George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts General Court, 13 September 1776

From the Massachusetts General Court

State of Massachusetts Bay Sepr 13th 1776.


The General Assembly of this State have for some days past, been anxiously expecting the particulars of the late attack upon the Continental Army under your Excellency’s more immediate Command; but the accounts hitherto received, have been vague, & uncertain.

It is the earnest desire of the Assembly, at this important crisis, to furnish you with every needed Assistance in their power; and having just received a Letter from Govr Trumbull, proposing the raising a part of our Militia for this important purpose, and soon after a Letter from the Honble Congress to the same effect, as also a Resolve of Congress relative to this matter,1 they have ordered a fifth part of the Militia, not already in the service (the remote Counties, and some Sea-Port Towns excepted) to be immediately drafted out and to march with all possible dispatch, to your assistance; excepting one Battalion ordered to Rhode Island, in consequence of the Resolve beforemention’d.

Our Troops will gladly receive, upon their route, your Excellencys orders for their destination, as the Express returns. A Copy of our Resolve, respecting said Draft, is inclosed.2 As we cannot furnish Tents for these Troops, Your Excellency, will provide for them; perhaps 4000 Men. We shall subsist them ’till their arrival at Horse neck, and depend upon your Excellency’s giving orders for their receiving rations after that time. We ardently wish you victory over the Enemies of the American States, and remain, with great respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedt humble Serts

Jer: Powell Presidt3

LS, DLC:GW; LB, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; Df, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; two copies, M-Ar: Journals of the House of Representatives. According to the extracts from the minutes of the house of representatives and council that appear at the end of the draft, it was approved by both bodies earlier on this date.

1See Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to the Massachusetts General Court, 6 Sept., in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 2:205–6, and Hancock to Certain States, 3 Sept., in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:96–97. For Congress’s resolutions of 3 Sept., see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:734.

2The enclosed resolution of 11–12 Sept. is in DLC:GW (see also “Mass. Council Journal,” description begins In Journals, Minutes, and Proceedings, State of Massachusetts Bay, 1775–1780. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends Mar.–Sept. 1776 sess., 545–49). The council on 16 Sept. named Benjamin Lincoln commander of these reinforcements (see ibid., 586).

3Jeremiah Dummer Powell (1720–1784) of North Yarmouth, District of Maine, served in the Massachusetts house of representatives from 1745 to 1766 and then on provincial council until 1774, when he refused appointment to the mandamus council by Gen. Thomas Gage. Powell was named to the state council on 30 May 1776, and he remained a member until his death, serving as council president from 1776 to 1781.

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