January 23, 1776


In Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a patriot force from Elizabethtown, New Jersey, commanded by William Alexander and Elias Dayton captured the British supply ship HMS Blue Mountain Valley about forty miles off Sandy Hook.

George Washington, in the meantime, writes to Joseph Reed requesting that he return to his work for him as secretary, and bemoans that amount of time he spends writing official dispatches and the like.  “Real necessity, compells me to ask you whether I may entertain any hopes of your returning to my Family? if you can make it convenient, and will hint the matter to Colo. Harrison, I dare venture to say that Congress will make it agreeable to you in every shape they can—My business Increases very fast, and my distresses for want of you, along with it—Mr Harrison is the only Gentleman of my Family that can afford me the least assistance in writing—He and Mr Moylan, whose time must now be solely Imployed in his department of Commissary, have heretofore afforded me their aid. & I have hinted to them in consequence of what you signified in some former Letter that each (as they have really had a great deal of trouble) should receive one third of your pay, reserving the other third, contrary to your desire, for yourself; My distress, and Imbarrassment, is in a way of being very considerably Increased by an Occurrance in Virginia wch will I fear compell Mr Harrison to leave me, or suffer considerably by his stay. He has wrote however by the last post to see if his return cannot be dispensed with—If he should go, I shall really be distressed beyond Measure as I know no Persons able to supply your places (in this part of the World) with whom I would chuse to live in unbounded confidence. In short, for want of an acquaintance with the People hitherwards, I know of none wch appear to me qualified for the Office of Secretary.

The business, as I hinted to you before, is considerably Increased, by being more comprehensive; and, at this time (from the great changes which have, and are happening every day) perplexed; so that you would want a good Writer, and a Methodical Man, as an Assistant, or Copying Clerk—such an one I have no doubt will be allowed, and the choice I leave to yourself, as he should be a person in whose Integrety you can confide, and on whose capacity—care—& method you can rely. At present, my time is so much taken up at my Desk, that I am obliged to neglect many other essential parts of my Duty; it is absolutely necessary therefore for me to have person’s that can think for me, as well as execute Orders.”

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