George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed, 23 April 1776

To Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed

New York. 23d April 1776.

My dear Sir,

I have been favourd with several of your Letters since I came to this place, some of them indeed after getting pretty well advanced on the Road towards Boston—My extreame hurry, with one kind of business and engagement or another, leaves me little more than time to express my concern for your Indisposition, and the interposition of other obstacles to prevent me from receiving that aid from you which I have been wishing for & hourly expecting.1

Your Letter of the 18th descriptive of the jealousies and uneasinesses which exist among the Members of Congress is really alarming2—if the House is divided, the fabrick must fall, and a few Individuals perish in the Ruins. For the occurrances of this place I shall beg leave to refer you to Mr Palfrey, who at the particular request of Mr Hancock comes to Philadelphia.3

The sooner my Camp Equipage is sent to this place the better, that it may be ready for any Service I may be sent, or find necessary to go upon—If you could hire Horses to bring the Waggon &ca to this place and could conveniently & readily, sell those two you bought I would now rather wish it as the use for them is uncertain and the expence of keeping them (Provender being both scarce and dear) great—to which may be added that I have not the same occasion now as when I first required them, having taken four of the Troop Horses which were found in Boston and which answer’d the purpose exceeding well from Cambridge here to fit out my Baggage Waggons—I do not mean howevr by what I have said that you should with-hold the Horses if you cannot immediately & readily dispose of them without loss.

Inclosed is a Letter to Mr Hancock for payment for the whole.4 I am with sincere esteem and regard Dr Sir Yr Most Affecte Hble Ser:

Go: Washington


1Reed discussed his plans more candidly with his brother-in-law Charles Pettit of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. “To go into the army seems like abandoning my [legal] profession,” Reed wrote Pettit from Philadelphia on 30 Mar. 1776. “If I stay here, I have so many avocations that I cannot follow it, even if it was more valuable than it is. . . . What with the Assembly, the little business of my own, and extra avocations, I have scarce an hour I can call my own. If I stay here I shall be ruined by devoting my whole time to the public for nothing. In the other case, I shall at least bear my own weight. This consideration operates strongly on my mind, and I believe will turn the scale” (Reed, Joseph Reed description begins William B. Reed. Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Military Secretary of Washington, at Cambridge; Adjutant-General of the Continental Army; Member of the Congress of the United States; and President of the Executive Council of the State of Pennsylvania. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1847. description ends , 1:181–82). For a discussion of Reed’s activities in the Pennsylvania general assembly, see Reed to GW, 7 Mar. 1776, n.6. Reed rejoined the Continental army on 16 June as adjutant general.

2This letter has not been found.

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