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Report of the Committee sent to the Northern Department


Report of the Committee sent to the Northern Department.

[That supplying the Army by contract is practicable. Estimates and calculations by General Gates, Schuyler, and for articles, &c˙, enclosed. Read and referred to Committee of Five, 27 November, 1776.]

The Committee appointed by Congress to go to Ticonderoga, beg leave to report, that after having obtained all possible information in their power respecting the nature and extent of the important subject of supplying the Northern Army by contract, they (your Committee) are of opinion, that at present the measure cannot be adopted under any idea of promoting the publick service. Your Committee have entered into this subject in conversation with your present Commissary-General, and with your Majors-General Schuyler and Gates, and also with two gentlemen who offered themselves as contractors. The lowest terms on which a contract could be obtained have been fully considered by your Committee, and after the most exact calculations, have been compared with the present mode of supplying the Army; the result of all which, in the opinion of your Committee, is, that the present mode ought to be continued, under such farther regulations as shall appear proper to be made: and your Committee beg leave to recommend your present Commissary-General as one of the most diligent and able officers, and by any means to be retained in your service. Your Committee also beg leave further to report, that they have visited the General Hospital for the Northern Army, situated at Fort George; that there is a range of buildings erected convenient for the purpose, which on the 20th of October last contained about four hundred sick, including those wounded and sent from General Arnold' s fleet; that they were sufficiently supplied with fresh mutton and Indian meal, but wanted vegetables; that the Director-General in that department obtained a large supply of medicines, but that the sick suffered much for want of good female nurses and comfortable bedding; many of those poor creatures being obliged to lay upon the bare boards. Your Committee endeavoured to procure straw as the best temporary expedient; but they earnestly recommend it to the attention of Congress, that a quantity of bedding be, speedily furnished, agreeable to a note in paper No˙ 1. A Hospital, in the opinion of your Committee, should be continued at Fort George, for the reception of persons infected with contagious disorders; but your Committee are clearly of opinion that the General Hospital for the Army stationed at Ticonderoga ought to be erected on the opposite grounds, called Mount Independence, Fort George being at much too great a distance. Your Committee recommend that a quantity of vegetables be sent to Tyconderoga, without delay, agreeable to a note in paper No˙ 2. And also, they are of opinion, that extensive gardens should next spring be made on Mount Independence, from whence the Army might be supplied with vegetables at a much more certain and less expensive rate than otherwise. Your Committee cannot omit mentioning under this head, the complaints which they have received from persons of all ranks, in and out of the Army, respecting the neglect and ill-treatment of the sick. It is shocking to the feelings of humanity, as well as ruinous to the publick service, that so deadly an evil hath been so long without a remedy. Your Committee do not undertake to determine from what quarter this mischief hath arisen; but they most earnestly recommend that a strict inquiry be immediately made into the conduct of the several Directors-General of Hospitals, their Surgeons, other officers and servants, and that exemplary punishment be inflicted on all such as shall be found to have neglected their duty.

Your Committee are also of opinion, that the number of troops, five thousand, mentioned in paper No˙ 2, should be garrisoned and cantoned in the Northern Department during the next winter; and they recommend to the consideration of Congress the other particulars contained in paper No˙ 2, and also those contained in papers No˙ 3 and 4, and in an especial manner the note in page 10 of paper No˙ 3, respecting the building of some large vessels on Lake Champlain.

Your Committee also beg leave to recommend to the immediate attention of Congress the subject of their letter to Mr˙ Commissary Trumbull, dated Albany, November 10, 1776, and marked No˙ 5.