George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 26 May 1778

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters Valley Forge 26 May 1778


I was not a little suprised to see by a letter from Colo. Hooper to Colo. Harrison, copy of which you have inclosed, that 728 Stand of Arms, which had come on as far as Sussex Court House, had returned to New Windsor, in consequence of directions given by Mr Andrew Taylor D. Q. M. Genl to Mr Lansing.1 Mr Taylor says this was done by your positive orders as appears by copy of his letter to Mr Lansing, which you have also inclosed.2 This order of Mr Taylors extends to all the Arms under the care of Mr Lansing, and therefore it is more than probable that all which he was forwarding, and which are above 1900, will also be sent back.

In my letters to the Board of War some time ago, I informed them that I should draw about 4000 Stand from the Eastward and Albany for the use of this Army, and that I had ordered a sufficient number to be left on the other side of the North River for the Eastern Levies. General Knox informs me that he has left 3000 Stand for that purpose.3 There are now at least 2500 Men, consisting of those whose Arms are out of repair and the levies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, who are unable to do duty for want of Arms. The 10th Carolina Regiment, lately arrived at Camp, have not a Musket. I therefore desire that the 728 Stand may be immediately sent down, and that all the Arms which General Knox, by my orders, directed to be sent from Springfeild and Albany to this quarter, may come on without the least delay. This countermand has greatly disappointed and exceedingly distressed and injured the Service, as I depended upon, and had actually given an order to Genl Maxwell to send and meet those Arms that he might draw part of them for the Jersey Levies, who are ready to take them up, and who will now be unable to give any opposition to the Enemy, should they attempt to pass through the Jerseys.4

You will consider the above as an order not to be dispensed with in the present situation of Affairs.5 I am Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., wrote Robert Hanson Harrison on 23 May from Easton, Pa.: “Mr Abraham Teneyck, Pay Master to the 1st New York Battallion Came in last evening from New Windsor and brot me the enclosed letters which I send for his Excellency’s perusal. On the 21. inst. the arms were at sussex court House and are sent back to New Windsor. If any arms should arrive they shall be forwarded agreeably to his Excellency’s orders” (DLC:GW).

Hooper enclosed the following letter to him from Abraham G. Lansing (1756–1834), formerly an ensign in the 1st New York Regiment, dated 18 May from Newburgh: “I am Directed by Colonel Taylor D.Q.M. Genl at this post to Request Captain Abraham Ten Eyck who [has] the Charge of seven Hundred and Seventy Eight stand of Arms to deliver the same to you—You will therefore be pleased to Receive and store the said arms in some Safe and Convenient place until my Arrival—Unless Otherwise ordered by his Excellency Genl Washington to whose order you will deliver them takeing A Receipt from the person you Deliver them to Immediately on the Arrival of the arms you will Acquaint his Excellency therewith they are by no means to be delivered to any but the order of his Excellency” (DLC:GW).

2Hooper’s letter to Harrison also contained a copy of a letter from Taylor to Lansing, dated 21 May at Newburgh: “You will cause all the Arms under your Care to be stopped at the first post you Can possibly Collect them or have them put safe at any post they are now at as they are all to Come Back here you will therefore Miss no Opportunity of any Teams that Belong to the Continent or other Comeing this way to Load the arms and hasten to this post with all speed—let Captn Sulivan Return with his Brigade and Loads Immediately Captn Hunter will give you every Assistance…. P.S. His Major Genl Gates’s positive Orders” (DLC:GW).

3See Henry Knox to GW, 17 May. The letters to the Board of War have not been identified.

4GW had issued his most recent written orders to William Maxwell on 25 May.

5The arms reached camp on 4 June. See Gates to GW, 2 June, and GW to Gates, 5 June.

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