George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Alexander McDougall, 6 May 1776

From Colonel Alexander McDougall

New York May [6] 1776


The Officers of the four Battalions raised last Year in this Colony have been allowed but a single Ration; nor have they had any allowance for billetting Money even while they were recruiting. The Expences they were exposed to in the Northern Campaign were great; far beyond those in the English Colonies; owing to the high Charges attending the Carriage of the Necessaries they wanted on that Service; which they were Subject to, as there were not boats sufficient on the Lake to Transport Stores for them. This occasioned them to fall a Prey to the Avarice of the Suttlers. They are making frequent applications to the Convention, Committee of Safety; and to me, for an allowance of Rations; or billetting to Compensate for those Expences; or to put them on the same footing with the other Continental Troops, who served at Cambridge;1 but we are utterly at a Loss how to settle with them for this demand, as we are destitute of any Rule for it. I must therefore beg your Excellency, to inform me, what Rations were allowed at Cambridge, to the Officers of the Army; in order that the settlement with the Officers of those Battalions may be made. It is with no small Reluctance I trouble the General with this Request. But I hope the pressing Nature of the Case, (as a settlement of this matter will be advancive the Reputation of the Service;) will be a sufficient apology for Your Excellency’s very humble servant

Alexr McDougall

LS, DLC:GW. The day of the month is blank in the manuscript, but the context suggests that this letter was written on 6 May. See GW to McDougall, 7 May 1776, and Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 5:1212.

1“Some of us,” several New York officers complained to the provincial congress on 21 Feb. 1776, “received but one ration, and others no provisions since we entered the service; whereas the captains in the eastern army have, from the first of July last, received three and the subalterns two, whereby discontents are arising to the prejudice of that service, where harmony is essential for executing the purpose intended” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:317).

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