From William Shippen, Jr.
Bethelem [Pa.] 8 Decr 1776.
My dear & hon’d Sir
With much difficulty & a small Loss I have got all the sick, except 20 who were too ill to remove, to Easton, Bethelem & Allenstown, where in a few days I flatter myself they will be as happy as sick soldiers ever are. I must mention to your Excellency that the moving of Dr Morgans stores that have not been used these 3 months, have cost the continent I verily believe as much as their first cost—Would it not be well to have them opened here & the useful ones be employed for the many sick, who want them, & the remainder stored up? you know Sir how particular some folks are in doing Business. your order will be necessary. The Congress have explaind their resolve & order’d Dr Morgans Duty to lay entirely on the east of Hudsons River.1 As it is possible that an Action will happen between your & Genl Howes army—I have thought it necessary that some gentleman of eminence should be near your excellency & the army in case of extraordinary accidents—For which purpose I know of no one more proper or better qualified than the bearer Dr Cochran who will wait your Excellencys commands in this department.2 As soon as my great Family can be left with propriety I shall do myself the honor of waiting on you also, in the mean time I sincerely wish success to your army & am Dr & hon’d Sir Your affectionate & very humbe Servt
W. Shippen Jr
1. Congress on 28 Nov. resolved that Dr. John Morgan was to take care of the sick and wounded Continental soldiers on the east side of the Hudson River and Shippen was to care for the army’s sick and wounded west of the Hudson (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 , 6:989).
2. John Cochran (1730–1807), a Pennsylvania native who had served as a surgeon’s mate during the French and Indian War and subsequently had established a lucrative medical practice at New Brunswick, N.J., was acting as a volunteer physician with the Continental army at this time. During the winter of 1777 Cochran assisted Shippen in devising a plan to reform the hospital department, and when Congress in April 1777 reorganized the department along the lines suggested by Shippen and Cochran, Shippen was appointed director general, and Cochran became physician and surgeon general of the army in the middle department (see GW to Cochran, 20 Jan. 1777, DLC:GW; Shippen and Cochran to GW, 31 Jan. 1777, DLC:GW; GW to Hancock, 14 Feb. 1777 [second letter], DNA:PCC, item 152; and 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 , 7:161–64, 231–37, 244–46, 253–54). In October 1780 Congress named Cochran to the second highest post in the hospital department, chief physician and surgeon general of the army, and in January 1781 it made him director general of the department. He served in that capacity until the end of the war (ibid., 18:908, 19:65). After the war, Cochran moved to New York City, and in 1786 he became commissioner of loans for New York, an appointment that GW as president renewed in 1790.