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enlarge upon the subject; and I will only observe, that the consequences of calling the militia into the field in the course of the war, have been so severely and ruinously felt, that I trust our views will never be turned to them but in cases of the greatest extremity.
• In pursuance of the Resolution of Congress, a Court of Inquiry has sat opon General Sullivan. They met on the 10th, and continued the examination till the 12th ; when they came to the enclosed opinion. The depositions and papers which were before the Court were many and prolix. They are not transmitted; but they may be obtained from the Court, it wanted. Besides the depository proofs which they had of wounded and dead officers, they had many gentlemen before them in person.
I have the honor to be, &c.' Lond. ed. vol. ii. p. 186.
This letter was received in Congress, and, as regarded the opinion of the Court of Inquiry, was referred to the Board of War. In four days after, Congress passed the following Resolution.
October 20, 1777. Resolved, That the result of the Court of Inquiry into the expedition of Staten Island, so honorable to the character of General Sullivan, is highly pleasing to Congress ; and that the opinion of the said Court be published in justification of the injured character of that officer.'
Same to RICHARD HENRY LEE, in Congress.
MATUCHEN HILL, 17 October, 1777. • Dear Sir, – Your favor of the 5th instant, as also that of the 11th, by Baron de Kalb, are both at hand. It is not in my power at present to answer your query respecting the appointment of this gentleman. But, Sir, if there is any thing in a report, that Con. gress have appointed, or as others say are about to appoint, Brigadier Conway a Major-General in this army, it will be as unfor. nate a measure as ever was adopted. I may add, and I think with truth, that it will give a fatal blow to the existence of the army. Upon so interesting a subject, I must speak plainly. The duty I owe my country, the ardent desire I have to promote its true interests, and justice to individuals, require this of me. General Conway's merit, then, as an officer, and his importance in this army, exist more in his own imagination, than in reality. For it is a maxim with him, to leave no service of his own untold, nor to want any thing which is to be obtained by importunity.
‘But, as I do not mean to detract from him any merit he possesses, and only wish to have the matter taken upon its true ground, after allowing him every thing that his warmest friends would contend for, I would ask, why the youngest brigadier in the ser
* See pp. 503, 504.
vice (for I believe he is so) should be put over the heads of all the eldest, and thereby take rank of and command gentlemen who but yesterday were his seniors ; - gentlemen, who, I will be bold to say, in behalf of some of them at least, are of sound judgment and unquestionable bravery? If there was a degree of conspicuous merit in General Conway, unpossessed by any of his seniors, the consusion, which might be occasioned by it, would stand warranted upon the principles of sound policy; for I readily agree, that this is no time for trilling. But, at the same time that I cannot subscribe to the fact, this truth I am very well assured of (though I have not directly nor indirectly exchanged a word with any one of the brigadiers on the subject, nor am I certain that any one has heard of the appointment), that they will not serve under him. I leave you to guess, therefore, at the situation this army would be in at so important a crisis, if this event should take place. These gentlemen have feelings as officers; and, though they do not dispute the authority of Congress to make appointments, they will judge of the propriety of acting under them.
In a word, the service is so difficult, and every necessary so expensive, that almost all our officers are tired out. Do not, therefore, afford them good pretexts for retiring. No day passes over my head, without application for leave to resign. Within the last six days, I am certain, twenty commissions at least have been tendered
I must, therefore, conjure you to conjure Congress 10 consider this matter well, and not, by a real act of injustice, compel some good officers to leave the service, and thereby incur a train of evils unforeseen and irremediable. To sum up the whole, I have been a slave to the service. I have undergone more than most men are aware of, to harmonize so many discordant parts; but it will be impossible for me to be of any further service, if such insuperable difficulties are thrown in my way. You may believe me, my good Sir, that I have no earthly views, but the public good, in what I have said. I have no prejudice against General Conway, nor desire to serve any other brigadier, further than I think the cause will be benefited by it; to bring which to a speedy and happy conclusion, is the most fervent wish of my soul.
With respect to the wants of the militia, in the articles of clothing, you must be well convinced, that it is not in my power to supply them in the smallest degree; when near one half of our own men are rendered unfit for service for want of these things. I can add no more at present, than that I am, dear Sir, &c.?
Sparks, vol. v. p. 97. SAME to the PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. HEAD-QUARTERS, NEAR WHITEMARSA, 21 October, 1777. SIR, - I last night had the honor to receive your letter of the 17th instant, with its several enclosures.
I heartily wish the States may feel the importance of filling their battalions, and may, in consequence of the recommendation of Congress, adopt such measures as will prove effectual for the purpose. I cannot but think that heretofore there has been a want of attention in this instance, and that the subject, though interesting to the last degree, has been viewed with too much indifference.
As to the recruiting officers, I must observe, that, notwithstanding the Resolution of Congress of the 31st of July, and my circular letter on the subject of it to many of the States, I have not received an account that any officers have been appointed, except in Connecticut and Jersey.
On Sunday, the enemy evacuated Germantown, and withdrew themselves within their lines near the city. They seem determined to reduce the forts, if possible; and, for this purpose, have thrown several parties over on Province Island.'
October 24th. It gives me great concern to inform Congress, that, after all my exertions, we are still in a distressed situation for want of blankets and shoes. At this time no inconsiderable part of our force are incapable of acting, through the deficiency of the laiter ; and I fear, without we can be relieved, it will be the case with two thirds of the army in the course of a few days,
I am and have been waiting with the most anxious impatience for a confirmation of General Burgoyne's surrender. I have received no further intelligence respecting it (except vague report) than the first account which came to hand so long ago as Saturday morning (18th). † If Congress have had authentic advices about it, I wish to be favored with them.
• I have the honor to be, &c.' Lond. ed. vol. ii. pp. 191, 193.
HEAD-QUARTERS, 30 October, 1777. DEAR SIR, - It having been judged expedient by the members of a council of war held yesterday, that one of the gentlemen of my family should be sent to General Gates, in order to lay before him the state of this army and the situation of the enemy, and to point out to him the many happy consequences that will accrue from an
* Alluding to the Resolutions of Congress, Oct. 17,—That it be earnestly recommended to the said States, to use their utmost endeavors for immediately completing their several quotas, and to address their inhabitants on the advantages that will result therefrom;, - That duplicates of the Resolution of Congress of the 31st of July last, be sent to the respective States, and that they be desired,' &c. See p. 488.
| Just as he was closing a letter which he wrote to his brother, Oct. 18, General Washington received that account'from Governor Clinton of New York. He added a postscript in which he said to his brother, -'I most devoutly congratulate my country, and every well-wisher to the cause, on this signal stroke of Providence.'
immediate reinforcement being sent from the Northern army, I have thought proper to appoint you to that duty, and desire that you will immediately set out for Albany; at which place, or in the neighborhood, I imagine you will find General Gates.
• You are so fully acquainted with the two principal points on which you are sent, namely, the state of our army and ihe situation of the enemy, that I shall not enlarge on these heads. What you are chiefly to attend to, is to point out in the clearest manner io General Gates the absolute necessity that there is for his detaching a very considerable part of the army, at present under his command, to the reinforcement of this; - a measure that will in all probability reduce General Howe to the same situation in which General Burgoyne now is, should he attempt to remain in Philadelphia, without being able to remove the obstructions in the Delaware, and open a free communication with his shipping.
• The force, which the members of the council of war judged it safe and expedient to draw down at present, is the three New Hampshire and fifteen Massachusetts regiments, with Lee's and Jackson's of the sixteen additional regiments. But it is more than probable, that General Gates may have destined part of these troops to the reduction of Ticonderoga; should the enemy not have evacuated it, or to the garrisoning of it, if they should. In that case, the reinforcement will vary according to circumstances; but, if possible, let it be made up to the same number out of the other corps. If, upon your meeting with General Gates, you should find that he intends, in consequence of his success, to employ the troops under his command upon some expedition by the prosecution of which the common cause will be more benefited than by their being sent down to reinforce this army, it is not my wish to give any interruption to the plan. But, if he should have nothing more in contemplation than those particular objects which I have mentioned to you, and which it is unnecessary to commit to paper, in that case you are to inform him that it is my desire, that the reinforcements before mentioned, or such part of them as can be safely spared, be immediately put in march to join this army.
"I have understood that General Gates has already detached Nixon's and Glover's brigades to join General Putnam; and General Dickinson informs me, that, by intelligence which he thinks may be depended upon, Sir Henry Clinton has come down the river with his whole force. If this be a fact, you are to desire General Putnam to send the two brigades forward with the greatest expedition, as there can be no occasion for them there. I expect you will meet Colonel Morgan's corps, upon their way down. If you do, let them know how essential their services are to us, and desire the Colonel, or commanding officer, to hasten his march as much as is consistent with the health of the men after their late
fatigues. Let me hear from you when you reach the North River, and upon your arrival at Albany. I wish you a pleasant journey, and am, dear Sir, &c.
· P. S. I ordered the detachment belonging to General MeDougall's division to come forward. If you meet them, direct those belonging to Greene's, Angell's, Chandler's, and Duryee's regiments not to cross Delaware, but to proceed to Red Bank.' Life of Hamilton, vol. i. p. 95.
Sparks, vol. v. p. 121.
SAME to GENERAL GATES. Head-QUARTERS, NEAR WHITEMARSH, 30 October, 1777. SIR, — By this opportunity I do myself the pleasure to coligratulate you on the signal success of the army under your command, in compelling General Burgoyne and his whole force to surrender themselves prisoners of war, - an event that does the highest honor to the American arms, and which, I hope, will be attended with the most extensive and happy consequences. At the same time, I cannot but regret that a matter of such magnitude, and so interesting to our general operations, should have reached me by report only, or through the channel of letters, not bearing that authenticity which the importance of it required, and which it would have received by a line under your signature, stating the simple fact.
Our affairs having happily terminated at the Northward, I have, by the advice of my general officers, sent Colonel Hamilton, one of my Aids, to lay before you a full state of our situation, and that of the enemy in this quarter. He is well informed upon the subject, and will deliver my sentiments upon the plan of operations ihat is become necessary to be pursued. I think it improper 10 enter into a particular detail, not being well advised how matters are circumstanced on the North River;* and fearing that, by some accident, my letter might miscarry. From Colonel Hamilton you will have a clear and comprehensive view of things, and I persuade myself you will do all in your power to facilitate the objects I have in contemplation. I am, Sir, your obedient servant.' Wilkinson's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 369.
Sparks, vol. v. p. 124.
SAME to the PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. HEAD-QUARTERS, NEAR WHITEMARSH, 1 November, 1777. Sır, - After the action of the 4th ultimo at Germantown, I hoped we should have been in a situation to attack the enemy again on those grounds, and with more success than in the former
* An allusion to the expedition of Sir Henry Clinton up the North River, - an expedition in which Forts Montgomery and Clinton were taken, and some villages destroyed. But, four days before this date, the British evacuated the forts; and immediately Sir Henry returned with his whole force to New York. Undoubtedly, therefore, the intelligence named in the preceding letter to Colonel Hamilton was true.