George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed, 8 November 1775

To Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed

Cambridge 8th Novr 1775.

Dear Sir,

The Ship-wreck of a Vessell, said to be from Philadelphia to Boston near Plymouth, with 120 Pipes of Wine, 118 of which are save’d—another from Boston to Hallifax near Beverly, with about 240£s worth of dry Goods—the taking of a Wood Vessel bound to Boston by Captn Adams1—and the sudden departure of Mr Randolph (occassiond by the death of his Uncle) are all the occurrances, worth noticing, which have happen’d since you left this.

I have order’d the Wine, and Goods to this place, for Sale—as also the Papers—the Latter, may unfold secrets that may not be pleasing to some of your Townsmen; & which, so soon as known, will be communicated2—I have been happy enough to convince Captn McPherson, as he says, of the propriety of returning to the Congress—he sets out this day—& I am happy in his having an oppertunity of laying before them a scheme for the destruction of the Naval Force of G: Britain. A Letter, & Journal of Colo. Arnold’s to the 13th Ulto, is come to hand—Copy of which I Inclose to the Congress & by application to Mr Thompson you can see3—I think he is in Quebec—if I hear nothing more of him in five days, I shall be sure of it.

I had like to have forgot, what sets heaviest upon my Mind; the new arrangement of Officers—although we have not enough to constitute the new Corps it hath employed the Genl Officers and myself—ever since thursday last,4 & we are nearly as we begun—Connecticut wants no Massachusets-man in their Corp—Massachusets thinks their is no necessity for a Rhode Islander to be Introduced amongst them—& New Hampshire Says, it’s very hard that her valuable & experienc’d Officers (who are willing to serve) should be discarded, because her own Regiments, under the New Establishment cannot provide for them. In short, after a four days labour, I expect that numbers of Officers, who have given in their names to serve, must be discarded from Massachusets (where the Regiments have been numerous, & the number in them small) & Connecticut compleated with a fresh recruit of Officers from its own Governmt—this will be departing, not only from the principals of common justice, but from the Letter of the Resolve, agreed on at this place;5 but, at present, I see no help for it. We are to have another meeting upon the matter this day when something must be hit upon as time is slipping of—My Compliments to Mrs Reed, & to all enquiring friends. I am with sincerety & truth Dr Sir Yr Affecte Hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I had just finishd my Letter when a blundering Lieutt, of the blundering Captn Coit, who had just blunderd upon two Vessels from Nova Scotia, came in with the Acct of it; &, before I could rescue my Letter, without knowing what he did pickd up a Candle, & sprinkled it with Grease—but these are kind of Blunders which one can readily excuse. The Vessels contain Hay, live Stock, Poultry, &ca and are now safely Moord in Plymouth Harbour.6 Yr &ca

G. W——n.


1For the wreck of the sloop Monmouth at Eastham, see William Watson to GW, 3 Nov., and for the wreck of the sloop North Britain near Beverly and Winborn Adams’s capture of an unidentified sloop carrying wood, see William Bartlett to GW, 4 Nov. 1775.

2The Monmouth’s papers showed that she was not involved in trade with the enemy. See Stephen Moylan to William Watson, 18 Nov., quoted in Watson to GW, 11 Nov. 1775, n.4.

5GW is apparently referring to the committee of conference’s agreement on 20 Oct. that he should choose the best qualified officers from among those willing to continue serving. See Proceedings of the Committee of Conference, 18–24 Oct. 1775, Document II, Minutes of the Conference.

6The offending officer was Henry Champion (1751–1836) of the 2d Connecticut Regiment, who served as lieutenant aboard Capt. William Coit’s armed schooner, the Harrison. Champion became adjutant of the 22d Continental Infantry on 1 Jan. 1776, and a year later he was promoted to captain of the 3d Connecticut Regiment. Champion resigned his commission on 1 May 1780. The two vessels from Nova Scotia were the schooner Industry, Charles Coffin, master, and the sloop Polly, Sibeline White, master. See William Watson to GW, 6 Nov. 1775.

Index Entries