George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Peters, 7 May 1777

From Richard Peters

War Office [Philadelphia] May 7th 1777


I do myself the Honour of transmitting you the enclosed Papers1 by Order of the Board by whom I am directed to inform you that all the Military Stores Arms &c. in Possession of the Continental Agents at Boston, Portsmouth, & Providence are ordered to Springfield in Connecticut [Massachusetts] as a Place of greater Security where they are to be subject to your Excellency’s Directions. The Agents are ordered to transmitt proper returns of what they send to Springfield which when recieved shall be sent to you.

A Major Etherington who ranks as a Lieut. Colonel gave his Parole as a Prisr of War to the late Committee of Safety of this State & was permitted to go either to the West Indies or to England he to be forthcoming when called for by the States.2 I mention him at this Time as his Name was omitted in the List of Prisoners sent to your Excellency. I have the Honour to be with great Respect your very obedt Servt

Richard Peters Secy


1Peters enclosed a copy of Congress’s resolution of 6 May directing the Board of War immediately to send GW a copy of Horatio Gates’s letter to Hancock of 29 April and to inform GW that “it will be agreeable to Congress that he forward with all convenient dispatch two troops of Horse to Genl Gates” (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 7:329–30). The enclosed copy of Gates’s letter is accompanied by a list of eight reasons why he “thinks the Enemy will make the entire Conquest of the State of New York, the first and main object of their ensuing Campaign.” In the letter Gates says: “I cannot help thinking I foresee the worst of consequences, from too great a proportion of the main Army being drawn into the Jersies—sir William Howe having a secure retreat open to his Ships, can at any time give your Army the Slip; and then his ships of War and armed Vessels, which he can encrease at pleasure (for every Transport may be converted into a Floating Battery,) will prevent your Army, or any part thereof, from repassing Hudson’s River. The Forts in the Highlands, are, I hope, guarded with all the care, and attention, worthy so great a charge; I look upon them as the Keys of American Liberty, and pray, they may be preserved as such.” Gates closes the letter by requesting Congress “to order Two Troops of Horse to Albany; one for the service upon the East, and one for the West side of Hudson’s River, where I am convinced they can be very usefully employed” (DLC:GW; see also DNA:PCC, item 154).

2Maj. George Etherington, who was serving as lieutenant colonel of the 2d Battalion of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot, gave his parole to the Pennsylvania committee of safety on 8 Sept. 1775 (see Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 10:332–33).

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