George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 9 May 1781

Newburgh May 9. 1781.


I have just received from Colo. Hughes a letter of which the inclosed is an extract. Mr Pomeroy (the bearer of it, brother to the D.Q.M.) informs me that the towns who were called on early in March to send forward their salted meat, got themselves excused by the government, under pretence that the roads were impassable, promising to turn out when the roads were good. But when called upon, the beginning of April, for this purpose, they said they had no forage; and that excuse continues; so that even the offer of payment is unavailing. Yet probably none of these people are without corn and oats, which with the grass would well support their teams.

There seems to be no alternative (and such people deserve no other) than to send one party to the towns toward the sound, and another from Colo. Hazens regt to the towns eastward of Fishkill. Lists of those towns are inclosed. The average distance from Fishkill of the towns towards the sound is I believe from 60 to 70. miles—The others about 40 to 50.—Mr Pomeroy will either return with a guard to the towns toward the sound, or precede the guard, & advertise the selectmen of their coming; which may perhaps sooner put them in motion—One of Colo. Hughes’s people may proceed with the guard from Fishkill.

The foregoing thoughts have occurred to me, & I beg leave to submit them to your Excellency’s determination—Mr Pomeroy says the selectmen promised to send forward or start their provisions by the middle of next week: but this will be as the people please. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect your Excellency’s most obedt servt

T. Pickering Q.M.G.

Towards the Sound North eastward or back of Fishkill
Stanford 16 Barrels New Millford 72 Barrels
Norwalk 80 do Newfairfield 38 ditto
Fairfield 70 do Washington 40 ditto
Stratford 271 do Litchfield 108 ditto
New Haven 300 Torrington 56 ditto
Woodbury 142 Harwinton 30 ditto
On hand May 8, 1781 879 Cornwall 30 ditto
Kent 43 ditto
New Town 89 do Sharon 30 ditto
Ridgefield (say) 50 do Salisbury 46 ditto
Reading (say) 20 do Canaan 38 ditto
Total 1038 Norfolk 18 ditto
New Hartford 55 ditto
Goshn 56 ditto
Total 660

On hand in March last, part forwarded but great part behind.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


8 May 1781

Extract of a letter from Colo. Hughes dated at Danbury Conn. 8 May 1781

"Here I have been ever since Sunday morning” (unless whilst I went to Reading to see Genl Parsons) begging and intreating of these callow W—s to turn out their teams, but to no purpose neither for pay nor civil impress, till I sent out the Bayonet which has just now got them to loading that is a few I am in hopes that the whole of what is here will move on to morrow which is 160 Barrels—Capt. Clarke will give them pay table notes for the transportation—I have ordered them to Fishkill landing as there was not a sufficient guard to go to Peekskill neither could they be collected so as to go in Brigades for want of forage here and on the road.

Mr Pomeroy the bearer of this has met with the same difficulty in other towns as I have here, on which account I have advised him to apply for a party at Head quarters, as General Parsons has not more force than is absolutely requisite for other purposes.

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