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General Washington to John Augustine Washington



Camp at Cambridge, October 13, 1775.

DEAR BROTHER: Your favour of the 12th ultimo came to hand a few days ago. By it I gladly learned that your family were recovered of the two complaints which had seized many of them, and confined my sister. I am very glad to hear, also, that the Convention had come to resolutions for arming the people, and preparing vigorously for


the defence of the Colony, which, by the latest accounts from England, will prove a salutary measure. I am also pleased to find that the manufacture of arms and ammunition has been attended to with so much care. A plenty of these, and unanimity and fortitude among ourselves, must defeat every attempt that the Ministry can invent to enslave this great Continent. In the manufacturing of arms for publick use, great care should be taken to make the bores of the same size, that the same balls may answer; otherwise, great disadvantages may arise from a mixture of cartridges.

The enemy, by their not coining out, are, I suppose, afraid of us, whilst their situation renders any attempts of ours upon them in a manner impracticable. Nothing new has happened since my last worth communicating. Since finishing our own lines of defence, we, as well as the enemy, have been busily employed in putting our men under proper cover for the winter. Our advanced works and theirs are within musket-shot of each other. We are obliged to submit to an almost daily cannonade, without returning a shot, from our scarcity of powder, which we are necessitated to keep for closer work than cannon distance, whenever the red coat gentry please to step out of their intrenchments. Seeing no prospect of this, I sent a detachment, about a month ago, into Canada, by the way of Kennebeck River, under the command of a Colonel Arnold. This detachment consisted of one thousand men, and was ordered to take possession of Quebeck, if possible; but, at any rate, to make a diversion in favour of General Schuyler, who, by this time, is in possession, I trust, of Montreal and St˙ John' s, as I am not altogether without hopes that Colonel Arnold may be of the Capital. Finding that we were in no danger of a visit from our neighbours, I have fitted out and am fitting out several privateers, with soldiers, who have been bred to the sea; and I have no doubt of making captures of several of their transports, some of which have already fallen into our hands, laden with provisions.

I am obliged to you for your advice to my wife, and for your intention of visiting her. Seeing no great prospect of returning to my family and friends this winter, I have sent an invitation to Mrs. Washington to come to me, although I fear the season is too far advanced to admit this, with any tolerable degree of convenience, especially if she should, when my letters get home, be in New-Kent, as I believe the case will be. I have laid before her a state of the difficulties, however, which must attend the journey, and left it to her own choice.

My love to my sister and the little ones is sincerely tendered, and I am, with true regard, your most affectionate brother,


To John Augustine Washington.