George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Royal Flint, 22 October 1778

From Royal Flint

Fredericksburgh Octo. 22: 1778


Your Excellency’s favor of the 20th instant was brought to my quarters, when I was absent, on a journey to Poughkepsie, to accomplish the very purposes required in the letter. While I was there, the legislature of this state were compleating a bill, that is to invest the comisaries with full power to secure all the flour & wheat in the state, exclusive of this year’s crop. The purchasers in the different districts will speedily avail themselves of the advantages of such a law.1

I am sensible, your Excellency may justly expect to be informed, with precision, of the certain dependance of provisions, for the troops on the several stations. Expecting to be called upon for an estimate of this kind; I have, for a long time, been applying to the assistants to acquaint me, with the quantities they could re[s]pectively furnish. They have not been able to give any satisfactory accounts. I am however fully assured that meat, can be supplied, adequate to all the possible exigencies of the army. My assurance with respect to bread is less fair & decisive. There have happened a train of disasters in this state which were naturally calculated to bring on a scarcity of grain—These unavoidable misfortunes, added to the pernicious influence of a mercinary gang of traders, whose limits are unconfined, have cast a disagreable prospect over this part of the country.

Under appearances that were so embarrassing, the purchasers could not, with prudence, hazard an estimate, or even an opinion that had any official force. The act of legislature that is just passed, gives such decisive powers as will enable them to determine very soon, what quantities of wheat can be obtained. All the old crops are at once to be secured. From the best information I can collect, and my inquiries have been extensive, I should suppose that in spite of all difficulties, flour enough will be procured on this side Hudson’s river for the probable demands of the army. Such magazines as can be formed from the old grain shall be speedily established. And I can promise myself considerable supplies from the new wheat in the course of the winter.

Proper steps are taken to provide for all the Garrisons & other special services, of which I have had any notice or suspicion. No magazines of flour can be fixed near Albany before winter, except such as are barely sufficient for the particular troops to be stationed in that neighborhood. The first supplies that are purchased in the northern district after satisfying occasional demands, are to be sent eastward. I have the honor to be very respectfully your Excellency’s most obedt & hb. Srvt

Royal Flint A.C.G.P.

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, CtHi: Jeremiah Wadsworth Papers. Flint also wrote and signed the letter-book copy.

On 31 Oct. Flint wrote GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman from Fredericksburg: “There have three or four parcels of flour gone from Danbury for Hartford within this week and more is now on the way from here to follow it. I should suppose before this time they are well supplied. Such supplies have lately been collected at Fish Kills that four hundred barrels may be spared for eastern purposes. The Quarter Master General has notice of this and will put it immediately in motion.

“Before this quantity is expended, three or four avenues will be opened to afford a durable and sufficient relief. I hope the circumstance of seizing that private property will not only deter engrossers from their ruinous practices but induce the inhabitants that way to sell their Grains and other necessaries more freely” (DLC:GW).

1The New York legislature passed this act on 31 Oct., and Gov. George Clinton enclosed a copy of it in his letter to GW of 1 Nov. (DLC:GW; see note 1 to that document).

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