George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, 9 January 1778

From Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski

Trenton [N.J.] 9 Januar. 1778.


I arrived here yesterday with the Cavalry where I expeted to have found forage Sufficient to Subsist the Cavalry at least for a few days, my Brigade forage master1 had been informed by Colo. Biddle that Such provision was made & that he would have nothing more to do then Issue the same but So farr to the Contrary there was not a Load of Hay in Town, with the greatest dificulty we have been enabled to put our heads under cover, I applied to the Civil majistrates for directions relative to the forming a magazine, in the mean while the Horses must Subsist. I am therefore obliged to divide them in Several Squads & Send them out about Two miles in the rear of the Town, untill the necessary provision both for forage & Quarters Can be made, It will be impossible for me to Quarter the Cavalry in this place unless the Gally men are removed, but they Say, they have an order from the governor & Concil to remain here & having prior possession, think they are intitled to hold it,2 I wait your Excellencys positive order in what manner to proceed & if in this Case, I must execute my first orders, It will be necessary the Gallymen Should receive orders to evacuate the Town, I have the Honor to assure your Excelly that the Cavalry is in want of every article. It must be exercised & taught the Service from the Colo. to the private—Colo. Kolatch is a man of great merit & desves the Charge of master of Exercise he’s an officer worthy of research & exclusive of a thorough Knowledge of his abilities request his being imployed by your Excelly. I can recommend him & assure your Excelly will never have reason to repent your confidence in him, if this proposal Should be agreable to your Excelly, the Sooner I am informed the better as he will be of infinite Service to the Cavalry this winter in Quarters.3

I have met with an armourer who lives at Eastown, he undertakes to furnish me with pikes, pistols Carbines &c. if your Excelly approves of him the Qr Mr General will take your orders on that head.4

There are Some excellent horses in this Country and as Colo. Luterloh has recieved orders to press all horses fit for the Service he may procure a number here but this must not be delayed, as I am informed many persons buy them for the use of the enemy. I am with respect Your Exceleny were hamble and obed. Servant

C. Pulaski Gnl

LS, DLC:GW. The closing sentence is in Pulaski’s writing.

GW’s aide John Laurens wrote the foragemaster general, Col. Clement Biddle, on “Monday Eveng,” 12 Jan.: “His Excellency desires me to inclose a Letter which he received to day from Count Pulaski—by which as well as by letters and accounts from other Officers it appears that there is the greatest difficulty in collecting Forage near Trenton—His Excelly would be glad to know from you the real State of this matter” (PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence). Biddle replied on 14 January (DLC:GW).

1The foragemaster for cavalry at this time was Cornelius McCaskey.

2The galley men were part of a contingent of five hundred crew remaining from Commodore John Hazelwood’s Pennsylvania galleys, most of which had been destroyed after the loss of Fort Mifflin in November 1777.

3Michael de Kowats (Kovatch, Kowacz; 1724–1779), who was born in Hungary, received his military training in the Prussian army where he attained the rank of captain. GW approved his appointment as exercise master of dragoons, but in April 1778 Kowats became colonel commandant of Pulaski’s Legion. He was killed at Charleston, S.C., in May 1779.

4Henry Emanuel Lutterloh wrote John Laurens on 14 Jan., informing Laurens of Pulaski’s wants and reporting that the armorer at Easton, Pa., would furnish the cavalry with equipment if he was given a large supply of wood and his employees were exempted from militia service (DLC:GW).

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