To Henry Laurens
Valley Forge February 3d 1778
On the [ ] Ulto I had the honor to receive your Favor of the 27th with the Copies alluded to. As the proceedings of Congress in this instance seem to imply, that our Unfortunate people in the hands of the Enemy are to be victualled by us, I have only to wish that the Supplies may be constant & plentiful. I have transmitted your Letter to Mr Boudinot who is out of Camp, and have requested his most pointed attention to this business. I have also written to Genl Howe upon the occasion and inclosed him One of the Copies.1 In my next I shall take the liberty of transmitting you a Copy of my Letter to him on this head, and of some Others which have lately passed between us. I have the Honor to be with great respect Sir Your Most Obedt servt
P.S. I wish a Supply of money to be sent as soon as possible—Our distresses for want of it are not easily to be described—What Mr Palfrey brought with him was not sufficient to pay the Troops for Novemr by 250 or 300,000 Dollars. The demands were immense, most of the Eastern Troops having had four or five months pay due ’em & some more. The army now in general has three months pay in arrear exclusive of the months Extra pay, and besides this the Quarter master is pressing for large drafts for the purposes of his Department, tho he has received a proportion of the money which came with Mr Palfrey.2
LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the addressed cover of the LS. Congress read this letter on 5 February (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:126) and, according to the docket, referred it “to the board of treasury”; see note 2 below.
2. On 14 Jan., Congress had resolved on the issue of a warrant on the treasury for $500,000 to Paymaster General William Palfrey. On 5 Feb., shortly before it read this letter from GW on the same date, Congress ordered the treasurer to send the money to Palfrey, and on the following day it resolved to supply him with another $100,000 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:52, 124, 128). The issue of warrants for pay began on 11 Feb., pursuant to the general orders of the previous date announcing that Palfrey would distribute funds to the paymasters of regiments which had not received their pay for November 1777 (see warrant book, 13 Aug. 1776–1 Aug. 1778, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18). This did not put an end to all complaints, however (see the petition of 13 Feb. from the New Jersey Officers to GW).