From John Hancock
Baltimore Feby 25th 1777.
From the Resolves, which I have the Honour of transmitting herewith, you will perceive the Measures Congress have taken to reinforce your Army at this Juncture.1
I have wrote to the Convention of New York to place a proper Guard of Militia at the Passes in the Highlands, in Case you should think proper to call to your Assistance the Troops under Genl Heath, which will be highly agreeable to Congress.2
I have likewise wrote to the Governor of New Jersey, and to the Council of Safety of Pennsylvania to call forth their Militia at this important Crisis.3 It is indeed devoutly to be wished, and is the earnest Desire of Congress, that the Army under your Command may be made not only strong enough to confine the Enemy within their present Quarters and prevent them from getting Supplies from the Country, but totally to subdue them before they can be further reinforced. You will therefore be pleased to write to the Colonels or other Commanding officers of the Regiments that are raising in the New England States as well as those of New York and New Jersey, and order them immediately to march the Troops under their Command in the most expeditious Manner to Head Quarters. Similar Letters will be written by the Board of War to the Commanding Officers of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. I beg Leave to refer your Attention to the whole of the inclosed Resolves.
Your Favour of the 20th inst. came to Hand the 24th and was immediately laid before Congress. I have the Honour to be, with Sentiments of the greatest Esteem & Respect Sir your most obedt & very hble Servt
John Hancock Presidt
In consequence of your Letter & one from Mr Morris, Congress have suspended their Remove to Philada for a few days.4
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A. The postscript does not appear on the letter-book copy. On 26 Feb. Hancock sent this letter unsealed to Robert Morris for his perusal with directions to forward it to GW by special express (see Hancock to Morris, 26 Feb. 1777, 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 , 6:375), which Morris did on 1 Mar. (see the Continental Congress Executive Committee to GW, that date). GW’s aide-de-camp Robert Hanson Harrison docketed this letter in part “Ansd 12 March,” but no letter from GW to Hancock of that date has been found.
1. Hancock enclosed copies of several resolutions that the Continental Congress passed on 24 Feb. 1777 after meeting as a committee of the whole to consider how to strengthen the Continental army under GW’s command in New Jersey. In order to reinforce GW’s army, Congress resolved that it would “be agreeable” for GW to order all the Continental troops at Providence, R.I., and as many of the Continental army troops under Heath’s command as GW “shall think proper” to march immediately for the main army at New Jersey, and for the New York convention to post “as many Militia on the Highlands as may be sufficient to defend those Passes against any Attempts of the Enemy, during the Absence of the regular Troops.” Congress also directed the Board of War to write letters to the commanding officers of the regiments “now raising & recruiting in the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware Maryland, and Virginia, ordering them immediately to march the Troops enlisted under their Command, by Companies and Parts of Companies, to join the Army under Genl Washington; proper Officers being left behind to recruit the Companies or Corps that are not yet compleated, and to bring up the Recruits.” GW was directed to write similar letters to the commanding officers of the regiments in the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, the governor of New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania council of safety to order reinforcements “properly armed and equipped” out of the militia of their states. All of the states were requested to identify and confiscate Continental arms from persons not in “actual Service.” Hancock also enclosed copies of Congress’s resolutions of 25 Feb. 1777 concerning arms, clothing, deserters, profanity, and Regnier de Roussi’s appointment as a lieutenant colonel. All of the enclosures are in DLC:GW; 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 , 7:149–57, Thomas Burke’s Notes of Debates, 24 Feb. 1777, 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 , 6:352–53, and William Livingston to GW, 3 Mar. 1777.
2. A copy of Hancock’s letter to the New York convention of this date is in DNA:PCC, item 12A (see also 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 , 6:366–67).
3. See Hancock to William Livingston, this date, in MHi: Livingston Papers, and Hancock to the Pennsylvania council of safety, this date, in DNA:PCC, item 12A; see also ibid., 365–66, and Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:244.
4. For Robert Morris’s letter, see the Continental Congress executive committee to Hancock, 22 Feb., in DNA:PCC, item 137; see also 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 , 6:342–43.