George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 10 February 1778

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters Valley Forge 10th Feby 1778


I have been favd with yours of the 27th and 31st ulto1—The Officers and Men, belonging to the Artillery under the command of Major Stevens, had been sent back previous to the Rect of yours of the 27th—I have always found great inconveniences in keeping small parties detatched from their Corps.

You must have heard that the Officers who had the British Cloathing in charge would not proceed further than Lancaster. They insisted upon and have returned to Philadelphia.

I cannot find upon enquiry of Colo. Smith, that there was any thing reprehensible upon the part of the Officers, he says, on the contrary, that their behaviour was, in his opinion, strictly proper while under his Care. Lt Patterson, one of the Officers who attended them, also says, that their behaviour upon the journey was conformable to the terms of their parole.2

I received a letter from you of the 23d January on the subject of Cloathing said to be collected in this State for the use of the Pennsylva Troops, and delivered out to the Army in general.3 There was a mistake in the representation of this matter to you. Soon after the Officers were sent out by me to collect cloathing, they were recalled by desire of the President, who informed me, by a deputation from the Assembly, that they had appointed Commissioners for that purpose.4 What little was collected by the Officers was distributed among the Men of their own Regiments. I do not beleive that the Cloathier General ever recd any of it on the general account. On the contrary, he complains that the State had taken a parcel of Cloth to their particular use, which he had purchased for the Continent.5 I am Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1These letters have not been found.

2For GW’s involvement in the detention of British officers escorting clothing to prisoners held by the Americans, see William Stephens Smith to GW, 25 Jan., n.1.

3This letter has not been found. Gates wrote GW another letter on 23 Jan., but it concerned the dispute over Maj. Gen. Thomas Conway, not clothing.

4The deputation to which GW refers arrived in camp on 3 Dec. 1777 (see the source note to the general orders of that date).

5Clothier General James Mease wrote GW on 18 Jan. that the Pennsylvania council had taken for its own use cloth that GW had ordered to be seized from Joseph Carson of Bucks County, Pa. (see also Mease to GW, 16 Dec. 1777, n.4).

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