George Washington Papers

Council of War, 3 August 1775

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
Brigader Gens.
Thomas Sullivan
Heath Green
Spencer Gates

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.

1Horatio 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.

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