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Resolution of Congress, December 27, 1776

John Hancock. Document signed: [Philadelphia], to George Washington, 1776 December 27. 5 p. + doc.

In Congress Decr. 27th. 1776.


That Genl. Washington be empowered to use every Endeavor, by giving Bounties and otherwise, to prevail upon the Troops whose Time of Enlistment shall expire at the End of the Month to stay with the Army so long after that Period as its Situation shall render their Stay necessary.

That the new Levies in Virginia, Maryland, the Delaware State, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey, be ordered to march by Companies, and Parts of Companies, as fast as they shall be raised, and join the Army under Genl. Washington, with the utmost Dispatch.

That the foregoing Resolution be transmitted by the President to the executive Powers of the States before mentioned, who are requested to carry it into Execution; to appoint Commissaries to precede the Troops, and procure Provisions for them on their March; and that they be empowered to draw Money for this Purpose from the nearest Continental Paymaster.

That Genl. Washington be empowered to appoint a Commissary of Prisoners, and a Clothier General for supplying the Army, to fix their Salaries, and return their Names to Congress.

That [2] Genl. Washington be requested to fix upon that System of Promotion in the Continental Army, which in his opinion, and that of the general Officers with him, will produce most general Satisfaction; that it be suggested to him whether a Promotion of Field Officers in the Colonial Line, and of Captains & Subalterns in the Regimental Line, would not be the most proper.

That the Committee of Congress at Philadelphia be desired to contract with proper Persons for erecting at Carlisle in Pennsylvania, a Magazine sufficient to contain ten Thousand Stand of Arms and two Hundred Tons of Gun Powder, and also for erecting an Elaboratory adjacent to such Magazine.

That the Council of Massachusetts Bay be desired to contract with proper Persons for erecting in the Town of Brookfield in that State, a Magazine sufficient to contain Ten Thousand Stand of Arms, and two Hundred Tons of Gun Powder, and also for erecting an Elaboratory adjacent to such Magazine.

That Congress approve of Genl. Washington’s directing the Quarter Master Genl. to provide Teams for each Regiment, and for other necessary Purposes. –

That [3] the Committee of Secret Correspondence be desired to direct the Commissioners at the Court Of France, to procure if possible from that Court, an Hundred Thousand Stand of Small Arms.

That the second and seventh Virginia Regiments, with all the Convalescents from the other Corps left in that State and now fit for Duty be ordered to march and join the Army under Genl. Washington with the utmost Dispatch, leaving the Arms that they have at present with the Governor and Council of that State, as they will be provided with others at the Head of the Elk.

That three of the Regiments upon the new Establishment in North Carolina be ordered to march immediately [inserted: to join Genl. Washington]. [struck: into Virginia, and put themselves under the Direction of the Officer commanding their, and that during this Interval, between the March of the Virginia Regiments and the Arrival of these from North Carolina,] [inserted: That] the State of Virginia be empowred to call into Service at the Continental Expense these Regiments of Militia or Minute Men if such a Measure shall be by that State judged necessary.

The [4] unjust but determined Purpose of the British Court to enslave these free States, obvious through every delusive Insinuation to the contrary, having placed Things in such a Situation that the very Existance of Civil Liberty now depends on the right Execution of Military Powers; and the vigorous decisive Conduct of these being impossible to distant, numerous, and deliberative Bodies. This Congress having maturely considered the present Crisis, and having perfect Reliance on the Wisdom, Vigor, and Uprightness of Genl. Washington, do hereby –


That Genl. Washington shall be, and is hereby vested, with full, ample, and compleat Powers to raise and collect together in the most speedy and effectual Manner from any, or all these United States, sixteen Battallions of Infantry, in Addition to those already voted by Congress; to appoint Officers for the said Battallions; to raise, officer, and equip, three Thousand Light Horse; three Regiments of Artillery, and a Corps of Engineers and establish their Pay; to apply to any of the States for such Aid of the Militia as he shall judge necessary; to form such Magazines of Provisions, and in such Places as he shall think [5] proper; to displace and appoint all Officers under the rank of Brigadier General; and to fill up all Vacancies in every other Department in the American Armies; to take wherever he may be, whatever he may want [strike-out] for the Use of the Army, if the inhabitants will not sell it, allowing a reasonable <loss: Price from ?> the same; to arrest and confine Persons who refuse to take the Continental Currency, or are otherwise disaffected to the American Cause, & return to the States of which they are Citizens, their Names, and Nature of their Offences, together with the Witnesses to prove them.

That the foregoing Powers be vested in Genl. Washington for and during the Term of six Months from the Date hereof, unless sooner determined by Congress.


That the Council of Safety of Pennsylvania be requested to take the most vigorous and speedy Measures for punishing all such as shall refuse Continental Currency, and that the General be directed to give all necessary Aid to the Council of Safety for carrying their Measures on this subject into effectual Execution.

By Order Of Congress
John Hancock, Presidt

Decr: 27th, 1776
Jon. Hancok