George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 26 January 1779

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

Philada 26 January 1779


I have your favr of the 12th instant, and one inclosing a return of deficient Cloathing which is without a date.1 Inclosed you have an order for all the deficiencies except the Blankets of which I cannot make a distribution, that will do equal justice, before my return to Camp.2

You may do as you think proper with those people who the enemy will not admit within their lines. I cannot see what purpose their loitering about the town can answer after they have been denied a reception by the Commandant upon Staten Island.3 I am &c.

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

1The undated letter that Maxwell had written to GW from Elizabeth, N.J., reads: “I now inclose to Your Excellency the Return for cloathing agreeable to Your desire.

“I beg leave to give your Excellency some reasons why we have to make this second Demand. We had Orders to distinguish all those men from the Others that drove Waggon, that were in Hospital, or that was waiting on Officers, All the Men in those differen places was not allowed any Cloathing. All the Waggoners for bringing the Commissary Stores as well as those belonging to the Brigade, save three or four were our soldiers. Our Sick is almost all returned from Hospital and I believe there is near 60 or 70 nine Months Men Inlisted.

“So that our haveing the number of Articles of Cloathing equal to the number of Men in the Return will compleat at present” (ALS, DLC:GW).

Maxwell’s enclosure, which is also undated, is entitled: “Return of the number of men in the New Jersey Brigade, who are inlisted for three years or during the war, also of the cloathing drawn from the Continent, agreable to the late particular return.” This return shows the number of men in each of the four New Jersey Continental regiments and the number of coats, vests, breeches, shirts, hoses, blankets, and shoes that had been issued to each regiment. A column for hats contains no figures. The totals for the entire brigade are 1,076 men, 852 coats, 856 vests, 854 breeches, 856 shirts, 337 pairs of hose, 274 blankets, and 842 pairs of shoes (DLC:GW). Maxwell had enclosed an earlier return of his brigade’s clothing deficiencies in his letter to GW of 19 Dec. 1778, and GW had requested additional information about those deficiencies in his reply to Maxwell of the next day.

2The enclosed order has not been identified.

3Brig. Gen. Alexander Leslie commanded the British forces on Staten Island at this time.

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