War Office March 20th 1780.
The board do themselves the honor to inclose copies of some letters which they have recd on the subject of the supplies of the Army. They are exceedingly concerned that the prospects from some of them, are so unpromising and are much alarmed for the consequences, nor can they conjecture what may be the event, unless the late regulations in the finances produce a favorable change in our Circumstances.
At this place there are only about one hundred barrels of flour—& five hundred barrels have lately been sent on—the board have also contracted with Genl Dickinson for 150 barrels of flour, & 2500 bushels of Indian corn to be delivered at Trenton within ten days.
The board are unacquainted with the prospects of Col. Blaine, but imagine his dependence is chiefly on the supplies which he expects from the States in virtue of the late requisition of Congress. I have the honor to be with the highest respect Yr Excellencys Most Obed Sert
by ord of the board.
Ben Stoddert Secy
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
In Council Phila Saturday March 11th 1780
We received your favour acquainting us with your Apprehensions of another scarcity in Camp.
We hoped such measures would have been taken after the distress last fall as would have prevented a like Calamity. We are firmly perswaded that temporary expedients, tho they give immediate relief eventually tend to create fresh difficulties, and that nothing now can be effectual but a system founded on a Settled Medium of Trade.
The same spirit which has animated us hitherto will induce us to use every Means in our power to prevent the Melancholy consequences you apprehend; but it is with infinite Concern we must inform you that our abilities lessen the oftener these extraordinary exertions are made; and however painful the declaration, and duty to ourselves, and the Public obliges us to inform you that we have no reasonable Prospect of Affording any speedy relief, and that, for the following Reasons. First, that we have not Continental Money in our Treasury, having honoured the Drafts of Congress as they were presented. Secondly. The Confidence in it is so much impaired, that we have reason to fear it will not now be held in sufficient estimation to draw from the Country the necessary supply.
We cannot think ourselves justified in Keeping you in suspence, or holding out an expectation, which we have too much reason to fear will prove delusive—and therefore while we tender our best services on this occasion deem it best to acquaint you (however unpleasant the duty) with the real state of the Business. I am Gentlemen Your obedient Humble Servt
Jos. Reed President
In Council Anopolis 11. March 1780
We had the honor of recieving your letter of the 7th Instant at 6 OClock last evening the subject is of a most serious and alarming nature and you may rely upon our immediate attention to it, Every exertion shall be made on our part to extricate the Army from its present difficulties & distress. We however cannot avoid expressing our astonishment on hearing the Magazines are in such an exhausted State, after the numberless accounts recieved of plentiful Supplies being recieved at Camp, these accounts we must observe were not officially given, but they however came thro’ such a variety of Channels, we thought them entitled to some credit, especially as we had recieved nothing contradictory from Congress your Honble Board or the Genl. We again beg you to be assured that we will make every effort to send forward to Camp all the flour that is or may be collected, without loss of time. We have the honor to be Your very humble Servants
Thos Sim Lee [&c.]
Head of Elk 16. March 1780
Your letter of the 7th I recieved at George Town Kent County in which Neighbourhood I had been for two days anticipating the orders then recieved in consequence of which two Vessels are arrived yesterday with 417 Bbls flour, several others are on the way with flour Corn & Wheat, I have sent this Morning three brigades of Teams with two hundred and add Barrels flour, with orders to Mr Maxwell at Xteen to send it off immediately so that I flatter myself there is no danger at present & Should have wrote of my prospect sooner but have been too busy executing your Orders, looking on it more useful to do that to say—Colo. Armand’s Corps has been here some days, the Vessels are also waiting (for the Colo.) on demurage, all the Continental Vessels—(except one) being sent for flour, wheat & forage.
I am the more anxious for their departure as yesterday recieved a letter from Mr Archibald Richardson [ ] Virginia acquainting of a large quantity of Naval & Quarter Master Stores waiting for my sending Vessels for them, the same Vessels, if sent off speedily might serve to bring those stores on their return (shall be up to town in a few days) I am Sir’s Your most Humble Servant