George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 15 August 1781

Boston August 15th 1781


Your Excellency’s several Letters have come duly to hand, & as early as receiv’d were laid before the Assembly, & in Consequence of their Decisions your Requisitions were carried into Effect. The Powder, Mortars, Cannon &c. were with all possible Expedition sent forward, & the means of Transportation furnish’d by this Government. In one of your late Letters you mention that you had requested me to order Six hundred Militia to Albany This Letter with several others of an earlier date I laid before our General Court & they are now upon their Files, I do not recollect any request of that kind, but according to the best of my remembrance you wrote me, at the time you refer to, that you should order Six hundred of the Militia to that place, & I suppos’d you had given directions to the Brigadiers of the Western Counties accordingly, & agreeable to this Idea I gave Notice of this your Intention to Colo. Willet previous to my receiving your Letter of 30th July, finding that there was an unaccountable Delay with respect to the Marching of the Militia, I had repeated my Orders to the Brigadiers of the several Counties strictly enjoining them instantly & without any longer delay to March the Three Months Men of the respective Counties to join the Army at West Point or such other place as your Excellency should direct. And upon my receiving your favor of the 30th July & agreeable to your request, I immediately gave orders to Major General Danielson to direct the Militia detach’d from the Counties of Hampshire & Berkshire to March to Albany, these two Counties will furnish about Six hundred Men. It is with reluctance that I am oblig’d to observe that there has been a strange delay in Detaching & Marching the three Months Men, It may perhaps be owing in a great Measure to the Unorganiz’d State our Militia has been in since the Commencement of the present Constitution, but besides this there has been a report industriously spread thro’ the State by some designing Persons that these Men were not wanted. This Occasion’d the repeating my Orders for their being March’d off immediately, & I hope from what I have heard lately from the Country you will soon have most of them with you—I am very much surpriz’d to learn by your favor of 2d inst. that the Reinforcement you have receiv’d should be so inconsiderable, some of the States must certainly have been very deficient, as I find upon examining the returns I have receiv’d that your Officers have sent from this State above Three Thousand Recruits, & from the Vigorous Measures that were adopted by our Assembly in their last Session I have reason to think the remainder of our Quota of Men for the Continental Army are procur’d & will be March’d off immediately. I expect every day to receive from the Brigadiers a return of the Militia Men they have detached from their respective Brigades, when I shall give the necessary Information to Your Excellency.

By a Letter I have just receiv’d from Mr Phelps our Purchasing Commissary I find that for the last Month he has furnish’d considerably more than this State’s Quota of Beef, & he writes that Beef is so exceeding Plenty that he thinks it will be in his Power punctually to furnish this State’s Quota, so that I can with Pleasure inform you that there is the greatest Prospect of your being regularly supplied with that Article. As to Rum there has been a Quantity procur’d & forwarded to Springfield & we have been lately affording all the Assistance in our Power to the Quarter Master General to enable him to get it Transported to Camp—It is certainly of the last importance that our Army should be filled up & fully & regularly supplied, & you may depend no Exertions of the Executive here shall be wanting to enforce the Laws & Resolutions that have been pass’d by this State for these purposes.

Immediately upon your requisition for Five hundred Men for the Service at Newport Orders were issued for detaching that Number for that place, & I have no doubt but the Number is nearly compleat.

You may depend that from time to time you shall be regularly made acquainted with every Decision of the Assembly in Consequence of your requisitions, & their Resolutions shall be carried into Effect with all possible Dispatch. I have the Honor to be with every Sentiment of Respect & Esteem, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt hume Servt

John Hancock

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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