Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel J. Atlee, 2 August 1776: résumé

From Samuel J. Atlee2

ALS: Pennsylvania State Library, Harrisburg

<Perth Amboy, August 2, 1776: The service of the state required the battalion of musketeers that I command to march before it was ready.3 The agent appointed to supply necessities was deficient, and many of the men lack sheets, britches, and stockings, which are not to be had here. I should be obliged if the committee would order a quantity of them, for the soldiers in their present state cannot keep clean and therefore healthy. They justly complain, “and was it not for the Strictness of discipline kept up, I shou’d be difficulted to keep them to their duty. Were we situated any other where than in the Face of the Enemy I shou’d look upon it as a piece of cruelty to keep so strict a Hand over them in the Condition they are, but the least relaxation might be of infinite disservice.” I earnestly beg for at least 500 sheets and pairs of stockings and 100 pairs of leather britches.

I recommend as adjutant Mr. Francis Mentges4, who has much military knowledge and who should have, like the adjutants of other battalions, the rank and pay of a lieutenant.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For Atlee see Ross to BF above, Dec. 29. This letter was clearly intended for the Pa. committee of safety, from which BF had resigned in his letter to the Assembly above, Feb. 26. We have found no evidence that his resignation was formally accepted, and Atlee may have considered him as still at least titular president. The Colonel was captured soon afterward in the Battle of Long Island; see Anderson’s letter below, Sept. 22.

3Doubtless as a result of the circular letter from the convention above, July 19, 1776.

4Mentges, whose name was variously spelled, was a French dancing master in Philadelphia; he subsequently became a lieut. col. in the Pa. line. W. A. N. Dorland, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” PMHB, XLV (1921), 385.

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