George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Howe, 1 May 1780

Highlands 1st May 1780

Dear Sir

I have found Occasion to send [down blank] with a Flag to new york, as I want him to tighten his chain, and as some late instances give me reason to think the Enemy have confidence in him; he has not of late given me any intelligence, but if he gets access to New York I think he must on his return be able to communicate something substantial. Colo. Gavion is just on the Point of finishing the works at Stoney & Verplanks Points, and as Major Mourning Murnans has been wounded in a Duel, and is unfit for duty, I should wish Colo. Gavion could [stay] until the works were completed. If it was agreeable to your Excellency to call up Colo. Kosciszko instead of Colo. Gavion, I am persuaded the Business [then] would proceed with full as much rapidity. he has a better method of Facilitating the operation and of accommodating to the Temper of the men and therefore Effects more in less time than the other can tho however in other Respects Meritorious. Besides this he is more interested in the works Number 1. 2. and 3, which I look upon to be very consequential to this Post, and which I am Exceedingly anxious to have finished, your Excellency will Excuse this liberty and Determine as you please—The Quantity of Cattle which Connecticut had offered us, not one Head of which we have for many weeks had, and the great Droves of them that are as I am inform’d continually going down to Newport in Rhode Island and are sold for hard money, is not only an alarming circumstance, but Awakened suspicions of the Enemy’s procuring them, Especially as some of my Emissaries have informd me, that it has been Boasted of at new York, that they constantly receive supplies of Beef from Connecticut, and that Vessels loaded with newly salted Provision have been seen going through the sound to new York I thought it my duty to mention this to you sir, and to inform you that as I keep several Boats upon the sound to obtain intelligence under prudent and Spirited Persons, I shall send instructions to them to Endeavour in capturing some of these vessels in order to trace if possible, this Evil to its origin & As none of the Vessels are convoyed and most of them are not arm’d it may I am persuaded be Easily Effected. As much of this provision however goes out to sea before it Reaches New York, I shall write to the Governour in Providence informing him of this matter, who may I should think fall upon means to check this infernal commerce in a great measure if not intirely. To complain of a State in a Publick letter would be as improper, as not to speak to you sir sincerely of them in a Private one, Especially upon a conduct by which the Army suffers. There is sir such an Apathy, such an Inertion in the State of Connecticut, in all matters relative to the army to say no worse of it, that our Distresses if they have not been Occasioned by it, will certainly be increase’d and prolonged. Indeed acts of that state instead of Aiding and Cooperating with these [measures] upon which the maintenance of this post and almost the being of this army depend, rather retard and impede the operations of our Executive officers, by [every] Quick and forced construction of a system of Laws at best not Liberal, Even in the utmost Extent of them, and which seem to have been rather compulsory Sacrifices, than Generous offerings to the common cause. Indeed the state it self appears to be so self concenter’d that without they can be Roused and animated very little can be Expected in our favour, Either from their Exertions, or from their Encouragement or Even indulgence to ours. may I sir take the liberty to suggest that if you would drop a line to the Governour of that state, to induce him to Aid, at this Critical time our Quarter Masters and Commissaries, I think it might have a very Salutary Effect, Especially As their Legislature—is at this time Convened. should you differ from me in sentiments you will please excuse the liberty I have taken, and impute it to the true motive my desire to serve the Army—The inclose’d paper will shew your Excellency what a Glorious [measure] they have fallen upon to Serve us, and what a laudable Use they have made of the Gigantick Power with which Congress have been pleas’d to invest them. By this Noble Stroke Every Quarter master and Commissary in their power (and these happen to be those we at this time most depend upon for supplies) are Suspended, as it has intirely called off from the Duties of their Station, [and] the army here I fear will absolutely starve in consequence of it, and had they laid a plan to Effect this purpose I know of none more like to succeed than that above mention’d. When I consider my Dear General the number of Perplexities and Embarrassments by which you are Enveloped Continually, I do not more Applaud your greatness and Equanimity of mind, than of wisdom how it is possible for you to find methods to instruct yourself from them, certain I am that it would be absolutely impossible were you not uncommonly fraught with Resources, and [Endued] with a Fortitude few, if any, possess, and I think it may be truly said of you, that the Difficulties you surmount ought to be Attended with more Glory than three fourths of the victories we read of. these sir are some of the sentiments I Entertain of you, and as I disdain to adulate any man, and should despise them who could Suspect me of it, I shall make no apology for Expressing them, Either to you, or of you, as occasion may call them forth, for if my Good opinion of you is of any Consequence to you be assured sir you have it. I am [& remain] with the greatest respect and most sincere affection your Excellency’s most Obidient very hum. servt

Robt Howe

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


30 March 1780

To Nehemiah Hubbard Esqr. Deputy Quarter Master Genl and Deputy Forage Master Genl Peter Colt Esqr. Deputy Commissary Genl Purchases Henry Champion Esqr. Deputy Commissary Genl Purchases, Elijah Hubbard Esqr. Sub. clothier, and Geo. Starr Esqr. Commissary of Hides & Tallow—Greeting

In the name of the Governor & Company of the State of Connecticutt, you and each of you are hereby required laying aside all business and excuses to appear before the Committee appointed by the Honble Genl assembly in their Sessions at Hartford in January last, to examine into the conduct of the officers of the Staff Departments in Said State, not immediately appointed by Congress, on Wednesday the 19th day of April next at the dwelling House of Ephraim Fenno, Inholder in Middletown in said State, Properly prepared with your respective accounts & Vouchers, then and there to be examined relative to your proceedings, and conduct of your respective Departments before said Committee agreeable to the Resolve of assembly aforesaid. Dated at Middletown the 30th day of March 1780

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