George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Board of War, 14 November 1776

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] November 14th 1776.


The Congress having received Information that a considerable part of the Enemy’s Fleet had sailed from Sandy Hook to the Southward, & judging that immediate Steps were necessary to be taken for the preservation and Defence of this City, were pleased to vest us with all their powers to effect this important Business1—As Genl Mifflin has a considerable Influence in this place, the Board judge it for the Interest of the Service that he be immediably order’d to this City, where his Exertions we doubt not will turn out to the Advantage of our Cause. Your Excellency will therefore be pleased to give him Directions upon the Subject as soon as possible; provided you shall be of Opinion that he cannot be more usefully employ’d in any other place, which we beg Leave to submit to you: If the Enemy should bend their Way to this part of the Continent we doubt not that your Excellency will yield us every possible Assistance. With every Sentiment of Esteem we have the Honour to be your Excellen[c]y’s most obedt & very humble Svts

Benja. Harrison

James Wilson

E. Rutledge

Francis Lightfoot Lee

LS, in Edward Rutledge’s writing, DLC:GW.

1Congress on this date instructed the Board of War to confer immediately with the Pennsylvania council of safety “and co-operate with them in devising ways and means and [for] calling forth the strength of this and the neighbouring states, for the defence of this city, against any attempts which the enemy may make to obtain possession of it” (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 , 6:951; see also the Board of War to the Pennsylvania Associators, this date, 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 , 5:482–83). For the intelligence that prompted Congress to take this action and the report of the next day indicating that Philadelphia was not threatened by this fleet, see Hancock to GW, this date, and note 1.

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