George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Artemas Ward, 30 June 1776

From Major General Artemas Ward

Boston 30 June 1776


Your Letter of the twenty third instant I received last Evening, and shall carry your Orders into execution as soon as possible.

The General Assembly of New Hampshire some time since applied to me for the powder which that Colony lent the Continent last Summer, I referred them to your Excellency for an Order, but since the retreat of General Sullivan they have urged the great necessity of having the powder immediately for the defence of their frontiers, before they can have an answer from your Excellency, I therefore gave them an order for fifty two |Barrels powder, (the quantity they say they lent the Continent) the Council of said Colony being answerable for the same.1

The Man of War and Transports which have been in the Bay |some days past, disappeared yesterday, since which I have not heard any thing of them.

I have inclosed the Judgment of the Court of Enquiry respecting Lieut. Merril2—There are near twenty vacant Commissions in this Division of the Army, I have ordered the vacancies to be filled from time to time by such Men as were thought most suitable to do the duty, until your pleasure should be signified. I mention this now because Congress have directed a Return to be made to the “Board of War and Ordinance,” of this Division of the Army with the Dates of the Commissions.3 But I hope to be relieved before this Return can be made, as my illness increases |upon me. I am Your Excellency’s Obedient Humble Servant

Artemas Ward

LS, DLC:GW; LB, MHi: Ward Papers.

1Meshech Weare, president of the New Hampshire council, wrote to Ward on 29 June: “I am directed to make application to you & set forth the distressing situation of this Colony for want of Gun Powder. The Western frontiers, (extending 150 miles on Connecticut River) are destitute thereof, and being greatly alarmed at the present accounts from Canada, have sent Express after Express, who are now waiting therefor. Last Summer, to assist the Continental Army in their necessity for that article, we sent them 52 Bbls, which left us but Sixteen Bls Three vessels sent by the Colony to the Foreign Islands bro’t back but 52 Bls part of which stock has been deliver’d our soldiers gone to Canada and is considerable lessened. The time necessary to obtain order from Gen. Washington to deliver us the powder lent may decide the fate of our Frontiers and leave open the lower settlements of your and our Colonies to the Devastations of Canadians & Savages. Therefore we Entreat you (in this time of eminent Danger) so far to dispense with the common method or Rule in such cases, as to order the delivery of 52 Bls of Gun Powder to the Bearer, Mr. [Richard] Champney, to be forwardd by him to us; and we will without delay send to Gen. Washington for his order to you for that purpose;—which, we are sensible will greatly recover the almost despairing spirits of our Brethren in the Frontiers, and be esteemed a favor to the common cause & this Colony in particular” (Bouton, N.H. State Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. State Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the State of New-Hampshire during the Period of the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1783 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 8. 1874. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 8:178). For Weare’s previous request for the return of the colony’s gunpowder, see the New Hampshire General Court to GW, 12 Mar., and GW to Weare, 14 Mar. 1776.

2Ward’s secretary failed to enclose this document with this letter, but he did send it with Ward’s letter to GW of 4 July. For a discussion of Lt. Daniel Merrill’s case, see GW to Ward, 13 May 1776, n.1.

3Congress requested this information for the whole army in its resolution of 12 June establishing the Board of War (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:434).

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