George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 14 March 1778

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Bordon Town [N.J.] 14th Mar. 1778


Wishing to prevent the Enemy from Receiving any benefit from the forage in the Vicinity of the River, and anxious to save as much from the Fire as possable (by Obliging the Inhabitants to carry it into the Pines) took me up more time, than I at first expected—but that Business being now perfected—I have put the Detatchment on board of the Gallies—to be landed at Bristol, where I expect to meet them by land at twelve oClock—when I shall either carry off or Destroy the Forage within the reach of the Enemy in the Counties of Philada and edge of Bucks, and drive off the Horses Cattle &Ca fit for our service, in pursuance of your Excellencies Orders thro Colonel Biddle.1

The Cannon on travelling Carriages mentioned in your Excellencies Letter of the 28th Ultimo, has long since been Carried a Considerable distance above Trentown, there are a number of 3–6–& 9 Pounders on Ship Carriages on shore and on board of the Vessells in the Creek—these the Commodore Promisses to take by Water to Trentown—as soon as he and the Navy Board receives Answers to letters they have wrote on the Occasion which they hourly expect.

If it’s thought expedient to dismantle the Gallies there ought not a Single Moment to be lost in sinking the Vessells, at this place, otherwise they will Inevitably fall a prey to the Enemy—They are too Valuable and too Numerous to be lost for want of a little trouble.

I would beg leave to Suggest to your Excellency the expediency of Immediately driving off the Cattle, in Cumberland County in this state—which by the best accounts, amount to between three and four thousand Head of fine Bullocks that with a few weeks Grass would make good beef.

Colo. Hugg one of the purchasing Commissaries has wrote to Colonel Blane on the Occasion2—I wish some attention was paid to his opinion, I know him to be Industrious and very Compatent to the Business had he the proper Powers—The Resources of this State in supplying Provisions for the Army are so great that two much attention cant be paid in Covering it from the Enemy—but I fear that your Excellency has it not in your power to make a Detatchment adequate to the purpose.

I shall therefore forbear saying more on the Subject until I have the pleasure of attending you at head Quarters. Interim I am Yours most Sin[c]erely

Anty Wayne

I have Detatched Lieut. Morton of the Virginia Troops to Camp with 22 head of Cattle (one of them for your Excellencies particular use being the fattest beast in New Jersey[)].3

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers. The postscript to the LS is in Wayne’s writing. Wayne also wrote and signed two notes on the cover: “The bearer hereof is to pass free” and “Capt. Lee & part of his Troop would be of the most Essential Service—will your Excelly please to Order him to join me tomorrow at Bristol—⟨mutilated⟩ he may March this night.” GW sent a portion ofLee’s dragoons to Wayne on 15 March.

1On 25 Feb., Clement Biddle had written Wayne in part: “I proposed this morning to his Excellency the General to send Mr. Anderson ADQMG of a Brigade to assist in Collecting waggons Horses & Forage under your Directions as you passed through the County of Bucks” (PHi: Wayne Papers). GW’s letter to Wayne of 28 Feb. asked him “to execute the Business recommended” in Biddle’s letter “if possible.” Probably in consequence of GW’s letters of 12 and 15 Mar. summoning Wayne to return to camp, Wayne delegated much of the foraging to Pennsylvania militia, writing Brig. Gen. John Lacey, Jr., from Bensalem, Pa., on 15 Mar.: “His Excellency having ordered me to collect and drive all the cattle, horses, and wagons in the counties of Bucks and Philadelphia, likely to fall into the hands of the enemy—especially the property of the Tories,—I wish you to order your Troops to make a grand forage between Newtown and Philadelphia and in that direction, through both counties: driving the property so taken into your rear,—and from thence to camp—passing certificates to the owners for the same, to the end that the well-affected may at one day receive compensation.

“You need not be very nice with regard to the cattle being fat, but order all to be taken that can be used—together with all the horses fit for cavalry, or draft; and all sheep and hogs fit for use, together with wagons and gears, which you will cause to be loaded with forage.

“You will please to order all these articles, that you may collect within two or three days, to be delivered to Col. Butler, who will escort them to camp” (Register of Pennsylvania, 16 May 1829, p. 308).

2The letter from Joseph Hugg (c.1741–1796) of Gloucester County, who served as a commissary of the N.J. militia, 1776–81, has not been identified.

3Wayne may be referring either to Hezekiah Morton (1752–1831) of the 12th Virginia Regiment or to James Morton (1756–c.1847) of the 4th Virginia Regiment.

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