George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 6 April 1780

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia April 6. 1780

Sir

Your Excellency’s favors of the 2d & 3rd instant & 31st Ulto have been duly received and laid before Congress.

Herewith you will receive a Copy of an Act of the Senate and Assembly of New York of the 2d of March, together with an Act of Congress of the 4th Instant;1 by which you will be informed that Congress in Compliance with the Desire of that Legislature have approved of their raising a Body of Eight hundred Militia for the Defence of that State to be entitled to Continental Pay and Rations and employed under the Direction of the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army for that Purpose.

By the Act of Congress of the 5th Instant herewith enclosd you will observe that they approve of the Measures taken by your Excellency to reinforce the southern Army.2 I have the honour to be with the highest respect your Excelly’s hble servant

Sam. Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.

1Huntington enclosed a document with copies of resolutions that the New York Senate had adopted on 2 and 3 March (DLC:GW). The earlier resolution sought concurrence from the state assembly to request the governor “to represent to Congress, the condition of the Frontiers, the necessity of providing for their defence and the inability of this State to pay or subsist any troops; and to assure Congress that this State is disposed to raise any number of men not exceeding eight hundred to be employed for the ensuing campaign in that essential service and to be under the command of the Commander in Chief of the army of the United States, if Congress will please to direct provision to be made for their pay and subsistence.” The later resolution acknowledged the assembly’s concurrence and ordered two senators to bring the measure to Gov. George Clinton’s attention. Clinton then wrote Huntington from Albany on 9 March in accordance with the legislature’s desire (see DNA:PCC, item 67, and Clinton to GW, 7 April, n.5). Congress read Clinton’s letter and the resolutions on 3 April and referred them to a committee (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 16:325). That committee reported favorably on 4 April, and Congress adopted on the same date the resolution that Huntington subsequently sent to GW. The enclosed copy reads: “That Governor Clinton be informed Congress approve the raising a body of eight hundred militia for the defence of that State & that they be entitled to receive continental pay and rations and be employed under the direction of the commander in chief of the continental army for that purpose” (DLC:GW; see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 16:327–28; New York Delegates to Clinton, 4 April, and Huntington to Clinton, 6 April, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 15:12, 17–18; GW to Clinton, 12 April; and Clinton to GW, 24 April).

2The enclosed copy of the resolution reads: “That Congress approve of the measures taken by General Washington for reinforcing the southern Army, as mentioned in his letter of the second instant” (DLC:GW; see also GW to Huntington, 2 April, and the source note to that document).

Having decided to send the Maryland division and the Delaware Regiment southward as reinforcements, GW urged their departure as quickly as possible given serious supply problems and the strength of his own force (see GW to Huntington, 7 April, and to Benjamin Lincoln, 15 April). Maj. Gen. Johann Kalb commanded the reinforcement and already had been ordered to Philadelphia to prepare for its movement (see GW to Kalb, 2 April, and the source note to that document; see also GW to Mordecai Gist, same date, and notes 2 and 3 to that document, and Moore Furman to John Mitchell, 8 April, in Furman Letters description begins Historical Research Committee of the New Jersey Society of the Colonial Dames of America, ed. The Letters of Moore Furman: Deputy Quarter-Master General of New Jersey in the Revolution. New York, 1912. description ends , 61). Kalb arrived in Philadelphia on 8 April and remained busy with government officials until leaving that place on 13 May (see Kapp, Life of Kalb description begins Friedrich Kapp. The Life of John Kalb: Major-General in the Revolutionary Army. New York, 1884. description ends , 194–96).

Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote GW from Morristown on 12 April: “Colo. Gunby now commandant of one of the Maryland brigades, demands a waggon for the conveyance of his own baggage from this command notwithstanding the full allowance to the Regiment to which he belongs. As I conceive the demand superfluous and unnecessary, I wish to know your Excellency’s pleasure. Some general plan should be adopted to govern future cases of a similar nature” (LS, DLC:GW). GW replied to Greene from headquarters at Morristown on the same date: “I have recd your favr on the subject of Col. Gunby’s demand of a Waggon on acco[ou]t of his Commanding a Brigade for the present—I cannot by any means think it necessary that he should be supplied with one from this circumstance, therefore, wish you in this as well as in all future similar cases to refuse complying with the request” (Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

Sgt. William Seymour of the Delaware Regiment began his journal with these remarks: “On the 16th April, 1780, the Maryland Division, with the Delaware Regiment, marched from their quarters near Morristown … being bound for Charlestown, South Carolina, in order to reinforce that garrison being besieged by the enemy.” They “marched by land to Head of Elk 108 miles, when the troops embarked on board for Petersbourg, except the park of Artillery which went by land with a detachment from all the line which went to escort them” (Seymour, Southern Expedition description begins William Seymour. A Journal of the Southern Expedition, 1780–1783. Wilmington, Del., 1896. In Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware, vol. 15. description ends , 3). Capt. Robert Kirkwood of the Delaware Regiment wrote in his journal entry for 8 May: “Set sail from the Head of Elk, in Comp[an]y with 50 sail of vessels, being the Second brigade in the Maryland Line, Destin’d for Petersburgh, Virginia, at which Port the vessel I was in arrived the 23 Inst” (Turner, Kirkwood description begins Joseph Brown Turner, ed. The Journal and Order Book of Captain Robert Kirkwood of the Delaware Regiment of the Continental Line. Wilmington, Del., 1910. In Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware, vol. 56. description ends , 9). Twelve field pieces from the 1st Continental Artillery Regiment left Morristown with the Maryland and Delaware units. The troops moved in two brigades: the first, under Brig. Gen. William Smallwood, consisted of the 1st, 3d, 5th, and 7th Maryland regiments; the second, under Brig. Gen. Mordecai Gist, consisted of the 2d, 4th, and 6th Maryland regiments and the Delaware Regiment. The troops totaled about 1,400 men (see Ward, Delaware Continentals description begins Christopher L. Ward. The Delaware Continentals, 1776–1783. Wilmington, Del., 1941. description ends , 326, and Steuart, Maryland Line description begins Rieman Steuart. A History of The Maryland Line in the Revolutionary War, 1775–1783. Towson, Md., 1969. description ends , 161). Under the heading “TRENTON, April 27,” The New-Jersey Gazette (Trenton) for the same date printed an item: “Since our last the Maryland Line, under the command of Brigadier-General Gist, marched through this town, on their way to the Southward. The troops made a very martial appearance” (see also Ichabod Burnet to Furman, 12 April, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 5:519).

A letter dated 20 April from Ephraim Blaine, commissary general of purchases, to Robert Buchanan in Baltimore reads in part: “The Maryland Troops will be at this place to day on their way to the Southward, I believe it is intended they shall go by Water, there is no Salt Provisions at the Head of Elk therefore on Rec[eip]t of this request you & Mr Donaldson [Donnellan] to forward without a moments delay fifty Barrels of Beef to that place” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook). Blaine wrote Kalb from Philadelphia on 21 April: “Shou’d the Troops under your Command go from this by Water, Christiana Bridge & Head of Elk, the places you will be furnished with Provisions if when at Elk & you find it will be dangerous going by Water, the Troops can be supply’d with Provisions at Baltimore George Town or Alexandria, Fredericksburg & the Stages from that Southerly, you’ll oblige me when you fix your Rout of March for Information, that I may write Major Foresyth to make the necessary Provisions for your Men” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook; see also Maryland Council to Thomas Richardson, 25 April, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:152–53). Blaine wrote Robert Forsyth, deputy commissary of purchases in Virginia, from Philadelphia on 30 April: “The Maryland & Delaware Troops are now on their March from this to the Southward & are to go by Water from the Head of Elk to Richmond. … my Dear Sir do for Godsake use your every Exertion to have them properly provided for, I have some Weeks ago made application to the Treasury board & Board of War for Mon[e]y or a Warrant for your use Mon[e]y is not at present in their Power to give but have assurances of an Order on your State for a considerable Sum this Week & shall send it by the Post, we are much in want of Salt Provisions if in your power to spare us any send it without delay those Vessels which carry down the Troops will be an excellent Oppor[tunit]y & beg you to embrace it” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

A letter dated 19 April from the Maryland Council to George Peter Keeports reads in part: “If the Maryland Troops should march to the Southward, Linen Overalls will be indispensably necessary, as well as a large Supply of Shoes. To call your Attention to the Purchase of those important Articles of Cloathing, we trust is needless, shall therefore only recommend Expedition” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:145–46; see also the council to Keeports, 25 April, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:152). The Maryland Council directed state militia colonel and deputy quartermaster general Henry Hollingsworth on 24 April: “Whereas it is necessary that Vessels should be immediately provided to Transport the Troops of the United States from the Head of Elk to the Common Wealth of Virginia to reinforce the Southern Army and it being impracticable to procure a sufficient Number of Vessels on hire you are hereby authorized and impowered to impress as many Vessels and Hands as will be necessary for transporting the Troops aforesaid with their Bag[g]age from the Head of Elk to Virginia” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:151; see also the council to Hollingsworth, same date, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:152). The Maryland Council passed impressment orders for vessels in the ports of Annapolis and Baltimore on 27 April (see Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:154–55; see also Maryland Council to Smallwood, to Robert Berry, and to Isaac Griest, all same date, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:155–56). The next day, the Maryland Council sent letters to three officials to secure forage for the detachment moving south (see Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:157–58), and then on 29 April, the council wrote commissary David Poe in Baltimore: “If you have any Pork in Barrels or Salt Beef, or can buy or borrow any on the Credit of the State, you must send it off as soon as possible to Colo. Hollingsworth at the Head of Elk for the Use of the Troops there destined to the Southward who are much distressed for the Want of Provision. … If the Troops should leave the Head of Elk before you can send off the Pork & Beef, you must send it here” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:158; see also Maryland Council to Hollingsworth, same date and 1 May, and to Poe, 8 May, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:159–60, 166).

The Maryland Council wrote Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson on 2 May: “A Detachment of 3000 Troops is already embarked at the Head of Elk, in a Day or two, to proceed down the Bay of Chesapeake to your State, to reinforce the Southern Army. We esteem it highly necessary that every possible Precaution should be used to prevent any Part from falling in with the Enemy’s Cruisers and have, to that End, communicated to your Excellency the Intelligence we have received from one of our Look out Boats that returned last Night from the Mouth of Potowmack. The Captain informs us that there are several small Privateers in the Bay and one or two as high up as Wiccomico in Virginia. We shall keep our Boats out constantly, to give us Information, that we may apprize the Commanding Officer of every Movement of the Enemy to intercept the Troops” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:161; see also Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 3:366). On 5 May, the Maryland Council wrote Commodore Thomas Grason of the state’s navy that “we have Reason to believe that a sufficient Number of Vessels are procured for the Transportation of the Troops destined for reinforcing the Southern Army, therefore request you will not continue to impress more” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:164). The council also wrote Capt. William Middleton of the state’s navy on 13 May that a vessel “is loaded with a Supply of Cloathing for the Troops of the Maryland Line. She is entirely defenceless and, to proceed to Petersburg without a Convoy, at this Time, with a Cargo so extremely valuable would be hazardous. We therefore request that you will accompany her to the Mouth of James River, or until she shall be out of the Reach of the Enemy” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:174).

The Maryland Council wrote the Baltimore commissioners on 8 May: “One Half of the Maryland Division are now at this City, on their March to the Southward, the other is daily expected. Before they can proceed, it is absolutely necessary that two hundred thousand Pounds should be distributed among the Officers, to enable them to defray their Expences on their March. Congress have resolved that the Officers be indemnified in the Loss they have sustained by the Depreciation of the Money, but cannot comply with their Resolution at this Time, being destitute of Money. The General Assembly impressed with the Necessity of Supplying the Officers with a Sum adequate to the above Purpose, and revolving in their Minds the exhausted State of the Treasury and the Want of other Means to procure Money, found themselves constrained to have recourse to the Expedient of Borrowing and have authorized and requested us to make Application to the Inhabitants of Baltimore Town for a Loan of two hundred thousand Pounds. If the Expedient should fail, we cannot say what will be the Result, but the most dreadful Consequences are to be apprehended, from detaining the Troops here, and the Officers cannot march without Money. … The Money lent is to be repaid within three Weeks” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:167; see also Maryland Council to Henry Dickinson, 11 May, and to John Randall, 12 May, in Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 43:172–73).

Kalb wrote GW from Philadelphia on 12 May: “The providing the Troops under my Command with every necessaries for their march has been attended with many difficulties and delays, which it was not in my power to remove as Soon as I could have wished, and therefore was not able to give a Satisfactory account, to your Excellency, before now.

“The Board of War have fixed upon Richmond as the place of Rendez-Vous for the Whole. The Two Brigades embarked at the Head of Elk, the artillery, ammunitions and Baggage proceeded by Land. I Shall Set out to morrow morning, Should have done it many days ago had I not been Detained by the Boards of War and of Treasury.

“I should have been happy to See the Marquess de la fayette but would not lose a moment in going on.

“From Richmond I will write to Your Excellency the Situation of the Troops, the number of recruits joined on the march and the measures I shall take to march with most Expedition” (ALS, CSmH; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW; see also George Plater to Thomas Sim Lee, 11 May, in Smith, Delegates of Congress, 15:109).

Kalb proceeded to Annapolis and then Richmond before joining his command at its rendezvous in Petersburg, Virginia. He wrote his wife and a friend from that place on 29 May, expressing his disappointment that he could not “await the arrival of the Marquis de Lafayette. … I had hundreds and hundreds of questions to ask him, and would have been glad to have chatted with him for some hours; but it was impossible to postpone my departure even a single day, as my troops were already on the march for this place, and as the fate of Charleston evidently depends upon the succor to be brought by me. It is to be hoped that I shall come in time, but I cannot be there before the end of June. … To-morrow and next day my troops, divided into three brigades, will take up their line of march, provided always the long-promised wagons are forthcoming” (Kapp, Life of Kalb description begins Friedrich Kapp. The Life of John Kalb: Major-General in the Revolutionary Army. New York, 1884. description ends , 196–97; see also David Jameson to James Madison, 21 May, in Madison Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends , 2:28–31). Kalb wrote the Board of War from Petersburg on 6 June explaining delays that slowed his command and how he learned on that date “that Charlestown capitulated … I am determined to be on the defensive, untill reinforcement, proper intelligence, and farther orders and Directions, either from your Board, Congress or the Commander in chief” (DLC:GW; see also Kalb to GW, same date, NNGL, and Kapp, Life of Kalb description begins Friedrich Kapp. The Life of John Kalb: Major-General in the Revolutionary Army. New York, 1884. description ends , 197–98). Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln had surrendered Charleston, S.C., on 12 May. While too late to impede British operations against Charleston, the Maryland division and Delaware Regiment played significant roles in subsequent battles across South Carolina and North Carolina (see Balch, Maryland Line description begins Thomas Balch, ed. Papers Relating Chiefly to The Maryland Line During the Revolution. Philadelphia, 1857. description ends , 108–64; Scharf, History of Maryland description begins J. Thomas Scharf. History of Maryland, from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. 3 vols. Baltimore, 1879. description ends , 2:359–73, 400–427; Ward, Delaware Continentals description begins Christopher L. Ward. The Delaware Continentals, 1776–1783. Wilmington, Del., 1941. description ends , 327–465; Alden, South in the Revolution description begins John Richard Alden. The South in the Revolution, 1763–1789. Baton Rouge, La., 1957. Vol. 3 of A History of The South. Edited by Wendell Holmes Stephenson and E. Merton Coulter. description ends , 242–67; and Steuart, Maryland Line description begins Rieman Steuart. A History of The Maryland Line in the Revolutionary War, 1775–1783. Towson, Md., 1969. description ends , 161–66).

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