George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts Committee of Supplies, 1 August 1775

From the Massachusetts Committee of Supplies

Chamber of Supplies Water Town [Mass.] Augt 1. 1775

May It please your Excellency

Mr Cheever1 has applyed this afternoon for 200,000 small Arm Cartridges in Consequence of An Application from the Adjutant General, to answer the Demand of Major General Lee.

Mr Cheever is able to furnish abt 36000 It being the Whole Quantity now made, & there remains but 36 barells in Store of the Quantity collected from the Towns in this Colony & recd from the others this ⟨si⟩de Maryland.

there are also about two Tons of Lead & not any Flints in Store, of which We think it necessary to give immediate Information.

We are in daily Expectation of some Powder from the West Indies, but cannot say what Success our plans will meet with; indeed We have exerted Ourselves to obtain It several Ways which may be communicated at a more convenient oppertunity, With respect to Lead & Flints Colo. porter was dispatched sixteen Days since for New york for 2 hhds Flints & 10 Tons Lead but We have heard nothing from him since2—We are ready to exert to the utmost to serve the Cause, provided the Commissary General desires it for the present—the powder shall be sent immediatel⟨y⟩ if ordered or be made into Cartridges as soon as maybe. We are sir respectfully your most ob. Sert

Elbridge Gerry per Ord.3


1The Massachusetts provincial congress appointed Ezekiel Cheever to be storekeeper of ordnance on 27 June 1775, and on 17 Aug. GW made him Continental commissary of artillery stores (General Orders, that date). Later in the war Cheever served as commissary of military stores at Springfield, Mass., and he eventually became a deputy commissary general with the rank of colonel.

2Elisha Porter (1742–1796), a lawyer from Hadley, served in the third Massachusetts provincial congress and was appointed to the committee of supplies on 22 June 1775. In January 1776 he became colonel of a Massachusetts regiment and subsequently participated in the Canadian campaign. Porter left the Continental army in August 1776 on account of illness, but the following year he commanded a regiment of Hampshire County militia at Saratoga.

3Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), who represented Marblehead in all three Massachusetts provincial congresses, was appointed to the committee of supplies on 9 Feb. 1775. A merchant with many commercial connections in Spain, Portugal, and the West Indies as well as in New England, Gerry played a major role in obtaining supplies for the Continental army throughout 1775. In December of this year, the house of representatives, of which Gerry was also a member, chose him as one of the colony’s delegates to the Continental Congress. Gerry attended Congress from 1776 to 1780 and from 1783 to 1785, serving during the early years on the Board of Treasury.

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