March 13, 1776

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In anticipation of the departure of the British from Boston, the general order for the day in Cambridge reads, “If upon the retreat of the enemy any person whatsoever, is detected in pillaging, the severest punishment will be his lot, the unhappy inhabitants of that distressed town have already suffered too heavily from the iron hand of oppression, their countrymen surely will not be base enough to add to their misfortunes.”  General Washington does not want revenge against those who joined the British, but ones them to return to their true countrymen.

General Washington has a Council of War to discuss the next moves.  Please note that the original spellings are included.  “His Excellency then demanded the opinion of Council, whether under the present Circumstances (i.e., before the Town is wholly evacuated) it would be adviseable to march any part of the Continental Army (now before Boston) to New York.  The Council were of opinion that it will be proper that five Regiments with the Rifle Battalion should be detached immediately to New York—the Rifle Battalion to march to-morrow, and the others to follow as speedily as possible, that his Excellency be advised to write to the Governor of Connecticut to desire he would immediately send two thousand of the Militia of his Government to New York, & that One Thousand be requested from the Convention or Committee of Safety of New Jersey, in order to reinforce the Troops already station’d there, until the detachments from this Army shall arrive.  His Excellency likewise demanded the opinion of Council, whether, If the Ministerial Troops should totally abandon the Town of Boston, it would be necessary to continue any part of the Continental Army for its defence.  Resolved, that if the Ministerial Troops should totally abandon the Town of Boston, it will be unnecessary to employ any part of this Army for the defence and security of the same, as the Militia of the Province will be adequate thereto.”

General Washington writes to President Hancock to tell him that he will soon be withdrawing his men from Boston and sending them toward New York, where he believes the British are heading.

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