George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 8 August 1777

From John Hancock

Philadelphia August 8th 1777


Your favour of yesterday’s Date, with its Inclosures from General Schuyler I duly Rec’d, & laid before Congress.

We have no kind of News, nor have I any thing in Charge from Congress to communicate, further than to Inclose you several Resolutions of Congress,1 to which I Beg leave to Refer you, and am with the utmost Esteem, Sir Your very hume Servt

John Hancock Presidt


1The enclosed resolutions, passed between 1 and 7 Aug. 1777 and located in DLC:GW, concern a variety of military-related matters (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 , 8:597–98, 616, 617, 619, 620–21). A resolution of 1 Aug. directs the commanding officer in the state of Georgia to establish a post in the southern part of his state “at the most convenient and healthy situation,” and a resolution of 6 Aug. directs Brig. Gen. Robert Howe to appoint a brigadier general to relieve Brig. Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, who is ordered to report to GW’s headquarters “with all possible expedition.” Another resolution of 6 Aug. directs Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates to inform “those states [in the eastern and northern departments] whom he shall apply to for militia, that Congress think it imprudent in the present circumstances of things to adhere to settled quotas which ought to be called out from each particular state.”

Several other resolutions of 6 Aug. concern the commissary and mustermasters departments. The first resolution calls upon Commissary Gen. Joseph Trumbull to remain in office while the new commissaries general of purchases and issues learn the responsibilities of their posts, and another resolution appoints James Blicker deputy commissary general of issues for the northern department, in place of Elisha Avery, who resigned. A third resolution of 6 Aug. allows the commissary general of musters the pay and ration of a colonel and sets the pay for his assistant and for the mustermasters, and a fourth resolution directs the mustermasters to assist the paymaster general and his assistants in making returns.

Congress on 7 Aug. resolved to retain British major general Richard Prescott as “a pledge for the good treatment and release” of American major general Charles Lee, and to treat Prescott in the same manner as the British treated Lee. Another resolution of that date authorized GW to negotiate the exchange of prisoners of war “as he shall judge expedient,” notwithstanding Congress’s earlier resolutions concerning the exchange of Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell and the Hessian field officers. One last resolution of 7 Aug. increased the pay for the deputy commissaries general of issues and their clerks.

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