Papers of John Adams, volume 4

To James Warren

To Thomas Crafts Jr.

24 From Joseph Ward, 14 February 1776 Ward, Joseph JA From Joseph Ward, 14 February 1776 Ward, Joseph Adams, John
From Joseph Ward
Sir Camp at Roxbury 14 Feby. 1776

We hoped to have the pleasure of seeing you again in Camp before you set out for Philadelphia, but as you don't like a “sleepy Camp” I can easily account for your preferring the Senate. The time perhaps is not far distant when the Camp will be wakeful and active—and to leave us without excuse, I wish we may have a sufficient quantity of the Needful. The Regiments of Militia which were ordered are coming into Camp fast and in a few days will I suppose all be in; we shall then have a powerful Army, but what shall we do for —— ?1 Unless we soon have a larger supply, I can think of but one way to conquer that nest of Tories Pirates Robbers and Murders, which have so long disgraced the Capital of New England, by storm. May the God of the Armies of Israel direct our Arms.

Every man of sentiment or consideration in the Army is now seriously attentive to the great object before us, and concerned how we shall accomplish that which all think must be done. It is certainly a most serious and critical day with us, as also with America in general, and we eminently need the assistance of Him “who ruleth in the Armies of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the world.” I will venture to communicate (for once) my poor but serious thoughts upon this most important affair. If a large supply of powder does not soon arrive I humbly think that the call of Providence will be clear for storming the Town, and I am for obeying this voice of Heaven and would enter the City with the whole Army. I am Sir with very great Esteem Your most Hum. Servt.,

Joseph Ward

P.S. Some Deserters and several other persons have within a few days come out of Boston, but bring no material news; they inform that the troops continue sickly, the tory spirits pretty low but something revived with George's Speech2 and other tory proceedings in England, that they expect we shall disturb their rest in Boston before Spring, &c.

Last Night the Enemy burnt a number of houses on Dorchester Point.3

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honourable John Adams Esqr Member of the Continental Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Ward Feby 14. 1776.”


Presumably gunpowder, although Ward does not hesitate to use the word below.


George III's speech to Parliament of 26 Oct. 1775 was printed in the Boston Gazette, 8 Jan., and in the 25 Massachusetts Gazette, 11 Jan. See Samuel Chase to JA, 12 Jan., note 2 (above).


This action reportedly involved one thousand British troops crossing the ice in an unsuccessful attempt to cut off the American guard on Dorchester Neck (Boston Gazette, 19 Feb.).