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Benjamin Harrison to General Washington



Philadelphia, July 21, 1775.

DEAR GENERAL: I received your very acceptable favour of the tenth instant, by express. Your fatigue and various kinds of trouble, I dare say are great; but they are not more than I expected, knowing the people you have to deal with by the sample we have here. The Congress have taken the two regiments, now raising in Connecticut, into service, which, with riflemen and recruits to your regiments, will, I hope, make up the number voted by your Council of War. I wish, with all my heart, your troops were better, and your stores more complete; every thing that we can do here, to put you in the best posture possible, I think you may depend will be done. I trust you will have a supply soon of ammunition; without an accident you may depend on it. The want of Engineers, I fear, is not to be supplied in America. Some folks here seemed much displeased at your report on that head. They affirm there are two very good ones with you — a Colonel Gridley, I think, is one. I took the liberty to say that they must be mistaken; they were certainly either not in camp, or could not have the skill they were pleased to say they had. This, in my soft way, put a stop to any thing more on the subject. Indeed, my friend, I do not know what to think of some of these men; they seem to be exceeding hearty in the cause, but still wish to keep every thing amongst themselves. Our President is quite of a different cast — noble, disinterested, and generous, to a very great degree. The Congress have given you the appointment of three Brigade Majors˙ Mr˙ Trumbull has the office you proposed for him. The appointment of the Commissary of Artillery, ditto of Muster,


and Quartermaster-General, are also left to your disposal. Nothing is yet done as to the hospital, but I will bring it on very soon. Your brothers in the Delegation have recommended it to our Convention to send some Virginians to the camp, at the expense of our Colony, to learn the military art; and I hope you will see them soon. We have given the commission of First Brigadier to Mr˙ Thomas. As Putnam' s commission was delivered, it would, perhaps, have offended the old gentleman to have superseded him; the other, I hope, will still act. The Congress have, from your account, a high opinion of him, and I dare say will grant any thing in their power that he may hereafter require. Your hint for a removed of the Congress to some place nearer to you, will come on to-morrow. I think it will not answer your expectations if we should remove; you shall have the result in the close of this. The military chest, I hope, will be supplied soon; they begin to strike the bills this day, so that I hope some may be forwarded to you next week; what has occasioned the delay in this article I know not, without an imitation of the Congress, in its slowness, is become fashionable. I have had no further account from our country about the Governour, except that he is still at Yorktown, with three men-of-war. He, Montague, and Foye, went the other day by water to his farm, and were within three or four minutes of being all taken by Captain Meredith, with seventy men from Hanover, who are, with about one hundred and fifty from other counties, guarding Williamsburgh from any attempts that he may make with his boiled crabs. Meredith says his intentions were to carry his Lordship to Williamsburgh, to put him into the Palace, and promise him protection, to convince him and the world that no injury was intended him; however, as he missed his stroke, I dare say he will be charged with intending to murder him. We think the season too far advanced to send you any more men from the southward, but it seems to be the general opinion to send some thousands early in the spring. Should this be the case, if I have the honour of being here, you may depend on my care of Mr˙ Johnston. We have an imperfect account of an attack on New-York by some of the over-lake Indians. I hope it is not true; indeed, (betwixt you and I,) I give very little credit to any thing from that quarter, and wish I could say I had no reason to be suspicious of those people. We yesterday received despatches from Georgia; they have come into the Union, and have appointed Delegates to the Congress. They have even done more; they, with the South-Carolinians, armed a vessel, and have taken a ship with one hundred and forty barrels of the King' s powder, which they have divided betwixt them.

Twenty-third. — The debate about our remove was taken up yesterday, and determined in the negative. I proposed a Committee, but could not carry it. I think the last method would have answered your purpose best, but the gentlemen could not think of parting with the least particle of their power. Pendleton left us yesterday: all Maryland are gone off this day, and we intend to follow them next Sunday, if nothing material happens betwixt this and then. Our going, [expect, will break up the Congress; indeed I think it is high time there was an end of it: we have been too long together.

Edmund Randolph is here, and has the greatest desire to be with you. He has begged of me to say something in his favour, and that if you can with propriety, you will keep one of the places now in your gift for him; he is not able to support himself, or he would not ask this of you. You know him as well as I do; he is one of the cleverest young men in America, and if Mr˙ Reed should leave you, his place of Secretary can' t be better supplied. He will set off for New-York in a few days, and I beg it as a favour of you to write a line to him, to be left at the post-office there till called for. This deserving young man was in high repute in Virginia, and he fears his father' s conduct may tend to lessen him in the esteem of his countrymen. He has taken this method without the advice of his friends, to raise him into favour. As he is determined on the thing I am sure our good old Speaker will be much obliged for any favour you show him. Applications of this sort, I fear, will be too frequent. I shall avoid them as much as possible; but I could not refuse it on this occassion, well knowing that a most valuable young man, and one that I


love, without some step of this sort, may, from the misconduct of his parent, be lost to his Country, which now stands much in need of men of his abilities. We have a report that Bob McKenzie was killed at Bunker' s Hill, Is it true? I had a great friendship for him formerly, but can' t help Saying I shall be glad to hear the news confirmed.

Twenty-fourth. — Nothing new in Congress, or from Virginia to-day. I should therefore have closed this, without saying more, had not an application been made to me to introduce to you Captain Thomas Price, of a Company of Riflemen from Maryland. He comes with a high character from thence, and is looked on as most firmly attached to the cause of America. He has a large family, which he has left merely to forward the service. The Deputies from that country are gone home. I have seen a letter in his favour to Mr˙ Tilghman, highly commending him; and as he could not, through that channel, get a recommendation, I have been prevailed on to introduce him, which liberty I hope you will excuse. I am, my dear Sir, yours, &c.