George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 24 September 1776

To John Hancock

Head Qrs Harlem Heights Septr 24th 1776


The post being about to depart I have only time to add, That no event of importance has taken place on this side Hudson’s River since my last of the 22d Instt.

The Inclosed Letter received last night from Genl Greene, who now commands in the Jerseys, will give Congress all the information I have respecting the evacuation of powles Hook and the landing of the Enemy to possess It.1

I this minute obtained a Copy of the Genl Return of our Force, the first I have been able to procure for some time past, which I do myself the honor of transmitting for the satisfaction of Congress.2 I am Sir with the greatest respect Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. The Thirteen Militia Regiments from Connecticut being reduced to a little more than Seven Hundred Men Rank & file, fit for duty, I have thought proper to discharge the whole, to save the States the immense charge that would arise for Officer’s pay3—There are too, many Militia that have just come in & on their way from that State, none of which are provided with a Tent or a Single Camp Utensil. This distresses me b[e]yond measure.

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 25 Sept. (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 , 5:819).

2This general return of American forces “at Kingsbridge & its Dependencies” on 21 Sept. is in DNA: RG 93, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–83; see also Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser. 2:449–52. It shows that GW then had under his direct command 1,754 commissioned officers, 273 staff officers, 2,501 noncommissioned officers, and 27,377 rank and file, of whom 15,666 were present and fit for duty, 4,418 present and sick, 3,379 absent and sick, 3,736 on command, and 93 on furlough. An attached return for Knox’s artillery regiment shows that it contained a total of 543 officers and men, of whom 357 were present and fit for duty. A note at the end of the return reads: “There is besides the above a Company of Artillery at Powles Hook of which no Return has been made this Week. Col. Durkees Regt is also at Powles Hook & has made no Return this Week.”

3Fourteen regiments of Connecticut militia were discharged the following day. The general return of 21 Sept. fails to identify Col. Samuel Chapman’s regiment as militia (DNA: RG 93, Continental Army Returns; see also Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., to GW, 13 Aug. 1776).

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