From Brigadier General Hugh Mercer
Eliza. Town 16 July 1776
I have just now receivd a Letter from the Honble Mr Hancock containing the Orders of Congress that I should march the Troops which are to compose the flying Camp & militia, wherever the Service requires—in subordination to your Instructions1—When I formerly mentioned Brunswick as a proper place for that Camp, my Idea of the Intention of raising & collecting an Army here, was the Security of Philadelphia only—but as I find the design is equally to secure this Colony—and Pennsylva. or assist in the operations on the N. York side—I am well satisfy’d that Amboy will in every view best fullfil that Intention—I have to day from Doctr Wm Brown late of Alexandria a request to interest your Excellency in his appointment to the Charge of the Hospital for the Flying Camp—Dr Brown has served with reputation as a Regimental Surgeon with Col. Woodford ever since Regular Troops were raisd in Virginia—He is I am well satisfyed worthy of any countenance from those in Authority and every way equal to the execution of the Trust he desires—He wishes for a Line to Congress from your Excellency in which recommendation, if my being of the same profession, could have any weight I would most readily join.2 I have the honour to be Sir Your most obed. Sert
As the command I am honoured with necessarily engages me in writing more than may be consistent with other parts of the Service—I beg to know whether the Assistance of a Clerk or Secretary will not be allowed—I hope there will be no impropriety in appointing Mr Ross to the Post of Brigade Major.3
1. See Hancock to Mercer, 14 July, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 4:453–54; see also 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 , 5:559.
2. GW was well acquainted with William Brown (c.1748–1792), a young Marylander who began practicing medicine in Alexandria soon after receiving his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1770. Dr. Brown frequently visited Mount Vernon before and after the Revolutionary War. On 20 Sept. 1776 Congress appointed Brown assistant physician under Dr. William Shippen, Jr., “for the flying camp and troops in New Jersey” (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 , 5:808). Brown became surgeon general of the hospital in the middle department on 2 July 1777, and on 6 Feb. 1778 he was named physician general in the middle district (ibid., 8:525, 10:131). Brown resigned from the army in July 1780.
3. Mercer wrote Hancock on 20 July: “Mr David Ross a young Gentleman of Maryland, had joind me in hopes of haveing the appointment of brigade Major—I beg leave to recommend him to the Honorable Congress: as fit to perform the duty of deputy Adjutant General, or of Brigade Major as may be thought most expedient” (DNA:PCC, item 159). Congress took no action on this recommendation.