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Letter from General Washington to General Thomas



Philadelphia, May 24, 1776.

SIR: I received your favour of the 8th, instant, with its enclosures, confirming the melancholy intelligence I had before heard of your having been obliged to raise the siege of Quebeck, and to make a precipitate retreat, with the loss of the cannon in the batteaus, and interception of the powder going from General Schuyler. This unfortunate affair has given a sad shock to our schemes in that quarter, and blasted the hope we entertained of reducing that fortress and the whole of Canada to our possession.


From your representation, things must have been found in great disorder, and such as to have made a retreat almost inevitable. But, nevertheless, it is hoped you will be able to make a good stand yet, and, by that means, secure a large or all the upper part of the country. That being a matter of the utmost importance in the present contest, it is my wish and that of Congress, that you take an advantageous post as far down the river as possible, so as not to preclude you from a retreat, if it should be ever necessary, or from getting proper supplies of provisions. The lower down you can maintain a stand the more advantageous will it be, as all the country above will most probably take part with us, and from which we may draw some assistance and support, and considering all below as entirely within the power of the enemy, and of course, in their favour.

This misfortune must be repaired, if possible, by our more vigorous exertions; and trusting that nothing will be wanting on your part or in your power to advance our country' s cause, I am, &c˙,


To Major-General Thomas.