George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 24 June 1777

From John Hancock

Philada June 24th 1777.


Your Favour of the 23d,1 containing the agreeable Intelligence, that the Enemy had retreated from Brunswick, I had the Honour of receiving yesterday Afternoon, and shall, this Morning, with the greatest Pleasure, lay it before Congress. Give me Leave to congratulate you very sincerely upon this Event; as it must be principally ascribed to the Prudence and Wisdom of your Operations, which had so embarrassed the Enemy, as to reduce them to the Necessity of acting in the Manner they have done. Should they be compelled finally to abandon the Jerseys, (which I flatter myself will be the Case) it will be the most explicit Declaration to the whole World, that the Conquest of America, is not only a very distant, but an unattainable Object. We have seen them, after penetrating some Miles into our Country, precipitately driven back; and in a Moment obliged to evacuate Towns after keeping Possession of them only a few Months.

I do myself the Honour to enclose you the Resolves of Congress respecting the Commissary’s Department, together with a List of the Persons appointed to carry it into Execution. I beg Leave to request your Attention to them, and to the other Resolves herewith transmitted.2

Your Favour of the 20th Inst: was duely received, and immediately communicated to Congress. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Esteem, Sir Your most obed. & very hble Servt

John Hancock Presidt

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A.

1Hancock is referring to GW’s letter to him of 22 June 1777.

2Hancock enclosed copies of several resolutions concerning military-related matters that Congress passed between 10 and 24 June 1777, including a John Dunlap-printed broadside of Congress’s resolutions of 10, 11, and 16 June 1777 reestablishing the commissary department (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 , 8:433–48,452, and 469–70). The names of the commissaries and deputies general of purchases and issues who were appointed in a resolution of 18 June are Joseph Trumbull, commissary general of purchases, William Aylett, William Buchanan, Jacob Cuyler, and Jeremiah Wadsworth, deputy commissaries of purchases, Charles Stewart, commissary general of issues, and William Green Mumford, Mathew Irwin, and Elisha Avery, deputy commissaries of issues (ibid., 477). In a related resolution of 23 June Congress directed Trumbull and the persons “lately employed” by him to continue to supply provisions for the army until the deputies appointed on the new establishment could enter into the business (ibid., 491).

The other enclosed resolutions include the appointment of Wagon Master Gen. Joseph Thornburg to the Continental rank of lieutenant colonel on 18 June (ibid., 476), the creation of the Invalid Corps and the appointment of Lewis Nicola as its colonel on 20 June (ibid., 485), the creation of a commissary of hides, and the appointment of Peter Phillips to the post, also 20 June (ibid., 487–89), and resolutions concerning the department of the commissary of prisoners. On 23 June Congress authorized the appointment of three additional deputies to assist the commissary general of prisoners, Elias Boudinot, and resolved to direct the state commissaries of prisoners to release prisoners from their custody if called upon by Boudinot or his deputies (ibid., 491–92). A resolution of 24 June directs the commissary general of prisoners to negotiate with his British counterpart an agreement to supply adequate provisions, clothing, and other necessities to the prisoners on both sides during their captivity (ibid., 495).

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