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GENERAL WASHINGTON TO GENERAL SCHUYLER.
Cambridge, March 19, 1776.
DEAR SIR: The 17th instant Mr. Bennett handed me your favour of the 9th. It mortifies me beyond expression to find the troops going to Canada so badly provided with arms. I have so often mentioned the situation we are in from the same cause, that I shall not trouble you more thereon; indeed, your letters and mine seem echoes to each otherenumerating our mutual difficulties. Should success crown our labours, the reflection will not be disgraceful.
A short detail of what has happened here since I wrote you last will, I dare say, afford you pleasure. The night of the 4th instant we possessed ourselves of Dorchester Heights, which alarmed the enemy so much that they made their dispositions to engage us; which was what I most earnestly wished for. But a violent storm coming on the evening of the 5th, gave us time to strengthen our works, and cooled the enemys ardour. From that moment they made all possible diligence in preparing to move off. Our advancing still closer to them on the 16th (by taking post on an eminence called Nooks Hill, which commands their works on the neck of land which separates the town from Roxbury, and also commands the south part of Boston) has obliged the enemy to take to their ships, which, rather precipitately, they effected on the 17th, in the morning, leaving behind them about thirty pieces of excellent cannon and two mortars, (spiked,) a number of ball, some shells, the chief part of their light-horse, forage, twenty thousand bushels of wheat, two thousand five hundred chaldron of coal, salt, rugs, and blankets, with many other articles too tedious to mention. The ships now lie below the Castle, extending themselves to Nantasket Road, about nine miles. I do not expect that they will pay us another visit; though, as a number of transports have appeared this morning to have joined them, they may be tempted; which will prevent my sending off any more troops until they quit the harbour. It is uncertain where they may go from hence. Long-Island or New-York is, in my opinion, the place of their destination. I have sent off a Rifle Regiment and five battalions to New-York; and, when I can be certain of their having fairly left these parts, I shall remove the rest of the Army there, where I shall have great pleasure to meet you in tolerable health.
The return of the troops with General Arnold is received; also, the depositions respecting Colonel Allens usage, which has been very cruel.
I am in hopes we shall be able to collect some hard money from the inhabitants of Boston. If we do, you shall soon be informed thereof.
Application has been made to the Commissary (Mr. Chamier) relative to the subsistence of the prisoners in our possession; which, I believe, is settled with David Franks, of Philadelphia.
I remain, &c.,
To General Schuyler.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO JOHN LANGDON.
Cambridge, March 19, 1776.
Wrote to him to forward the Continental powder to Camp immediately, giving him an account of our possessing ourselves of Boston, &c., G. W.
To John Langdon, Esq.
DR. MORGAN TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Dr. MORGANS compliments to General Washington: Having received a present of an exceedingly handsome and good horse, he thinks it too elegant and accomplished an animal not to wish General Washington master of it. He therefore begs the Generals acceptance of it, in which case he shall think himself very happy to have had it in his power to furnish him so noble a steed at a time when he may have more particular occasion for a good riding horse, either for his own use or that of Mrs. Washington.
Dr. Morgans servant now attends with the horse, to deliver it to whomsoever the General shall order to take charge of it.*
Tuesday, March 19, 1776.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read March 25, 1776.]
Head-Quarters, Cambridge, March 19, 1776.
SIR: It is with the greatest pleasure I inform you that, on Sunday last, the 17th instant, about nine oclock in the forenoon, the Ministerial Army evacuated the town of Boston, and that the forces of the United Colonies are now in actual possession thereof. I beg leave to congratulate you, sir, and the honourable Congress, on this happy event, and particularly as it was effected without endangering the lives and property of the remaining unhappy inhabitants. I have great reason to imagine their flight was precipitated by the appearance of a work which I had ordered to be thrown up last Saturday night on an eminence at Dorchester, which lay nearest to Boston-Neck, called Nooks Hill. The town, although it has suffered greatly, is not in so bad a state as I expected to find it; and I have a particular pleasure in being able to inform you, sir, that your house has received no damage worth mentioning; your furniture is in tolerable order, and the family pictures are all left entire and untouched. Captain Cazneau takes charge of the whole until he shall receive further orders from you. As soon as the Ministerial Troops had quitted the town, I ordered a thousand men, (who had had the small-pox,) under command of General Putnam, to take possession of the Heights, which I shall endeavour to fortify in such a manner as to prevent their return, should they attempt it; but as they are still in the harbour, I thought it not prudent to march off with the main body of the Army until I should be fully satisfied they had quitted the coast. I have therefore only detached five regiments, besides the Rifle Battalion, to New-York, and shall keep the remainder here till all suspicion of their return ceases. The situation in which I found their works evidently discovered that their retreat was made with the greatest precipitation. They have left their barracks, and other works of wood at Bunkers Hill, &c., all standing, and have destroyed but a small part of their lines. They have also left a number of fine pieces of cannon, which they first spiked up; also, a very large iron mortar, and (as I am informed) they have thrown another over the end of your wharf. I have employed proper persons to drill the cannon, and doubt not shall save the most of them. I am not yet able to procure an exact list of all the stores they have left; as soon as it can be done, I shall take care to transmit it to you. From an estimate of what the Quartermaster-General has already discovered, the amount will be twenty-five or thirty thousand pounds.
Part of the powder mentioned in yours of the 6th instant has already arrived. The remainder I have ordered to be stopped on the road, as we shall have no occasion for it here. The letter to General Thomas I immediately sent to him, He desired leave for three or four days, to settle some of his private affairs; after which he will set out for his command in Canada. I am happy that my conduct in intercepting Lord Drummonds letter is approved of by Congress.
I have the honour to be, with sincere respect, sir, your most obedient servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.
Head-Quarters, Cambridge, March 14, 1776,
Starks, Pattersons, Webbs, Greatons, and Bonds Regiments, together with two Companies of the Artillery, are to march to-morrow morning, at nine oclock, under the command of Brigadier-General Heath, who will receive his orders from the Adjutant-General this evening at Head-Quarters. The Quartermaster-General will furnish them with wagons, and the route by which they are to march The men are to be supplied with five days provisions, good part of which they will do well to cook before they leave Cambridge, as there may be difficulty in doing it upon the road. The General again reminds the officers and soldiers of the other regiments, of the necessity of being ready for a march, as they may not have more than an hours notice.
The General was informed yesterday morning, by a person just out of Boston, that our enemies in that place had laid several schemes for communicating the infection of the small-pox to the Continental Army, when they get into the* [The original is endorsed by General Washington:From Dr. John Morgan, March 19, 1776. The offer not accepted.]