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Letter from General Greene to Samuel Ward



Prospect-Hill, December 10, 1775.

In my last I mentioned to you that the troops inlisted very slowly in general; I was in hopes then that ours would not have deserted the cause of their country, but they seem to be so sick of this way of life, and so home-sick, that I fear the greater part, and the best of the troops from our Colony, will go home. The Connecticut troops are going home in shoals this day. Five thousand of the militia, three from this Province, and two from Hampshire, are called in to take their place. There is a great defection among their (the Connecticut) troops, but from the spirit and resolution of the people of that Province I make no doubt they will furnish their proportion without delay. New-Hampshire behaves nobly; their troops engage cheerfully. The regiment raised in the Colony of Rhode-Island


has hurt our recruiting amazingly; they are fond of serving in the army at home, and each feels a desire to protect his own family.

I harangued the troops yesterday; I hope it had some effect; they appear of a better disposition to-day; some have inlisted, and others discover a complying temper. I leave nothing undone or unsaid that will promote the recruiting service. But I fear the Colony of Rhode-Island is upon the decline. There have been, and now are, some unhappy disputes subsisting between the town and country interest, and some wretches, for the pake of a present popularity, are endeavouring to widen the breach, to build up their own consequence, to the prejudice and ruin of the publick interest. God grant that they may meet with the disgrace they deserve.

This Province begins to exert itself; the General Court has undertaken to provide for the army, wood, &c. Their troops begin now to inlist very fast. They are zealous in the country to engage in the service.

I sent home some recruiting officers, but they got scarcely a man, and report that there are none to be had there. No publick spirit prevails; I wish you and your colleague were at home a few days to spirit up the people. Newport,I believe, from the best intelligence I can get, is determined to observe a strict neutrality this winter, and in the spring join the strongest party. I feel for the honour of the Colony, which I think in a fair way, from the conduct of the people at home and the troops abroad, to receive a wound. It mortifies me to death that our Colony and troops should be a whit behind the neighbouring Governments in private virtue or publick spirit.

I have been strengthening this Hill, in order that if the soldiery should not engage as cheerfully as we expected,I might be able to defend it with a less number.