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Letter from General Washington to General Ward



New-York, June 16, 1776.

SIR: I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the 27th ultimo and of the 3d and 6th instant; and in answer to the first, I think you were right in your direction to Mr˙Bartlett about the brigantineHannah, as Mr˙Morris had written for one. The two schooners, considering their force and number of men, certainly behaved extremely well in repelling the attack of such a number of boats; and it is only to be lamented that the affair was attended with the death of CaptainMugford; he seemed to deserve a better fate.

The determination of the Court of Inquiry upon ColonelVarnum' s complaint, transmitted in that of the 3d, is very different from what he expected, or I imagined it would be from his state of the case. Whether it is right or wrong, it is not in my power to determine, as the evidence which was before them is not inserted in the proceedings; which ought to have been, as I, at this distance, can have no other means to warrant me either in confirming or rejecting the sentence. I cannot but add, that it seems extraordinary to me and exceedingly strange, that CaptainLane should have been at so much trouble and expense to get the men, without having a right to them; for which reason, to discountenance a practice extremely pernicious in its nature, of one officer trying to take away and seduce the men of another, and on account of the imperfection in the proceedings in not stating the matter fully and the whole evidence, the complaint should be reheard, and everything appertaining to it — the manner of inlistment, &c˙ — particularly specified, for me to found my judgment on.

The arms, &c˙, which you sent toNorwich, as mentioned in the invoice contained in that of the 6th, are not arrived. The number of carbines is only half of what GeneralPutnam wrote for, as I have been informed, and it is less by three hundred than I directed to be sent in my letter fromPhiladelphia, of the 28th ultimo. This I suppose had not come to hand when you wrote, as you have not acknowledged the receipt of it.

I have enclosed two letters for MajorSmall andCharles Procter, Esquire, supposed to be atHalifax, which being written with a design to procure the enlargement of CaptainProcter, a prisoner on board theMercury man-of-war, or induce them to intercede for a more humane treatment to be shown him, I request you to forward by the first opportunity, by way ofNova-Scotia.

I am this moment favoured with yours of the 9th instant, advising me of the capture made by our armed vessels of one of the transports, with a company of Highlanders on board; and I flatter myself, if our vessels keep a good lookout, as the whole fleet are bound toBoston which sailed with her, that more of them will fall into our hands. This is a further proof that Government expected GeneralHowe was still inBoston.

I am extremely sorry that your health is more and more impaired; and having heard by letter from ColonelHancock that Mr˙Whitcomb, ColonelWhitcomb' s brother, is


appointed a Brigadier-General, I shall order him to relieve you as soon as I am informed that he accepts his commission; and if he does, you may immediately call him to your assistance, before I am certified of his acceptance; this will ease you of some trouble, till I can regulate a few matters of importance here, which I hope to do in a little time.


To the Honourable GeneralWard.