Council of War
[Cambridge, 3 August 1775]
At a Council held at Cambridge Head Quarters August 3d 1775
Present his Excelly General Washington.
|Major Gens. Ward—Lee & Puttnam|
The General communicated sundry Letters respecting the State of the Ammunition which appears to be far short of the Return made some Time ago, & having explained in what Manner the Mistake had happened desires the Opinion & Advice of the Generals present on this Subject. Upon the Returns now made—the whole Stock of the Army at Roxbury & Cambridge & the adjacent Posts consists of 90 Bbbls or thereabouts.1
It was proposed to make an Attempt on the Magazine at Halifax where there is Reason to suppose there is a great Quantity of Powder—And upon the Question being severally put it was agreed to by a great Majority. & that the Detachment for this Enterprize consist of 300 Men. Also to endeavour to collect a Supply from the neighbouring Provinces of New Hampshire, Rhode Island & Connecticut.2
D, in Joseph Reed’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Horatio Gates wrote to Artemas Ward on 2 Aug. 1775: “His Excellency General Washington desires Yourself, with the Brigadiers General, Thomas, & Spencer, will be at Head Quarters at Cambridge by Nine O Clock tomorrow morning. he further requests you will bring an Exact state of all the Ammunition now in Store in all, & every Post, & Station, in your Department” (NjP: De Coppet Collection). For the return of ammunition in John Sullivan’s brigade, see Sullivan to GW, 2 Aug. 1775. The letters laid before the council of war probably included also those of 1 and 2 Aug. 1775 to GW from the Massachusetts committee of supplies. For a more detailed account of the ammunition shortage, see GW to Hancock, 4–5 Aug. 1775.