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General Washington to John Augustine Washington



Camp at Cambridge, September 10, 1775.

DEAR BROTHER: So little has happened since the date of my last, that I should scarcely have given you the trouble of reading this letter, did I not imagine that it might be some satisfaction to you to know that we are well, and in no fear or dread of the enemy; being, in our opinion at least, very securely intrenched, and wishing for nothing more than to see the enemy out of their strong-holds, that the dispute may come to an issue. The inactive state we lie in is extremely disagreeable, especially as we can see no end to it, having had no advices lately from Great Britain to form a judgment upon.

In taking possession, about a fortnight ago, of a hill within point blank cannon shot of the enemy' s lines on Charlestown Neck, we expected to bring on a general action,


especially as we had been threatened, by reports from Boston several days before, that the enemy intended an attack upon our intrenchments. Nothing, however, followed, but a severe cannonade for a day or two, and a bombardment afterwards for the like time; which, however, did us no other damage than to kill two or three men, and to wound as many more. Both are now at an end, as they found that we disregarded their fire, and continued our works till we had got them completed.

Unless the Ministerial Troops in Boston are waiting for re-enforcements, I cannot devise what they are staying there for, nor why, as they affect to despise the Americans, they do not come forth, and put an end to the contest at once. They suffer greatly for want of fresh provisions, notwithstanding they have pillaged from several islands a good many sheep and cattle. They are also scarce of fuel, unless, according to the account of one of their deserters, they mean to pull down houses for that article. In short, they are, from all accounts, suffering all the inconveniences of a siege. It is true, from their having the entire command of the sea, and a powerful navy, and, moreover, as they are now beginning to take all vessels indiscriminately, we cannot stop their supplies through that channel; but their succours in this way have not been so powerful as to enable them to give the common soldiers much fresh meat as yet. By an account from Boston, of the 4th instant, the cattle lately brought in there sold at publick auction from fifteen to thirty-four Pounds ten Shillings sterling apiece, and the sheep from thirty to thirty-six Shillings each, and fowls and every other species of fresh provisions went in proportion. The expense of this, one would think, must soon tire them, were it not that they intend to fix all the expense of this war upon the Colonies; if they can, I suppose we shall add.

I am just sending off a detachment of one thousand men to Quebeck, by the way of the Kennebeck River, to cooperate with General Schuyler, who by this time is, I expect, at or near St˙ John' s, on the north end of Lake Champlain; and may, for aught I know, have determined the fate of his Army and that of Canada, as he left Crown Point the 31st of last month, for the Isle-aux-Noix, within twelve miles of St˙ John' s, where Governour Carleton' s principal force lay. If he should succeed there, he will soon after be in Montreal without opposition; and if the detachment I am sending from hence, though late in the season, should be able to get possession of Quebeck, the Ministry' s plan in respect to that Government will be defeated.