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Chapter 43:

Congress still hopes to avert war.

July 19 to August.

the continental congress, acting as a promiscu-
Chap. XLIII.} 1775 July.
ous executive, neither formed a carefully considered system, nor felt the weight of personal responsibility. It never presented to itself a vivid picture of Washington's situation, and never went in advance to mitigate his difficulties or supply his wants; but, from the first, waited inactively for his appeals.

On the nineteenth day of July it read his first report from Cambridge, by which it appeared that the army was defective in discipline and in numbers; that officers for the regiments were in excess, while the files were not full; that the order in rank of the major generals and brigadiers had displeased the troops and the New England governments; that still another class of officers was needed, to bring method into the system of supplies; that there was the most urgent want of tents and clothing; of hospitals; of skilful engineers; of every kind of arms, especially

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