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Letter from General Lee to the President of Congress



[Read April 18, 1776, and referred to Mr˙ Reed, Mr˙ Clinton, and Mr˙ Braxton.]

Williamsburgh, April 6, 1776.

SIR: As the curtain is now, in a great measure, drawn up, by the happy interception of the letters from the Secretary of State to Governour Eden, which will be transmitted to the Congress by the Committee of Safety from this place, you will perceive, sir, that we, of all Provinces, should not be deficient in the important article of powder. I submit it, therefore, to your prudence, whether it will not be necessary immediately to add a few tons to our present stock. I find myself a good deal distressed for artillerymen and officers. I apprehend General Washington could now, without inconvenience, spare us a company from the main Army. The Regiments are here complete in numbers, the men fine, and the officers, by all I can learn, good, but horribly deficient in arms, shoes, and blankets. The deficiency of arms, I know, is general, therefore I shall not venture to apply for them; but if blankets could possibly be procured, a multitude of lives would be saved, for the night dews in this country are very destructive. The want of gun-carriages prevents my taking a certain post, the possession of which would be, in my opinion, worth a victory, in all its forms. I have ordered the artificers to work night and day, and hope it may not be too late. When I have given the instructions, and taken the measures which I think necessary for the security of this place and York, which, most probably, will be the enemy' s object, I shall set out for North-Carolina, which, we have reason to think, will be the first scene of their diabolical operations. You will excuse, sir, the blots and shortness of this letter, as the express waits.

I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your most obedient, humble servant,


To His Excellency John Hancock, Esq˙, President of the Continental Congress.