George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Ogden, 24 January 1777

To Robert Ogden

Morris Town. Jay 24th 1777.


You would do me Injustice if you supposed that the Appointt of Colo. Lourey to the post of D. C. Genl proceeded from any other Cause than Necessity—I was retarded from crossing the Delaware two days, & when over, was forced, from the want of a sufficient quanty of Provisions, to permit the Troops to victual themselves where they could,1 No time therefore was to be lost in removing so great an Inconvenience, in which I have succeeded since Colo. Loury undertook the Business—It ever was disagreeable to me to remove any Gentn from Office, and I beg that I may be excused when the Public Good requires it. I am Sir Yr mo. Ob. Sert

P.S. I do not interfere with any Person appointed by Colo. Loury in this business—He is answerable to me, consequently may employ whom he pleases.

Df, in George Johnston’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW wrote this letter in reply to one he received from Ogden of 18 Jan., written at Sussex, N.J: “I am Informed that your Excellency has been Pleasd to Appoint Colo. Lowrey D. C. General in the State of New Jersey, with which I am fully satisfied, and look upon Colol Lowrey well quallified to act in that department, and as thereby I Shall be excused from that Care & anxiety ever Attending the faithfull Performance of the business which now is reather burdensome to me in my advanced Stage of Life. this Appointt however carries with it an Oblique Censure upon my Conduct. I cannot therefore feel my self easy till I have removed any Ill impressions your Excellency may have imbibed—The long experience I had got (haveing Served as Commissary Since the Year 1744 when ever the Kings Troops were Quartered in Jersey), it is Probable recommended me to the Commissary General who gave me an Appointment in March Last without my Previous knowledge or any Application on my part, I undertook the business for this reason only; I was willing to Serve my Country to my utmost Ability, and tho’t I could not do it so well in any Other way and in June, I accepted an appointment in Conjunction with Messrs Lowry, Dunham, and Wharton. I Can Appeal to all the Gentlemen of the army that have been Stationed at, or have passed th[r]o’ Elizabeth Town and newark (which places fell under my Care in the division of the Business) whether they have not been well supplyed, while there, & when your Excellencys Army Passed through Eliza. Town (being at that Time in a Very poor State of health) thought it not adviseable to follow, (therefore only Sent one of my Sons as far as New Brunswick) as I supposed the three Gentln who had the Appointment with me and who were all below would be fully able to Supply the Army below; Besides it Appeared to me to be highly Necessary that Some one of us should Stay behind to Supply the Troops that might be Colected & Stationed at or About Morris Town Chatham Springfield &c. or that might Probably Pass thro’ from the Northward; & it has been with the greatest difficulty that I have Collected flour for those Troops, as the Supplys for flour were Cut of at Bound Brook & other mills Near New Brunswick: Where I usually had my Supplys of flour; Beef I had Plenty and I believe all the Troops & passing Parties were to General Satisfaction Supplyed Except in the Article of Salt, which your Excellency well knows could not be Obtained—I tho’t my Self Happy, when your excellency arrived with the army at Morris Town, that I had it in my Power to Afford a Supply, of upwards of fifty fat Cattle Chiefly large Oxen, which will recommend themselves by the goodness of the Beef: I would have waited on your Excellency as Soon as I heard of your being at Morris Town, But I was Layed up with a Severe Cold & Sore throat which Confined me to my Room upwards of Ten Days. When your Excellency Views my conduct in this Point of Light & the reasons which induced me not to follow the Army, I flatter my Self you will not think there has been any failure of duty on my Part. I had determined to decline the business on Account of my Age & feel no Chagrine in being Dropped, but Hope your Excellency will not blame me in being Sollicitous that my Character Should not Suffer, when I am conscious that I Ever have done & ever intend to do all in my Power to Serve the Common Cause.... P.S. I hope Still to See your Excellency before you Leave Morris Town. if not none is More Anxious for your Life & Success in this Glorious Cause of Civil & Religious Liberty & for which you have my Constant and Ardent prayers” (DLC:GW).

1GW recrossed the Delaware River on 30 Dec. 1776 (see GW to Hancock, 1 Jan., and note 2).

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