George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Jay, 1 July 1779

To John Jay

New Windsor July the 1st 1779


I had the Honor Yesterday to receive Your Excellency’s Letter of the 24th Ulto. I have ever taken all the pains in my power to prevent plundering, and the practice has been constantly reprobated and prohibited by my Orders.1 I will continue to use my best endeavours to suppress it.

I transmit a Copy of a Letter of the 25th and of Two Reports which I received Yesterday from General Gates, advising that a number of Vessels with Troops, had left Newport and directed their course up the Sound.2 It is difficult to tell what are the Objects Sir Henry Clinton has in view; possibly he means to concentre his force in this first instance—or to send a Reinforcement to the Southward. The Troops have fallen down from Verplanks & Stoney points to philips’s, except such Garrisons as are necessary to occupy the Works at those places.3 I am pursuing every means in my power to forward the defences at West point.4

As several very respectable Officers have undertaken the important and extensive duties of Sub and Brigade Inspectors, it is thought both just and politick in order to induce them to continue, as well as to engage Others of weight and character in the business, that the Sub Inspectors should be allowed three rations per day and forage for three Horses—and those of Brigade Two Rations per day and forage for the same number of Horses, in lieu of all former rations and forage, both as Officers in the line and as Inspectors. They have applied for this. Their allowance of subsistence as Officers in the line to remain the same. There were some Other priveleges which they requested, and which, being reasonable and within my authority, I have granted. The allowances of Rations & Forage must be decided by Congress. As I have observed they appear necessary—and in the latter case indispensible.5 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem Yr Excellency’s Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft manuscript, also in Harrison’s writing, and Varick transcript both include a postscript not found on the items in DNA:PCC. The postscript on the draft manuscript reads: “We are very anxious to hear some official Accounts—or such as are deemed authentic respecting our Affairs in South Carolina.”

1See General Orders, this date; see also the general orders for 4 and 6 Sept. 1776 and 21 Jan. 1777.

2For these enclosures, see Horatio Gates to GW, 25 June, and n.1 to that document.

3Maj. Henry Lee, Jr., reported the pending partial withdrawal of British forces from King’s Ferry, N.Y., in a letter to GW of 21 June, and may have added more explicit intelligence in another letter to GW of 27 June, which has not been found (see GW to Lee, 28 June).

5For GW’s initial consideration of these matters related to sub and brigade inspectors, see his letter to Steuben, this date. Congress implemented GW’s recommendations concerning rations and forage in a resolution passed on 6 July (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 14:805).

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