Adams Papers

New England Delegates to George Washington, 2 August 1777

New England Delegates to George Washington

Philadelphia Augt. 2d 1777


As Congress have authorized your Excellency to send a proper Officer to take the Command in the northern Department;1 We take the Liberty to signifie to your Excellency that in our Opinion, no Man will be more likely; to restore, Harmony, Order and Discipline, and retrieve our Affairs in that Quarter, than Majr. Genll. Gates. He has on Experience acquired the Confidence, and stands high in the Esteem of the eastern States and Troops. With Confidence in Your Wisdom We chearfully submit it, to Your Excellency’s Consideration.

Have taken this method to communicate our Sentiments, judging it would give You less Trouble, than a Personal Application.

We are with great Esteem Your Excellencys, most obedient & most humble Servants,

Delegates, for Massachusetts
N. Hampshire
R. Island

John Adams

Nathel. Folsom

Samel. Adams

H L:Marchant

Elbridge Gerry

Elipht. Dyer

Wm. Williams

RC (DLC); individually signed by the delegates; docketed: “John Adams &c. Letter to send Gen Gates to the Northward Aug 2d: 1777.”

1On 1 Aug. the congress ordered Schuyler to return to headquarters and directed Washington to name a general to relieve Schuyler of his northern command. Washington, however, felt that the Northern Department had been all along virtually separate, more under the direction of the congress than under his own, and that the delicacy and critical nature of its situation was a further reason to excuse him from naming a commander. The congress then proceeded to name Gates (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 8:596, 603–604; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 9:8–9). The fiasco of Ticonderoga had strengthened the hand of the anti-Schuyler forces, even though he was not directly responsible for St. Clair’s evacuation of that post.

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