George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Nathaniel Woodhull, 13 June 1776

To Nathaniel Woodhull

Head Quarters New York June 13th [1776]


I am infor⟨med that a Num⟩ber of Persons on Long Islan⟨d (by Charac⟩ter not the most friendly to the ⟨Cause of⟩ the United Colonies) have in thei⟨r Hands⟩ considerable quantities of Pork ⟨and other⟩ Provisions which they refuse to ⟨part⟩ with for Continental Bills—they ⟨may have⟩ other reasons for their conduct sti⟨ll more⟩ detrimental; & therefore I must be⟨g the⟩ Interposition of your Congress in ⟨this⟩ matter; so as to prevent the Evils whi⟨ch are⟩ much to be apprehended. The Com⟨missa⟩ry General will purchase all their Pro⟨visions⟩ at good Prices, and give them Continen⟨tal⟩ Bills in pay—Gold & Silver he has n⟨one⟩—the Provisions are wanted for the ⟨Ar⟩my; and those who are well wishers to th⟨e⟩ Cause, & live in exposed Situation’s will undoubtedly, be glad to dispose of them⟨.⟩ The disadvantages wch may result to the Publ⟨ic⟩ by leaving them in the hands of Men ⟨of a⟩ different complexion, are too o⟨bvious to⟩ need animadversion.1

I have had your report ⟨respec⟩ting the obstructi⟨on of the Navigation of the Hudson’s River under Consideration and am pursuing Measures to carry it into Execution with all possible Dispatch.2 With great Respect⟩ Yr Most obedt Ser⟨vt⟩

Go: Washington

ALS, N: New York Provincial Congress Revolutionary Papers; LB, in Alexander Contee Hanson’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The ALS was damaged in the New York State Library fire of 1911. Mutilated portions of it are supplied within angle brackets from the letter-book copy.

1For the provincial congress’s action on this matter, see Woodhull to GW, 15 June 1776, n.1.

2On 27 May “it was suggested to the [provincial] Congress that some gentlemen are of opinion that it would be advantageous for the defence of this Colony to impede the navigation between Redhook, on Nassau [Long] island, and Bedlow’s island.” To determine the feasibility of such a plan, the provincial congress ordered Col. William Malcom, Capt. Daniel Shaw, “and such persons as they shall think proper to take to their assistance . . . to sound the depth of water” in that area. Thomas Randall reported for the members of the committee on 3 June “that from the best intelligence they have obtained, the obstructing the navigation of Hudson’s river, although a difficult and laborious undertaking, is nevertheless in our opinion practicable, wherefore they do report that they conceive it to be an object worthy of the public attention, and proper to be submitted to the consideration of His Excellency Genl. Washington” (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 , 1:462, 472).

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