George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 1 September 1777

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters Wilmington [Del.] Septembr 1th 1777


I received to day the favour of your two letters of the 27th and 28th Ulto with a Copy of General Arnolds. The raising of the Seige of Fort Schuyler, is fortunate indeed, and I trust will free us from any further Apprehensions of an Invasion in that Quarter this campaign, if it does not produce a friendly and favourable change in the dispositions of the Indians towards us. It is to be wished, General Arnold had arrived sooner, in such case, it is probable, the Enemy would have suffered much more1 in their retreat. As matters were, I should suppose, their Loss of Provisions and baggage, and the distance they have to go, will reduce them to such a condition that they will be able to give but little Assistance any where this Year.

I have written to Colo. Hughes the Depty Quarter Mastr General at Peeks Kill, immediately to forward half the Salt provisions in the Magazine in Ulster to your Army. I do not know how much there is, but I have directed him to send from thence a further Quantity if you should order It.2 It is to be regretted that our supplies of so Essential an Article are extremely scanty, and by no means equal to the necessary demands. I should be happy, if they were larger, as a more frequent use of Salt food, I am well convinced, would contribute greatly to the health of our People.

Since Colo. Hamilton’s Letter of the 29th Ulto nothing remarkable has occured.3 The Enemy’s Van remains where it then was, and I believe the Main Body about Elk. There has been some skirmishing between our Scouting Parties but with little Loss. We have taken about 70 or 80 British prisoners, & there have been several Deserters from the Sea & Land service together. I am Sir Your Most Obedt Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The draft and Varick transcript both read: “much more severely.”

2GW wrote Col. Hugh Hughes on this date: “I have just received a letter from General Gates informing me, that he is in great want of salt provisions for the Northern army. You will therefore on receipt of this forward to him one half of what is now lodged in the Magazine at Ulster County; and if he should not find this supply sufficient but should call for more you are to comply with his demands out of the remainder. No time should be lost in executing this order” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW).

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