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Letter from Colonel Porter to James Warren



Hadley, March 15, 1776.

HONOURED SIR: When I last left you, I was in hopes that by this time I should have been able to write to you from Quebeck; but the backwardness of some towns to encourage their men to engage, and the zeal of individuals to hinder any from inlisting in the service, has hitherto prevented my march. I should do injustice to my country and to Colonel Howe, of Belchertown, if I did not give him the credit of being foremost in the latter class, and of being the instrument (with his son, whom he has constantly employed in the service) of hindering at least four towns from turning out a single man. One full company marched from Northampton on the 3d instant; another company (though not full) marched the day before yesterday; a third is to march on Monday next. The others, I expect, will follow within a week from that time, though I doubt whether they will be any of them quite full. One great difficulty in completing the regiment has been the want of fire-arms. Most of those who are now willing to engage have been in the service the summer past, and were obliged to leave their guns in the Army, and have not yet received their pay for them, and have not been able to purchase others for want of it.

The Committee that have been sent by the Court have purchased all the guns amongst us that are worth taking; so that those who have not yet inlisted must be obliged to go with guns which a roan would not be willing to venture his life with, unless the General will consent to have the guns which have been purchased here sold to the soldiers. The expense of purchasing a gun, &,c˙, (which almost every one has to do who inlists,) has made the soldiers insist upon some encouragement being given them by the towns; alleging that the four pounds they were to receive would hardly purchase the arms that they were obliged by the inlistment to furnish themselves with. Most of the towns where they have raised the men have given ten dollars per man for their quota; others have declined giving anything, and of consequence no men can be obtained.

To remedy these inconveniences, I have sent into other Counties. The same difficulties are there, and they do not view themselves under any obligations to exert themselves to remove them, because they are not particularly called upon by the Court. I have been unwilling to apply for leave to recruit from those now in the Army at Cambridge and Roxbury, because of the important movements that were dally expected, and have now been made, and to which I wish all possible success. I have sent over the line, into New-York Government, (where a number of New-England people have settled, who refuse going with the York officers, and have applied to me to join my regiment,) for a number to fill up the companies. What success I


shall have I know not. I intend to call upon them in a few days myself, to know what has been, or can be done.

In the recess of the Court I wrote to Colonel Mifflin for some more money to defray the expense of marching the regiment to Canada, supposing that I should march myself before I could have opportunity to apply to the General Court. The person I sent the letter by was not careful to deliver it in season, so as to have a return by the way that I expected, and I have not yet received my answer. I am obliged, therefore, to send the bearer of this with an application to the honourable Assembly for a further sum of money. I received, by order of Court, of the Treasurer one hundred pounds, to purchase axes, kettles, &c˙, and to defray the travelling expenses; which sum is far short of what will be necessary. I am also to pay the officers one month' s advance wages, for which no provision has been made. As there is a sum of money now in the Treasury, (sent by the honourable Continental Congress to defray the expense of raising this regiment,) more than what has been paid out to me, I would request that the whole, or such part as the Court pleases, of the remainder might be sent to me for the above purpose; for which sum I will be accountable. The sum sent by the honourable Continental Congress (if I remember right) was £3,750.

I received, by order of January 21st, £1,398 8
By order of January 22, for which I left an order on Colonel Mifflin, 100 0
Received of Major Hawley on your behalf, 1,398 8
Received of Major Hawley to pay for blankets, 312 16
  £3,209 12
Received of Mr˙ Mills 194 blankets, the amount of which, according to the price on each, reckoning one which had no mark on it at 12s. 111 9
  £3,321 1
So that there now remains in the Treasury, after the blankets are paid for, and that order of the £100 was taken back, and what received from you repaid, £428 19
  £3,750 0

I would also just mention, that no provision has been made for the payment of the travelling expenses before they arrive to the Continental stores, which the soldiers will expect to receive, either before they march or immediately upon their arrival at Canada. Whatever sum the Court shall order to be sent, the bearer, (Elisha Dickinson,) who is an honest, careful man, will bring to me, for whose receipt I will be accountable. I purpose to set out on Friday next myself, and go forward with all expedition. I shall take it as a favour of you, sir, that you will despatch the bearer as quick as possible, as he will have little time enough to return in before I set out. I should have wrote to some others of the Court, also, if I could get time. All I can get is whilst others are asleep. It is now past two in the morning, and I have to write to the General and to Colonel Mifflin before the bearer calls upon me, which he is to do by daybreak. Major Hawley is to set out on Monday next to attend Court. He will be able to inform you of some extraordinary proceedings at Berkshire, &c˙, which I have not leisure to inform you of by this conveyance.

You will please, sir, to present my sincere respects to such of my worthy friends at Watertown as may inquire after me.

Your Honours, &c˙, &c˙,


To the Honourable James Warren, Esq˙, at Watertown.