Second Continental Congress: June 19, 1776
June 19, 1776
Congress gets serious about providing clothing and medicine to the troops. And Elbridge Gerry thoroughly approves. Hancock reports to Washington that Congress has “bent their whole Attention to our Affairs in Canada.”
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Sundry letters and papers were laid before Congress and read. Hancock reports to Washington on the latest decisions by Congress
A letter from the convention of New Jersey of the 18th, enclosing an ordinance for raising 3,300 militia for the defense of New York, and their proceedings for apprehending William Franklin, late governor of that colony.
Resolved, That Congress will work with New Jersey in this matter.
The Board of War and Ordnance, to whom letters and papers from General Washington dated the 16th were sent, delivered their report. Congress approved Washington’s recommendations for Canadian commissions.
The Committee of Claims reported that reimbursements are due to eight people. Congress approved.
Congress supported the ninth Virginia battalion, commanded by Colonel Fleming, both in terms of pay and ammunition.
Resolved, That the committee for preparing medicine chests, be directed to send a chest of medicines to the surgeon of the Virginia battalion.
Resolved, That the Marine Committee be directed to carry into execution the resolution of the 17th, for sending carpenters to General Schuyler.
A memorial from the mates of the Hospital was laid before Congress, read, and referred to the committee for providing medicines.
Whereas it is indispensably necessary for the good of the service, that the soldiers of the United Colonies should be well provided with blankets and clothing; therefore,
Resolved, That it be recommended to the assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, forthwith to cause a suit of clothes, of which the waistcoat and breeches may be made of deer leather, if to be had on reasonable terms, a blanket, felt hat, two shirts, two pair of hose, and two pair of shoes, to be manufactured, or otherwise procured at reasonable rates, in their respective colonies, for each soldier of the American Army, enlisted therein for the present campaign, and that the same be baled, invoiced, and stored in suitable places, to be delivered to the order of Congress, or the commander in chief of the American Army:
Resolved, That sufficient sums of money be granted to the assemblies and conventions aforesaid, on applying for the same, to enable them to discharge the demands arising from the purchase of the articles aforesaid:
Resolved, That the commander in chief of the American Army be empowered to draw on the said assemblies and conventions, for such articles of clothing aforesaid, as he shall, from time to time judge necessary, and that the cost thereof be deducted from the pay of the soldiers who shall receive the same, by the proper officer for examining and discharging the accounts and pay rolls of the respective regiments.
The Marine Committee, to whom the May 28 petition of William Adams, surgeon, was referred, brought in their report, which was taken into consideration. Resolved, That the resignation of William Adams be accepted.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
John Hancock to George Washington
You will see, from the enclosed Resolves, which I do myself the Pleasure of forwarding in Obedience to the Commands of Congress, that they have bent their whole Attention to our Affairs in Canada, and have adopted such Measures, as in their opinion, are calculated to place them on a better and more reputable Footing for the future [ See June 17].
The most unfortunate Death of General Thomas having made a Vacancy in that Department, and the Service requiring an officer of Experience and Distinction, the Congress have thought proper to appoint General Gates to succeed him. And I am to request you will send him into that Province to take the Command of the Forces there as soon as possible; and that you direct him to view Point au Fer, and to order a Fortress to be erected there if he shall think proper.
My opinion on the Resolve of the 25th May was well founded; Congress having since determined, as you will find by a Resolve herewith transmitted, that you are to employ the Indians wherever you think their Services will contribute most to the Public Good.
I shall write to the Colonies of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to request them to authorize you to call on their Militia if necessary.
Elbridge Gerry to Joseph Trumbull
I find that notwithstanding upwards of 27,000 Men with their Arms, two Major Generals & all the Brigadiers are marched or ordered from the New England Colonies, the Request of Massachusetts for a single Brigadier to their Liking is not complied with. This I consider as a Hardship & shall in future pay a more particular Regard to the eastern Department & Boston (to which the Enemy will think themselves invited) than has heretofore taken place.
General Sullivan’s letter [See June 18] relative to Canada looks more favorable than those before received, but it is very surprising that amongst all the Men of Sense sent into that Country there cannot be found two that agree in their Relations of Facts. Surely some strange Demon representing the Genius of the British Ministry has banished Truth from the Canadian Climes, but I doubt not that she will again return with her good Friend General Gates & give Us future Proofs of her being reinstated in that Quarter. You have now the Direction of the Commissary’s Department in Canada & I hope things will be reduced to order in good Time….
This Day a Recommendation has passed Congress to all the assemblies & Conventions to provide a suit of Clothes of which the Waist Coat & Breeches to be Buckskin, a Blanket, Hat, 2 pair Hose, 2 shirts & 2 pair shoes for each soldier enlisted from their Respective Colonies for the ensuing Campaign. These are to be either manufactured or otherwise provided, & to be deposited in suitable places after being bailed & Invoiced Until the Army shall need the same, when they are to be delivered to the Generals Order & deducted from the Pay of the Soldiers who shall receive them. I think the Army will by these Means be well provided by the Fall & in a great Measure by our own Manufactures. Jersey has behaved nobly with Governor Franklin & in obtaining their Militia, & if I mistake not, that Colony, Pennsylvania & the lower Counties will under good Constitutions be soon as vigorous as any Colonies on the Continent.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.