George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 15 December 1780

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 15th 1780


I have been honored with your Excellencys favor of the 6th and two of the 9th Inst. The manner in which Congress have been pleased to express their approbation of the Conduct of Major Tallmadge, and the Officers and Soldiers under his command, cannot but be very flattering to them, and will I am certain have a happy effect in encouraging the spirit of enterprize in the Army.

A Paragraph in the enclosed New York Paper confirms that part of the Letter of the 17th of October from Europe, which Your Excellency has been pleased to transmit to me, which mentions the intention of the British Administration to send further reinforcements to America. This is a matter which cannot, in my opinion, be too soon communicated to the several States, with a pressing sollicitation to take measures that will effectually fill up their Regiments in the course of the winter. From what I can learn, some are putting the matter upon the very precarious footing of voluntary inlistments—and others substituting fines where the men demanded are not produced in the several districts. I am very much mistaken if by the first mode, any considerable number of Men are to be raised at this time of day—and, from the latitude given in the last, money will, in many instances, be paid to excuse personal service—The last hope of the Enemy is built upon our inability to raise a new Army, and they are probably preparing to push us in our enfeebled state—The means of reestablishing ourselves, with proper and spiritual exertions, are within our reach; and should they in the spring instead of only the remnants of our veteran Regiments meet Battalions filled with Men whose services are permanent, they must either give up their object; of choice, or with the assistance of our Allies, we shall be in a condition to force them to it.

The accession of Holland and Portugal to the Northern League of Neutrality will be undoubtedly very embarrassing to Great Britain—But this, I think, may be relied upon, that the more she is insulted and oppressed by the European Powers, the more she will endeavor to revenge herself upon us—She can make no impression upon them, and she will therefore bend her whole force against us, in hopes of possessing herself of such an extent of territory in America, as will enable her to insist upon terms, should a negociation take place, which may be highly derogatory to the honor and interests of these States.

I will take the liberty of mentioning the necessity of altering the Route of the Post, from Philadelphia to the Eastward, more especially, that part of the way from the North River to Hartford. Two Mails have lately been taken on the lower road in Connecticut, and as the Post must always be at stated places at certain times, the Mail may be taken off weekly, by landing a small party from Long Island. I am the more anxious to have the change made, as I have scarcely any other mode of forwarding my Dispatches: for such is the situation of the Quarter Master General, that he can seldom furnish the Expresses with Means of travelling. The Route I would propose, is, from Philadelphia to Morris Town—Ringwood—New Windsor—Fish-Kill—Litchfield—Hartford &c.—This may perhaps occasion another rider to go to the sea port Towns in Connecticut, but this will be better than risquing the most important public Dispatches upon that Route. I have the honor to be With the most perfect respect, Your Excellencys Most Obedient Hble Servant

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DNA: Item 152, Letters from George Washington, PCC—Papers of the Continental Congress.

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