19 August 1776
Adams, John (1735-1826)
Autograph letter signed
Title: to Samuel Holden Parsons
Written by Adams as a delegate to Continental Congress from Massachusetts to Parsons, who became a Brigadier General on 9 August 1776 and was to take part in the fighting at the Battle of Long Island on 27 August 1776. References Parsons's letters of 13 and 15 August 1776 and says his recommendations for appointments in the army will be considered by the Board of War, which Adams sat on. Also references Parsons observations of officers Patterson, Shepherd, and Brooks, but says he is unfamiliar with all of them. Says the issues of promotion make him "so vexed sometimes as almost to resolve to make Interest to be a Col[one]l myself." Goes on to say he has vanity enough to think he could be part of that group, but knows his constitution is too weak to take it seriously. Says if his health was better he would try to imitate Oliver Cromwell, who took up the military life after the age of 40, despite his misgivings on Cromwell's character. Wishes there were better leaders to choose from. Says he agrees with Parsons that bounties of land should be given to promote enlistments, but says the majority of Congress does not agree. Despite potential problems with militia, he does not support a standing army. Wishes all men on the continent were soldiers. Says "Flight was unknown to the Romans. - I wish it was to Americans. There was a Flight from Quebec, and worse than a flight at the Cedars. - if we don't attone for these disgraces, We are undone." Says Americans need a greater love of country and more enthusiasm for military glory or the war will be lost. Postscript says since he wrote the letter Congress acted on the promotions of Dyer and Chapman as Majors. Says he had a big part in Dyer's promotion.