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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0003-0001
1. In the MS there is only a half-page interval of space between the false entry of “Feb. 29” and the present entry six and a half months later. During that period JA was steadily in attendance at Congress in Philadelphia. His principal work, as in the summer and fall of 1776, was presiding over the Board of War and Ordnance, which handled the lion's share of Congress' routine work. Hundreds of communications, relating to military operations, recruits, defenses, prisoners, supplies, courts martial, and the rank of officers (a perpetual problem, made worse by the influx of foreign volunteers), to mention no others, were referred to the Board for recommendations or action during these months. Although there was discussion throughout the year of converting the Board into a professional body under the supervision of Congress, this step was not taken until after JA had left Congress in November. See Samuel Adams to JA , 9 Jan. 1777, Adams Papers; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:210, and notes and references there.
As early as May JA complained of “drooping” health, a lingering cold, and weakened eyes (to AA , 15, 21 May, Adams Papers). As summer came on, he had a strong additional reason for wishing to visit Braintree: AA was expecting a baby in July. On 11 July she was delivered of a daughter who was to have been named Elizabeth but who “never opened its Eyes in this World.” See JA to AA , 4 June, 28 July; AA to JA , 9, 10–11, 16 July; John Thaxter to JA , 13 July (Adams Papers).