From the first moment of his coming, the com-
mander in chief took the hearts of all about him, and of all New England
; though he himself was unused to the ways of its people, whose character he never could thoroughly understand.
The provincial congress at Watertown
welcomed him in a cordial address.
expressed the wish to serve under him; Greene
and the Rhode Island
officers received him with words of affectionate confidence.
‘Now be strong and very courageous,’ wrote Trumbull
, the governor of Connecticut
; ‘may the God of the armies of Israel give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle, and danger; and convince our enemies that all their attempts to deprive these colonies of their rights and liberties are vain.’
To Trumbull Washington
made answer: ‘The cause of our common country calls us both to an active and dangerous duty; divine providence, which wisely orders the affairs of men, will enable us to discharge it with fidelity and success.’
The camp contained a people in arms, rather than an army.
No one could tell precisely its numbers, or the state of its stores.
The soldiers had listed under different agreements and for periods indefinite but short.
Each colony had its own rules of military government, and its own system of supplies; and the men, chiefly freeholders and sons of freeholders, held themselves bound only by a specific covenant, of which they interpreted the conditions and required the fulfilment.
Immediate orders were given for a return of the state of the army.
While this was preparing, Washington
visited the American
posts and reconnoitred