June, was then read, from which it appeared that
Chap. LXIX.} 1776. July 1.
and forty five ships or more, laden with troops, had arrived at Sandy Hook
, and that the whole fleet was expected in a day or two. ‘I am hopeful,’ wrote the general, ‘that I shall get some reenforcements before they are prepared to attack; be that as it may, I shall make the best disposition I can of our troops.’
Not all who were round him had firmness like his own; Reed
, the new adjutant general
, quailed before the inequality of the British
force, and thus in private described the state of the American
camp: ‘With an army of force before, and a secret one behind, we stand on a point of land with six thousand old troops, if a year's service of about half, can entitle them to the name, and about fifteen hundred new levies of this province, many disaffected and more doubtful; every man, from the general to the private, acquainted with our true situation, is exceedingly discouraged; had I known the true posture of affairs, no consideration would have tempted me to have taken an active part in this scene; and this sentiment is universal.’
No one knew better than the commander in chief
the exceedingly discouraging aspect of military affairs; but his serene manner and unfaltering courage in this hour was a support to congress.
His letter was referred to the board of war, which they had recently established, and of which John Adams
was the president; the faculties of the members were on that day too intensely strained by their enthusiasm to be much agitated by reports of danger.
Especially John Adams
, revolving the incidents of the day at its close, not disguising to his