George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Shippen, Jr., 29 October 1776

From William Shippen, Jr.

[Newark] Octr 29. 1776.

My dear & hon’d Sir

The Winter approaches; the sick will suffer more, nay will perish, unless timely care is paid to provide for them proper winter appartments. The Congress have desired me to attend to those sick that are on this side of Hudsons river—But Dr Morgan has directed his officers to follow his directions till they recieve written orders from him or your Excellency to the contrary. I pray you will relieve me from my present disagreable suspence & direct whether I am to superintend & provide for all the sick on this side as I think the Congress intend, or only those of the flying Camp & Militia in Jersey wch I was first appointed for.1 Your speedy Answer & Orders will be thankfully recivd & punctually obeyd by My dr General Your affecte & very humbe Servt

W. Shippen jr

excuse bad paper &c. as there is no better & I in great hurry. W. S. jr. please to direct to me at Dr Burnets in Newark.

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. The addressed cover of the ALS is with the Sprague transcript in DLC:GW.

1Congress on 15 July 1776 appointed Shippen chief physician of the flying camp, and on 9 Oct. it resolved that Dr. John Morgan “provide and superintend a hospital, at a proper distance from the camp, for the army posted on the east side of Hudson’s river” and Shippen “provide and superintend an hospital for the army, in the state of New Jersey” (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 , 5:562, 6:857).

Shippen on 1 Nov. sent the Board of War “a Return of the Sick in the Hospitals of Flying Camp and Jersey Militia,” in which he wrote: “The Number of sick & wounded in my department is 338–4 fifths of them are in a fair way of recovery & will soon join their respective companys. I have not yet taken charge of near 2000 that are scatter’d up & down the Country in cold barns & who suffer exceedingly for want of comfortable appartments, because Dr Morgan dont understand the meaning of the Honble Congress in their late resolve, & believes yet they are to be under his direction although they are on this side Hudsons River. He is now gone over to take General Washington’s opinion—As soon as I recieve the Generals Orders on the subject I shall exert my best abilities to make the miserable soldiery comfortable & happy” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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