Head Quarters 5th June 1782
I have made Enquiry respecting the 1000 Arms you complain of being Detained—No Orders of mine are or can be produced to justify this Detention—I can’t absolutely ascertain the true Reasons—but believe the failure has happened ’thro Mr Ruddock, the D.Comy of Military Stores, who says he had conceived an Idea that 1000 Stands only were Ordered; & that Number are gone on.
I forward to you a Representation which has this Day been handed to me from our naval Prisoners in N.York—which was presented by two Gentlemen, prisoners themselves, who were permitted to come out on parole With this Application. Considering myself to have no Authority in naval Matters, I have told these Gentlemen that their Representation should be conveyed to you—I have however, from a Commiseration of their Suffering, taken upon me to write to Admiral Digby on the Subject—a Copy of which Letter I inclosed for your Observation—The Complaints of these unhappy, miserable, people have been so often reiterated to us, that I feel myself exceedgly interested for their Relief.
Will you take this Matter into your most serious Consideration—and procure some speedy & decisive Measures to be taken whereby the Sufferings at least may be abated, if an Exchange cannot be effected—I much fear that the Department of naval [Prisoners] is not under the best Regulation—especially in the different States & in Europe—by which means many Prioners captured on our part, are lost & not applied to the purpose of Exchange.
I am &c.
The Clothier Genl Should be directed to send on the Frocks for the Army as soon as possible—or the Season for them[as] be lapsed.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.