George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 18 April 1781

Head Quarters New Windsor 18th-19 April 1781


Our present prospects of supplies in the Article of Bread are peculiarly bad. From all the information I can collect, the whole quantity of Flour we shall be able to command in the States of Jersey and New York will not carrry us beyond the beginning of the next Month. These States having been for some time past the immediate Theatre of the War, are so full of Certificates, and coersion both legislative and military have been so frequently employed, that the people have not only lost all confidence in public credit, but are extremely impatient under any exertions of authority to force their property from them. This is particularly the case in the State of New York, where the dissatisfactions have lately worn a serious and embarrassing aspect.

The States to the southward of Pennsylvania, except Delaware, must almost wholly apply their resources to the support of the southern Army, where a greater force on our part is and must be collecting, in some degree to keep measure with the force the enemy are transferring to that quarter.

Under these circumstances, it is on Pennsylvania we must chiefly depend for supplying the wants of this army in the article of Bread. I am sorry to be obliged to add, that, according to the Commissary’s reports, we have hitherto received only a small proportion of her quota, and our future expectations, so far as may be concluded from the provision already made, are but slender. I pretend not to judge of the ability of this State to contribute to our support, but of this I am certain, that unless she can furnish more ample supplies hereafter than she has done for sometime past, the subsistence of this Army will be impracticable.

I thought it my duty to make this representation to Congress, that apprised of our prospects, they may take such steps as appear to them eligible to prevent our experiencing the distress with which we are threatened. I have the honor to be with the highest Respect Yr Excellency’s Most obt Servant

Go: Washington

P.S. I have since writing the forgoing, heard of between six and seven hundred Barrels of Flour more being upon the communication between this and Pennsylvania—These will be equal to about 15 days supply.

Go: W——n

19th I enclose the Copy of a letter this moment recd from Brigadier General Clinton, which, as far as it relates to the want of provision, is similar to what I daily receive from other quarters. If any accident happens to Fort schuyler, it will proceed from want of provision not of Men—For as General Clinton remarks, the Levies for the State Regiments cannot be drawn together for want of subsistence.

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

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