George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Joseph Ellis, 18 January 1778

To Colonel Joseph Ellis

Head Quarters Valley Forge 18th Jany 1778


I am glad to hear, by yours of the 15th instant, that you have been appointed to the Command of the Brigade late Newcombs. From the Character given of you by Genl Green, I have every reason to expect that nothing will be wanting on your part to excite a proper spirit among the people, and to give the most effectual opposition to any parties of the Enemy who may attempt to ravage your Coast. If the State has no Ammunition belonging to it, you must send an Officer to me, with an account of the Quantity wanting, and I will supply you. I think when the Army came from Morris Town, we left two Iron four pounders there belonging to Jersey. You will therefore send an Officer to inquire for them and to bring them down to you if he finds them there. But lest they should have been removed I inclose you an order on the Commissary of Military Stores at Allen Town in Northampton County for two Iron four pounders with fixed Ammunition for them.1 You should inquire what is done with the light Iron Guns that were removed from Red Bank, if you can find any of them that will suit you, you had better get two of them fitted up and only send for the fixed Ammunition to suit them from Allen Town.2 this will save much trouble.

Altho it will be inconvenient to the Inhabitants of Burlington, Gloucester and Salem to remove their Stock back, I would still have you do it as effectually as possible, or the Enemy will certainly make a sweep of them one day or another. What are proper for Beef the Commissaries will take off their hands and for the others I should think it would be in the power of every farmer to carry back some forrage for them.3

I have nothing to do with the appointment of the Staff in the Militia more than of any other Officers, and therefore cannot interfere. I should suppose you had better yourself appoint persons who are suitable and get them confirmed by the Governor. I am &c.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Joseph Stiles, a Quaker schoolmaster and linen manufacturer who had lived on Arch Street in Philadelphia, was at this time a commissary of military stores in charge of the ordance stored at Allentown, Pennsylvania. The enclosed order on Stiles has not been identified.

2Tilghman wrote and then crossed out an additional sentence at this place on the draft: “It will be scarcely possible to bring Cannon from thence at this season of the year except the Roads are frosty.”

3At this place on the draft, Tilghman wrote the following additional sentence and then struck it out: “But most of this must be left to your own judgement and discretion.”

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