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ISAAC NICOLL TO NEW-YORK CONGRESS.
Fort Constitution, March 15, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: This garrison is greatly in want of many articles at present, especially sauce, beef, soap, candles, drink, and fuel; neither have we had any fresh provision for two months past; the want of which necessaries discourage the men very much, as they work daily. We are also in want of pots, trammels, bowls, and dishes, for the Barracks, as there are none here but what the Commissioners claim, and say they must have to carry to Pooploops Kill . There must be a sufficient quantity of those necessaries provided and sent here shortly, or the garrison will be in a bad situation when the Commissioners call for theirs. I should not have troubled you with these matters, but have wrote to Mr. Livingston, according to your former directions, on this head, and received for answer that Mr. Phelps (appointed to provide for the fortress) would be here in a short time, and make the necessary provision; but he has not attended yet, neither do I know when he will.
Enclosed you have an account delivered to me by the Commissioners for powder, ball, and cartridge paper, by them delivered to Captain Raymond previous to my taking the command here; none of which he returned. You can deal with him for them as you think proper. Several of the Minute-men now in garrison are destitute of guns; neither are they able to procure them by reason of their scarcity. There are a number of good arms in the store, but the Commissioners are not willing to let them go without orders, as they were directed to keep them safe in their custody. I think it would be proper to let the men have arms and accoutrements, in order that they may be disciplined to the use of them, provided the commanding officer of any such deficient company will give his receipt for them, and engage to return them, when he is discharged from this garrison, as good as he received them.
It is absolutely necessary that a baker be fixed here upon some certain principle, made by the Commissary. While Captain Raymond commanded, he gave the flour to a baker, who returned an equal weight of bread; and allowed him soldiers pay, with all attendance that he required; which I think is too much, amounting, I suppose, to ten or twelve pounds per month. I have partly agreed with the same man (who is a good baker, and now out of town) for four pounds per month; but he requires to have his wood and people to attend upon him, and I do not know what to do about closing the bargain. I would be glad of some instructions in the premises, or that a baker may be otherwise appointed.
As there is no Commissary attending here, and as I think it absolutely necessary that one should attend, if none of those already appointed can be ordered here, I would recommend Captain Thomas Moffit to that office as a proper person. I expect to be able to make a return of the state of my regiment, having issued the necessary orders for that purpose.
I am gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,
To Colonel Nathaniel Woodhull, President of the Provincial Congress.
LEVI PAWLING TO NEW-YORK CONGRESS.
Marbletown, March 15, 1776.
GENTLEMEN:Yours of the 16th ultimo came safe to hand, and, with astonishment, we perused the contents; the more so, as we have been informed that, in cases similar to that of ours, you have been very careful that officers should not be superseded. Permit us, gentlemen, to ask whether the resolve, respecting the filling up of vacancies, cannot bear these three different constructions, viz: virtual, natural, and literal. If either of the two former, then we think we have committed no error in what we have done. If we have, we have done it with no ill design; for we assure you that we have nothing more at heart than the maintaining of peace and good order among us, and that the worthy and deserving should be promoted, and not superseded; the consequence of which is resentment, division, and discord, which we think ought to be prevented, if possible.
We, in obedience to the directions from your honourable body, called the company of the Southwest District together on the 6th instant, and in a friendly manner advised them to promote the subalterns who had served under their late Captain. The company proceeded, and Mr. John Hasbrouck was chosen by a majority of votes. The subalterns thereupon withdrew, and deferred declaring their intention till the 9th instant, when they delivered at our table the enclosed address and declaration, containing a formal resignation, with the reason thereof; which, in compliance with their request, we have the honour of transmitting to your honourable Board. Upon which we called the company together again on the 12th instant, and acquainted them of the vacancies; when they proceeded and chose Jacobus Roosa First. Liutenant, Jacobus Brown Hasbrouck Second Lieutenant, and Joseph Hasbrouck, Jun., Ensign; which we expect, together with the above elected Captain, your Honours with commission.
We beg leave to assure you that the Southwest District is in a most unhappy condition, and the only means we can think of at present to assuage the spirit of discord in said District is, to grant the prayers of those who have signed the enclosed petition.
In the mean time we remain, with due respect, your Honours obedient humble servant.
By order of the Committee:
LEVI PAWLING, Chairman.
To the Honourable Provincial Congress of the Province of New-York.
COLONEL PORTER TO JAMES WARREN.
Hadley, March 15, 1776.
HONOURED SIR: When I last left you, I was in hopes that by this time I should have been able to write to you from Quebeck; but the backwardness of some towns to encourage their men to engage, and the zeal of individuals to hinder any from inlisting in the service, has hitherto prevented my march. I should do injustice to my country and to Colonel Howe, of Belchertown, if I did not give him the credit of being foremost in the latter class, and of being the instrument (with his son, whom he has constantly employed in the service) of hindering at least four towns from turning out a single man. One full company marched from Northampton on the 3d instant; another company (though not full) marched the day before yesterday; a third is to march on Monday next. The others, I expect, will follow within a week from that time, though I doubt whether they will be any of them quite full. One great difficulty in completing the regiment has been the want of fire-arms. Most of those who are now willing to engage have been in the service the summer past, and were obliged to leave their guns in the Army, and have not yet received their pay for them, and have not been able to purchase others for want of it.
The Committee that have been sent by the Court have purchased all the guns amongst us that are worth taking; so that those who have not yet inlisted must be obliged to go with guns which a man would not be willing to venture his life with, unless the General will consent to have the guns which have been purchased here sold to the soldiers. The expense of purchasing a gun, &c., (which almost every one has to do who inlists,) has made the soldiers insist upon some encouragement being given them by the towns; alleging that the four pounds they were to receive would hardly purchase the arms that they were obliged by the inlistment to furnish themselves with. Most of the towns where they have raised the men have given ten dollars per man for their quota; others have declined giving anything, and of consequence no men can be obtained.
To remedy these inconveniences, I have sent into other Counties. The same difficulties are there, and they do not view themselves under any obligations to exert themselves to remove them, because they are not particularly called upon by the Court. I have been unwilling to apply for leave to recruit from those now in the Army at Cambridge and Roxbury, because of the important movements that were daily expected, and have now been made, and to which I wish all possible success. I have sent over the line, into New-York Government, (where a number of New-England people have settled, who refuse going with the York officers, and have applied to me to join my regiment,) for a number to fill up the companies. What success I