George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Charles Pettit, 7 September 1778

To Charles Pettit

Head Quarters White plains 7th Sept. 1778


I imagine you must stand in need of assistance in your Office at this time, by reason of Genl Greens absence, and Mr Ternant and Maj: Forsyth’s having left the department. I therefore think it adviseable and expedient that Colo. Hay should be immediately called down from the Highlands, more especially as it is probable that the Army may be under the necessity of changing its present position in a short time. Genl Gates informs me that there is also a Major Chattinet, a deputy Quarter Master at Fort Arnold, who is remarkably active, especially in the Waggon department, and as he can be spared from that post, be pleased to order him down likewise.1

If the Enemy continue in New York this Winter, we shall be obliged to quarter a considerable Force at and in the vicinity of the Highland posts. I would therefore have you immediately contract for a quantity of Boards, Plank, Scantlin and Nails for the purpose of building Barracks. As I cannot ascertain the number of men that will be stationed there, I cannot say precisely what quantity of materials will be necessary; but I beleive you need not be afraid of over doing the matter, as they will always be useful for other purposes—Colo. Biddle should be advised in time of the probability of a considerable post’s being established in the Highlands this Winter, that he may form his Magazines of Forage contiguous to them. He should also be desired to draw his Forage from between the present encampment and the Enemy, that we may leave the Country as bare as possible, should we remove2—no time shd be lost in doing this.

I shall, in the orders of this day, direct the Brigadiers to call for exact returns of the Waggons in their Brigades, and allot them to the Regiments in proportion to their numbers. I am apt to beleive that there will be upon the whole a deficiency of Waggons for Baggage, and I would therefore wish you to be endeavouring to procure a supply for them. In a word I would wish you to have your whole department so arranged that the whole Army may move at the shortest notice3—it will not be advisable to keep more Stores in your line at this Post than what are absolutely necessary for immediate use. I am &ca.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Francis Chandonet (1752–1810) was commissioned an ensign in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment in November 1776 and remained on the rolls of that regiment until at least April 1778, but from September 1777 to April 1778 he was on command at Albany, acting as a subordinate to Deputy Quartermaster General Udny Hay, and he likely commenced service as a quartermaster as early as July 1777. When precisely he was ordered to West Point has not been determined. Chandonet continued to work with Hay into 1781.

2The remainder of this paragraph is in GW’s writing.

3From here to the closing, the writing is GW’s.

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