 [borne by] colonel Scott of the fifth Virginia regiment, who, with about a 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 colonel * * *, who command­ed our main body, did not behave altogether as he ought. 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.

Colonel * * *, 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 trial on Friday.

The small-pox 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, [Page 25] not only to inoculate all the troops now here that have not had it, but shall order doctor Shippen to inoculate the recruits as fast as they come in 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 endeavour to engage its members to the discharge of their public duty by the obligation of some oath: its force and happy influence has 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 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 obligation 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 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 26]
SIR,

I WAS yesterday waited upon by two French gen­tlemen, monsieur Romand de Lisle, and Robillard. The first produced a commission signed by you in November last, appointing him a major of artillery: but, by the inclosed let­ter from him to me, he claims much higher rank under the promise of Congress—that of [...]ommandant of the continen­tal artillery. Whether any such promise was made, I leave you to determine.

Robillard claims a captaincy of artillery: but, upon what he grounds his pretensions, I do not know. I never saw him but once before; and that was upon his way from Bos­ton to Philadelphia.

You cannot conceive what a weight these kind of people are upon the service, and upon me in particular. Few of them have any knowledge of the branches which they pro­fess to understand; and those that have are entirely useless as officers, from their ignorance of the English language. I wish it were possible to make them understand, when com­missions are granted to them, that they are to make them­selves masters of the English language in some degree before they can be attached to any particular corps.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on the fifth instant, 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.

[Page 27] We have certain intelligence that they have drawn the greatest part of their troops from Rhode-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.

Colonel * * *, agreeable 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 printers of this State and Virginia, to be published.

General Lincoln is just arrived with a regiment of Mas­sachusetts militia, about two hundred and fifty. 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 first instant, informs me, that, on mature inquiry and examination, he finds Spring­field to be more convenient and much better calculated for an elaboratory 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, and how essential these establishments 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 to the assembly of Massachusetts State and the convention of New-Hampshire, requesting their good offices and exertions to promote the raising of their regiments [Page 28] as expeditiously as possible, and to forward the whole of the quot [...] 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 lakes 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 a day, an hour, or scarcely a minute passes, without com­plaints and applications on this head. The recruiting 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 inclosed letters from general Lee, which I do myself the honour to transmit you, with a copy of one to myself.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to inclose you a plan drawn up by doctor Shippen in c [...]n [...]ert with doctor Cochran, for [Page 29] the arrangement and future regulation of the general hospi­tal. As this plan is very extensive, the appointments numer­ous, and the salaries affixed to them at present, large, I did not think myself at liberty to adopt any part of it before I laid it before Congress for their approbation. I will just re­mark, that, though the expense attending an hospital upon the inclosed plan will be very great, it will in the end not only be a saving to the public, but the only possible method of keeping an army a-foot.

We [...] now at an enormous bounty, and with no small difficulty, recruiting an army of upwards of a hundred bat­talions. The ensuing campaign may, from the same causes, prove as sickly as the last: and if the hospitals are in no better condition for the reception of the sick, our regiments will be reduced to companies by the end of the campaign; and those poor wretches who escape with life will be either scattered up and down the country, and not to be found, or, if found, totally enervated and unfit for further duty. By these means not only the bounty is lost, but the man is lost also: and I leave you to judge whether we have men enough to allow of such a consumption of lives and consti­tutions as have been lost the last campaign. For my own part I am certain, that, if the army which I hope we shall have in the field this year is suffered to moulder away by sickness as it did the last, we must look for reinforcements to some other places than our own States.

The number of officers mentioned in the inclosed plan I presume are necessary for us, because they are found so in the British hospitals: and, as they are established upon the surest basis,—that of long experience under the ablest phy­sicians and surgeons,—we should not hesitate a moment in adopting their regulations, when they so plainly tend to correct and improve our former want of method and knowl­edge in this important department.

The pay affixed to the different appointments is, as I said before, great, and perhaps more than you may think adequate to the service. In determining upon the sum that is to be allowed to each, you ought to consider that it should be such as will induce gentlemen of character and skill in their profession to step forth, and in some manner adequate to the practice which they have at home: for unless such [Page 30] gentlemen are induced to undertake the care and manage­ment of our hospitals, we had better trust to the force of nature and constitution, than suffer persons entirely ignorant of medicine to destroy us by ill-directed applications.

I hear from every quarter, that the dread of undergoing the same miseries for want of proper care and attention when sick, has much retarded the new enlistments, particularly to the southward. This is another reason for establishing our hospitals upon a large and generous plan: for we ought to make the service as agreeable and enticing as possible to the soldiery, many of whom (especially when we call forth the militia) not only quit the comforts but the luxuries of life.

A few days ago doctor * * * sent me the inclosed man­uscript, which is a vindication of his conduct, upon which he desires a court of inquiry may be held. I transmit it to you by his direction. As I do not know what particular charges were alleged against him, I can say nothing to it or about it. You will find a plan of his also inclosed, for the better regulation of the hospital: but I think all his hints are included in doctor Shippen's plan.

As no time is to be lost in appointing the necessary of­ficers, fixing upon the proper places for hospitals, and many other preparations, I could wish that Congress would take this matter under their immediate consideration, and favour me with their sentiments thereon as soon as possible.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
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 their own, to make a large forage and collection of provender, of which 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 landed at Amboy, and, with them, several pieces of heavy artillery. General Howe is come over too, and it is said, lord Percy. [Page 31] 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.

Colonel Nielson of Brunswic, with a detachment of mi­litia, on the morning of the eighteenth, surprised major Stock­don, 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. This about balances the loss of a militia guard which a party of British troops took last week in Monmouth, 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.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
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, 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 [Page 32] 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 are the greatest 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 unsurmountable obstacles to their being in­grafted 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 corps of officers; for, as I said 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 would leave us at liberty to make provision for gentlemen of undoubted [Page 33] 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 pretensions to merit, and their expectations thereupon.

I inclose you the papers which Monsieur Faneuil origi­nally laid before the council of Massachusetts: they may be of use if you enter into a negociation with him.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

CONGRESS having resolved that several regiments of cavalry should be raised to form a part of their army, I beg leave, through you, to lay before them the inclosed list of officers which appear necessary to be appointed to each corps, and which they will be pleased to establish. At the same time I should suppose it highly expedient to fix their pay and that of the privates. There is now one regiment in service, and three more recruiting: this makes it indis­pensably necessary that it should be done. Applications are constantly making to know what the pay is, and objections raised against the service for want of due information.

I have transmitted a list of such pay as seemed to be thought reasonable for part of the officers to receive when colonel Sheldon's regiment was directed to be levied, and a copy of the memorandum made at that time. This, col­onel Sheldon conceived, would not be more than adequate to their services, trouble, and expense, and which in some degree was founded on the opinions of other gentlemen of whom inquiry was made upon the subject. I did not fix it in the instances where it is set down with certainty, as the memorandum will shew. A criterion, by which I was also governed upon that occasion, was the resolve appoint­ing Mr. Sheldon lieutenant-colonel-commandant, with the rank and pay of colonel. From thence I attempted to pro­portion that of some other officers. Upon the whole, I [Page 34] think it should be settled without further loss of time, and wish the earliest attention of Congress to be had to it.

Our delicate and truly critical situation, for want of a suf­ficient force to oppose the enemy who are now ready, and, before many days elapse, will take the field, induced me to expect that the troops raising in the southern States, and intended for this army, would march in companies or half companies as they were made up, without waiting for their regiments to be complete. Policy strongly suggested the propriety of the measure, and I requested it: but, to my great anxiety and surprise, I am told that this line of con­duct is totally neglected, though a great number of recruits are actually engaged. I must entreat Congress to interpose again with their most pressing applications and commands that this expedient be adopted without a moment's delay. No injury can result from it, because a sufficient number of proper officers can and must be left, to recruit the corps to their full complement.

Nor will my fears respecting the state of our arms allow me to be silent on that head. Let the States be urged to send their men equipped with them and every other neces­sary, if possible. I know not what supplies may be in store elsewhere, or in the power of Congress: but they must not depend upon their being furnished here with any, or but with very few:—no human prudence or precaution could secure but a small part of those belonging to the public, and in the hands of the soldiery, from being embezzled and carried off when their time of service expired; nor can the same abuses be restrained in the militia.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

NO military operation of any consequence has occur­red since I had the honour of writing to you last, except that on Sunday I received information that the enemy were advancing in a manner and in numbers so much greater than usual, that it looked like a prelude to an attack upon our posts, which were immediately put in the best prepara­tion to receive them. It turned out to be only a stronger [Page 35] foraging party than usual. They were however opposed in so spirited a manner by our advanced parties, that they were checked, and retired in the afternoon towards Amboy, from whence they came. Their loss in the course of the day, from the best accounts I can get, amounts to about one hundred in killed, wounded, prisoners, and deserters. Some people who were near the scene of action, and who have picked up accounts from those who have since been in Amboy, are sanguine enough to suppose that they have lost five hundred all together: but of this I have no conception. Our loss was only two killed and ten wounded.

I was in hopes, that, by the time the militia who are now in service would be discharged, we should have a con­siderable number of the new levies in the field: but, though I have reports from all quarters of the great success of re­cruiting, I cannot get a man of them into service. General Johnson's militia all go the fifth of March (many are gone already) and general Lincoln's on the fifteenth. These two bodies form so considerable a part o [...] [...]ur force, that, unless they are replaced, I shall be left in a manner desti­tute: for I have no great hopes of seeing an equal number of continental troops by that time.

I have wrote to Pennsylvania, to endeavour to get a re­inforcement of militia from [...]ence; and I am told the mi­litia from the counties of Baltimore, Hartford, and Cecil, in Maryland, are on their march: but as I have it not from any authority, I know not when to expect them, or in what numbers. They are about passing a militia-law in this State, which may perhaps have some effect: but at present they are under no regulation at all.

I have in my late letters recommended several things to [...]our consideration, particularly that of a promotion of general officers. The very well-being of the new army depends upon its being done speedily. Not only this, but we are now suffering for want of brigadiers. General Schuyler has wrote most pressingly for the assistance of gen­eral officers; and I have none to send him without injur­ing the service in this quarter. The hospital plan too re­quires an answer, as nothing can be done in the nomina­tion of the proper officers till I have your determination. There are several other matters of consequence before you, [Page 36] to which I am waiting your answers before I can proceed upon the respective points to which they refer.

Inclosed you have a letter from the widow of a brave officer who was killed at Princeton. If any provision is made, I do not recollect what it is: if there is any, please to inform me: if there is not, I can venture to recom­mend her as a proper object, to make some reparation for her great loss.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Mine of the twentieth mentioned that lord Percy had arrived with the troops from Rhode-Island: but I find he remains there. By some gentlemen just arrived from Boston, doctor Franklin's arrival in France is mentioned with certainty. A ship come to Salem brings the intelli­gence, the captain of which says the doctor had got in five days before his departure; also that captain Weeks made two prizes in his passage, and they were condemned and sold at Bourdeaux.

SIR,

I WAS this evening honoured with your favour of the twenty-third ultimo, accompanied by sundry proceed­ings of Congress. Those respecting general Lee, and which prescribe the treatment of lieutenant-colonel Campbell and the five Hessian field-officers, are the cause of this letter.

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 founded 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.

[Page 37] From the best information I have been able to obtain, general Lee's usage has not been so disgraceful and dishon­ourable as to authorise the treatment decreed to those gen­tlemen, was 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, 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 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; and 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 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 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 [Page 38] 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 of 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 the resolves, 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 now sub­sisting. The latter charge me with a breach of faith, and call upon 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 authorise 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 (a 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 honour to be, &c.

G. W.
[Page 39]
SIR,

I DO myself the honour to transmit you the inclosed 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 could, by sending in major Morris: but this I cannot do till a safe-conduct is granted.

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 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 instance, would be of favour 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 recognises 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 honour to be, in haste, your most obedient servant,

G. W.
[Page 40]
SIR,

I WAS honoured several days ago with your letter of the twenty-fifth ultimo, 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 inclosed return, to which I solicit the most serious attention of Congress, comprehends the whole force I have in Jersey. It is but a handful, and bears no pro­portion, on 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 which 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 succours 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 the way. I have wrote to the brigadiers-general 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 it be long, experience some interesting and melancholy event. I believe the en­emy have fixed their object, and the execution will surely be attempted as soon as the roads are pass [...]ble. The un­prepared state in which we are, favours all their designs; [Page 41] and it is much to be wished that they may not succeed to their warmest expectations.

On recurring to the late promotions of brigadiers, I find the number appointed to be short of what I took the liberty to recommend, and not competent to the exigencies 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 more 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 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 those 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 [Page 42] 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 pay-master with constant and sufficient supplies. On Sunday he re­ceived five hundred thousand dollars, half of which is al­ready expended, and the balance in a day or two will be entirely swept away▪ without discharging the several claims. By his report, the commissary here requires an immediate draught for a hundred thousand; and the militia returning and about to leave camp, a hundred and twenty thousand more. The expense incurred by calling on them so fre­quently is almost incredible. Besides these, there are sev­eral arrears due to the old troops, and to most of the gen­eral and staff officers.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

I fully intended to transmit you a general return, but 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.

SIR,

THE difficulty if not impossibility of giving Congress a just idea of our situation (and of several other important matters requiring their earliest attention) by letter, has in­duced me to prevail on major-general Greene to wait upon them for that purpose. This gentleman is so much in my confidence, so intimately acquainted with my ideas,—with our strength and our weaknesses,—with every thing respect­ing the army,—that I have thought it unnecessary to partic­ularize or prescribe any certain line or duty of inquiries for him. I shall only say, from the rank he holds as an able and good officer in the estimation of all who know him, he [Page 43] deserves the greatest respect; and much regard is due to his opinions in the lin [...] of his profession. He has upon his mind such matters as appear to me most material to be im­mediately considered of; and many more will probably arise during the intercourse you may think proper to honour him with; on all which I wish to have the sense of Con­gress, and the result of such deliberations as may be formed thereupon.

I have inclosed an extract of a letter received yesterday from governor Trumbull, with a copy of one intercepted, going from the late governor Wentworth to his sister. The information contained in the latter, if true, is impor­tant and interesting: how far it is to be relied on, I cannot determine: but there can be no doubt of the British court's straining every nerve and interest at home and abroad, to bend us to their * * * yoke.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with your letter of the seventeenth instant, covering sundry resolutions of Congress, which shall have my attention.

Having charged major-general Greene, who will proba­bly be in Philadelphia to-day, with such matters as I wish­ed to refer to the consideration of Congress, I have nothing to trouble them with at this time, or material to inform them of. I have the honour to be, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

COLONEL Palfrey, having expressed a desire to settle the accounts of his office to this time, has obtained my permission to repair to Philadelphia, and now waits on Con­gress with his books and vouchers, hoping that a committee will be appointed to examine and adjust the same.

The disadvantages which have arisen to the service, and which have been severely felt, for want of constant sup­plies in the military chest, are almost incredible, and are [Page 44] not to be described but with great difficulty to those who are not immediately in the army, and privy to the frequent and importunate applications that are made. To prevent inconveniences of the like nature in future, I have thought it proper that an estimate of the monthly advances should be formed and laid before Congress. This colonel Palfrey will do; and though it cannot be effected with a degree of scrupulous exactness and precision, yet from his intimate knowledge of the incidental charges and expenses in the common course of things, the calculation, I apprehend, will be attended with many benefits. It will shew Congress the necessary provisions of money to be made for ordinary contingencies, and enable them to form a rule for their government in the instance of supplies for the army.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YESTERDAY a letter, of which the inclosed is a copy, came to my hands. The account is confirmed by a countryman who is since come in: but nothing distinct has yet been received.

The aid required of me in colonel Hay's letter cannot be given: I have no men to oppose the enemy's designs in any one quarter, although called upon from every quarter. All that was possible for me to do towards collecting a force at Peekskill, I had attempted before: I had in peremptory terms called upon the officers of Rhode-Island and Con­necticut to forward on their recruits under proper officers as fast as possible to that place: I had directed such of the New-York regiments as had been ordered to Ticonderoga, to repair thither: I had requested eight of the Massachusetts regiments to be marched to that post: and left these should not arrive in time, I urged governor Trumbull, in a letter of the sixth instant, to send two thousand of his militia to the same place. But sorry I am to observe, the militia have got tired; and the colonels of the continental regiments have been greatly deceived themselves,—have greatly de­ceived me,—or the most unheard-of desertions * * * have prevailed * * *: for regiments, reported two or [Page 45] three months ago to be half completed, are, upon the colo­nels being called upon in positive terms for a just state of them, found to contain less than one hundred men; and this not the case of a single regiment only, but of many. In Connecticut alone, by a letter from general Parsons, of the sixth instant, four regiments are mentioned as not hav­ing more than eighty rank and file, each.

These, Sir, are melancholy truths: but facts they are, and necessary to be known to Congress, however prudent it may be to conceal them from the observation of others.

To superintend the business of recruiting,—to see that the officers were diligent,—to prevent impositions if pos­sible,—to appoint fit places of rendezvous,—to see that the recruits were actually brought to those places, and there equipped and trained for the field,—were among the great objects which early and repeatedly induced me to press the appointment of general officers: but unfortunately the delay of appointing, being followed by the resignation of some officers and non-acceptance of others, will involve the army in a mere chaos of confusion at a time when the utmost order and regularity should prevail, and when all our arrangements ought to be completely established. The medical department will, it is much to be feared, be in the same situation:—not an officer yet appointed to it.

For want of proper and coercive powers,—from disaf­fection and other causes,—the militia of this State are not to be depended upon. They are drawn out with difficul­ty, and at a most enormous expense, as their accounts will shew: they come, you can scarce tell how; they go, you hardly know when. In the same predicament are those of Pennsylvania.

Numbers from this State have joined the enemy; and many more are disposed to do so, as the letter from Mr. Hoff (a copy of which is inclosed, corresponding with sev­eral others of the same tenor) sufficiently evinces.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Small as our present force is, it will be reduced in a few days by the going off of the Jersey three-months-men, the Cecil-county militia, and the Virginia volunteers, all of whom claim discharges the first of next month. I [Page 46] have sent an officer express towards Peekskill to inquire into the circumstances and consequence of the enemy's descent upon that place; not being able to account for general McDougal's (who commands there) and general Clinton's (who is at the forts in the Highlands) their si­lence upon this occasion.

SIR,

I LAST night had the honour to receive your letter of the twenty-sixth instant, accompanied by sundry resolves of Congress, and some other papers.

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 McDougal or Clinton, or the convention of the State. 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 falling into the enemy's hands. The ships and troops have gone down the river again.

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 well satisfied with what they had seen, and that they were authorised 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 [Page 47] 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 favour. I shewed 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you this morning by the return express, the eastern post arrived. The intelligence he brought is agreeable and interesting, as you will perceive by the inclosed letter from Mr. Hazard, which I do myself the pleasure of transmitting you. I am happy to say the arrival of the ship at Portsmouth, and the capture of the two prizes is confirmed by other letters from gentlemen of note in and about Boston. Upon these events I give you my most hearty congratulations. Some of the letters add that a French general, colonel, and major, came passengers in the ship, who are highly recommended by doctor Franklin.

The affair of Peekskill has not been transmitted me with certainty: but I am informed the relation of it, in Lou­don's paper which I have inclosed, is nearly as it happened.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

CAPTAIN Deshields, of Mr. Buchanan's ship from Baltimore, who was taken by the enemy and carried into York, made his escape from thence on Saturday evening. He informs that three thousand troops, British and Hessian, embarked about ten days ago from the city and Staten-Island, on board transports which were lying at the latter when he came away. He adds that the enemy have built [Page 48] and are building a number of light flat-bottomed boats, about seventy of which were finished.

Captain Deshields says it seemed to be the general opin­ion and conversation that this embarkation was for Chesa­peak-bay, with a view of making a descent on the Eastern-Shore, or that the troops were to proceed to the Head of Elk, taking Annapolis and Baltimore in their way. There were some who thought it probable they mean to go up the North-river and attempt the Highland fortifications. I have written to general McDougal and Clinton, desiring them to make the best preparation that circumstances will admit of, for their reception, in case the latter should be their object.

Captain Deshields being in company with the captain of the packet, but unknown to him, heard him say that a war with France was much expected when he left England, which was about the beginning of February.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of writing to you last, I have received the inclosed from general McDougal, which contains a full account of the late affair at Peekskill. Eve­ry prudential step appears to have been taken by the gener­al, and as good a disposition made as his small number of men would admit of.

I have heard nothing further respecting the embarkation of troops which I mentioned in my last. I am in hopes the Connecticut militia will arrive at Peekskill before an­other expedition is made up the North-river. I have wrote to hasten them as much as possible, lest such another de­sign should be really in agitation. In my opinion, Dela­ware-bay is their object, and Chesapeak only thrown out by way of blind: their late attempt to procure Dela­ware pilots seems to confirm it.

I observe by your late promotions that a foreign gentle­man is appointed to the command of the German battalion. I could wish that he was ordered to join immediately, [Page 49] as that regiment much wants an officer of experience at the head of it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I have ordered the deputy quarter-master-general to establish proper relays of expresses between this and Philadelphia, that intelligence may be occasionally convey­ed in the most expeditious manner. If there should be any appearance of a fleet in Delaware-bay, it will be known in a very few hours in Philadelphia, by hoisting the sig­nals; and I beg I may have the earliest notice of it. The quarter-master will inform you who his rider in Philadel­phia is, that you may know where to apply.

SIR,

I AM honoured with yours of the fourth, inclosing sundry resolves of Congress from the twenty-ninth of March to the fifth instant. I am extremely glad to see the resolve for the immediate removal of military stores from Baltimore and Annapolis: for, although I do not imagine that the enemy intend an expedition of any great conse­quence in Chesapeak-bay, yet while the stores lay at the above-mentioned places, they were always subject to be destroyed by a sudden attack of a ship of war with a few land forces.

The regulations for the pay-master-general's department are very salutary, and, if carried strictly into execution, will make a vast saving to the public. It may be easily done when the army is put upon a regular footing: but while we are obliged to make use of militia, we must submit to all the irregularities that naturally attend them, and must not therefore expect to have the rule as scrupulously complied with by them as could be wished. * * *

The muster-master-general complained that the duty re­quired of him was more than he could perform: but by the late resolves there is an ample allowance for deputies; and therefore no further excuse can be made upon that head.

I most ardently wish to see the hospital established. I am afraid too much time has been lost in the consideration [Page 50] of the plan: but the gentlemen who shall be appointed to the superintendence must endeavour to make up for lost time by their diligence.

By the latest accounts from Brunswic, it looks as if the enemy were projecting an embarkation. They have been stripping the buildings of boards, and cutting small timber, and transporting them from Brunswic to Amboy. It is imagined this is to build births in their transports. I shall keep a constant look-out upon the motions of their vessels, and shall endeavour to obtain every intelligence by sending people into their quarters. I think Delaware-bay must be their destination, if they move by water.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS just now honoured with your letter of the ninth instant, covering sundry resolutions of Congress. Those for regulating the hospital and medical department, I trust, will prove of the most salutary consequences. It is only to be regretted that this necessary and liberal insti­tution had not been gone into and completed at an earlier period.

The honours Congress have decreed to the memory of generals Warren and Mercer afford me the highest pleas­ure: their character and merit had a just claim to every mark of respect; and I heartily wish that every officer of the United States, emulating their virtues, may by their actions secure to themselves the same right to the grateful tributes of their country.

Since writing to you yesterday I have received further intelligence of the enemy's preparations in York, indicating a movement before long. It is contained in the inclosed letter, No 1, and corroborates the opinion I have long en­tertained that they would make a push against Philadelphia. The tory regiments mentioned, we are told, are at Hack­insac, and are about five hundred strong, exclusive of a company of Highlanders which is with them.

The inclosed letter from le chevalier count De Vrecourt came to hand this morning,—which I have thought proper [Page 51] to transmit to Congress, that they may consider his case, and adopt such measures respecting him as his character and testimonials deserve. I never heard of him before: but if he is a skilful engineer, he will be extremely useful, and should be employed, though he may not understand our language. At this time we have not one with the army, nor one to join it, of the least reputation or preten­sions to skill. If this gentleman came in consequence of an agreement with doctor Franklin, and brought creden­tials from him, I should suppose him to be acquainted with what he was recommended for.

The cartel, proposed to be settled, and so long in agita­tion, is not accomplished yet: the last meeting on that business was the second instant, when nothing was done: nor is a further interview appointed respecting it. I have transmitted a copy of lord Cornwallis's letter which came out the next day, with that of the paper alluded to by him, which Mr. Harrison refused to receive from colonel Walcot, and of my answer to the latter in a letter to general Howe. The objections or articles mentioned by colonel Walcot were those general Greene had with him, and which he left when he came from Philadelphia: the original I have by me. Those points were insisted on again, and rejected, and a tender made of the paper by colonel Walcot, which he brought with him prepared.

I have appointed John Wilkens, John Steel, Mathew Irvine, and Samuel Kersley, esquires, captains of companies to be raised by them, in consequence of the recommenda­tion of general Armstrong. As the interest of those gen­tlemen lies in Pennsylvania chiefly, and it would be draw­ing money from the pay-master here to carry to Philadel­phia, (supposing there was a supply in the chest, which is not the case) I shall be obliged by Congress's ordering six hundred dollars to be advanced to each of them on ac­count of the recruiting service; the first of whom I imag­ine is in Philadelphia. If this requisition can be complied with, he, I presume, will give notice to the rest; or, if general Armstrong is informed of it, he will do it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 52]
SIR,

HAVING seen a letter from doctor Franklin, and many other credentials in favour of monsieur le chevalier Du Plessis, he appears to me to be a person worthy of the notice and encouragement of Congress. He has served in the French artillery; and both his inclination and qualifi­cations, make it proper he should have an appointment in ours. There are some vacancies in the artillery for cap­tains, one of which may be offered him as a beginning. The superior ranks are all completed.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
G. W.
SIR,

I AM honoured with yours of the tenth, 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 Delawar [...] ▪ 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 surprised at this, after the public reports of the great success of recruiting in all the States; but, to convince you that these are 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 gen­eral Heath says they are tolerably forward. All their regiments go to the northward.

Massachusetts.—About four hundred men raised to a regiment; many of these yet to undergo inoculation. Seven of their regiments go to the northward, and eight are to come to Peekskill for the present.

Rhode-Island.—Only three hundred and sixty men en­listed in both regiments the first of April. Two hundred of these are yet to be inoculated. General Varnum writes me that he despairs of filling up the regiments.

Connecticut.—By a return from general Parsons, of the fourth of April, about eighteen hundred men were recruited through the whole State,—they, much dispersed;—many to have the small-pox; and recruiting at a stand.

[Page 53] New-York.—About two hundred men to a regiment: and, from the peculiar situation of that province, it will be almost impossible for them to fill up their regiments though they exert themselves very much.

New-Jersey.—Between two and three hundred to a regiment. They also lie under many difficulties on ac­count of the disaffection of their State: but their officers are active and diligent.

Pennsylvania.—Most of her 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 two hundred men; but I do not believe the others are in more forwardness. The disputes about the rank of officers have prevailed so much, that the re­cruiting service has been in a manner neglected.

Virginia.—The nine old regiments will not exceed eigh­teen hundred effective men: and governor 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 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, though 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; but every method that I have been able to devise has prov­ed ineffectual. If I send an officer to collect the sick and scattered of his regiment, it is ten to one but 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 ardour which I hoped would have inspired every of­ficer when he found his pay genteelly augmented, and the army put upon a respectable footing, that it seems to me as if all public spirit was sunk. * * *

[Page 54] 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.

If the appointments in the hospital are not filled up be­fore the receipt of this, I would take the liberty of men­tioning a gentleman whom 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 doctor 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, who, but for him and doctor 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 doctor Cochran in a manner had my promise of one of the capital appointments 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.

April 13.—I have this moment received a line from general Lincoln, informing me that the enemy attempted to surprise 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 the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE inclosed from monsieur le chevalier De Dreud­homme de Borre, with the papers annexed to it, were re­ceived this day by the eastern mail. It appears that by an [Page 55] agreement with Mr. Deane he is to have the rank and pay of a brigadier-general in our service. I imagine by this that he is a man of real merit. If you think proper to confirm Mr. Deane's appointment, be pleased to inform me of it and return the letter, that I may give a suitable answer. If, as I imagine, he does not understand English, it will be some time before he can be of any use at the head of a brigade.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE nothing of importance to transmit Con­gress, no event in the military line having happened since my last, except the surprising a small picquet guard of the enemy on Monday night at Bonemtown, and bringing off thirteen prisoners, by one of our parties. An enterprise of a similar nature was formed against that at Amboy, in which the party sent to effect it did not succeed so well, though the most advanced of them seized and secured three of their out-centries without giving an alarm.

By a letter from general McDougal, 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 general Howe is drawing his forces from the east­ward. General Arnold, in a letter of the sixth, mention­ed, that, from the preparation of transports, and 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 [...]avigated by Frenchmen loaded there, belonging to * * * of New-York, which carried her cargo to gener­al Howe; also that * * * and * * * 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, [Page 56] and doubt not but these hints will be properly improved, and such frauds guarded against as well as circumstances will admit.

I have inclosed a copy of an advertisement published in Gaine's paper of the fourteenth, which shews that no arti­fices are left untried by the enemy to injure us. Before the appearance of this unparalleled 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.

April 19.—I was honoured with your letter of the sixteenth 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 the 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 endeav­ouring to extricate ourselves from. Nor will this be of small difficulty, if they displace many officers: for, suppos­ing them to 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 apprised.

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 [Page 57] were on the same footing, and all under the general name of Continental.

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 was found to be unadviseable 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 send a part to a distant 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 of 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 they 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 [Page 58] 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 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with you favour of the twentieth, inclosing sundry proceedings of Congress. The removal of provisions, &c. from the communication be­tween Brunswic and Trenton has been pretty well effected already. It was an object early attended to, and what I recommended to the assembly of this State as deser [...]ing their interposition and aid: but, finding that it had not their immediate consideration, and that they seemed to decline interfering in the matter, I directed the quarter masters and commissaries to purchase their first supplies of those necessaries from such places as appeared to be most exposed to the enemy's incursions, and through which [...] is most probable they will take their route towards the Delaware, in case an enterprise that way should be in con­templation. I have transmitted copies of the resolve up­on this subject to general Putnam and colonel Forman, (the latter of whom is in Monmouth-country) with orders to execute the same agreeable to the directions therein pre­scribed, where it may be necessary on the road leading from South-Amboy across the country.

I have nothing of importance to communicate to Con­gress. The advices they will receive to-day, which passed through this town yesterday, will tell them that the ene­my remained at Rhode-Island on the fifteenth instant, [Page 59] notwithstanding the accounts we had received of their embarkation before.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE the honour to transmit you the inclosed pieces of intelligence which I received this day from gen­eral Stephens, who by my desire employed persons to go into New-York and Brunswic. I do not put entire con­fidence in the whole: but the principal reason of sending the intelligence forward is that proper measures may be fallen upon to find out and apprehend Thomas * * * men­tioned in general Stephens's letter of this date.

If the enemy should move, I have taken steps to make as good an opposition as my small force is capable of.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with your letter of the twenty-fifth, with sundry resolves of Congress. Such of them as are necessary for my government and conduct I shall strictly attend to.

The money and bills for our prisoners had better be transmitted to Elias Boudinot, esquire, to whom I shall give directions to adopt ways and means for sending the same, and for a proper appropriation and distribution of the money amongst them. Bills, I think, will be most eligible, provided they are duly paid. As to procuring clothes in New-York, I have reason to believe that it will not be al­lowed, and that the prisoners, will obtain no supplies but what we send them.

I heard of Mr. Franklin's practices some time ago, and advised governor Trumbull of the same, that his conduct might be properly attended to. It is very unhappy for us that, through the intrigues of such men, the enemy have found means to [...]aise a spirit of disaffection but too gen­erally in many of the States. In this, I have strong assur­ances [Page 60] that it has arisen to a great height; and I shall [...] be disappointed if a large number of the inhabitants in some of the counties should openly appear in arms as soon as the enemy begin their operations. I have taken every measure in my power to suppress it; but nevertheless several from Sussex and Bergen have joined their army, and the spirit becomes more and more daring every day.

You will be pleased to direct general Mifflin to remain in Philadelphia as long as Congress shall think his presence there essential.

I have inclosed a copy of general Howe's letter which I received last night in answer to mine of the ninth instant.

Nothing of an interesting nature has occurred since my last; which leaves me only to add, that I have the honour to be, with sentiments of the greatest respect, &c.

G. W.
SIR,

I LAST night received the favour of your letter of the twenty-sixth, 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 Massachusetts-Bay, with the 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 these 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 and ravage of the small-pox in the natu­ral way.

At three o'clock this morning I received a letter from general McDougal inclosing three from colonel Huntington, copies of the whole of which I have transmitted. By these [Page 61] 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.

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 draughts in Connecticut as the place was capable of ac­commodating, should be collected there and inoculated, to answer the purpose of a guard, 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 every where, that we seem unable to effect any point we wish, though never so important and interesting. So ear­ly as the sixth of March, I wrote to governor Trumbull, earnestly requesting two thousand militia to be sent to gen­eral McDougal to be employed at Peekskill and on the com­munication in West-Chester 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 endeav­ours been, that not more than eight hundred had come out by general McDougal's return on the seventeenth 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 favourable footing.

[Page 62] 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE been waiting with much anxiety to hear the result of the expedition against Danbury, which I never was informed of till this minute. The inclosed copy of a letter from general McDougal, and of several others which he transmitted, will give Congress all the intelligence I have upon the subject. I have only to add and to lament that this enterprise has been attended with but too much success on the part of the enemy.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS yesterday honoured with your letter of the twenty-ninth ultimo, inclosing sundry resolves. Agreeable to the directions of Congress, I have written to the States of New-Hampshire and Massachusetts, and urged them to complete and forward their troops destined for Ticondero­ga, with all possible expedition. The brigadiers gone there for the present are Fermoy, Poor, Patterson and Learned. Nixon and Glover were also intended for that post under my first plan, which was, that all the regiments, to be raised in those States by the resolve in September, should compose that army. But having by the advice of my officers direct­ed the route of eight regiments from the latter to Peekskill, to wait till the designs of general Howe were unfolded, these two officers were to follow them. I did not partic­ularize the brigadiers who were to go first, or the regiments; [Page 63] but left the matter to major-general Heath, who was in­structed in general terms to pursue such measures as seemed most likely to promote the service.

The colonels appointed to the New-Hampshire regiments I never knew. Those ordered to Ticonderoga from Mas­sachusetts by general Heath, and who I presume have marched, were Bailey, Wesson, Jackson, Marshall, Brewer-Bradford and Francis. What proportions of their regi­ments have marched, I cannot ascertain: but I am per­suaded they were detached as fast as they were raised, and circumstances would admit. Francis's, the first of April, was returned five hundred strong; and, by a letter from colonel Marshall about the fifteenth of last month, he ex­pected to march in a day or two with the last division of his regiment that was ready, which would make about four hundred, including those who had gone. The remainder (about sixty) were to follow with the proper officers as soon as they were fit—they having been inoculated.

I have written to generals McDougal and Clinton to have the provision removed from Derby, &c. and directed that they should point out proper places for its reception in Ulster; also that small works and guards of militia will be essential for its protection. * * *

The damage we sustained at Danbury, nor the enemy's loss, have not been transmitted with any accuracy: but, from the latest accounts from thence, the former was not so great, and the latter more considerable, than was appre­hended at first.

I congratulate Congress upon the fortunate arrival of the Amphitrite with military and ordnance stores:—it is an important event. That of the French ship at Boston, and of the sloop from Martinique, added to the capture of the two provision ships, are to be regarded as interesting too. I would here take the liberty to mention that I think all the military and ordnance stores should be moved without a moment's delay to Springfield or some interior part of the country. Springfield should be the place, because the elab­oratory is there, and they will be more convenient to use as exigences require. In their present situation their se­curity is questionable; and, if an attack should be made in the eastern quarter, their loss is much to be apprehended. [Page 64] Before I quit this subject, I would beg leave to observe also that the disposal and direction of military stores should be only with one body or with one person. At present this power is exercised through so many channels, that much confusion is introduced; and it cannot be avoided: nor will it be possible that matters in this line should be con­ducted with any degree of propriety, unless Congress come into some regulations respecting them. The inclosed ex­tract of a letter from general Heath will prove the expedi­ency. Many other instances might be mentioned, were it necessary.

The desertions from ou [...] army of late have been very considerable. General Howe's proclamation, and the bounty allowed to those who carry in their arms, have had an unhappy influence on too many of the soldiery: in a particular manner on those who are not natives. * * *

I could wish some means could be devised to cause more frequent desertions of [the enemy's] troops. Congress may think of some expedient: a larger bounty might have some effect, and money to the foreigners in lieu of land [...] The bounty given by general Howe to those who carry in arms, is sixteen dollars as we are told, though his proclama­tion only expresses that they shall have the full value. To the inhabitants who will take up arms and join him, he promises land.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with your letter of the third instant, with its inclosures. 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.

I trust the appointment of Mr. Ludwick as superintend­ant of bakers will have the salutary consequences you men­tion: I have been long assured that many abuses have been [Page 65] committed for want of some proper regulations in that de­partment.

By major Troop, one of general Gates's aides, 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 twen­ty-fourth 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 twenty-ninth ultimo were the first and only information I had of Mr. Carleton's being on the lake, having heard nothing upon the subject from general Gates or any other person.

In my last I mentioned that sixteen dollars bounty were 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 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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, and how little they have regarded a true state. We are told certainly they had forty-seven men killed: and, 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.

[Page 66]
SIR,

THIS will be delivered you by colonel Conway▪ an Irish gentleman in the service of France, who came pas­senger in the Amphitrite, and was introduced to me yes­terday, by a letter from Mr. Deane and one from general Heath, copies of which are transmitted.

This gentleman waits on Congress to obtain an ap­pointment in the army of the States, and, from Mr. Deane's recommendation, is an officer of merit. He says no par­ticular command was agreed on between him and Mr. Deane; nor does he wish otherwise than that Congress should exercise their own discretion: at the same time he observes that it will be mortifying to him to hold a rank under that of m [...]ssieurs De Fermoy and De Borre, who were inferior officers in their own service, and subject to his command. He can give the character of several of the officers who were passengers with him.

I cannot pretend to speak of colonel Conway's merits or abilities, of my own knowledge, having had but little opportunity to be acquainted with him. From what I can discover, he appears to be a man of candour: and if he has been in service as long as he says he has, I should suppose him infinitely better qualified to serve us, than many who have been promoted, as he speaks our language. He seems extremely anxious to return to camp, as the campaign may be expected to become active every day; and wishes Congress to determine whatever command they may think proper to honour him with, as soon as they shall think it expedient.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE inclosed is copy of a letter which was hand­ed to me by monsieur Mottin de la Balme, from Silas Deane, esquire. For a more particular account of his merit and services, I must refer you to himself. I have sounded him as to his expectations, and find that nothing under a lieutenant-colonelcy of horse will content him. [Page 67] If you should, from his own account, or from what you can collect from others, think proper to confer this rank upon him, there is no vacancy in any other corps except that of colonel Sheldon.

I am afraid we shall never be able to find places va­cant, equal to the expectations of the French gentlemen who are now here, much less for those that will follow. The high rank conferred upon those who first came over, many of whom had no pretensions either from their ser­vices or meri [...], has naturally raised the expectations of those who come properly recommended, to such a pitch, that I know not what will satisfy them. Indeed it is not to be imagined that a gentleman and an old soldier can submit to be commanded by a person in this country, whom he remembers to have been his inferior in France. I know not how we can remedy this evil, or put a stop to the growth of it, but by being very circumspect for the future, on whom we confer rank above that of a subaltern.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I had the honour of addressing you on the fifth instant nothing material has occurred.

Inclosed you will be pleased to receive a general return of our forces in Jersey, the sixth instant, which is the first I have been able to obtain with any degree of accuracy.

I have not heard from general De Haas since his pro­motion. As soon as I was informed of it, I wrote and requested him to repair to camp: but, having received no answer, I am apprehensive my letter miscarried. I wish Congress to give him notice of his appointment, and direc­tions to join the army, if he accepts his commission and is not prevented by indisposition.

Through the board of war I have been favoured with a copy of general Gates's letter of the twenty-ninth ultimo. Hudson's-river and the passes in the Highlands I always considered as objects of great importance, and accordingly have provided for their security in the best manner my judg­ment could direct, and the circumstances of the army admit. [Page 68] If they are less secure than we wish them to be, it is owing to our inability, and not to inattention. I have written to general McDougal, and will do it again, to employ much of his care upon this subject. War, in theory, and the modes of defence, are obvious and easy; but, in practice, they are more difficult. Unhappily for us, the means in our power do not always accord with our wishes or what would be our interest to pursue.

As yet none of the eastern troops have passed the North-river, except two small detachments from Connecticut and Rhode-Island, amounting to about two hundred and seven­ty, which missed my orders till they had got over. The [...] I shall send back after we are more reinforced, unless the movements of the enemy in this quarter make their detention necessary. The rest of the eastern troops which have marched (except the seven regiments from Massachusetts and three from New-Hampshire, ordered immediately to Ticonderoga) are at and on their way to Peekskill, as mentioned in my letter of the third—where they are to remain with all the York troops except Vanschaick's and Gansevoort's now at the northward, till general Howe's designs and intended operations are better understood. This disposition appearing to me and my general officers the best that could be made in our state of uncertainty, was adopted. The two troops of horse, recommended by Congress to be sent to general Gates, shall go as soon as circumstances will admit. At present we have not more than are constantly employed at the different posts.

General Heath, in a letter of the thirtieth ultimo, mentions that the military chest at the eastward is exhaust­ed, and that a supply will be wanted much to defray the expenses which will arise on the removal of the military and ordnance stores to Springfield. He says Mr. Han­cock was to write upon the subject, and requested I would also mention it to Congress in my first letter.

Accounts have been frequently exhibited of late by the officers, respecting subsistence whilst recruiting and on their march. As I do not recollect the provision Congress have made in such cases, I wish to be informed, and to be fa­voured with a copy of their several resolves upon the subject.

[Page 69] A consideration of the return transmitted, and of the several detachments that have joined, and which form it, will shew Congress what our situation has been.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THIS will be delivered you by general Arnold, who arrived here to-day in 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 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 70]
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with your letter of the tenth instant, accompanied by the proceedings of Con­gress of the day before.

The conduct of two many officers in withholding the pay of their soldiers, I am persuaded, is reprehensible, and has been the cause of uneasiness and 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 general officers withdraw their attention from matters of the utmost importance, and such as require their con­stant care. Were this not the case, the dispersed situation of the officers at this time through the different States on the recruiting service would prohibit the inquiry. No [...] do I apprehend the regulations empowering and enjoin­ing the regimental pay-masters 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, and to receive vouchers, &c. but will not do to settle them final­ly, as their connexions with the regiments 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 pay-masters, 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 pay-masters 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 enlistments and the frequent dissolution of our troops.

A return of the army in Jersey, as late as the sixth in­stant, I transmitted yesterday morning in a letter by Mr. [Page 71] Randolph of Chesnut-street, which you will probably re­ceive to-day, and from which Congress will be able to determine the expediency of calling out the militia from Delaware and Pennsylvania. Though 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, though they will certainly return when that expires, 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 States if 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 Piscatawa, 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 piquets were also attacked yesterday by some of our parties from Boundbrook, and forced within their lines.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

YOUR letter of the fifteenth I had the honour to re­ceive last night at eleven o'clock. The commission inclos­ed for monsieur Armand I shall deliver him as soon as I see him. Agreeable to your request, I will give commissions to the brigadiers, and will ascertain their rank by their orig­inal commissions when I obtain them. The inquiry direct­ed, respecting major Campbell, shall be made, and that be done which shall appear right.

[Page 72] I fear it will be hardly possible to satisfy the views and claims of some of the French gentlemen. The late pro­motion of monsieur Malmady, though highly honourable, 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 favours 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 [...] made in future from political and honourary 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 vaca [...] for monsieur Malmady, of the rank he now holds, unl [...] the merits of many other officers, who have served with reputation and much longer here, are to be overlooked [...] 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 thirteenth, attempted to surprise and cut off about seventy of his militia stationed at Pyramus. 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 the reports of the inhabitants, ten of their men were killed and carried away at one time, and several wounded.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 73]
SIR,

INCLOSED I have the honour to transmit you a general return of the forces in Jersey. It is regimentally digested, and will shew the strength of each corps. I should not have sent it so particularly made out, had I not conceived the conveyance by which it goes from hence entirely secure. I have nothing material to add respecting the enemy.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. I need not suggest to Congress the necessity of keeping our numbers concealed from the knowledge of the public. Nothing but a good face and false appearances has enabled us hitherto to deceive the enemy respecting our strength.

SIR,

I BEG leave to inform Congress, that, immediately after the receipt of their resolve of the twenty-sixth 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 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 [Page 74] causes which prevented him 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 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, [...]e not only offered but wished to relinquish his claim to it in favour of him, whom [...]e declared he considered, from a very intimate and friendly acquaintance, as a first 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 honour 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 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 inclosed 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 [Page 75] 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 of 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 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 complete.

I have nothing of importance to communicate, unless it is that seventeen ships are said to have arrived at New-York on the twenty-second, and that others were in the offing. A report has also prevailed, and has come through two or three channels, that governor Tryon (that was) is dead of the wound he received in the Danbury expedition: and one account is that lieutenant-colonel Walcot fell in the engage­ment at Ridgefield. I do not know how far the facts are to be depended on:—it seems certain that Mr. Tryon was wounded.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. As I do not know what particular purposes Con­gress had in view when they ordered colonel Harrison's reg­iment of artillery to be raised, I do not 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 a part of it as they shall judge prop­er to join this army, as we are in great want of more artille­ry-men than we have. It will not be necessary that the ar­tillery should come.

[Page 76]
SIR,

THE inclosed is a copy of a letter received yesterday from general Howe. Congress will perceive, by referring to the copy of his letter of the twenty-first of April trans­mitted in mine of the twenty-sixth, 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 objections are or are not to be departed from. The affair is particularly stated in my letter of the ninth ultimo to gen­eral Howe, in answer to the paper addressed to me by lieu­tenant-colonel Walcot; copies of which were inclosed in my letter to the president on the tenth 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 th [...]se 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 [Page 77] is the latter part of the first paragraph of the inclosed copy.—"and for your determination 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 favourable 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, &c. 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.

Notwithstanding my recommendation agreeable 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 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I THIS morning had the honour of your letter of the twenty-seventh, with its inclosures. I shall pay the [Page 78] strictest attention to the resolutions transmitted me; how­ever, I am not without apprehensions that the regulation lately adopted, respecting chaplains, will not answer. I recollect, when one was assigned in the course of last year to two regiments, the prevailing opinion was, and that founded on a variety of reasons, that it would not do; and the old mode of appointment was introduced again.

General Schuyler's proposal for raising one or two troops of horse, I think a good one. I intended to write to him upon the subject before the receipt of your favour, and shall do it by the first opportunity.

I arrived here yesterday evening: nothing of import­ance has occurred since; and I have nothing further to add, than that

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

SINCE I did myself the honour to write to you the twenty-ninth, I have received the inclosed intelligence. As it comes from a person of veracity, and one who is much in the confidence of the enemy, I have no doubt as to the fact of the two brigades having come over from New-York to Amboy, and also that a number of waggons have been brought from Staten and Long-Island▪ These accounts are corroborated by information of the same kind from several different quarters. But I do not place so much dependence upon the account of the intended attack upon this place, because I think, if such a matter was really in agitation, it would be kept a profound secret; I rather am opinion that it is thrown out to deceive. But at any rate, taking it for granted that they are assembling their troops and carriages, what can they have in view but a move, either immediately, or when their reinforcement (if they get any) arrives? and if they do move, I can see no other object but Philadelphia. It is true they have seemed for some time past to have laid aside all thoughts of attempting that city by land: but if they had only the attacking this army in contemplation, they would never encumber themselves with a large train of waggons, which, [Page 79] if they were successful, would retard them in their pur­suit, and, if defeated, would be in danger of falling into our hands.

I inclose you an extract of a letter which I received from general Sullivan. If the two India ships which have been cut down are gone out to sea, I should suppose they are intended for the Delaware, because they are not capa­ble of performing a rough or long voyage. This, if true, looks if a sudden corresponding move by land was in­tended; for they will never send their ships long before their troops.

These, you will please to observe, are mere conjectures upon circumstances: for the actions of the enemy have for a long time past been so different from appearances, that I hardly dare to form an opinion. But I would wish to profit by every piece of intelligence, and be prepared to ward off every danger that threatens. I would therefore recommend that the Pennsylvania militia, who are assem­bled at Bristol for the express purpose of guarding the riv­er and opposing the passage of the enemy, should be put under the command of a good general officer, who would see that they are kept to their duty, and prepared for a sud­den emergency. Except this is done, they may as well be at home.

I last night received a letter from general McDougal, an extract of which you have inclosed. By this it appears that a reinforcement is arrived, but whether from Canada or Europe, is uncertain. You will observe that he likewise mentions, that eight transports with foot, and a schooner with horses and hay, had fallen down. We can only form conjectures at present of the place of their destination: but if they stand southward, Philadelphia is the most probable place.

I have the pleasure to communicate a very agreeable piece of intelligence which I have received from general Parsons, of the destruction of twelve of the enemy's vessels in Sag-harbour upon the east end of Long-Island. I give you his letter at length, which I think reflects high honour upon the conduct and bravery of colonel Meigs, his officers, and men.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 80]
SIR,

MONSIEUR Coudray 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, combat­ing almost innumerable difficulties in the department he fills, has placed the artillery upon a footing that does him the greatest honour—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 Coudray to have made such an agreement, the case is of great difficulty, and, in my opin­ion, is worthy of the most delicate 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 Coudray's honour, candour, 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 [Page 81] should 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.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

THE inclosed copies of generals Gates and Poor's letters, which just now came to hand, contain the latest advices from the northern army. These I thought it proper to transmit, as I am not authorised to conclude that general Gates had written to Congress upon the sub­ject of their contents. I wish our accounts from that quar­ter may be happy, if Mr. Carleton makes an attack. The shameful deficiency in all our armies affords but too just grounds for disagreeable apprehensions: if the quotas as­signed the different States are not immediately filled, we shall have every thing to fear. We shall never be able to resist their force, if the militia are to be relied on; nor do I know whether their aid, feeble and ineffectual as it is, is much to be expected. Can no expedients be devised to complete the regiments, and to rouse our unthinking countrymen from their lethargy?—If there can, the situ­ation of our affairs calls loudly for it.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. Mr. Boudinot, commissary-general for prisoners, will deliver this. He goes to Philadelphia on business respecting his department, and has several matters to settle and adjust with Congress, which are essential and necessa­ry to a regular discharge of his duty. To him I beg leave to refer you upon the subject, and wish him to have your attention.

SIR,

I WOULD take the liberty of addressing a few lines to Congress on a matter which appears to me of im­portance, [Page 82] 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 takes, 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 ingeni­ous in what has been hinted, and it is their wish, or that of any considerable part of them, to return,—I should sup­pose that it would be expedient, and founded in found 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 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.

[Page 83] 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, 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, than 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.

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 through the medium of some second, secret hand, qualified to offer them and negociate 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 to prevent their es­caping. Whatever mode shall be considered most advise­able, should be immediately adopted. What time should [Page 84] 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 apprised so as to get off: if it is too long, they will defer matters to the last, and act then as circumstances of interest dictate. To err in the former will be least injurious.

SIR,

INCLOSED you will receive a copy of a letter from general Howe, of this date. You will perceive how extremely pressing he is for an answer to the demands in his letters of the twenty-first of April and twenty-second ultimo. As I referred the consideration of them to Con­gress in mine of the twenty-eighth of May, requesting their opinion, I entreat that they will not defer giving it, that I may return an answer. I shall impatiently wait their sen­timents, and flatter myself I shall have them by the mo [...] speedy and early conveyance.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I THIS morning had the honour of your letter of the fifth, with its inclosures. The resolution of the thir­tieth of May, respecting the French gentlemen who came passengers in the Amphitrite, reached camp before your letter, and has excited much uneasiness in the artillery corps. The inclosed 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 [Page 85] 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.

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 honour 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 [...] the course of two campaigns. It would be hard, not [...] say unjust, that the latter should lose their command when they have a claim to every mark of favour, 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.

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 a 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 [Page 86] 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 [...]nk, confined to the French-American colonies.

This latter m [...]de 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, 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 will 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.

By a letter from general Gates, of the second instant, transmitting a copy of one from general Poor, the enemy, who were at Split-Rock according to their last advices which I forwarded, have returned down the Lake. Cap­tain Whitcomb had been sent out to reconnoitre, and re­ported on his return that only one boat remained.

From sundry accounts from New-York, there is reason to believe the enemy are on the point of making some ex­pedition. Their preparation of ships for troops, light-horse, &c. indicates that they intend to go by water. What their [Page 87] object is, yet remains a secret. The inclosed copy of an examination is very particular, and as recent as any that I have received. The person who gave the information be­longs to Cape-May county, and appeared to be a sensible intelligent lad. A deserter of the seventy-first this moment came in: you also have his examination inclosed.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS this morning honoured with your favour of the sixth 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 [...] [...]ch [...] of prisoners, and shall govern myself by the principles which influenced [...]e on that occasion, and such other as shall ap­pear right and just, should there be any further negociation on the subject.

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 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 brigade­chaplain in the place of all others, to the several brigadiers. They are all of opinion that it will be impossible for them 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 a chaplain of 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, [Page 88] (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 and jealousy among the troops.

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 through so many different channels, that we must consider it certain. Whether they will move by 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 general 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, and at or coming to Philadelphia, should be removed to a place of perfect se­curity. Though I would not excite needless uneasy ap­prehensions, prudence requires that things so essential should not be exposed to risk.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

INCLOSED you will receive a copy of a letter from me to lord Cornwallis, on the inhuman treatment of lieu­tenant Martin by a party of the enemy's horse. My re­monstrance and sending his corpse produced nothing more than a short answer from his lordship, which you also have. It was thought unnecessary to view the body, the fact being admitted and justified.

I have also taken the liberty to inclose a copy of my letter to general Howe, in answer to his of the twenty-first of April, twenty-second of May, and fifth instant. From the latter part of the first paragraph in that of the twenty-second [Page 89] of May, I was induced to propose an exchange of all the prisoners now in his hands, so far as it can be effected on the principles of the agreement subsisting between us, ex­cept that of lieutenant-colonel Campbell and the Hessian field-officers who are to be retained till general Lee is de­clared exchangeable. I did not expect the proposition would be acceded to: but, as his letter is of doubtful meaning in this instance, I thought it expedient to make the offer,—first, as it will be a happy event if we release our prisoners,—and secondly, as the proposition may draw from him an explanation of his sentiments, though he should re­ject it.

The New-York paper of the ninth instant I transmit for your perusal: it contains an extract of a letter from gover­nor Tryon to Christopher Billop of Long-Island. This extract, I think, is worthy of attention, and may be im­proved to great advantage if published in the papers with such strictures and observations as it will well warrant, and as will occur to an ingenious pen. The enemy, on their part, use the most artful publications, and avail themselves of every thing they can, going from us. We should prof­it, where we can, by their productions.

I would mention to Congress that several officers in the corps of cavalry have applied to me, to know in what point of view their horses are considered—whether as pub­lic property, or as private belonging to themselves, to be fur­nished at their own expense. When colonel Sheldon's regiment was ordered to be raised, the officers thought the horses should be a matter of public charge: but as it had never been determined, and I was not perfectly satisfied with the custom in such cases, I did not consider myself authorised to decide upon it. I promised to recommend it to the consideration of Congress; and this I have done since on similar occasions. The officers urge, that, as hors­es are essential to the discharge of their duty, they should be provided at the public expense; that they have risen to such enormous prices, that, if the contrary is establish­ed, they must, from the nature of the service, not only sink their pay, but make a large sacrifice of their private interest.

[Page 90] Though the practice may have been against their appli­cation in other armies, yet their reasoning seems plausible and to be founded in justice. There are objections too against the measure, but not of sufficient validity, in my opinion, to oppose to their claim. Another reason may be suggested, why the public should find them horses; which is, that if they were to provide them themselves, the apprehension of losing them might prevent a proper discharge of duty, and in some cases produce too great a degree of cautious prudence.

This matter I have thought it necessary to lay before Congress, not doubting but it will have that attention which it may seem to deserve. There is one thing more I would add upon the subject, which is, if their application is considered just, I should suppose it best to fix a certain determinate sum to be allowed for the horses they have brought and may have occasion to purchase, in preference to leaving it to their discretion and judgment.

It being evident, so far as we can reason from circum­stances and appearances, that general Howe designs Phil­adelphia to be the first object of his pursuits, or the defeat of this army; and, for one or both of these purposes, is collecting nearly his whole force at Brunswic,—a board of general officers determined yesterday evening after ma­ture deliberation, that all the continental troops at Peeks­kill and its dependencies, except one thousand effectives, should be immediately marched to reinforce this army. That number, with the convalescents and such aids of mi­litia as are now and may be assembled in case of emergen­cy, was deemed competent to the defence of those posts against any attempt that may be made to possess them in the present situation of things.

I have inclosed a general return shewing our whole strength in Jersey at this time, from which it will appear our circumstances in this respect are by no means so de­sirable as could be wished. I esteem it my duty to trans­mit information of this sort from time to time to Congress, and am encouraged the more to do it from a conviction that they, sensible of the necessity of the most profound secrecy, will not suffer the least intimation of our numbers to transpire.

[Page 91] June 14.—Your favour of the thirteenth, with its in­closures, was received last night.

Having proposed to general Howe an exchange of the prisoners now in his possession, as you will perceive by the inclosed copy of my letter, and also added, that "his con­duct towards prisoners would govern mine," it appears to me that it would be improper to transmit him a copy of your first resolution of the tenth instant, till we have some­thing more from him on the subject proposed. I confess I did not, nor do I yet, understand the paragraph of his let­ter of the twenty-second ultimo, to which I have alluded, and which induced me to propose an exchange if that was his wish, and to subjoin, that his conduct to our prisoners should govern mine,—as a caution to prevent him exercis­ing severity or a new mode of treatment of them, contrary to the spirit of the agreement between us, and the ideas entertained upon the subject when it was first entered in­to,—if such was his meaning.

Finding that there would be great difficulty in filling the battalions intended to be raised, I did not commission officers for all the sixteen additional ones: I apprehended such a measure would accumulate expense without increas­ing our strength, and therefore did not set the whole on foot. I shall be happy, on governor Caswell's letter and your recommendation of colonel Shepard, that he should have a regiment: from the character given him, and the terms on which he offers his services, there can be no ob­jection. Congress will be pleased to appoint him to the command they wish him to have; and I should think it adviseable that he be ordered to march with his corps to join this army, leaving proper officers to recruit the de­ficiency.

I have perused monsieur De Coudray's opinion about the fortifications, and have no doubt but that it is well founded. I have not sufficient knowledge of them to pro­nounce an opinion with certainty myself.

You will observe by the New-York paper the execution of * * *. His family well deserves the generous notice of Congress. He conducted himself with great fidelity to our cause, rendering [his country essential] services, and has fallen a sacrifice in promoting her interest. Perhaps [Page 92] a public act of generosity (considering the character he was in) might not be so eligible as a private donation.

June 15.—When I wrote yesterday, my information was that one division of the enemy was advancing on the Princeton road, and it was believed from the general movement of their army that they were proceeding towards Delaware. What their real design was, is not yet under­stood. Those that advanced on that road, after marching some distance, filed off to the right, down Millstone-river, and joined the other column on the Coryel-ferry road leading by Somerset court-house. One object of their movement might be to inclose general Sullivan and his division between their two columns: another (which most probably was the principal cause, if they did not mean to proceed to Delaware when they set out) to manoeuvre us out of our present encampment into action upon disadvan­tageous terms. The first they could not hope to succeed in after general Sullivan changed his post to Rocky-Hill; an event which took place only the evening before, and which it is presumed they were not well advised of when they left Brunswic. A considerable body of them remain at Somerset court-house, and on the communication be­tween that and Brunswic. We have been and are harras­sing them with light troops: but they being in open ground with a large train of artillery, we cannot do it so effectually as could be wished.

I shall be glad to be informed whether general De Haas considers himself an officer in the army. He has never joined it since his promotion, or written a single line to me upon the subject. If he accepts his commission, it will be well for Congress to order him to repair to the army immediately. The brigade intended for him is without a general officer, and has brought on a disagreea­ble dispute between two of the colonels, each claiming the command. This is not the only inconvenience:—officers of high rank remaining at home, afford a bad example to others who are inferior, and grounds of application for the like indulgence.

This letter, except the paragraphs of this date, I in­tended to send yesterday, but was prevented by the move­ment of the enemy which rendered it unadviseable.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
[Page 93]

P. S. By a person just now arrived with a letter from general Sullivan, the enemy's advanced guard is posted be­tween three and four miles from Somerset court-house, on the road to Coryel's ferry.

SIR,

YOUR letter of yesterday, with its inclosures, I re­ceived last night. By this conveyance I shall not send a particular answer. The enemy are in motion, and a body is advancing from Millstone towards Vanbieter's bridge: another division is on the road leading towards Coryel's ferry. We are packing up, and making every preparation to act as circumstances shall seem to require.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.

P. S. The letters accompanying this you will please to put in the post-office.

SIR,

WHEN I had the honour 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, 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 manoeuvre 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 [Page 94] 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 if 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 what they 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. 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 in and 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 general Arnold (with whom I was obliged to correspond, that he might co-operate with me as circumstances should require) to transmit them copies of my letters.

Inclosed you will be pleased to receive an extract of a letter from colonel Jackson of Boston to general Knox. The intelligence it contains is interesting; and I shall be happy to hear that the two brigs mentioned have captured the remainder of the Hessians, and more particularly so if the capture should not be far from the British coast, pro­vided they arrive safe.

Twelve o'clock.—I just now received a letter from gen­eral Schuyler, a copy of which, and of its inclosures, is herewith transmitted. The enemy, from appearances, hav­ing changed their views for the present, or at least ren­dered them dark and mysterious, I have sent expresses to brigadiers McDougal and Glover to halt their divisions, if [Page 95] they have proceeded any considerable distance from Peeks­kill, till further orders—otherwise to return. I have also written to general Putnam to hold four regiments in readi­ness to embark for general Schuyler's aid, should further intelligence from Canada respecting the enemy's move­ments make it necessary. The uncertainty of general Howe's operations will not permit more to be done at this time. General Parsons arrived here this morning, and his division is marching to their ground towards the left of the lines.

I omitted to mention in my last, that, in consultation with my general 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.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I WAS last night honoured with yours of yesterday morning, with its inclosures, the contents of which I shall duly attend to.

Having written fully yesterday, and nothing new occur­ring since, I have only to request that you will forward the papers respecting the commissary's department as soon as possible. For want of some certain and fixed line of duty in this instance, the commissary says it is impossible to con­duct matters with any propriety.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

I HAVE the honour and pleasure to inform you that the enemy evacuated Brunswic this morning and retired to Amboy, burning many houses as they went along. [Page 96] 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 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 piquet about sun-rise: 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 mo [...]e 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 men pursued them as far as Piscatawa: 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 imagined, did considerable execution. I am in hopes that they after­wards [...]ell in with general Maxwell, 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 [...]ar superior to them i [...] numbers, and well secured behind strong redoubts.

[Page 97] 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; and in the morning I shall move the main body of the army to some secure post nearer Amboy, from whence we can with more case 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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
SIR,

WHEN I had the honour to address you last, it was on the subject of the enemy's retreat from Brunswic to Am­boy, and of the measures 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 through 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 Princeton.

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 neighbourhood of Metuchin meeting-house, and intended to have posted more there; but found, on reconnoitring the ground, that it was low and [Page 98] disadvantageous, and still more unfavourable through a scar­city of water. These reasons, added to that of there not being the 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 favour of the twenty-fourth I just now received, and am extremely obliged by your cordial congratulations on the enemy's retreat from Brunswic, and favourable in­terpretation of the event of my conduct. The resolution you did me the honour 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, [Page 99] 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 Bonemtown.

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 honour to be, &c.
G. W.
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 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, the