George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Pettit, 23 September 1778

From Charles Pettit

Fredericksburg 23d Septr 1778 ½ past 12 o’Clock


I had just made up the small Packet which will be delivered herewith, when I was honoured with the Receipt of your Excellency’s Letter of the 22d respecting the forwarding of Provisions to the French Fleet.1

On the first Intimation that a Number of Teams were at or near King’s Ferry with Provisions from Phila. for the Fleet at Boston, I dispatched Expresses immediatly to Col. Hay at Fish kill, to Capt. Starr at Danbury, and to Mr Hubbard at Hartford,2 thro’ whose Districts it was to be conveyed, advising them of the Quantity then arrived and of the Quantity expected to pass through that Channel, and desired them respectively to give it all possible Dispatch. The first Parcel was speedily conveyed forward & I imagined was arrived at Boston; the Rest, as it arrived at the North River has been forwarded with as little Delay as possible; and as I had heard no Complaint from the Commissary I took it for granted it went forward as fast as he wished or expected, especially as I was informed a large Supply of Flour was on its way from some Place between this and Albany to Boston which, from the Manner in which Mr Flint spoke of it,3 I doubted not had begun to arrive at Boston three Weeks ago. From these Cicumstances I felt easy on the Subject till Your Excellency informed me two Days since that none was arrived at Boston. I am this Day preparing Letters to Danbury and Hartford to quicken the Depy Quarter Masters. I have a Letter from Mr Hubbard D.Q.M.G. at Hartford, of the 15th Instt in which he mentions that in Consequence of an Application from Mr Colt D.C.G. lately from Boston he was exerting his Force to get the Provisions forward. He also mentions that 5000 Barrels of Flour are going from Sharon.4

Every Step in my Power shall be taken to comply with your Excellency’s Expectations & Wishes in getting the Provisions to Boston with all possible Speed. I have the Honr to be, with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s most obedt & most hume Servant

Cha. Pettit A.Q.M.G.


1GW’s letter to Pettit of 22 Sept. has not been found.

2Ezra Starr (1753–1805) was the assistant deputy quartermaster at Danbury. A 1774 Yale College graduate, Starr had been appointed a captain in the Connecticut militia in 1777, and in 1779 he was promoted to major. Nehemiah Hubbard (1752–1837), a merchant from Middletown, Conn., who had served as a second lieutenant and paymaster of Col. Charles Burrall’s Connecticut regiment from July 1776 to January 1777, was appointed deputy quartermaster general for Connecticut by Nathanael Greene in the spring of 1778, but he was not reappointed to that position in September 1780 by Greene’s successor as quartermaster general, Timothy Pickering. In the fall of 1782 Hubbard was an agent for the private contractors engaged in supplying provisions to the Continental army (see GW to Hubbard, 20 Nov. 1782, and Hubbard to GW, 21 Nov. 1782, both in DLC:GW).

3Royal Flint (1754–1797), a 1773 graduate of Yale College and son of a prominent Windham, Conn., merchant, served as paymaster of Col. Andrew Ward’s Connecticut regiment from July 1776 to May 1777, when the Connecticut council appointed him assistant commissary for the state. Flint became Continental assistant commissary of purchases under Jeremiah Wadsworth in May 1778, and he served in that capacity until February 1780, when he joined Wadsworth in resigning from the Continental service. From 1786 to 1789 Flint was U.S. commissioner at Boston for settling the Continental accounts of the New England states. One of the principal western land speculators involved in the ill-fated Scioto Company, Flint subsequently became a merchant in New York City and went bankrupt in the financial panic of 1792.

4Nehemiah Hubbard’s letter to Pettit of 15 Sept. has not been found.

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