George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Royal Flint, 20 April 1779

From Royal Flint

Camp Rariton [N.J.] April 20: 1779.


I have delayed making my report, for the present month, from an expectation of getting fuller & more decided information. Some circumstances have however taken place, that oblige me still to postpone giving a satisfactory account a few days longer.

The prospects, of affording ample supplies of meat, continue so favorable, that I am persuaded every demand may be satisfied. I am not particular, in specifying the several deposits, because I am confident, that on whatever services, troops are employed, they may be fully supplied with meat.

I take the liberty of acquainting your Excellency with the measures now taking to obtain flour.

The legislature of New York have given certain powers to their Governor, in conjunction with several members of Assembly, to appoint proper persons to secure, for public use, all the supernumerary grain in that state. As our supplies of flour, in that quarter, are hinged upon the operations of that law, the purchasers have suspended their estimates, to wait the event of those measures.1

Colo. Blaine, the Deputy in the middle district, has been carefully examining the extent of his different resources, and will speedily advise me of his success. As we were not free from doubts, of affording a sufficiency of flour, representations of the matter were seasonably made to Congress. A copy of my last request to their Committee is now inclosed, that your Excellency may be satisfied they are not uninformed of our wants & apprehensions.2

The southern district will furnish flour for its own demands and some to spare to any occasional vessels that may call to carry freight eastward. Large quantities of rice are also ordered to be shipped from the southward for eastern purposes.

I am sensible this is not so clear information as your Excellency may expect. The beginning of next month, I hope to make a report more precise, if not more encouraging. I am with the greatest respect your Excellencys most obt & hbl. Srvt

Royal Flint A.C.G.P.

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, CtHi: Jeremiah Wadsworth Papers.

1Flint is referring to “An Act for procuring an immediate Supply of Flour for the Army,” which passed into law on 5 March (N.Y. Laws description begins Laws of the State of New-York, Commencing with the first Session of the Senate and Assembly, after the Declaration of Independency, and the Organization of the New Government of the State, Anno 1777. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1782. description ends , 57–58).

2The enclosed copy of a letter from Flint to Gouverneur Morris, dated 14 April at “Camp Rariton,” N.J., reads: “The information, you ask concerning the Comisary Genls department, cannot I fear be given so speedily as you may expect. Some of your inquiries will not, at this time, admit of a decision. Returns of the provisions on hand may be furnished, but it is not in the Comisary General’s power to tell you the number of troops to be fed, at what times, or on what stations. He has received no advice, on this subject, that extends to the principal armies; and preparations are making for any occasional expeditions of which we have had notice.

“There are two circumstances, in which we have more particularly to request your assistance.

“One is to recommend to the several legislatures to pass some spirited, decisive laws that may enable the public purchasers to procure all the wheat & flour, to be spared in their respective states. Our present supplies of flour are scanty; a few weeks will entirely consume it. Before all the purchasers can find out exactly what they can depend on, and compleat their returns, it is not improbable, we shall be destitute. So that I conceive whether you know either, what we have now got or what we shall have occasion for, it is still necessary to adopt measures that may secure all the country can now afford; and I shall be happy to find the whole sufficient to carry us through the campaigne.

“The other object which claims your attention is to furnish the department with money. You will probably require an estimate, but I do not imagine the Comisary General can make one, with precision, that will reach many months forward. In the present fluctuating state of things business cannot be done with such order & certainty as formerly. Few regular contracts can be settled. Purchases must be made when & where they can be effected” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries