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want of it. I must request the attention of Congress to this subject. Lond. ed. vol. ii. p. 203. Wash. Writ.
Sparks, vol. v. p. 139.
The significant Proceedings of the 5th, referred to in this letter, together with some which were preliminary, are given immediately below.
IN CONGRESS, November 3, 1777. 'A motion being made, for directing the future operations of General Gates :
Ordered, That it be referred to a committee of three.
Four o'clock, P. M. The committee to whom was referred the motion for directing the future operations of the army under the command of Major-General Gates, brought in their Report, which was taken into consideration; and after debate,
Resolved, That it be recommitted.
November 5. The committee to whom was recommitted the Report for directing the future operations of the army under the command of General Gates, brought in their Report, which was taken into consideration; and thereupon,
'Resolved, That General Washington be informed that it is the earnest wish of Congress to regain the possession of the forts and passes of Hudson's River, and
to secure the communication thereof; and, for that purpose, that General Gates should remain in command in that quarter; and that General Putnam be called upon to join the main army with such a detachment from the army under the command of General Gates, as General Washington may think can be spared, not exceeding the number of twenty-five hundred men, including Colonel Morgan's corps :
• That a copy of the foregoing Resolution be sent to General Gates, and that he be directed to make a proper disposition of the army under his command for reducing, forthwith, the posts of the enemy on Hudson's River; and that he order such of the Continental troops and militia, in the service of the United States, as are posted on or near the said river, to join him for the service aforementioned:
· That General Gates be empowered to apply to the respective States of Massachusetts-Bay, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, for such a number of their militia as he shall judge necessary to maintain the posts which he shall order to be taken on the said river, to the end that his army may be in readiness to pursue such operations as Congress shall direct; and that the said militia be enlisted to serve until the 15th of March next, unless sooner discharged by Congress or the Commander-in-Chief:
* It has been seen, p. 318, that the British had evacuated the forts taken on Hudson's River, and returned to New York, ten days before the passage of these Resolutions. Is it probable that Congress were then wholly unapprised of that fact, - a fact which, it seems, p. 317, General Washington was informed of on the 30th of October ?
That General Washington be directed to order one or more able engineers to Hudson's River, to attend the army under the command of General Gates :
· That General Gates be empowered to order such a number of galleys, gun-boats, fire-crafts, chains, cassoons, and chevaux-defrise to be provided, and such fortifications to be erected, for obstructing and keeping possession of the North River, as he shall judge necessary:
That the Governor and Council of the State of New York be furnished with a copy of these Resolutions, and requested to appoint a committee of three active, judicious persons, to assist General Gates in obtaining such artificers and materials for accomplishing these purposes as he shall direct; and the said committee are empowered to apply to the several States of NewHampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, for their assistance, who are requested to afford the same by furnishing the said committee with such artificers and materials as they, by direction of General Gates, shall apply for; and the said States are respectively requested to furnish such a number of men as General Gates shall require, to accomplish the important and salutary purpose of maintaining the communication between the Northern and Southern States, by keeping possession of Hudson's River:
"That General Gates be authorized and directed to apply to the State of New York, and the States eastward of the North River, for such aids as he shall judge necessary for the reduction of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence, if not reduced by General Stark, at such time as he shall deem best adapted for that expedition; and that the said States be requested to supply General Gates with such a number of their militia as he shall judge necessary for the purposes intended :
That General Gates be directed to take effectual care that the fortifications which shall be erected on Hudson's River be not too extensive, and that each be completed with a well
, magazines, barracks, bomb-casements, &c., sufficient for a determined defence :
That if General Washington, after consulting with General Gates and Governor Clinton, shall be of opinion, that a reinforcement exceeding the number above mentioned can be detached to the main army, consistent with the attainment of the objects specified in the preceding Resolutions, in such case he be directed to order such further reinforcements to the main army as may be thought conducive to the general welfare, any thing in the preceding Resolutions to the contrary notwithstanding,
In debating the last Resolution, it was moved after " directed” to insert “ with their concurrence."
This proposed amendment, it appears, could not be sustained ; but the Resolutions, as they stand, were passed by a very large majority.
GENERAL WASHINGTON to the PRESIDENT of Congress.
CAMP, NEAR WHITEMARSH, 11 November, 1777. 'Sir, — The condition of this army for want of clothes and blankets, and the little prospect we have of obtaining relief, according to the information I have received from the Board of War, occasion me to trouble you at this time. The mode of seizing and forcing supplies from the inhabitants,* I fear, would prove very inadequate to the demands; while it would certainly embitter the minds of the people, and excite perhaps a hurtful jealousy against the army. I have had officers out for the purpose of purchasing and making voluntary collections of necessaries, and in a few instances more coercive measures have been exercised. But all these have proved of little avail: our distresses still continue, and are becoming greater. I would, therefore, humbly submit it to the consideration of Congress, whether it may not be expedient for them to address the several legislative and executive powers of the States on this subject as early as possible, and in the most urgent terms.
The Assemblies in many States, I believe, are now sitting; and, I have no doubt, upon a requisition by Congress, but they will give attention to the measure.
· Enclosed you will receive a copy of a letter from General Putnam, which came to hand to-day. You will find his and Governor Clinton's opinion respecting the fortifications necessary to be made for the security of the North River.f
We are told, through various channels, that Sir Henry Clinton is coming round with all the force that can be possibly spared from New York; and it is said that those on Staten Island are withdrawn.
P. S. By advices just received, thirty-eight transports have arrived in Delaware with troops. They were as high up as Reedy Island yesterday. I suppose they are from New York.
Notwithstanding the measures I have ventured to recommend on the subject of clothing, I shall pursue every means in my power that can contribute to procure a supply.'
Lond. ed. vol. ii. p. 206. Wash. Writ.
SAME to GOVERNOR Henry, of Virginia.
WHITEMARSH, 13 November, 1777. Dear Sir, - I shall beg leave to refer you to a letter of mine, which accompanies this, and of the same date, for a general account of our situation and wants. The design of this is only to inform you, and with great truth I can do it, strange as it may seem, that the army which I have had under my immediate command has
* In compliance with the Resolve, Sept. 17, p. 506.
not, at any one time since General Howe's landing at the Head of Elk, been equal in point of numbers to his. In ascertaining this, I do not confine myself to Continental troops, but comprehend militia.
I was left to fight two battles, in order if possible to save Philadelphia, with less numbers than composed the army of my antagonist; whilst the world has given us at least double. This impression, though mortifying in some points of view, I have been obliged to encourage, because, next to being strong, it is best to be thought so by the enemy; and to this cause principally I think is to be attributed the slow movements of General Howe.
How different the case in the Northern Department! There the States of New York and New England, resolving to crush Burgoyne, continued pouring in their troops till the surrender of
Had the same spirit pervaded the people of this and the neighboring States, we might before this time, have had General Howe nearly in the situation of General Burgoyne; with this difference, that the former would never have been out of reach of his ships, whilst the latter increased his danger every step he took, having but one retreat in case of a disaster, and that blocked up by a respectable force.
• My own difficulties, in the course of the campaign, have been not a little increased by the extra aid of Continental troops which the gloomy prospect of our affairs, immediately after the reduction of Ticonderoga, induced me to spare from this army. But it is to be hoped, that all will yet end well. If the cause is advanced, indifferent is it to me where or in what quarter it happens. The winter season, with the aid of our neighbors, may possibly bring some important event to pass.
I am, sincerely and respectfully, dear Sir, &c.'
Sparks, vol. v. p. 145.
Same to the PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
WHITEMARSH, 17 November, 1777. 'Sir, — I am sorry to inform you, that Fort Mifflin was evacuated the night before last, after a defence which does credit to the American arms, and will ever reflect the highest honor upon the officers and men of the garrison. The works were entirely beat down, every piece of cannon dismounted, and one of the enemy's ships so near, that the crew threw grenades into the fort, and killed men upon the platforms, from her tops, before they quitted the island. This ship had been cut down for the purpose, and so constructed that she made but a small draft of water, and by these means warped in between Fort Mifflin and Province Island.
Nothing in the course of this campaign has taken up so much of the attention and consideration of myself and all the general officers, as the possibility of giving a further relief to Fort Mifflin, than
what we had already afforded.
The only remaining and practical mode of giving relief to the fort was by dislodg. ing the enemy from Province Island, from whence they kept up an incessant fire. But this, from the situation of the ground, was not to be attempted with any degree of safety to the attacking party, unless the whole or a considerable part of the army should be removed to the west side of the Schuylkill to support and cover it.
There were many and very forcible reasons against a total remove to the west side of the Schuylkill.
We should finally have thrown the army into such a situation, that we must inevitably have drawn on a general engagement before our reinforcements arrived; which, considering our disparity of numbers, would probably have ended with the most disagreeable consequences.
It was therefore determined, a few days ago, to wait the arrival of the reinforcement from the Northward, before any alteration could safely be made in the disposition of the army; and I was not without hopes, that the fort would have held out till that time.
As the keeping possession of Red Bank, and thereby still preventing the enemy from weighing the chevaux-de-frise before the frost obliges their ships to quit the river, has become a matter of the greatest importance, I have determined to send down General St. Clair, General Knox, and Baron de Kalb, to take a view of the ground, and to endeavor to form a judgment of the most probable means of securing it.
I am informed that it is matter of amazement, and that reflections have been thrown out against this army, for not being more active and enterprising than, in the opinion of some, they ought to have [they have?] been. If the charge is just, the best way to account for it will be to refer you to the returns of our strength, and those which I can produce of the enemy, and to the enclosed abstract of the clothing now actually wanting for the army; and then I think the wonder will be, how they keep the field at all in tents at this season of the year. What stock the clothier-general has to supply this demand, or what are his prospects, he himself will inform you, as I have directed him to go to Yorktown to lay these matters before Congress. There are, besides, most of those in the hospitals more bare than those in the field; many remain there for want of clothes only.
Several general officers, unable to procure clothing in the common line, have employed agents to purchase up what could be found in different parts of the country. General Wayne, among others, has employed Mr. Zantzinger of Lancaster, who has purchased to the amount of four thousand five hundred pounds, for which he desires a draft upon the Treasury Board. Enclosed you have a copy of his letter.
'I am anxiously waiting the arrival of the troops from the North