George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed, 27 November 1775

To Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed

Cambridge 27th Novr 1775.

Dear Sir

Your Letter of the 16th by Post now lyes before me,1 & I thank you for the attention paid to my Memorandums; the arrival of Money will be an agreeable Circumstance.

I recollect no occurrance of moment since my last, except the taking possession of Cobble Hill on Wednesday night[.] this to my great surprize we did, & have worked on ever since, without receiving a single Shott from Bunkers Hill—the Ship—or Floating Batteries2—what all this means we know not, unless some capitol stroke is meditating. I have caused two half Moon Batteries to be thrown up, for occasional use, between Litchmores Point & the Mouth of Cambridge River; and another Work at the Causey going on to Litchmores point to command that pass, & rake the little rivulet which runs by it to Patterson’s Fort.3 besides these I have been, & mark’d out, three places between Sewells point, & our Lines on Roxbury Neck for Works to be thrown up, and occasionally Mann’d in case of a Sortee, when the Bay gets Froze.4

By order of Genl Howe, 300 of the poor Inhabitants of Boston were landed on Saturday last at point Shirley, destitute almost of every thing; the Instant I got notice of it, I informed a Committee of Council thereof; that proper care might be taken of them5—Yesterday in the Evening I receivd information that one of them was dead, & two more expiring; & the whole in the most miserable & piteous condition—I have order’d Provision to them till they can be remov’d, but am under dreadful apprehension’s of their communicating the small Pox as it is Rief in Boston—I have forbid any of them coming to this place on that Acct.

A Ship well fraught with Ordinance, Ordinance Stores &ca is missing, & gives great uneasiness in Boston, her Convoy has been in a fortnight—I have orderd our Arm’d Vessels to keep a good look out for her6—the same reasons which restraind you from writing fully, also prevent me, I shall there⟨fore⟩ only add that I am Dr Sir Yr Affecte Hble Serv⟨t⟩.

Go: Washington

If any Waggon should be coming this way, Pray order a qty of good writing Paper to head Quarters; & Sealg Wax.


1Letter not found.

2The Americans occupied Cobble Hill on the night of 22 November.

3The rivulet is apparently Miller’s River, and “Patterson’s Fort” is apparently redoubt number 3, which was occupied by Col. John Paterson’s regiment. See General Orders, 22 July 1775.

4For the planning of these works, see GW to Artemas Ward, 17 Nov. 1775.

5For the committee appointed by the General Court to care for the refugees, see GW to James Warren, 9 Nov. 1775, n.1. The previous Saturday was 25 November.

6The missing vessel was the brig Nancy. See Loammi Baldwin to GW, 26 Nov. 1775. Stephen Moylan wrote to William Bartlett on 26 Nov.: “We have information upon which we can depend, that a brigg Laden with 100 Gs of Brass Cannon, a number of Mortars & other Military Stores, is now Missing from Boston, the Vessell which Convoyed her was arrived a fortnight past, it is apprehended She has fallen into our hands, if true it would be the most fortunate Circumstance that coud happen for the publick good as well as the Captors, if Sir either of the armed vessells are in port, it is his Excellencys express orders that they put to Sea as soon as possible & keep a sharp Look out for this Brigg who is without any force, if taken there will be a Noble dividend to make” (Clark, Naval Documents, 2:1142). John Manley captured the Nancy on 28 November. See GW to Hancock, 30 Nov. 1775.

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