George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 23–26 February 1778

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters Valley Forge Feby 23d[–26] 1778


I am honored with your two favours of the 14th and 18th instant, with their inclosures.1

With respect to the subject of the former, to obtain redress in the case of Mr Heister, the mode suggested in the postcript appears to me the most eligible; and I shall take the first opportunity to transmit a copy of your letter to General Heath, with the directions required.2

I shall take the measures necessary on my part to comply with the views of Congress in the regulations which have been made in the Ordnance department;3 and should be happy, did any additional ones occur to me, that might conduce to the advancement of the department, to submit them to the board; but at present, there do not.

Some time since, General Knox showed me an estimate of ordnance and stores, for the use of the ensuing campaign, which he intended to lay before the board.4 I should be glad to be informed, what prospects there are of procuring the requisite supplies. I am extremely apprehensive, that we shall suffer much, and have the operations of the campaign, greatly retarded and enfeebled from a deficiency in some essential articles, unless the most strenuous exertions are employed to make the ample provision, of which we shall stand in need. The board, I doubt not, will feel the importance of doing every thing in their power to prevent a deficiency of this kind; and will bestow their utmost attention and zeal upon a matter of such interesting consequence. I have the honor to be With much respect Sir Your most Obed. ser.

P.S. 26th Inclosed is a piece of intelligence, I have just received; to which I beg the attention, of the board and that they will take proper measures to apprehend Robinson.5

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The letter is docketed as “Inclosing intelligence from Major John Jameson.”

1The letter of 18 Feb. has not been found.

3For the congressional resolutions of 11 and 12 Feb. concerning ordnance and military stores, see 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 , 10:144–49, 153–54.

4See Henry Knox’s Artillery Estimate for 1778, 10 Nov. 1777, and note 1 of that document.

5A copy of the enclosed intelligence report is in DLC:GW: “Miss Anne Myers from Philadelphia, says, that on Sunday last she overheard a Refugee Capt. by the name of McDonnell, and one Irwin talking, that Irwin asked what news, John Robinson of Shermans Valley had brought he said very good, that the rebel army deserted very fast, the militia would not turn out, and there were a number of refugee’s at the Valley, and about Carlisle, that were ready to join Genl Howe when called for, That Robinson, set out last Friday with a great many letters, and orders to conduct the refugees in the most private manner, and to bring in all the officers, collectors &c. that they can possibly lay their hands on. Robinson promised to return in about a fortnight.” The Board of War forwarded Myers’s report to Maj. Gen. John Armstrong, who wrote GW about Robinson on 10 March.

Richard Kidder Meade had urged Maj. John Jameson to be active in gathering intelligence for GW in a letter dated 15 Feb.: “His Excy requests that you will let him know, at least once a week what is passing in your quarter, he has long expected a Letter from you, but particularly wi[t]hin this Day or two, as we have heard the Enemies Horse have ventur’d rather higher up the Country than we supposed, and cou’d not but conjecture they had some design, of which we are entirely ignorant. you will therefore please not to fail writing punctually.

“A Mr Putnam formerly as he says in our Navy, & dress’d in blue, & Buff, or white, Uniform, has been more than once in this Camp; acknowledges also his having been in Philadelphia, this, with many suspicious circumstances collected in the examination of him, Induces the Genl as we hear he lodges in the House where you do, or are often, to desire that unless you are well convinc’d he is to be trusted, that you will if in your power secure him that he may not carry any ill design into execution” (DLC:GW).

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