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President of Congress to General Washington



Baltimore, December 23d, 1776.

SIR: I do myself the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your several favours of the 12th, 13th, and 15th instant, in the order of their respective dates, and to inform you that they were duly laid before Congress.

As General Lee, by the fortune of war, has become a prisoner in the hands of our enemies, the Congress are anxious to afford him all the relief in their power during his confinement. They have, therefore, resolved that a flag be immediately sent to General Howe, to know in what manner General Lee is treated, and have directed Mr˙ R˙ Morris (to whom I have written on the occasion) to forward to you for his use, one hundred half-johannes. The United States, from every principle of justice and generosity, are bound to render the situation of that gentleman as easy as possible during his captivity. His loss must be extremely regretted by every friend to this country.

The Congress, upon reconsidering the vote of the 11th instant, have come to a resolution expressing their approbation of your conduct in declining to publish it in general orders. They also approve of your sending General Armstrong to Pennsylvania and General Smallwood to Maryland, to stimulate the people to exert themselves on this occasion. I have the pleasure to acquaint you that the Militia in the upper parts of Maryland are in motion, and seem at last sensible of the danger which threatens them.

The multiplicity of business which the Congress left unfinished at the time of there departure from Philadelphia, has induced them to appoint a Committee of three gentlemen, with full powers, to perfect the business in such manner as they shall judge proper.


You will please to pay the Militia who reinforce your Army, in the same manner as you pay your other troops; and on their discharge, allow them a penny per mile to bear their expenses on the way to their respective homes.

The enclosed resolves of Congress I transmit by their order, and beg leave to request your attention to them.

I have the honour to be, with the utmost esteem and respect, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

His Excellency General Washington.