George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nicholas Cooke, 1 January 1776

From Nicholas Cooke

Providence January 1st 1776


Upon Receipt of your Excellency’s Letter of the 23d ulto1 I employed Two Persons to apply to the Housekeepers in this Town individually for Blankets for the Army. They have collected about 180 which will be sent forward this Day. It is full as large a Number as I expected to procure considering how we have been exhausted by Supplies to various Parts of the Service. I shall immediately take Measures for collecting more from the Country Towns.2

I refer your Excellency to General Lee for the Particulars of his Expedition to Rhode Island; which I hope will be attended with beneficial Consequences to the Colony.3

I received yours upon the Subject of reinlisting the Army,4 but from the distressed State of the Colony, and the Multiplicity of Business pressing me was incapable of giving you a satisfactory Answer. Nor can I at present do any thing more than renew my Assurances of giving every Assistance in my Power to the Service. I am with great Truth and Esteem Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servant

Nichls Cooke

P.S. You will receive by Mr Coomer Hale who carries the Blankets, an Account of the Cost of them.5 I shall be obliged to your Excellency for giving Orders for the Payment of it to him. By the same Conveyance I send you a Box and a Basket left for your Excellency by Mr Penet, and the other French Gentleman who accompanied him.6


3Charles Lee left Cambridge for Rhode Island on 20 Dec. and returned ten days later. See Cooke to GW, 19 Dec., and GW to Hancock, 25 Dec. 1775. During his stay in the colony, Lee gave instructions for erecting several fortifications, and acting on his own authority, he compelled a number of Loyalists in Newport to take an oath not to give provisions or intelligence to the British forces and to take up arms for the American cause if called upon by the Continental Congress or the Rhode Island general assembly (Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], 17 Jan. 1775; Moore, Diary description begins Frank Moore. Diary of the American Revolution from Newspapers and Original Documents. 2 vols. New York, 1859–60. description ends , 183–84. See also Nathanael Greene to Samuel Ward, Sr., 31 Dec. 1775, in Showman, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 1:170–75, Stephen Moylan to Joseph Reed, 2 Jan. 1776, in Reed, Joseph Reed description begins William B. Reed. Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Military Secretary of Washington, at Cambridge; Adjutant-General of the Continental Army; Member of the Congress of the United States; and President of the Executive Council of the State of Pennsylvania. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1847. description ends , 1:137–40, and Charles Lee to Robert Morris, 3 Jan. 1776, in Lee Papers description begins [Charles Lee]. The Lee Papers. 4 vols. New York, 1872-75. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 4–7. description ends , 1:233–34).

5This account has not been identified. See GW to Cooke, 6 Jan. 1776. Coomer Hale has not been identified.

6For the gifts of fruit, sugar, and liquors sent by Pierre Penet and Emmanuel de Pliarne, see their letter to GW of 18 December. The two men had gone to Philadelphia to propose to Congress a plan for importing arms and ammunition.

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