George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Mitchell, 17 February 1779

To John Mitchell

Camp at Middle brook February 17th 1779

Dear Sir,

My Plates and Dishes, once of Tinn—now little better than rusty Iron—are rather too much worn for delicate stomachs in fixed & peaceable quarters, tho they may yet serve in the busy and active movements of a Campaign. I therefore desire that you will send me a sett of Queens China if to be had. not less I conceive than what follows of each article will do.

  • 2 large Turennes
  • 3 dozn Dishes—sized
  • 8 dozn Shallow Plates
  • 3 dozn Soup Ditto
  • 8 Table drinking Mugs
  • 8 Ditto Salts. &
  • some pickle plates.

The whole to be very carefully packed.

I also desire you will send me Six tolerably genteel but not expensive Candlesticks all of a kind and three pair of Snuffers to them. I wish for as much fur as will edge a Coat, Waistcoat, & Breeches and that it may be sent to me as soon as possible. let this be accompanied by 2 pounds of Starch.1

Your Nephew gave me the Padlock keys of the two last Trunks2 sent, but not the other keys of them; it is not in my power therefore (without spoiling the locks wch I am not disposed to do as I shall deliver the Trunks to Genl Greene for his & Harrison’s use) to get out the Sheeting you procured for me—you will please to have enquiry made for the other keys & send them under cover by some safe conveyance. Let me know how many Table Cloths you sent to me at different times & by whom—No more than Seven ever came to my hands. 3 at one time & 4 at another.3 I must request you to get me a good Hat. if my old Hatter Parish is furnished with materials I would prefer one of his make as those already had from him have proved good and he knows the size of my head. I do not wish by any means to be in the extreme of the fashion either in the size, or manner of Cocking it.4

Please to examine if any of the inclosed Tickets have come up Prizes—if any thing is to be made of them be so obliging as to do it for me.5 My Complimts to Mrs Mitchell. I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt

G. W——n

P.S. I expect the Board of War will send you a Box of Papers for me—Please to let them be sent to head Qrs by a ⟨sa⟩fe hand & covered Waggon.6

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the sending of the china and other items, see Mitchell to GW, 21 Feb., 6 March, and 19 April 1779, all DLC:GW. For the china, see also GW to Nathanael Greene, 8 March.

2GW inadvertently wrote “Tranks” on the manuscript.

3For Mitchell’s previous sending of trunks and tablecloths to GW, see Mitchell to GW, 3 Nov. 1778, and GW to Mitchell, 11 Nov. 1778. For the lost trunk keys, see also Mitchell to GW, 21 Feb., and GW to Nathanael Greene, 8 March.

4A receipt for this hat, dated 3 April 1779, reads: “1 Best Hatt, Band & Buckel for His Excelly Genl Washington—£38.5.0” (DLC:GW; see also Mitchell to GW, 21 Feb., 6 March, and 19 April 1779, all DLC:GW). Isaac Parish (Parrish) of Philadelphia continued making hats for GW during his presidency, and even during the last year of his life, GW had two hats on order from Parish (see Pa. Mag description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends ., 29:387; 30:172, 309; 31:73, 335, 348; and GW to Clement Biddle, 20 Jan. 1799, in Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 3:321).

5Drawings for the second class of the national lottery began on 1 Jan. and continued over the following six months. For Mitchell’s report on the drawings, see his letter to GW of 21 February.

6For GW’s request that a box of adjutant general’s papers in the war office at Philadelphia be sent to him, see GW’s second letter to Richard Peters of this date (see also Timothy Pickering to GW, 16 Jan.).

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