Journals of the Continental Congress - Instructions to General Washington; June 20, 1775
TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 1775

The Congress met according to adjournment.

The committee appointed to draught instructions to the general, reported the same, which being read, were agreed to, and are as follows:

To George Washington Esqr

This Congress having appointed you to be General and Commander in chief of the Army of the united Colonies and of all the forces raised or to be raised by them and of all others who shall voluntarily offer their service and join the said army for the defence of American liberty and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof, you are to repair with all expedition to the colony of Massachusetts bay and take charge of the army of the united colonies.

For your better direction

1st You are to make a return to us as soon as possible of all forces which you shall have under your command together with their military stores and provisions. And also as exact an Account as you can obtain of the forces which compose the British Army in America.

2dly You are not to disband any of the men you find raised until further direction from this Congress and if you shall think their numbers not adequate to the purpose of security, you may recruit them to a number you shall think sufficient, not exceeding double that of the enemy.

3d In all cases of vacancy occasioned by the death or removal of a Colonel or other inferior officer, you are by brevet or warrant under your seal to appoint another person to fill up such vacancy until it shall be otherwise ordered by the provincial Convention or Assembly of the colony from whence the troops in which such vacancy happen, shall direct otherwise.

4. You are to victual at the continental expence all such volunteers as have joined or shall join the united Army.

5. You shall take every method in your power consistent with prudence, to destroy or make prisoners of all persons who now are or who hereafter shall appear in Arms against the good people of the united colonies.

6. And whereas all particulars cannot be foreseen, nor positive instructions for such emergencies so before hand given but that many things must he left to your prudent and discreet management, as occurrences may arise upon the place, or from time to time fall out, you are therefore upon all such accidents or any occasions that may happen, to use your best circumspection and (advising with your council of war) to order and dispose of the said Army under your command as may be most advantageous for the obtaining the end for which these forces have been raised, making it your special care in discharge of the great trust committed unto you, that the liberties of America receive no detriment.

Resolved, that this Congress will to Morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of America.

Adjourned till to Morrow at 9 o Clock.

Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1779
Vol. II Pages 100-101.
Edited from the original records in the Library of Congress
by Worthington Chauncey Ford; Chief, Division of Manuscripts.
Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1905.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.