Sir: I am honored with your several Favors of the 26th and 30th. Septr. and 5th Oct. The contents of which I shall beg leave to notice in their respective order.
Previous to the Direction of the Congress, to consult the General Officers on the best Method of continuing and providing for the Army during the Winter, I had desired their thoughts upon these Subjects and to favor me with the result by a particular Day, in Writing. In this Interval the Appointment of Doctor Franklin, Mr. Lynch and Col. 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. 30 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, in a full and free conferrence.
[Note:Minutes of the proceedings of the committee, which sat from October 18 to 22, in the writing of Joseph Reed, are in the Washington Papers. The committee were Matthew Griswold and Nathaniel Wales, from Connecticut; Gov. Nicholas Cooke, from Rhode Island; Lynch, Franklin, and Harrison, as noted, from Congress; and James Bowdoin, James Otis, Walter Sever, and Walter Spooner, from Massachusetts. The organization of the Army, pay, clothing, arms, supplies, recruiting, and other matters were determined. The recommendations of the committee were confirmed, in part, by Congress. Force's American Archives, Fourth Series, vol. 3, 1155, prints the proceedings of the committee. ]
This good Effect will arise from the step already taken, that every Officer will be prepared to give his Sentiments on these weighty and important Subjects.
The Estimate of the Commissary and Quarter Master Generals I have now the Honor of inclosing. The first is the Inclosure 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.
I have procured an Account from Col. Thompson of the Expenditure of the 5000 Dollars which is inclosed No. 3.
Upon the presumption of there being a vacancy in the Direction of the Hospital, Lt. Col. Hand 31 formerly a Surgeon in the 18th Regt. or Royal Irish, and Dr. Foster 32 late of Charles Town and one of the Surgeons of the Hospital under Dr. Church are candidates. 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 on this Subject, that the Affairs of the Hospital require that the appointment should be made as soon as possible.
[Note:Lieut. Col. Edward Hand. ]
[Note:Dr. Isaac Foster. ]
Before I was honored with your Favor of the 5th Instant, I had given Orders for the Equipment of some Armed Vessels to intercept the Enemy's Supplies of Provisions and Ammunition; 33 one of them was on a Cruize between Cape Ann and Cape Cod when the Express arrived. The others will be fitt for the Sea in a few Days, under the Command of Officers of the Continental Army, who are well recommend as Persons acquainted with the Sea, and capable of such Service. Two of them will be immediately dispatched on this Duty and every particular mentioned in your favor of the 5th instant literally complied with. 34
[Note:These vessels are usually known as Washington's Fleet. They did good service until the Continental Congress established a regular naval force. ]
[Note:Capts. Nicholson Broughton and John Selman, who "were ordered to the river St. Lawrence to intercept an ammunition vessel bound to Quebec, but missing her, they took ten other vessels and Gov. Wright of St. Johns, all of which were released, as we had waged a ministerial war and not one against our most gracious sovereign." -- E. Gerry to John Adams, Feb. 9, 1813. ]
That the Hon: Congress may have a more complete Idea of the Plan on which these Vessels are equiped I enclose a Copy of the Instructions given to the Captain now out (No. 4) These with the Additional directed, will be given to the Captains who proceed to the mouth of the River St. Lawrence; As both Officers and Men chearfully engage in the Service, on the Terms mentioned and these Instructions, I fear that the proposed Increase will create some Difficulty, by making a Difference between Men engaged in Similar Service. I have therefore not communicated this Part of the Plan, but reserved the extra Bounty as a reward for extraordinary Activity. There are no Armed Vessels in this Province an Govr. Cooke informs me the Enterprize can receive no Assistance from him, as one of the Armed Vessels of Rhode Island is on a long Cruize and the other unfit for the Service. Nothing shall be Omitted to secure Success; a fortunate Capture of an Ordinance Ship would give new Life to the Camp and an immediate turn to the Issue of this Campaign.
Our last Accounts from Col. Arnold are very favorable; he was proceeding with all Expedition, and I flatter myself, making all allowances, he will be at Quebec, the 20th instant, where a Gentleman from Canada (Mr. Price) 35 assures me he will meet with no Resistance. --
[Note:James Price, a merchant of Montreal. When that place capitulated to General Montgomery, he wrote: "I have found Mr. Price so active and intelligent, and so warm a friend to the measures adopted by Congress, that I wish to have him mentioned in the strongest terms to Congress." He was appointed deputy commissary general of the army in Canada the spring following. ]
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 Carting, Tools &ca. 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
The Fleet mentioned in my last has been seen standing N. N. E. so that we apprehend it is intended for some Part of this Province or New Hampshire, or possibly Quebec.
The latest and best Accounts we have from the Enemy are, that they are engaged in their New Work across the South End of Boston. preparing their Barracks &ca. for Winter; That it is proposed to keep from 500 to 1000 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 Connolly a Tool of Lord Dunmore's, has given an Account of a Scheme to Distress the Southern Provinces, which appeared to me of Sufficient consequence to be immediately transmitted, I have therefore got it attested and do myself the Honor of inclosing it, No. 5. 36
[Note:Dr. John Connolly. The information is in the form of a deposition from Connolly's servant, William Cowley, to the effect that Connolly was to stir up the western Indians against the Colonies and descend upon Fort Pitt from Detroit. ]
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 Sir &ca. 37
[Note:This letter is in the writing of Joseph Reed. All the inclosures are with it in the Papers of the Continental Congress. ]