George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Henry Emanuel Lutterloh, 27 December 1777

To Colonel Henry Emanuel Lutterloh

Head Quarters Valley Forge Decr 27th 1777.


As we have more than probably taken a position for the Winter, and every exertion in the different departments should be made to prepare for the next Campaign: I take this early oppertunity to remind you of the necessity of providing Common Tents—Bell Tents for Arms—Ammunition Waggons—& such other essentials in your Line as you know will be wanted for the use of the Troops next Campaign. A Moments reflection must convince you that the Smallest delay will be injurious, as the Season for providing these things is fast advancing, and the difficulty in obtaining them may be great.

If you have not resources within your own Comd to furnish the two first Articles, you are to apply to the board of War for Instructions; particularly, to know whether the Sail Duck imported, or purchased for the Frigates may not be applied to these useful purposes.

To descend into the Minutiæ of our wants, is unnecessary; the experience of the last Campaign will be your best informer, and guide. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt

Go: Washington

P.S. You ought to know where your resources of Waggons and Drivers are to be had, & no longer depend upon Soldiers for this business.1

G. W——n

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW instructed his aide-de-camp John Laurens to write Lutterloh again on 28 Dec. 1777: “His Excellency desires me to inform you, that from seeing the Mill in our neighborhood unemployed, he has his doubts with respect to the activity of those which are more remote—he requires you to exert yourself as much as possible in procuring from them all without delay a sufficient Quantity of Plank for covering the new Bridge to be thrown over Schuylkil His Excellency desires likewise that you will send one of your Department immediately to visit the old Bridge, and make an exact report to him of its present Condition” (DLC:GW). For the construction of a bridge over the Schuylkill River, see General Orders, 22 Dec., n.1.

Lutterloh reported back in a letter to GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison, written at Valley Forge on 31 Dec. 1777: “The reason why I have not been at Head Quarter is—My very great Cold I Ketched. And therefore beg You will be Kind enough to acquaint his Excell. That I got last Night an Answer from Gener: Mifflin concerning the order I received to have every thing ready in our Department for the Campaign. he Says, That he has Mr Moulder the Sail Maker, who is employed to Make Tents. That he has already Send persons to Carolina & Virginia & Boston to buy up All Sail & other Cloths, & Canvas for Tents & Coverings of Waggons—That a great Nu’mber New Ameunition & Baggage Waggons Are ordered.

“That 250 Froes, and a quantity of Axes are Send of[f] & will be here to day. That I shall deliver them out instantly after their arrival but as for Potts, Baskets & Tubs—I must Not expect, this Winter. the chief of the Workmen in that Way are left in the City. So That I do not Know what to do, to Supply the poor Soldiers with that absolutely necesary article.

“I have given an order this Morning to Visite all Saw Mills again, & to let Me Know their Work Since my last Report, & if his Excellency please May give orders to each Brigade to fetch that quotum I shall find they must have in proportion to the quantity Sawed. but if the board are to be Kept for the Bridge I must have an order (I mentioned this allready this Morning to Col. Pickering to aske his Excey).

“I gave orders yesterdy to each Regiment to fetch A Load of Straw. All’so ech Brigade a Grind Stone. Say likwise that Col. Bidle has given orders to fetch that Forrage away You Mentiond, & the Comissory the Stores. but as to the bar Iron, I would not Spare Teams yet. & as that Article was not So quicke to be Mooved by the Enemy, I thought it best to Wait till our Teams could be Spared & Th[e]n to fetch it at once.

“Col. Bidle & Stuart Met at my Quarters & there Reportion is Made for the Necesary horses & Waggons.

“I think if this was agreed to, A Strick order for Delivering Up All horses & Waggons to the Waggon Master Genl would be Necessary & then these New arrangement be put in force. Untill all Waggons are Distributd in A Regular Manner, Complains & Confusions will Never be at an End—besids I must beg for a Strong order, That No Commander or officers Medles with Contra ordering any Command which comes from the Waggon Master General as at present is the Usual Case, & I do never Know how to remedy their Confusions” (DLC:GW).

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