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Letter from General Washington to the President of Congress


Fort George, May 31, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Your Excellency' s letter of the 22d instant was delivered me last evening. I learn, with particular satisfaction, that Congress has requested your attendance to advise with them on the measures necessary to be adopted for the present campaign. I foresee many salutary consequences from this step.

Although I have transmitted you some further disagreeable accounts from Canada since the date of your favour, yet I hope they will be the last. By a letter from General Thompson, I find he was ordered to repossess himself of Deschambault, with sixteen hundred men, and that he was to leave Sorel (where General Thomas was arrived) on the 20th; he laments, however, that Colonel Greaton' s Regiment had been inoculated for the small-pox. An hour after I had despatched my last of the 28th, thirteen of our staunch friends, the Oneidas, arrived here with a speech from the sachems, informing me that some of the Six Nations had gone from Niagara in order to join our enemies, and that they were on their way to Canada, to prevent the defection of the Canadian tribes. They remained here a few hours, and then proceeded.

This morning thirty carpenters left this to repair to Skenesborough, by the way of Ticonderoga, in order to construct gondolas, although nothing is prepared for building them. I hope, nevertheless, to finish one in a short time, at least I will do everything in my power to complete it the soonest possible, and for that purpose I shall leave this tomorrow to put all in train. Since General Sullivan' s departure, I have finished sixty batteaus, nor shall I cease until I am advised by your Excellency that no more troops are coming this way.

I wish a person that understood the construction of the best gondolas was sent up express to me, for although they should not be able to get down the Falls of Chambly, yet they will be of service on Lake Champlain, should our Army be obliged to retreat. The vessels we have there (except the Royal Savage) are of very little force.

I enclose your Excellency my orders to Colonel Dayton, his letters, and other papers relative to the transaction in Johnstown. William Yates, the Secretary of Indian Affairs, will transmit you the speeches of the Indians, and the answer to them.

I am just informed that General Thomas has taken the small-pox, is at Chambly, and rather in a dangerous way.

I have not yet had any return from Canada, either of the Army, the provisions, or stores, nor the least information, from any officer in command, of the disaster that befel Colonel Bedel at the Cedars; but I fear it is too true, as it is confirmed by several persons arrived since I wrote this letter, who left Montreal on Sunday, the 26th.

I am informed, by persons of good credit, that about one hundred persons, living on what are commonly called the New-Hampshire Grants, have had a design to seize me as a Tory, and perhaps still have. There never was a man so infamously scandalized and ill treated as I am, and I hope Congress will publickly do me that justice which I thank your Excellency for having done me in your letter of the 21st, if that respectable body is convinced (of which I make no doubt) of my zeal and attachment to the cause of my injured country.

I am, dear sir, ever most sincerely your Excellency' s most obedient, humble servant,


To General Washington.