Congress spends time on filling appointments and raising troops and ammunition. The New York delegates explain their recent conduct.
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 [Edited]
Resolved, That the petition of Colonel Brown be referred to the Committee appointed to enquire into the causes of the miscarriages in Canada:
Resolved, That the petition from William Holton be referred to the Board of War and Ordnance.
Resolved, That an order for 24 dollars be drawn in favor of Major Bicker.
Sundry letters from the southward, being received by express, were laid before Congress, read, and referred to the Board of War and Ordnance:
The Congress took into consideration a letter from Governor Trumbull; and, after some debate, decided to postpone further debate. Governor Trumbull should send to Congress, an account of the cannon left at New London by Commodore Hopkins, their number, size, bore and weight, and also an account of the other cannon there.
A letter from the commissioners for Indian affairs in the southern department, with sundry papers enclosed, was laid before Congress, and read.
The Board of War and Ordnance, to whom the paragraph of a letter from the General was referred, brought in their report, which was taken into consideration: Whereupon,
Resolved, That six companies of riflemen, in addition to the three companies now at New York, be raised and the whole regimented; and that a commission be granted to Captain Stevenson, to be colonel of the regiment of riflemen, which is to be enlisted for three years, unless sooner discharged by Congress.
That four companies of riflemen, for the said regiment, be raised in Virginia, and two in Maryland, the pay of the men to commence from the time they shall be armed and mustered: their arms to be appraised by the committee of the county, and paid for by the United Colonies:
That General Washington be directed forthwith to send to this Congress a complete list of all the vacancies in the army, and the names of such officers as he can recommend for filling them.
The Committee of Claims reported, that claims are due to seven people.
Resolved, That the pay of Doctor Huston, who was appointed surgeon to the 5th Pennsylvania battalion, be stopped till farther orders of Congress.
The committee to whom it was referred to devise a mode of raising the German battalion, voted on 25 of May 25, brought in their report, which was considered.
Resolved, That four companies of Germans be raised in Pennsylvania, and four companies in Maryland, to compose the said battalion:
That it be recommended to the convention, or, in their recess, to the committee or council of safety of Maryland, immediately to appoint proper officers for, and direct the enlistment of, the four companies to be raised in that colony:
That the said companies be enlisted to serve for three years, unless sooner discharged by Congress, and receive bounty, pay, rations, and all other allowances equal to any of the continental troops and from the time of enlistment:
That the said companies, when raised, be formed into a battalion, under the command of such field officers as the Congress shall appoint:
That the rank of the captains of the said companies be regulated as Congress shall hereafter direct:
That 5,000 dollars be sent to the committee of safety of Pennsylvania, and 5,000 dollars to the convention, or, in their recess, to the committee of safety of Maryland, to defray the expense of raising the said companies.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the convention, or, in their recess, to the committee of safety of Maryland, to appoint the officers, and forward, with all possible expedition, the raising the two companies of riflemen.
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.
The New York Delegates to the New York Provincial Congress
We conceive the appointment of officers by this Congress for new levies to be raised in a particular Colony, is contrary to the ordinary practice, and may therefore be considered as in some measure infringing on the rights of the Colony, we beg leave…to explain the reasons of Congress for taking this step, and our conduct therein.
On receiving the late intelligence from Canada, respecting the repulse of the detachment of our army commanded by General Thompson, at Three Rivers, &c. the dispatches containing this account, with the state of our army in Canada, were referred to the board of war, who, the same day, reported the necessity of reinforcing our army there with four regiments, &c.; that to be raised in our Colony to be one; to expedite the raising of which, an arrangement of the officers was also reported and agreed to by Congress. We objected to this measure, and thought it our duty to withhold our assent, not only because it was, as we conceived, introducing a new precedent which might give offence, but might interfere with appointments which you might probably have made for the same regiment, in consequence of the former resolves. The pressing occasion and necessity of dispatch were urged to support the measure; and it was alleged that as these appointments were made of particular persons who had merited it by former service, it interfered with no former rule; and even should the appointments be continued to the Provincial Congress, it would in this case only create unnecessary delay, as the same persons must be appointed by them to answer the design and meaning of this Congress expressed in their former resolve. We were persuaded…that this regiment cannot possibly be raised in time to answer the end for which it is more particularly designed; and should our affairs in Canada grow worse, as we have reason to apprehend from present appearances, we feared lest delay, though unavoidable, and every misfortune which may befall our army in Canada, for want of a proper reinforcement, might by some be imputed to our Colony, notwithstanding your utmost exertions to carry in execution this impracticable and, as we conceive, ineffectual measure. We judged it, therefore, most prudent only to mention our reasons for withholding our assent, without making a more pointed and strenuous opposition to the measure, thereby leaving the Colony in such a situation as not to incur any blame on this occasion.
George Clinton, Francis Lewis, William Floyd, Henry Wisner, and John Alsop.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.