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Excellencys instructions to General Ward, who was obliging enough to give me an abstract.
The General Court of this Province, finding a difficulty in making a code of laws for the Admiralty Court, did not complete that institution their last session, when they adjourned to June; which lapse of time will not admit my facilitating the disposal of the prizes under my care so early as I could wish for the safety of part of the interest of the Susannas cargo, viz: the porter, which I fear may be spoiled by laying so long, (it not having equal body to that commonly imported for sale;) which induces me to desire your direction for a disposal of that article, either at private or publick sale.
That, sir, is an exact copy of part of Mr. Wentworths letter to Mr. Moylan. I now request you will please to direct me in what manner I shall instruct the Agent respecting this complicated cargo, and whether he may be empowered to dispose of the porter, or any other articles, on board the prizes in his care, which the delay of establishing the Court of Admiralty may make liable to perish.
I have not yet heard that there has been any trial of the prizes carried into Massachusetts-Bay. This procrastination is attended with very bad consequences. Some of the vessels I had fitted out are now laid up, the crews being dissatisfied that they cannot get their prize-money. I have tired the Congress upon this subject, but the importance of it makes me again mention, that if a summary way of proceeding is not resolved on, it will be impossible to get our vessels manned.
I must also mention to you, sir, that Captain Manly and his crew are desirous to know when they may expect their part of the value of the ordnance stores taken last fall: they are anxious to know what the amount may be. As the inventory of that cargo is in the hands of Congress, I would humbly submit it to them whether a valuation thereof should not be made, and the captors dividend be remitted them as soon as possible: it will give them spirit, and encourage them to be alert in looking out for other prizes.
Several officers belonging to the regiments raised in these middle Colonies inform me that their men (notwithstanding their agreement) begin to murmur at the distinction of pay made between them and the regiments from the eastward. I would be glad that the Congress would attend to this in time, lest it may get to such a pitch as will make it difficult to suppress. They argue, that they perform the same duty, undergo the same fatigue, and receive five dollars, when the Eastern regiments receive six and two-thirds dollars, per month. For my own part, I wish they were all upon the same footing; for if the British Army will not face this way, it will be necessary to detach a great part of our troops. In that case, I would, for many reasons, be sorry there should be any distinctions of regiments that are all in the pay of the United Colonies.
The deficiency of arms (in the New-York Regiments especially) is very great. If I am rightly informed, there are scarce as many in Colonel Ritzemas Regiment as will arm one company. Can the Congress remedy this evil? If they can, there should not a moment be lost in effecting it, as our strength at present is, in reality, on paper only. Should we think of discharging those men who are without arms, the remedy would be worse than the disease; for by vigorous exertions, I hope arms may be procured, and I well know that the raising men is exceeding difficult, especially to be engaged during the continuance of the war, which is the footing on which Colonel Ritzemas Regiment is engaged.
April 26th.I had written thus far before I was honoured with your favour of the 23d instant. In obedience to the order therein contained, I have directed six regiments more for Canada, which will embark as soon as vessels and other necessaries, can be provided. These regiments will be commanded by General Sullivan. I shall give him instructions to join the forces in that country under General Thomas, as soon as possible.
With respect to sending more troops to that country, I am really at a loss what to advise, as it is impossible, at present, to know the designs of the enemy. Should they send the whole force under General Howe up the River St. Lawrence to relieve Quebeck and recover Canada, the troops gone, and now going, will be insufficient to stop their progress; and should they think proper to send that, or an equal force, this way, from Great Britain, for the purpose of possessing this city, and securing the navigation of Hudsons River, the troops left here will not be sufficient to oppose them; and yet, for anything we know, I think it not improbable they may attempt both, both being of the greatest importance to them, if they have men. I could wish, indeed, that the Army in Canada should be more powerfully reinforced, at the same time I am conscious that the trusting this important post (which is now become the grand magazine of America) to the handful of men remaining here, is running too great a risk. The securing this post, and Hudsons River, is to us also of so great importance, that I cannot, at present, advise the sending any more troops from hence; on the contrary, the General Officers now here, whom I thought it my duty to consult, think it absolutely necessary to increase the Army at this place with at least ten thousand men, especially when it is considered that from this place only the Army in Canada must draw its supplies of ammunition, provisions, and most probably of men; that all reinforcements can be sent from hence much easier than from any other place.
By the enclosed return, you will see the state of the Army here, and that the number of effective men is far short of what the Congress must have expected.
I have found it necessary to order Colonel Daytons Regiment, from New-Jersey, to march, as one of the six, to Canada; wherefore I must recommend it to Congress to order two companies of one of the regiments still in Pennsylvania to march to Cape-May, which can be done much sooner; for had this destination of that regiment not taken place, it would have been very inconvenient to have detached two companies from it to that place, as the march would (according to Lord Stirlings and other accounts) have been at least two hundred miles from Amboy, and they must have passed within twenty miles of Philadelphia, there being no practicable road along the sea-coast of New-Jersey for their baggage to have passed.
Doctor Potts, who is the bearer hereof, was, I understand, appointed Director of the Hospital for these Middle Colonies; but the Army being removed, with the General Hospital, from the eastward, does, in course, supersede him. He is inclined to go to Canada, where he may be very useful, if a person is not already appointed for that department. I would humbly beg leave to ask the Congress, whether, in all these appointments, it would not be best to have but one chief, to whom all the others should be subordinate.
I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.
General Return of the Army of the United Colonies, commanded by His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq., General and Commander-in-Chief.
Wanting to complete: 14 Sergeants, 21 Drums and Fifes, and 2966 Privates.
Since last Return: 67 inlisted, 9 dead, 16 discharged, and 76 deserted.
HORATIO GATES, Adjutant-General.
Head-Quarters, at New York, April 23, 1776.
Head-Quarters, New-York, April 23, 1776.
Hitchcocks and Varnums Regiments to be ready to be mustered on Friday morning next. They will be under arms at eleven in the forenoon, upon the Common, near the