Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 11, 1775

November 11, 1775

Congress creates 1) A Committee of Three to secure contracts for the continental troops in the Philadelphia barracks, 2) A Committee of Five to respond to the letter from Volkert P. Douw, 3) A Committee of Three to respond to two petitions. John Adams wants to know everything he can about “the Theory and Practice of Fortification and Gunnery.”

Link to date-related documents

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That it be recommended to such proprietors of Tobacco warehouses, and tobacco houses in Virginia and Maryland, as cannot speedily have the earth of the floors of their houses worked for salt petre, that they cause those floors to be soon dug up and left fine, loose, and light, at least six inches deep, suffering the tobacco stalks and trashy leaves to be spread thereon, and leaving the doors open, especially in dry weather, as often as convenience will permit, whereby the soil will be much the more impregnated with nitrous particles, the manufacture of salt petre facilitated, and the quantity thereof greatly increased.

Two petitions, one from Charles Wharton and the other from James Loughhead, each praying to be appointed commissary to the Battalions raising in this colony, were read.

Ordered, To lie on the table.

Resolved, That a Committee of Three secure contracts to supply the continental troops in the Philadelphia barracks with the rations allowed by Congress.  The members appointed: Thomas Lynch, Francis Lewis, and Andrew Allen.

Resolved, That the recruiting officers in Pennsylvania send the recruits to the Barracks in Philadelphia.

A letter from Volkert P. Douw, dated 6th instant, was read.

Resolved, That a Committee of Five take the Douw letter, and the minutes of the treaty held with the Indians at Albany, by the Indian Commissioners of the northern department, into consideration and report thereon. The members chosen: George Wythe, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, James Duane, and Thomas Cushing.

Resolved, That the Committee appointed to proceed to Ticonderoga and Canada, confer with the Generals commanding in that department, on the propriety of sending a military unit to Quebec, in order to second Colonel Arnold’s expedition, or to renew the attempt, should his have failed, and to give directions accordingly.

Resolved, That the fortifications of Quebec, in case it comes into our hands, be repaired, and furnished with such provisions, arms, ammunition and artillery.

Resolved, That in case any one of the foregoing Committee be disabled or prevented from proceeding, the other two have full power to proceed and transact the business entrusted to them.

The committee appointed to confer with Samuel Kirkland, brought in their report, which was read, and considered.

Congress came to the following resolution:

Resolved, That Reverend Samuel Kirkland be paid for his past services.

Resolved, That for the propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians, and conciliating their affections to the United Colonies, and thereby preserving their friendship and neutrality, Mr. Kirkland be continued in his mission amongst them, and that for those important purposes, he be allowed and paid out of the continental treasury, for the support of himself and family the ensuing year, and to be disposed of by him in such manner as may best promote the happiness of the Indians, and attach them to these colonies.

Resolved, That further consideration of the report be postponed until the Committee to whom Mr. Douw’s letter, and the minutes of the late treaty are referred, have made their report.

Resolved, That the Committee on salt petre be empowered to contract with the gentlemen who offer to proceed to Virginia on this business.

Resolved, that the report of the Committee on the disputes between the people of Pennsylvania and Connecticut be referred to Monday.

On motion made, Resolved, That 500,000 dollars be sent to the pay master general, for the use of the army in the Massachusetts bay.

That 50,000 dollars be sent to the convention of New York, to be accounted for by said convention.

That the delegates of Pennsylvania be appointed to count and forward the said sums under a guard of three, viz, 2 of the light horse, and a servant.

Two petitions, one from Murray, Sansom and others, and the other from Jasper Griffin, were read and referred to a Committee of Three. The members chosen: Thomas Lynch, Richard Henry Lee, and Thomas Johnson.

The order of the day being renewed,

Adjourned to ten o’Clock on Monday.

John Adams to Henry Knox (Colonel of Artillery)

I was rejoiced to learn that you have at last determined to take a more important Share than you have done hitherto in the Conduct of our military Matters. I have been impressed with an opinion of your Knowledge and Abilities in the military Way for several years, and of late have endeavored, both at Camp, at Watertown and at Philadelphia, by mentioning your Name and Character, to make you more known, and consequently in a better Way for Promotion….

It is of vast Importance, my dear Sir, that I should be minutely informed of everything which passes at the Camp, while I hold a Place in the Great Council of America and therefore I must beg the Favor of you to write me as often as you can by safe Conveyances. I want to know the Name, Rank, and Character of every officer in the Army. I mean every honest and able one, but more especially of every officer, who is best acquainted with the Theory and Practice of Fortification and Gunnery.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.