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Sullivan, John (1740-1795) to Josiah Bartlett and John Langdon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06337 Author/Creator: Sullivan, John (1740-1795) Place Written: Winter Hill, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 4 September 1775 Pagination: 4 p. ; 30.3 x 19 cm.

Summary of Content: General Sullivan writes to Bartlett and Langdon, Continental Congressmen from New Hampshire. Discusses a lack of gunpowder, stating "the State of our powder is Shocking we dare not use our Cannon Lest we Should Loose the advantage of our Small Arm before the Last powder arrived... believe me Gentlemen The victory is ours as Soon as we are furnished with ammunition..." Requests that Alexander Scammell is approved by Congress as his Brigade Major and that Quartermasters are appointed to each brigade to serve under Major Mifflin. Requests regulation and improved conditions within military hospitals; discusses the details of hospital conditions. States that disorganized hospital conditions will affect reenlistment, and that soldiers will possibly petition General George Washington on the matter. Recommends a hospital for each brigade. Originally written to John Langdon and "Enoch" Bartlett; "Enoch" was struck and Josiah inserted.

Full Transcript: Camp on Winter Hill Septembr [inserted: lin] 4th 1775
Gentlemen as you are about to Join your Brethren of the Continental Congress I must beg Leave to Lay some matters before ...you & Through you before the Congress for their Consideration The first thing I would Recommend is a Collection of all the powder in the Southern Department That can possibly be procured I will venture to assert & pledge [struck: my] myself for the performance That with a Sufficient Stock of Powder for our Cannons we Could put an End to the war in three weeks but the State of our powder is Shocking we dare not use our Cannon [struck: a] Lest we should Loose the advantage of our Small Arms before the Last powder arrived from the Southward we were really in Distress & the five tons which then arrived would furnish Each man with Little more than half a pound I wish this matter might be well Considered & as much powder forwarded as possible for believe me Gentlemen The victory is ours as Soon as we are furnished with ammunitions - another matter I [struck: have laid] beg you to Lay before the Congress which is Respecting Mr Alexander Seammell my Brigade major appointed by myself but not Confirmed by the Congress he is a worthy good officer & I as well as the whole Brigade I Command most Earnestly Entreat he may be Confirmed in the office -
another matter is that of the appointment of a Quarter Master to Each Brigade to Act under major Mifflin as Quarter Master of the Brigade You will at one view See the Necessity of this as the Quarter Master of Each Brigade is Confined to procuring provisions wood boards Forage provender &c [2] for their own Regiments but we often want Timber for Bridges [struck: Carrig] Carrages &cc we also often want Tools procured wood to make handles for them & ten Thousand other things too - Tedious to Mention which does not properly belong to the Department of the Regimental Quarter Masters & which would give Infinite Trouble to the Quarter Master General to provide he has therefore suffered one Mr James Gray to Act under him for my Brigade he Discharges the office with great Integrity & I only wish he may be Continued & a Quantum Monies allowed for his Trouble
There is yet a matter of much greater Importance which I must Entreat the Congress to take under. their Considerations which is the Regulation of our Hospital which is Continued under the present Regulation I greatly fear will if it does not Ruin the present Army prevent another being Raised in America- when I first Came here I found our Army very sickly the sick but Ill provided with necessaries I with great trouble got the Hospital for my Brigade well Regulated soon after Doctor Churches appointment he ordered all the sick to be removed to the Hospital at Cambridge with Every article I had provided for them This filled Them with such fearful apprehensions that more than half of them refused to go Declaring they would rather Die where they were & under the Care of those Phisicians they were acquainted with than be removed from their friends under the Care of Physicians they never saw I found it vain to attempt Reasoning them out of those Sentiments but Doctr Church gave orders to the Commissary not to Supply them with one Article & ordered all the persons useful for Duty to be removed to Cambridge paying no regard to the Regimental Surgeons and [3] Refuses to Supply them with medicine & Even with Bandages [struck: in Case of] to Dress the wounded but ordered in Case of any person being wounded he should be Sent to be Dressd at Cambridge at three or four miles Distance which has Compleatly put our Regimental Surgeons out of Employ & raised Such a Clamour among officers & soldiers That I know not what will be the Consequence all [struck: the] those persons who have been Sick Declare they will never Enlist again & those who have not been So are nearly in the Same opinion They are now about Petitioning General Washington the Surgeons [inserted: of the Army] have had Several Meetings but what will be the Event time alone will Discover I must beg Leave to say That I never read or heard of such a regulation in an Army I have Ever understood That they have a grand Hospital for Capital wounds & Disorders & Infirmaries & flying Hospitals for those that are slightly wounded or Indisposed however that may be I am Certain that a removal of Every persons that is Indisposed or slightly wounded to the grand Hospital at several miles Distance will never be submitted to you well know the prejudice of [strike: why] our people in favor of their own Physicians The Terrible Ideas they form to themselves of an hospital Regulated by Strangers where there is Scare a face they know [struck: nay] & in order to bring them there they are Even Denied a Little meal to work a Cathartre To [strikeout] Throw off a Disorder or mutton to make them broth or any other thing So that they must Even in Case of a Common Cold go to the Hospital or have nothing [strikeout] to take Except Salt Beef and pork I must beg that Some method may [4] be taken to Quench the growing flame already at too great a [strikeout] heighth I would humbly Recommend an hospital to Each Brigade and Some person of Integrity to Superintend Each [strike: we] Doctr Hall Jackson who is now with me was Super Intendant of mine & gave great Satisfaction 'I need not Say any thing to you of his great abilities as a Surgeon & Physicians & though he has out of Tenderness to his Countrymen attended the Army at his own Expence Dressed the wounded & Tended the sick he has had no appointment but others been preferred whole Regiments of which would not Serve the Army so much in Dressing [inserted: the] wounded or performing Chysurgical operations I wish for the good of the Army he might have some appointment & of agreable that he might be [inserted: Chief] [struck: Surgeon] or Superintending Surgeon to my Brigade I know Doctr Church Complains of those Regimental Hospitals as having been very Expensive which the Regimental Surgeons Deny & say he cannot prove the assertion how that is I cannot say but am very Certain that good Brigade Surgeons may [struck: assist in] [inserted: assist in] preventg Extraordinary Expence as well as [struck: any other] Doctr Church or any other person & give great satisfaction to both officers & soldiers in the Army Gentlemen I am with great respect your most obedient Servant
Jno Sullivan
To John Langdon &
[struck: Enoch] [inserted: Josiah] Bartlet Esquires
See More

People: Sullivan, John, 1740-1795
Bartlett, Josiah, 1729-1795
Langdon, John, 1741-1819
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Scammell, Alexander, 1747-1781

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyAmmunitionArtilleryHospitalPetition

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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