Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Reed, 25 September 1775

From Joseph Reed8

Copy: Library of Congress

Camp at Cambridge Sept. 25. 1775


After congratulating you upon an Appointment9 which is but a small Acknowledgement of the many signal Services you have rendered your Country, I beg leave to mention to you that by some Accident or Misconduct in the Offices the Generals Letters for these 2 Months past to his Family and Friends in Virginia have miscarried. Some very important Business as well respecting his own Estate as another committed to his Care has suffered in Consequence so much that he is exceedingly uneasy, and would take it as a particular Favour if such Regulations were immediately made as would prevent the like in future. He apprehends this Failure is between Philad. and Alexandria. Besides the Vexation and Disappointment attending his Circumstance there may be Danger of there being made an ill Use of at such a Time as this.

We have had no Occurrence of any Consequence in this Camp for several Days. There was a very heavy Cannonade upon Roxbury last Saturday Morning but with no Effect. In the mean Time a Number of Flat bottom Boats are building that if a favourable Oppor[tunit]y should present we may be ready to embrace it.1 I am &c.

J Reed

B. Franklin, Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Reed last appeared in this series as a N.J. lawyer in 1770, when he carried documents to BF in London: above, XVII, 85, 89. Since then his career had greatly changed. After returning to America he had moved to Philadelphia, established a practice there, and involved himself in politics. In May, 1775, he became an officer of militia, and in early July was appointed military secretary to Washington. He left that post soon after writing the present letter, and subsequently served, like BF, in Congress and as president of the Pa. Supreme Executive Council. John F. Roche, Joseph Reed, a Moderate in the American Revolution (New York, 1957), pp. 60, 66; James McLachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768 . . . (Princeton, 1976), pp. 200–4.

9As postmaster general.

1Washington had consulted his generals on the advisability of attacking Boston in conjunction with an assault on the enemy’s lines at Roxbury; a council of war on Sept. 11 had rejected the plan (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, III, 483–5), but it was apparently held in reserve.

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