George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Christian Febiger, 4 November 1778

From Colonel Christian Febiger

Elizabeth Town [N.J.]
the 4th of Novbr 1778.

May it please your Excellency

By Order of Generall Woodford I have been in philadelphia and gott made up and procured for the Virga Troops a Quantity of Cloathing Viz. 2194 pair of Breeches, 2068 Vests, 2200 Shirts 1294 Blanketts some Caps, Shoe Buckles etc. etc., which I have brought on with me, Those Goods the Governor of Virginia has order’d either to be sold to the Troops at the Reasonable Rates mention’d in the Invoice or given gratis to such men as have not receiv’d their Quota allow’d by Congress for this Year.1 Major Genl Lord Stirling order’d me to take our proportion out at Pompton where our Brigade now is, an[d] as he had Reasons to think, that the other two Brigades would soon be order’d into Jersey, he directed me to receive your Excellencys Commands, whether their proportions should be sent them immediately or be stored on this Side till they came. I have been inform’d of your Excellencys Orders, that no Cloathing should be issued to the Troops, untill a sufficiency arrivd to Cloath the whole Army.2

But as the above Cloathing is to be sold to the Troops or given for Arrears due, for which purpose Mr Moss the Agent is come on with me, and it by that means dont interfere with the Allowance made by Congress, and our Brigade 2 Regiments in particular are allmost totally destitute of Shirts Breeches and Blanketts. The Officers wish to have the men not only cover’d for the present, But this Supply will also be a means, when they give up their old Duds to save their new Cloathing, to which your Excellency may depend, a proper Attention shall be paid, we therefore hope for your Excellencys Kind Concurrence in supplying the men for the present.

Your Excellencys Spy Glass was deliverd me by Colonel Wood in Philadelphia, But Mr Rittenhouse not haveing his Tools or other Materialls in Town begs to be excus’d for not having it so well done as he could wish, but says if your Excellency could spare it some Time in the Winter he would put a Cap to it himself I now take the Liberty of sending it.3

In Exspectation of your Excellencys Commands, which Lord Stirling has promis’d to forward to me, I have the honor to be with all due Respect Your Excellencys Most obedient and most humble Servant

Christian Febiger
Colo. 2nd V. Regt


1For the quotas of clothing set by Congress, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:10–11. The enclosed “Invoice of Goods Sent to Camp Octo. 28th 1778. from the Virginia Store for the Use of the Virga Troops in Mr James & Jno. Finley’s Brigades of Waggons,” dated 29 Oct. at Philadelphia and signed by Febiger and John Moss (c.1743–1809), is in DLC:GW. Moss had resigned his commission as captain in the 1st Virginia Regiment in November 1777 and now served as agent for Virginia.

2For GW’s intentions regarding the clothing of the army, see his letter to Col. Thomas Marshall of 4 October.

3GW acquired and used many spyglasses during the course of the war, and after he died the appraisers of his estate discovered eleven of them at Mount Vernon; two others had been bequeathed by his will to his cousins Lawrence and Robert Washington (see George Washington’s Last Will and Testament, 9 July 1799, and n.18 to that document [Papers, Retirement Series, 4:503]; for GW’s recent attempt to secure a telescope, see GW to John Cox, Jr., or John Mitchell, 4 Oct., and to Stirling, 1 Nov. 1778). GW regularly employed David Rittenhouse on optical work, including the repair of a theodolite and preparation of GW’s spectacles (see GW to Rittenhouse, 3 June 1779, and to Tench Tilghman, 10 Jan. 1783, both in DLC:GW).

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