George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt, 27 October 1778

From Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt

Camp Near Wappins Creek [N.Y.]1 Octr 27. 1778

Dear General

Upon Discour[s]ing with Governor Clinton I found that no provision was made for Victualing my Regt further than this place and that A Commissary of Purchases and Issues was Necessary I have therefore writ to the Commissary General to Appoint one to Furnish the Regiment with provisions which Step I hope may meet your Excellency’s approbation.2

I have Received by my Quarter Master Some part of the Clothing, and now Send my paymaster for the Remainder,3 Am Exceeding Sorry to be thus Troublesom, but must beg Your Excellency to Indulge me with an order On the Store Keeper at Fish kill to Deliver to my Self and Officers some Articles of Clothing, which we are in great Necessity of, the Officers to pay for the Same; he will not Deliver any thing without “an Order—”4 I have Several Carpenters Smiths & An Armourer in my Regiment Shall therefore be Happy to have An Order for a Travelling Forge and A Chest of Carpenters Tools, all which your Execllency is Sensible will be of great Use in the Country to which I am going—Just this Instant Received an Express from Colo. Contine who Informs me that a learge Body of the Enemy are within Twenty Five Miles [of] Peanpack where Lieut. Colo. Newkirck is with some Militia and is Very pressing for a Reinforcement5 I Shall therefore Use my Utmost Endeavour to Reinforce him I Shall leave An Officer with Directions to Forward On to me the Clothing and Other Articles. Am With all Respect your Excellency’s Obed. and Hume Sert

Philip Cortlandt


1Wappinger’s Creek flows through Dutchess County, N.Y., and enters the Hudson a short distance downstream from Poughkeepsie.

2This letter has not been identified.

3Robert Provost, Jr., was paymaster of Van Cortlandt’s 2d New York Regiment from 1777 to 1781.

4Van Cortlandt apparently is referring to Peter Hansen, who was the clothier at Fishkill.

5Jacob Newkirk, who had been promoted from first major to lieutenant colonel of the 2d Regiment of Ulster County, N.Y., militia in March 1778, commanded the militia detachment at the frontier settlement of Peenpack, N.Y., that was attacked by a party of Indians and Loyalists on 13 Oct. (see Johannes Hardenbergh, Jr., to George Clinton, 16 Oct., in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:166; for the raid on Peenpack, see also Benjamin Tusten, Jr., to GW, 14 Oct., and note 1 to that document, and George Clinton to GW, 15 Oct., and note 1 to that document).

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