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To George Washington from Charles Stewart and Ephraim Blaine, 9 May 1780

From Charles Stewart and Ephraim Blaine

Morris Town 9th May 1780


Since the return presented Your Excellency by Chas Stewart, on the fourth Instant,1 Seven hundred Barrls of Flour and Indian Meal, has been received at this Magazine, and only Eleven Barrells of Beef and pork, and thirty head of Cattle from Lancaster.

It is truely distressing to Us, to inform Your Excelly, that the supply of Meat, will be totaly exhausted, on friday next at farthest,2 The Flour now here will suffice, if made into Bread as has lately been the practice, for fifteen or sixteen days, and by advice from Trenton, We are certain, that fifteen hundred Barrells of Flour, is at that post, and on the road from thence to Camp;3 One hundred Barrells of which Chas Stewart has ordered to Kings Ferry, for the Use of the Garrison at West point, and One other hundred Barrells, to be delivered The Commissary General of prisoners for the Use of the prisoners, at New York & Long Island.

Whether any Shad, will speedily be brought into Camp, in pursuance of C. Stewarts application to Mr Dunhams Assistants, We do not yet know.4

We beg leave to Suggest, that We think, the State of pennsylvania, could furnish a supply of Meat, in a Short space, Bucks, Chester, & Lancaster Countys, more particularly and part of Berks, feed a great many Cattle, and the Owners of the Meadows, near Philada have pretty large Stocks; The Mode of getting them speedily, and that without present money, We presume can be only by a Military command, from Your Excellency. New Jersey has freely, and greatly distressed herself, to supply the wants of the Army last Winter,5 New York has the Garrison at West point to support, pennsylvania We think must therefore be the Object; And as that State, has furnished very little supplys for six months past, We beg leave to add, that a present support ought now to [be] drawn from that Contry,6 or Your Army be distressed, and perhaps disband.7 We are with the greatest respect Your Excellencys most Obedient Servants,

Chas Stewart Commissary General of Issues
Eph. Blaine C.G. of Purchases

P.S. The Commissary Genl of Purchases has ordered

from Philada & Salem 220 Barrels pork

from Coryells ferry 50 Barrels pork & Shad

from Reading & Easton 200 Barrels Beef

from Dover 100 Barrels pork

He has also Wrote Col. Champion repeatedly to purchase and forward Fatt Cattle as fast as possible as the Supply of the Army after the 15 May would depend on his exertions & Success.8

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, MH: Stewart Papers; copy, MH: Stewart Papers; LB, DNA:PCC, item 11; copy, DNA:PCC, item 39, vol. 1; copy, DNA:PCC, item 39, vol. 3. The “Committee at Headquarters” brought this letter to the attention of Congress (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 3 April, source note).

1This return has not been identified.

2The next Friday was 12 May.

Blaine wrote Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., deputy quartermaster general at Easton, Pa., from Morristown on this date: “The Army has not one days Subsistance of Meat, for Gods sake my Dr Sir use your utmost exertions to procure Teams to forward all the provisions at your Post else we shall Starve, I gave orders some time ago to forward a Quantity of Salt Provisions (which lay at Reading) to your Town, this I have has been comply’d with, and I make not the least doubt of your best endeavours to has forw[ar]d the same, favour me with a Line” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

3After this word, Stewart’s draft manuscript continues: “perhaps Your Excellency may think it proper to reduce the Issues of Meat to half allowance for the present.”

4Blaine wrote Robert Hoops, deputy quartermaster general, from Morristown on this date: “We are in the greatest want of Meat provisions, is it not in your power to procure a Quantity of Shadfish, a few Waggon load fish wou’d answer a good purpose, & if in your power to procure a Quantity, for Gods sake have it done & forward them without delay, I make no doubt you will give us every Assistance, in your power to feed the Army, I shall be delay’d here several Days, & intend making your House on my Return to Philada, favour me with a Line by first Opportunity” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

Blaine again wrote Hoops from Morristown on 12 May: “Your two favours I received ⅌ the Express, & make no doubt every Assistance in your power will be afforded us to feed the Army, & be assured your aid never was more wanting than at the present Moment; I am well acquainted with the Difficulties & Distresses you labour under for want of Money, & rest assured of my best endeavours to relieve you from so disagreeable a Situation when in my power, that part of my Letter which you quote was meant to sundry persons who publickly declared holding back Supplies for want of Mony when I receive my dismission from this place, shall do myself the Honor of waiting on you upon my return to Philadelphia” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

5See GW’s circulars to New Jersey Magistrates, 7 Jan. and 2 February.

6After expressing this sentiment, Stewart proceeded differently in his draft manuscript: “the pressing wants of Your Army arises from the backwardness in that state in furnishing their part as they well knew Our Situation.”

7For Blaine’s direct appeal for provisions to Pennsylvania officials, see his letter to GW, 21 May, DLC:GW; Blaine to Joseph Reed, 20 May, in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 8:260; and Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 12:359; see also GW to Huntington, 27–28 May (DNA:PCC, item 152).

8Blaine wrote Henry Champion, Sr., deputy commissary general of purchases, from Morristown on 10 May: “I have not had a Letter from you this four Weeks which gives me great uneasiness, all the provisions in the Vicinity of Camp is consumed & we can have little relief but from you, for Gods sake my good Sir use every possible exertion to keep us supply’d else the Army must Starve, we can have no Supply in the middle State[s] til grass Beef is fit for use, I hope you have obtain’d all the Mony upon those Orders sent you & that you have had it in your power to procure a large number of Cattle, such a Number of the Militia being call’d out in Actual service in the Southern States will deprive us from receiving any supply of Salt pork, resting assured of your best endeavours to procure us Supplies & that you will adopt every means of forwarding the same” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook; see also Blaine to GW, 18 May, and Champion to GW, 25 May and 2 June, all in DLC:GW).

The need for meat at Morristown remained critical (see GW to Champion, 26 May, CtLHi).

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