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To George Washington from John Hancock, 17 July 1776

From John Hancock

Philadelphia July 17th 1776.

Sir,

Your Favour of the 14th Inst: was duely received, and immediately laid before Congress.

In obedience to their Commands, I do myself the Honour to forward sundry Resolves.1

The Congress being of Opinion, that a Quantity of Powder should be distributed thro’ the several Counties of New York and New-Jersey, I am to request, you will give Directions to have it lodged in the Hands of such Persons as may [be] depended upon.2

I have delivered Monsr Kermoven his Commission, and directed him to repair immediately to the Jerseys, and put himself under the Officer who commands the Flying Camp.3

You will please to give Orders respecting the Appointment of a Sergeant Major, a Quarter Master General, and Paymaster Genl in each Regiment, and likewise, necessary Directions to General Schuyler, with Regard to cleansing the Army of the Small Pox.4

Mr Humpton, and Mr Dawson have been Officers in the British Army, and I hope will be of Service in ours. They will be ordered to Head Quarters as soon as possible.5

Upwards of a Thousand Troops from Maryland are now in this City on their Way to join the Flying Camp in New Jersey. They are an exceeding fine Body of Men, and will begin their March this Day.6

Agreeably to the enclosed Resolves of Congress, I have wrote in the most vehement and pressing Manner, to the Massachussetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Jersey, to forward their Militia—and I have no Doubt of their Compliance immediately.7 With the most fervent, and incessant Wishes, that your Head may be covered in the Day of Battle, and that Success may crown your Arms, I have the Honour to be, Sir your most obed. & very hble Servt

John Hancock Presidt

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A.

1The enclosed resolutions of 16 July include one authorizing the appointment of commissioners to audit army accounts at New York and in the northern department and one informing GW that the bounty approved by Congress on 26 June “was intended as a general regulation” and applied to anyone who would enlist for three years (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 , 5:564–65). For the other enclosed resolutions, see notes 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

2The word “be” appears in the LB. Congress resolved in one of the enclosed resolutions of 16 July that GW “be desired to lodge powder with such persons as he may think proper for the use of such parts of the state of new york as he may apprehend exposed to danger, & that the commanding officer in New Jersey do the same in that colony; and that general Washington & the said commanding officer in New Jersey be impowered to draw from Messrs Wisner’s, Livingston’s and Ford’s powder mills any powder which may be requisite for these purposes or for the use of their respective camps” (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 , 5:563).

3Among the enclosed resolutions of 16 July is one appointing Kermorvan an engineer in the Continental service with the rank of lieutenant colonel (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 , 5:565). Hancock enclosed Kermorvan’s commission in a letter to him of this date (DNA:PCC, item 12A).

4All of these matters are included in the enclosed resolutions of 16 July. In addition, each regiment was authorized to have a drum major and a fife major (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 , 5:563–64).

5In one of the enclosed resolutions of 16 July, Congress resolved to employ Richard Humpton (c.1732–1804) and Samuel Dawson (d. 1779), both of Pennsylvania, in the flying camp, conferring the rank of lieutenant colonel on Humpton and making Dawson a captain (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 , 5:565). Humpton, a native of Yorkshire, served as a captain with the 36th Regiment of Foot in Jamaica until 1773 when he resigned his commission and moved to Pennsylvania. Humpton’s military experience proved to be useful not only in the flying camp but also in the Continental line after 25 Oct. 1776 when he was appointed colonel of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. Humpton remained in the army through several reorganizations, taking command in succession of the 10th Pennsylvania in July 1778, the 6th Pennsylvania in January 1781, and the 2d Pennsylvania in January 1783. After the war Humpton returned to Pennsylvania, where he became a major general of militia in 1794 and adjutant general of the state in 1800. Samuel Dawson was made a captain in the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment on 30 Sept. 1776 and was transferred to the 8th Pennsylvania in July 1778. He died at Fort Pitt on 6 Sept. 1779.

6Hancock on this date wrote to the commander of these Maryland troops, Col. William Smallwood, ordering him on behalf of Congress to march them to New York as soon as possible (DNA:PCC, item 12A; 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 , 5:571).

7See Hancock to Certain States, 16 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 , 4:468–69, and Congress’s resolutions of 16 July in DLC:GW and 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 , 5:565–66. Congress also resolved on 16 July that GW “be desired to call to his assistance at New york two thousand of the men who have marched into New Jersey to form the flying camp and that the convention of New-Jersey be requested immediately to supply their places with an equal number of the militia of that state” (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 , 5:565–66).

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