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the duties of my present honourable, but arduous station, I only emulate the virtue and public spirit of the whole province of Massachusetts, which, with a firmness and patriotism without example, has sacrificed all the comforts of social and political life in support of the rights of mankind, and the welfare of our common country. My highest ambition is to be the happy instrument of vindicating these rights, and to see this devoted prov. ince again restored to peace, liberty, and safety." When Gen. Washington arrived at Cambridge, he was received with the joyful acclamations of the American army. At the head of his troops, he published a declaration previously drawn up by Congress, in the nature of a manifesto, setting forth the reasons for taking up arms. In this, after enumerating various grievances of the colonies, and vindicating them from a premeditated design of establishing independent states, it was added; “In our own native land, in defence of the freedom which is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered; we have taken up arms; we shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.”
When Gen. Washington joined the American army, he found the British intrenched on Bunker's Hill, having also three floating batteries in Mystic River, and a twenty gun ship below the ferry be
tween Boston and Charlestown. They had also a battery on Copsc's Hill, and were strongly fortified on the neck. The Americans were intrenched at Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and Roxbury, communicating with one another by small posts over a distance of ten miles, nor could they be contracted without exposing the country to the incursions of the enemy.
The arıny put under the command of Washington amounted to fourteen thousand five hundred men. Several circumstances concurred to render this force very inadequate to active operations, Military stores were deficient in camp, and the whole in the country was inconsiderable. On the 4th. of August, all the stock of powder in the American camp, and in the public magazines of the four New England provinces, would have made very little more than nine rounds a man. In this destitute condition the army remained for a fortnight. To the want of powder ras added a rery general want of bayonets, of clothes, of working tools, and a total want of engineers. Under all these embarrassments, the General observed, that " he had the materials of a good army; that the men were able bodied, active, zealous in the cause, and of unquestionable courage.” He immediately instituted such arrangements as were calculated to increase their capacity for service. The army was distributed into brigades and divisions, and on his recommendation, general staff officers were appointed. Economy, union, and system, were introduced into every department. As the troops came into service under the authority of distinct colonial governments, no uniformity existed among the
regiments. In Massachusetts the men had chosen their officers, and, rank excepted, were in other respects, frequently their equals. To form one uniform mass of these discordant materials, and to subject frecmen animated with the spirit of liberty, and coilected for its defence, to the control of military discipline, required patience, forbearance, and a spirit of accommodation. This delicate and arduous duty was undertaken by Gen. Washington, and discharged with great address. When he had made considerable progress in disciplining his army, the term for which inlistments had taken place was on the point of expiring. The troops from Connecticut and Rhode Island were only engaged to the first of December, 1775; and no part of the army longer than to the first of January, 1776. The commander-in chief made early and forcible representations to Congress on this sub. ject, and urged them to adopt efficient measures for the forination of a new army. They deputed three of their members, Mr. Lynch, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Harrison, to repair to camp, and, in conjunction with him and the chief magistrates of the New England colonies, to confer on the most effectual mode of continuing, supporting, and regulating, a continental army. By them it was resolved to list twenty three thousand seven hundred and twenty two men, as far as practicable, from the troops before Boston, to serve till the last day of December, 1776, unless sooner discharged by Congress. In the execution of this resolve, Washington called upon all officers and soldiers to make their election for retiring or continuing. Several of the inferior officers retired. Many of the men
would not continue on any terms. Several refus. ed, unless they were indulged with furloughs. Others, unless they were allowed to choose their officers. So many impediments obstructed the recruiting service, that it required great address to obviate them. Washington made forcible appeals in general orders, to the pride and patriotism of both officers and men. He promised every indul. gence compatible with safety, and every comfort that the state of the country authorized. In general orders of the 20th, of October, he observed, "The times, and the importance of the great cause we are engaged in, allow no room for hesitation and delay. When life, liberty, and property, are at stake; when our country is in danger of being a melancholy scene of bloodshed and desolation ; when our towns are laid in ashes, innocent women and children' driven from their peaceful habitations, exposed to the rigours of an inclement season, to depend perhaps on the hand of charity for sup. port; when calamities like these are staring us in the face, and a brutal savage enemy threatens us and every thing we hold dear with destruction from foreign troops, it little becomes the character of a soldier to shrink from danger, and condition for new terms. It is the General's intention to indulge both officers and soldiers who coinpose the new army with furloughs for a reasonable time; but this must be done in such a manner as not to injure the service, or weaken the army too much at once.” In the instructions given to the recruiting officers, the General enjoined upon them “not to inlist any person suspected of being un. friendly to the liberties of America, or any aban
doned vagabond, to whom all causes and coun. tries are equal and alike indifferent.”
Though great exertions had been made to procure recruits, yet the regiments were not filled. Several causes operated in producing this disincli. nation to the service. The sufferings of the army had been great. Fuel was very scarce. Clothes, and even provisions, had not been furnished them in sufficient quantities. The smallpox deterred many from entering; but the principal reason was a dislike to a military life. Much also of that en. thusiasm which brought numbers to the field, on the commencement of hostilities, had abated. The army of 1775 was wasting away. by the expiration of the terms of service, and recruits, for the new, entered slowly. The regiments which were entitled to their discharge on the 1st of December, were with great clifficulty persuaded to stay ten days, when reinforcements of militia were expected to supply their place. From the eagerness of the old troops to go home, and the slowness of the new to enter the service, it was difficult to keep up the blockade. On the last day of the year, when the first were entirely disbanded, the last only amounted to nine thousand six hundred and fifty men, and many of these were absent on furlough. At this time the royal army in Boston was about eight thousand. To assist the recruiting service, the General recommended to Congress to try the effects of a bounty, but this was not agreed to till late in January, 1776. In that and the following month the army was considerably increased.
The blockade of Boston was all this time kept up, and the enemy confined to the city, but this