George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James and Horace Hooker, 26 June 1779

To James and Horace Hooker

Head Qrs New Windsor June 26 1779


The distress of the Army for Rum1 and the impracticability, or at least the difficulty, of procuring a Supply in any reasonable time, has induced me to consent that a quantity shall be drawn from the Hospital Stores, where I have been informed there is much more than can be wanted for the sick. I have therefore to desire that you will deliver to Colo. Wadsworth Commissary General, or to his order All the Rum you have in the public Stores under your care, except thirty Hogsheads, which I should hope, would be more than fully sufficient to answer every Hospital purpose. I am Genn &c.

Go: Washington

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The docket of the draft manuscript identifies the Hookers as “Hospital Storekeepers,” but inaccurately renders “Hooper” for their surname.

For the establishment at Windsor, Conn., of a store for “a large quantity of hospital-stores for the use of the United States” under the management of James and Horace Hooker in late February 1778, see Conn. Public Records, description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894—. description ends 1:569–70. In “an Exact return of Stores” held at Windsor “for the Use of the Military Hospitals,” dated 26 April 1778, the Hookers reported quantities of Jamaica spirits, West India rum, New England rum, molasses, port wine, “Muscovado” sugar, loaf sugar, chocolate, raisins, oatmeal, ginger, and coffee (DNA:PCC, item 143).

James (1742–1805) and Horace (1746–1813) Hooker took over their father’s prospering merchant business in Hartford, Conn., and moved the concern to Windsor, where it flourished in the years before the Revolutionary War. The Hookers strongly backed the Patriot cause, but their firm suffered heavy losses that resulted in its dissolution. James Hooker stayed in Windsor until his death, while Horace Hooker started a new business in western New York and died at Herkimer.

1At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison first wrote “Spirits.” He then struck out that word and wrote “Rum” above the line.

For the army’s rum shortage, see GW to Alexander McDougall, 28 June, and n.1 to that document.

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