Council of War
[Cambridge, 2 November 1775]
At a Council of General Officers held at Head Quarters in Cambridge 2d November 1775.
- His Excellency General Washington
- Majors General Ward, Lee, Putnam
- Brigadiers General Thomas, Heath, Spencer, Sullivan, Green, Gates
The General acquainted The Council that it had been resolved at a meeting held with a Committee from the Continental Congress, and The Governours of The Adjacent Colonies, That such Officers as have served in the present Army to approbation, and are willing to Stay, be preferred. If there are more of those than are necessary for the New Army, The General to distinguish such as he deems best Qualified—It was also at the aforesaid meeting further agreed, that it should be proposed to the Officers now serving in The Continental Army, that they Signify which of them will continue to serve, & Defend their Country; & which of them retire; & that such Officers as propose to continue in the Service, & are approved of by The General, proceed to Inlist their men in the Continental Service, upon the same pay, & allowance of provisions, as is now given.1
In consequence of These Resolutions, His Excellency Signified his wishes, that The General Officers composing this Council, as they are much better acquainted with The Characters & Merits of the Several Officers of the Army, than He is; would Aid Him in the Choice; whereupon it was agreed, that the following persons should be Nominated for Colonels to Command the Regiments of The New Army—Viz.
The Council then agreed with His Excellency The Commander in Chief in the Nomination of The following undernam’d Persons for Lieutenant Colonels.
The Council proceeded next to The Nomination of the undernam’d persons for Majors, Viz.
The Council then proceeded to place the Field Officers in Corps in the Following manner Viz:
The Council then resolved, that the Brigadier Generals of The Army, do call together the Field Officers in each Brigade now appointed to serve under The New Establishment, and they to Select out of those Captains, & Subalterns, who have return’d, their Names willing to continue in Service; so many as can be well recommended, the others to be rejected. attention to be paid to Those who are absent upon Furlough, or Command, the First of Those, to undergo the same Scrutiny, as those who give in their Names. if there are any Officers that have not return’d their Names, but are now willing to serve, & can be well recommended, their Names to be return’d, also the best Sergeants. A Return of all The Officers, the Regiments to which they belong, and their former Rank, to be made to The Commander in Chief, that they may be Formed into Regiments.
It appearing from information, that Several of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, are desirous of leaving that place, & had obtained passes for that purpose, arising perhaps from a proclamation of General Howes, which seems to have a Tendency to Compel the Towns people to take up Arms, to aid the Ministerial Troops in subverting the Rights, & Liberties of America;24 & it also appearing from information, that the Small Pox is, at this Time in many parts of The Town of Boston, His Excellency desired to know whether, under these circumstances, it is prudent to suffer Any of the Inhabitants of the said Town, to be Transported to Chelsea, by the Way of Winnissimit Ferry?
As the Situation of American Affairs with respect to Great Britain, may such, as to render it indispensably necessary, to attempt to Destroy the Ministerial Troops in the Town of Boston, before they can be reinforced in the Spring; even if it should be by Bombarding, & Firing the Town, is it advisable to Erect any kind of Works upon Dorchester point, before Frost setts in; & what kind?
What proportion of pay are persons of Nonage & Apprentices to draw?
In our present Scarcity of powder, had not our morning Gun better be discontinued?
What is to be done with Mrs Inman if she comes out, see her Letter.25
D, in Horatio Gates’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. See the minutes for 20 and 21 Oct. in Proceedings of the Committee of Conference, 18–24 Oct. 1775, Document II, Minutes of the Conference.
2. James Reed.
3. Joseph Read.
4. Gates wrote a second set of numbers next to the last three names, making these entries read “26. 25 Bond 27. 26 Baldwin 25. 27 Hutchinson.” If this was a suggested revision of the precedence of these three colonels, it was not adopted. Their regiments were numbered in the original order indicated here.
5. Ezekiel Cornell.
6. Nathaniel Cudworth.
7. Henry Woods.
8. Archibald Crary.
9. Daniel Wood.
10. Although Jacob Brown is omitted from the regimental list below, he became major of Col. Edmund Phinney’s 18th Continental Infantry.
11. Return Jonathan Meigs.
12. Thomas Knowlton.
13. Josiah Haden.
14. Robert Magaw became colonel of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment on 3 Jan. 1776. Anthony James Morris served as major of the 1st Continental Infantry.
15. John Moore does not appear on the list of majors above.
17. Nathaniel Cudworth became major of Col. William Bond’s 25th Continental Infantry, and John Grizzage Frazer filled this slot.
18. Archibald Crary became lieutenant colonel of this regiment when it was learned that Christopher Greene had been captured at Quebec on 31 Dec. 1775. Christopher Smith replaced Crary as major.
19. Roger Enos was replaced as lieutenant colonel of this regiment by Michael Jackson.
20. Daniel Wood became major of Col. Loammi Baldwin’s 26th Continental Infantry, and Jacob Brown took his place in this regiment.
21. Return Jonathan Meigs was captured at Quebec on 31 Dec. 1775. Levi Wells replaced him as major of this regiment.
22. Nathaniel Cudworth took this position when Michael Jackson became lieutenant colonel of Col. Paul Dudley Sargent’s 16th Continental Infantry.
23. James Wesson became lieutenant colonel of this regiment when Abijah Brown declined to serve. Daniel Wood took Wesson’s place.
24. Gen. William Howe’s proclamation of 28 Oct. recommending that the inhabitants of Boston form volunteer military companies for service “within the Precincts of the Town” is printed in the New-England Chronicle: or, the Essex Gazette (Cambridge, Mass.), 2 Nov. 1775.
25. Letter not identified.