July 11

We shall probably remain here several days and rest; am stiff and do not feel like moving on account of my bruise which is all black and sore and my hip is stiff. It's reported the enemy is close by Baltimore. The greatest excitement prevails accordingly, among citizens, and for fear communication will be cut with Washington. We can hear everything except reliable news. I've arrived at that stage where nothing excites me, I've been through so much in the last seventy days.

July Eleventh

The Old World had its Xantippe; but——the facts have not been fully established in the New!

“Under This Marble Tomb Lies The Body
Of The City Of Williamsburg,
And Parish of Bruton,
Formerly Of Hungar's Parish, On The
Eastern Shore
Of Virginia, And County Of Northampton,
Age 71 Years, And Yet Lived But Seven,
Which Was The Space Of Time He Kept
A Bachelor's Home At Arlington,
On The Eastern Shore Of Virginia.”

“This Inscription put on His Tomb was by His Own Positive Orders.”



July 11, 1863

Saturday. We have marching orders. It is said we go to Baton Rouge as escort for the Vermont Gray Horse Battery. That means we will have to take a horse's gait, and it is said to be twenty-five miles. We have been swimming in the river and washing our clothes and are that much better off anyhow. We have filled up on corn bread, and are waiting for further orders. Our regiment seems to be the only one that is going, at least we are the only one getting ready. I hope my clothes will get dry before we start, for it is hard getting around in them now. I am almost ashamed to say it, but we are lousy with all the rest. There are always some who don't care for them and they always have them. When we get a change of clothing, I'll bury or burn my old ones. We hope we are on the way to Camp Parapet, where our tents and knapsacks are. Baton Rouge is in that direction and that is the only good thing we have in sight.

189. John Adams

Philadelphia, 11 July, 1777.

This letter will go by the hand of the Honorable Joseph Hewes, Esquire, one of the delegates in Congress from North Carolina from the month of September, 1774, until 1777. I had the honor to serve with him upon the naval committee who laid the first foundations, the corner-stone, of an American navy, by fitting to sea the AlfredColumbusCabotAndrew DoriaProvidence, and several others; an honor that I make it a rule to boast of upon all occasions and I hope my posterity will have reason to boast. Hewes has a sharp eye and keen, penetrating sense, but, what is of much more value, is a man of honor and integrity. If he should call upon you, and you should be about, I hope you will treat him with all the complaisance that is due to his character. I almost envy him his journey, although he travels for his health, which at present is infirm.

I am, yours, yours, yours,     John Adams.

My dearest Friend,—We have had no news from camp for three or four days. Mr. Howe, by the last advices, was manœuvering his fleet and army in such a manner as to give us expectations of an expedition somewhere; but whether to Rhode Island, Halifax, up the North River, or the Delaware, is left to conjecture. I am much in doubt whether he knows his own intentions. A faculty of penetrating into the designs of an enemy is said to be the first quality of a General, but it is impossible to discover the designs of an enemy who has no design at all. An intention that has no existence, a plan that is not laid, cannot be divined. Be his intentions what they may, you have nothing to fear from him. He has not force to penetrate the country anywhere.

119. John Adams

Philadelphia, 11 July, 1776.

You seem to be situated in the place of greatest tranquillity and security of any upon the continent. I may be mistaken in this particular, and an armament may have invaded your neighborhood, before now. But we have no intelligence of any such design, and all that we now know of the motions, plans, operations, and designs of the enemy indicates the contrary. It is but just that you should have a little rest, and take a little breath.

I wish I knew whether your brother and mine have enlisted in the army, and what spirit is manifested by our militia for marching to New York and Crown Point. The militia of Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the lower counties are marching with much alacrity, and a laudable zeal to take care of Howe and his army at Staten Island. The army in New York is in high spirits, and seems determined to give the enemy a serious reception. The unprincipled and unfeeling and unnatural inhabitants of Staten Island are cordially receiving the enemy, and, deserters say, have engaged to take arms. They are an ignorant, cowardly pack of scoundrels. Their numbers are small, and their spirit less.

It is some time since I received any letter from you. The Plymouth one was the last. You must write me every week, by the post, if it is but a few lines. It gives me many spirits. I design to write to the General Court requesting a dismission, or at least a furlough. I think to propose that they choose four more members, or at least three more, that so we may attend here in rotation. Two or three or four may be at home at a time, and the Colony properly represented notwithstanding. Indeed, while the Congress were employed in political regulations, forming the sentiments of the people of the Colonies into some consistent system, extinguishing the remainders of authority under the crown, and gradually erecting and strengthening governments under the authority of the people, turning their thoughts upon the principles of polity and the forms of government, framing constitutions for the Colonies separately, and a limited and a defined Confederacy for the United Colonies, and in some other measures, which I do not choose to mention particularly, but which are now determined, or near the point of determination,[147] I flattered myself that I might have been of some little use here. But now, these matters will be soon completed, and very little business will be to be done here but what will be either military or commercial; branches of knowledge and business for which hundreds of others in our province are much better qualified than I am. I shall therefore request my masters to relieve me.

I am not a little concerned about my health, which seems to have been providentially preserved to me, much beyond my expectations. But I begin to feel the disagreeable effects of unremitting attention to business for so long a time, and a want of exercise, and the bracing quality of my native air; so that I have the utmost reason to fear an irreparable injury to my constitution, if I do not obtain a little relaxation. The fatigues of war are much less destructive to health than the painful, laborious attention to debates and to writing, which drinks up the spirits and consumes the strength.

I am, etc.


[147]This probably has reference to the project of opening relations with France, at this time entertained by a committee of which the writer was a member.