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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3


From Joseph Hawley

11 June 1775

To Artemas Ward

18 June 1775
To David Cobb
RTP Cobb, David
Philada. June 17, 1775. Dear Freind,

I omitt no opportunity of writing to you. I wish you could return the Compliment; I am as well as great Exertions of Body & mind will admitt of. I have not time to be very formal, & may tell you in a few Words that we have unanimously chosen George Washington Esqr. to be General of the American forces; we have voted & orders are taken for sending in the most speedy manner ten Companys of Riflemen to join our Army; effectual measures are taken to support the Army & all Continental Charges.

By Advices from England the Ministry are determined to push, & the people there & in Ireland seem more disposed to favour us; if we can but stand the shock of this Summer we hope to be upon a better footing; before this reaches you, we expect you will have a large reinforcement of Ministerial Troops at Boston. I hope our people will be very wary of Surprizes; we have likewise appointed Genral Ward1 first Major Genral; these matters above I have licence to mention to you tho’ as our system is not compleated, it is expected that none of these intelligences be put in the news paper. The General will soon set out for Boston—pray take care of my family—inclosed I send a proclamation wch. you may present together with my Compliments to Mr. Barnum2—let my wife Read this Letter—I have not time to write her—hoping yr. happiness I am yr. freind & servant,


RC (James S. Copley Library, La Jolla, California) ; addressed: “To Doctor David Cobb at Taunton Massachusetts. Pr. Mr. Fessenden Express.”


Artemas Ward, who had earlier been appointed to lead the Massachusetts troops, had also been considered for the position of commander-in-chief. RTP expressed “a great Opinion of General Ward and a strong friendship for him, having been his Classmate at Colledge, or at least his contemporary: but gave no Opinion upon the question” of his appointment to the first position (John Adams, Diary, 3:323).


Caleb Barnum (1737–1776) had been minister of Taunton since 1768. On May 3, 1775, he was commissioned as chaplain of Walker’s Massachusetts regiment, and upon the creation of the Continental Army was on Feb. 24, 1776, commissioned chaplain of the 24th and 26th regiments. He died from illness on Aug. 23, 1776 ( Sibley’s Harvard Graduates , 14:132–134).