Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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To THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS Cambridge, November 28, 1775.

    Sir: I had the Honor of writing to you the 19th instant, I have now to inform you that Henry Knox Esqr. is gone to New York, with orders to forward to this place, what cannon and ordinance can be there procured. From thence he will proceed to General 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 8th. Instant, I have expressed myself fully on this Subject, which I beg leave to recommend to your immediate attention, as the formation of that Corps will be at a stand, until I am honored with your Instructions thereon.

    The Vessel laden with wine, which I advised you was wrecked on this coast, proves to have been the property of a Thomas Salter of Philadelphia, the papers relative to her and cargo were sent to Robert Morris Esqr who can give you every information thereon. The Schooner with the Dry Goods from Boston to Halifax is given up to the Committee of Safety at Beverly, who will dispose of her and Cargo, agreeable to the decision of a Court of Admiralty and the Schooner carried into Portsmouth by Captain Adams proves to be a friends and of course is discharged.

    There are two persons engaged to go to Nova Scotia, on the Business recommended in your last, by the best information we have from thence, the Stores &c. have been withdrawn sometime; should this not be the case, It is next to an impossibility to attempt any thing there in the present unsetled and precarious state of the Army. Colonel Enos is arrived and


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under arrest, he acknowledges he had no Orders for coming away, his Trial cannot come on, until I hear from Col. Arnold, from whom there is no Account since I wrote you last.

    >From what I can collect, by my inquiries amongst the Officers, It will be impossible to get the men to inlist 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, enquire out such Officers and Men as are best qualified for that service, and endeavor to form these 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 (tho' of little use at present) to take possession of Cobble Hill, for the benefit of any future Operations. It was effected without the least opposition from the Enemy the 23d Instant: Their inactivity on this Occasion is what I can not account for; It is probable they are meditating a Blow some where. About 300 Men, Women and Children of the poor Inhabitants of Boston, came out to Point Shirley last Friday, they have brought their Household furniture, but unprovided of every other necessary of Life: I have recommended them to the attention of the Committee of the Honorable Council of this Province, now sitting at Water Town.

    The number inlisted since my last are 2540 men. I am very sorry to be necessitated to mention to you the egregious want of Public Spirit which reigns here; instead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of their Country, which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, I find we are likely to be deserted at a most critical time; Those that have Inlisted, must have a furlough, which I have been Obliged to grant to 50 at a time


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from each Regiment. The Connecticut Troops upon whom I reckoned are as backward, indeed if possible more so than the people of this colony, our situation is truly Alarming, and of this General Howe is well apprized, It being the common topick 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 Works on Cobble Hill, several redoubts, Half Moons &ca. 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 Descipline, and that it will be very difficult to prevail on them to remain a moment longer than they chuse 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 fortnights 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 risque too great to write you by Post, whilst it continues to pass thro' New York, it is certain that a post has been intercepted the begining of last Month, as they sent out several Letters from Boston with the Post mark at Baltimore on them, this goes by Captain Joseph Blewer who promises to deliver it carefully unto you.

    You doubtless will have heard ere this reaches, of General Montgomery having got Possession of Montreal, I congratulate


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you thereon, he has troubles with his Troops as well as I have -- all I can learn of Colo: Arnold is that he is near Quebec, I hope Montgomery will be able to proceed to his Assistance I shall be very uneasy until I hear they are joined. My best respects to Congress, etc. I have the Honor, etc. 23

[Note:In the writing of Stephen Moylan. ]