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James Bowdoin to the President of Congress



State of Massachusetts-Bay, Council Chamber, Boston, December 18th, 1776.

SIR: This State, agreeable to the recommendation of Congress, have some time since taken measures for raising their quota of the Continental Army. It appears, by a resolution passed by Congress the 16th of September last, that the moneys to be given for bounties is to be paid by the Paymaster in the department where the soldier shall inlist. A number of men have inlisted into the service, and the officers are at a loss of whom they are to receive the twenty dollars bounty for the men. General Ward informs us that the Paymaster has not as yet received any orders to pay this bounty money; and if he had, he has no money to pay it; neither has the General received any orders to draw upon the Paymaster for this purpose. As it is of the last importance to raise these men for the Continental Army without the least delay, we submit it to the consideration of Congress whether it will not be absolutely necessary to give


orders for this purpose immediately, and to furnish the Paymaster with a sum sufficient to pay the bounties aforesaid.

While the General Court were contemplating upon measures for raising our quota of the new Army, General Washington, in consequence of the advice of a Council of War, requested that this State would, as soon as possible, send him a reinforcement of four thousand more from our Militia, to supply the place of those who were about returning home, to continue in the service till the first of March next, by which time he hoped the new Army would be levied; and this requisition from General Washington was soon after seconded by General Lee, who signified that a greater number would be necessary. In compliance with those requisitions, this State have ordered one quarter part of the able-bodied men in the Militia at home to march to reinforce the Army near New-York. In the midst of our executing this business, we have been called upon by the Governour of Rhode-Island to afford assistance to that State, to defend them against the enemy' s fleet and army arrived in that State. They consist of above one hundred sail of ships, and, as Governour Cooke writes, with not more than seven nor less than five thousand troops. They have got possession of the island of Rhode-Island, and it is probable are meditating an impression into the country. We have, therefore, ordered the one quarter part of the Militia of the County of Barnstable (which was destined for New-York) to march to Providence; and have also ordered the whole of the Militia of the Counties at Plymouth and Bristol, together with one regiment from the County of Suffolk and two regiments from the County of Worcester, and a company of train from Boston, to march to the same place, for their relief and assistance. This will naturally lessen and impede the reinforcement designed for the Army near New-York.

We have also, in consequence of a letter from General Schuyler, ordered the one quarter part of the Militia of the County of Berkshire, and half the quarter part of the Militia of the County of Hampshire, (both of which were destined for the Army near New-York,) to march to Albany, there to follow the orders of General Schuyler.

Notwithstanding these several urgent calls, the General Court are fully impressed with the necessity of raising a new Army, and are determined vigorously to exert themselves in accomplishing this all-important measure.

This State, in pursuance of the recommendation of Congress, have appointed Nathaniel Appelton, Esq˙, Commissioner of the Loan Office, though they have little or no expectation of his borrowing any money upon the terms prescribed by Congress.

In the name and behalf of Council.

I am, respectfully, sir, your most humble servant,


To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esq.