George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Board of War, 11 July 1779

To the Board of War

Head Quarters New Windsor July 11th 1779


I am this morning honored with your letters of the 3 and 8th1—I am happy to hear a reinforcement of cannon is coming on which is very important and was much wanted—The unmounted cannon2 had best be sent on slung upon waggon wheels—their carriages to follow as fast they are ready—I recommend this because the transportation of the cannon will be more slow and tedious than of the carriages which can follow with greater expedition and time will be saved upon the whole. Besides this, orders have been given in this quarter to construct a number of carriages for the use of the fort, and perhaps we may have some towards mounting these. But it will be adviseable for the Board to continue their exertions to have the others provided as speedily as possible, as there is no probability of our having more than are sufficient—Garrison carriages which I presume are the same with Ship carriages will be preferable to the travelling field carriages, which are more easily dismounted and are therefore seldom used in works—Will it not be adviseable to take the eight pieces off the travelling carriages and send them slung as3 before mentioned? Their carriages would otherwise be much injured by transporting them so great a distance & through this rough country.4

I think it will be proper to detain the two 24s for the defence of the Delaware.

I shall have the return required prepared and forwarded to the Board without delay.5

The three eighteens from Maryland are arrived.6 With the greatest respect & esteem I have the honor to be Gentlemen Your most Obedt sevt.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. A “1” is written over a “0” to change “10” to “11” in the dateline of the draft manuscript, which is docketed 11 July. The Varick transcript is dated 10 July.

1See Peter Scull to GW, 3 July. The Board of War’s letter to GW of 8 July has not been found.

2At this place on the draft manuscript, Hamilton wrote and then struck out: “may remain till they can be provided with.”

3Hamilton inadvertently struck out this word on the draft manuscript.

4GW apparently is referring to cannon that the Board of War had procured from Maryland according to a resolution that Congress passed on 3 May. That resolution directed the board “to apply to the Governor and Council of Maryland, and request them, if there are any heavy cannon belonging to the State, which can be spared from the immediate defence thereof, to lend them to the Continent for the defence of the posts on Hudson’s river, on condition that Congress will return them or a like number of equal bore, or pay the State the full value thereof, at the election of the general assembly” (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 14:541). In a letter written at Annapolis on 14 May, the Maryland council informed the board that “we shall venture to let you have any, not exceeding ten eighteen Pounders & five Nines, on the Terms proposed … they all have Carriages & are at a good Landing on the Head of this River” (Md. Archives, description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends 21:393). A letter from John Henry and Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Maryland delegates to Congress, to Maryland governor Thomas Johnson, written at Philadelphia on 29 June, indicates that the Board of War had sent a person for “the powder and Canon” (Smith, Letters of Delegates, description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends 13:124–25).

5This return has not been identified.

6See GW to Alexander McDougall, 19 June, and n.3 to that document.

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