George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major John Jameson, 31 December 1777

From Major John Jameson

White Marsh [Pa.] December 31st 1777


I herewith send you a Return of the Detachments on this side the Skuylkill1 The Parties on the Germantown & Ridge Roads are too small if seperated as I do not think that less then fifteen Privates properly Officer’d will do for either of the Roads and about twenty four will do if they remain together. It will be necessary for the Officers on this side the River to be furnished with Money to pay the People for Provision &c. as the Commissary will not pay any Receipts that are given for that purpose so that the People after going to Camp return to the Officer for a new Receipt supposing that the Officer had given them one only to make them ride for nothg.2 I find that it will be very difficult to prevent the Inhabitants of Philadelphia from carrying in Provisions as they mostly walk out and when they are going in enquire what time the Horse leave the lines and so remain at some House til they see them and then slip of[f] through the Plantations I believe there are not less than two hundred a day that come out with bags for a Quarter of Flower or Meal &c. I expect to find out some of the Market Gentry tomorrow and shall send the first that I think worthy of the G —— to Head Quarters. I have many applications made to me by the Inhabitants to go into the City for Salt &c. I should be glad of your Excellency’s Orders with regard to that matter.3 Capt. Tallmadge and Lieut. Lewis want much to be relieved. I am with respect Your Excellency’s Obedient Servant

John Jameson


1Jameson’s “Return of the Detachments of Light Dragoons on the East side of Skuylkill,” dated 30 Dec. 1777, accounts for 35 cavalrymen, 18 commanded by Capt. Charles Craig, 12 by Capt. Benjamin Tallmadge, and 5 by Lt. Addison Lewis (DLC:GW).

2Jameson was not the first person to bring such complaints to light. See GW to Stirling, 27 Dec., n.3.

3Lt. Col. Richard Kidder Meade replied to Jameson for GW on 1 Jan. 1778: “your favor of yesterday was received by his Excellency who desires me to request that you’ll use your utmost endeavours to stop (if possible) all communication whatever between the Country People & the City, no pleas of going for Salt or any pretence, is to gain them permission, & to effect this you will dispose of your parties in such manner as you find most effectual according to the strength of them.

“I am directed by The Genl, to remind you of the necessity of your particular attention to any movement the Enemy may make this way (on your side), now the river is become passable, by means of the Ice; Tis sufficient to tell you that dependance is put upon you in this Instance, & that if any step of this kind is taken, your earliest information is rely’d on.

“I am to inform you that the method thought best for the discharge, of demands, on the party’s of horse, for subsistence, is tha⟨t⟩ you draw from the Commy of Purchases a sum of money for that purpose, & give orders that all accounts hereafter be brought to you for payment, & when you may be relieved, that the money in your hands be deliver’d to that officer, of whom you will take a receipt—directing him to follow the same method that you had done. It will not be amiss if you can devise a better plan to make it known.

“As fast as any of your Men or horse are render’d unfit for duty, you are to send them to camp, or some other place of perfect safety, & where they will not be neglected. this you will readily conceive absolutely necessary.

“As to your application for reliefs in future, make them known to Count Pulaski who will regulate those matters. . . . P.S. you must be sensible that the expence attending the Detachments of horse, has been far more than the common Value of rations, & what ought in justice to the Country to be allowed, therefore to fix on some allowance for each ration, it will be necessary for you to see the Comy, who has orders to settle this matter with you” (DLC:GW).

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