Orders to Lieutenant Colonel Peter Adams
[Whitemarsh, Pa., 7 November 1777]
The approaching season, and the distresses of the Army in the Articles of Blankets & Cloathing make it necessary, that every practicable measure should be pursued to procure supplies.
Therefore to releive, if possible, the wants of the Troops, raised by the State of Maryland, in these essential Articles, you are to proceed immediately to Govr Johnson with the Letters you have in charge for him,1 and to receive whatever Supplies the State may be in a situation to furnish in these instances, & which they may think proper to deliver. You know the circumstances of the Troops & must explain them.
Besides the necessaries you may receive from the State, you will use every possible endeavour to procure further Supplies by purchasing from the Inhabitants and Individuals. For which purpose you will receive of the Pay Master Genl Two thousand Dollars. I have written to the Govr of this measure, and I am well assured, he will give you every countenance and aid in his power to promote it. The Wants of the Troops are general. But in the Articles of Blankets—Shoes & Stockings, they are peculiarly great—A considerable supply of these must be had, if it is possible, Upon a due representation, I trust, the people at large from motives of generosity & a regard to the service, will make every contribution their circumstances will admit of & upon reasonable terms.
You will keep a particular account of All the Cloathing you obtain—of the prices paid for them & of every expence incurred in bringing them to Camp. These you will report on your Return with the whole of your proceedings.
You will find a List of Necessaries wanted inclosed by Genl Smalwood to the Governor. Given under my Hand at Head Qrs this 7 day of Novemb. 1777.
Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
Peter Adams (d. 1785), a member of the Maryland convention from Caroline County in 1775, apparently was retained as a captain in Col. William Smallwood’s Maryland regiment when the regiment entered the Continental service in January 1776. Adams became major of the 7th Maryland Regiment in December 1776 and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1777. In August 1779 Adams became lieutenant colonel commandant of the 1st Maryland Regiment, and in January 1781 he transferred to the 3d Maryland Regiment, where he served until the end of the war.
1. These letters included GW’s letter to Gov. Thomas Johnson of 6 Nov. and one from Brig. Gen. William Smallwood to Johnson, apparently written on the same date but printed in the “Md. Council of State” description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Journal and Correspondence of the Council of the State of Maryland. March 20-November 8. 1777. In Archives of Maryland, vol. 16 (Baltimore, 1897): 185-560. description ends under the date of 8 November. Smallwood’s letter reads in part: “the approaching season, & the improbability of procuring supplies of Cloathing, produced sensations that must affect any Person of Humanity, this led me to address Genl Washington on the Subject, who must feel much for the Distress which generally prevails in the Army for want of Blankets and Cloathing . . . he refers me to you, has wrote himself and detached Lt Colo P. Adams for this purpose with a Supply of Cash & Instructions to purchase from Private Families all he possibly can—being conscious your Countenance and Aid on this Occasion will not be wanting, I have inclosed a general Return of such Articles as are wanted. . . . Stokings are most wanted, & I fear will be most difficult to procure, which induces me to recommend (if they can’t be had) Woolen Overhalls with Socks, these for Winter, and Linnen for Summer provided the Soldiery could have two pair, I have ever thought a good Substitute for Breeches and Stokings, indeed in most Instances they are preferable for Soldiers. The Troops in general are bare, but the two Maryland Brigades are more so perhaps than any in the Army” (“Md. Council of State” description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Journal and Correspondence of the Council of the State of Maryland. March 20-November 8. 1777. In Archives of Maryland, vol. 16 (Baltimore, 1897): 185-560. description ends , 413–14).