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whole, of the battalion had marched. I then accompanied the Colonel, and the last of the staff as far as New-York, intending to have gone on; but I was taken so ill, and found myself so unfit for service, in a cold climate, that it would have been impossible for me to proceed, and was forced to ask of Colonel De Haas liberty to give up the attempt; at the same time he wrote to Colonel McKean, informing him of my illness, and that the battalion would require some person in my place.
I think myself unable to undertake that duty in so inhospitable a climate, and request the favour of the honourable Congress to allow me to resign; at the same time, would gladly serve my country, and the cause of liberty, in such department as my health will permit, and shall esteem it a favour if the Congress appoint me Surgeon to one of the men-of-war, or any other service more consistent with my health.
I am, sir, with much respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq., President of the Continental Congress, at Philadelphia.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
New-York, April 19, 1776.
SIR: I have this moment received a letter from General Schuykr, containing enclosures of a very important nature; copies of which, I imagine, are contained in the enclosed letter to you, and which I thought it my duty immediately to forward by express, that they may be laid before the honourable Congress, and proper measures pursued to prevent the fatal effects which are therein apprehended.
For my own part, I have done my utmost to forward the four regiments ordered by Congress, but a variety of incidents have hitherto conspired to prevent their embarcation. The men had scarcely recovered themselves from the fatigues of their march from Boston, and are quite unprovided with necessaries. The Colonels of the regiments, though repeatedly called upon for that purpose, had neglected making out the abstracts for their pay. All obstacles, however, are now removed, and I hope to begin the embarcation this day. Indeed, it would have been best, in my opinion, to have sent the regiments raised in this Province and New-Jersey upon that service, had not the peculiar circumstances under which they were raised prevented it. By the terms of their inlistment they are to serve during the war, at five dollars per month, on condition (as I am informed) that they shall not be sent out of those Provinces. Besides, they are very ill provided with arms, some companies not having any. It must be a great burden upon the Continent to keep such a number of useless men on pay; and yet, if they should be dismissed, and an unexpected supply of arms should arrive, it may be found very difficult to replace them.
The officers of the several corps that have arrived here have been so busily employed in fixing their men in quarters, that I have not yet been able to procure an exact return of their numbers. Some are yet behind; as soon as the whole are collected, I shall order the proper returns, and transmit them to Congress.
You will please to notice what Colonel Hazen says of the disposition of the Indians. In my opinion, it will be impossible to keep them in a state of neutrality; they must, and no doubt soon will take an active part either for or against us; and I submit it to the consideration of Congress whether it would not be best immediately to engage them on our side, and to use our utmost endeavours to prevent their minds being poisoned by Ministerial emissaries; which will ever be the case while a Kings garrison is suffered to remain in their country. Would it not, therefore, be advisable to send a sufficient force from the back Counties of Pennsylvania to take possession of the garrisons of Niagara and Detroit? This, I think, might easily be effected, and would answer the most salutary purposes. The Seneca Indians, who have hitherto appeared friendly to us, might be usefully employed in this business.
I am in hopes most of the difficulties mentioned in Colonel Hazens letter will be obviated by the appearance of the respectable Committee of Congress in Canada, and the forces that have been, and will be sent there. The security of that country is of the utmost importance to us. This cannot be done so effectually by conquest as by taking strong hold of the affections and confidence of the inhabitants. It is to be lamented that any conduct of the Continental troops should tend to alienate their affections from us.
The honourable Congress will be able to judge, from the papers sent them by General Schuyler, and the information they may receive of the designs of the enemy, whether it is expedient to send a further reinforcement to Canada. If such should be their determination, I stand ready to execute their orders; and am, with respect, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.
P. S. Enclosed is a return of the four Regiments ordered to Canada; besides which there will be two Rifle Companies, a company of Artificers, and two Artillery-men, all under the command of Brigadier-General Thompson.
Return of the regiments going on command to CANADA, April 18, 1776.
HORATIO GATES, Adjutant-General.
If the British Troops which evacuated Boston, or any part of them, are destined for this place, their arrival may be very soon expected. The Engineers and Overseers of the works are, therefore, to use every possible despatch in completing them. To this end, the Engineers are to apply to the Adjutant-General for as many men as can usefully be employed, and he will give orders accordingly.
Colonel Prescotts Regiment is to encamp on Governours Island as soon as the weather clears. They are to give every assistance in their power to facilitate the works erecting thereon. The Quartermaster-General will furnish straw for the tents, and fire-wood.As some inconveniences have arisen to the citizens of this place by having the countersign demanded of them so early as nine oclock, the General orders that tattoo-beating be delayed for the future till ten, flattering himself (as there