George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 11 November 1779

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia Novr 11th 1779.

Sir.

Since my letter of the 29th Ulto I am favour’d with your Excellency’s letters of Octor 30th & Octor 17th.1

I had the honor of addressing you in my letter of yesterd[a]y enclosing dispatches from General Lincoln by Major Clarkson.2

Your Excellency will receive herewith enclosed an Act of Congress of this date among other provision for the southern department, containing a resolve that the North Carolina troops and such others as may be conveniently spared from the main army, reinforce General Lincoln without delay;3 your Excellency must be the best Judge what troops can Conveniently be spared.4

I have also enclosed an Act of Congress of the 6th Instant granting leave of Absence for eight months to Capt. Lieut. Van Dyke of the Artillery;5 Also the Copy of a letter from the President of the Council of Massachusetts Bay of the 22d Ulto accompanied with an Act of the 8th Instant directing ⟨the⟩ Commander in Cheif to take order ⟨thereon.⟩6 I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Humble servant

Saml Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14. Mutilated portions of the LS are supplied in angle brackets from the letter-book copy.

1GW wrote Huntington twice on 17 October. The two letters covered furlough requests, the military situation in the southern department, British intentions to evacuate Rhode Island, and intelligence indicating enemy preparations to defend New York harbor.

2This letter and its enclosures brought official notice of the allied defeat at Savannah and Vice Admiral d’Estaing’s decision not to sail north with his French fleet.

3The enclosed resolutions of this date read: “That General Washington Order the North Carolina troops, and such others as may be Conveniently spared from his army to reinforce genl Lincoln without delay. … That the States of South Carolina & Georgia be assured of the Attention of Congress to their preservation and be requested to make those exertions in their own defence recommended by the resolutions of Congress of the 9th and 29th of March last for filling up the Continental Army and to provide that the Militia of the said States when Called into service shall be subject to the Continental Articles of War in like manner with the Militia of other States. … That the Governor[s] of Virginia and North Carolina be again requested to use their utmost exertions to have the whole of the troops Ordered from their respective States sent forward without loss of time to join Genl Lincoln’s Army; And that the troops be ordered away, as they can from time to time be collected. … That General Lincoln be directed to cause a Court of enquiry to be held on Brigr Genl Scot for disobedience of the orders of Congress of 27th July last. … That the Deputy quarter Master general in Philadelphia be ordered to procure a proper Vessel & immediately to transport the Military stores Ordered, and now in readiness for the State of South Carolina” (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 15:1255–57). For the resolutions mentioned in the enclosure, see 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 13:298–99, 385–88, and 14:893; see also Huntington to Richard Caswell, to Benjamin Lincoln, and to John Rutledge, all this date, 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 14:175–77.

4GW replied to Huntington on 20 November.

5The enclosed resolution of 6 Nov. granted Capt. Lt. John Van Dyke leave to take a sea voyage, “this being judged necessary for the recovery of his health” (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 15:1246–47, and GW’s first letter to Huntington, 17 Oct., and n.3 to that document).

6The enclosed letter to Huntington of 22 Oct., written by Massachusetts Council president William Sever “In the name & behalf of the Council,” reads: “The Council are informed that Col. Hazen has opened a road from Newbury to within thirty miles of Canada, and that his regiment is ordered away; in consequence of which the Frontiers of this State and those of Newhampshire, and also the public stores deposited in that quarter, may be exposed to the incursions and ravages of the Savages unless Colo. Hazen’s regt is ordered to continue, or other suitable force stationed there.

“The Council therefore make this representation to the Honble Congress and request if that part of the Country is without proper force for its defence and security of the public stores that such measures may be taken as the exigency of the case shall require” (DLC:GW). The enclosed resolution of 8 Nov. ordered this letter transmitted to GW for his action (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 15:1249). For GW’s explanation of his ordering Col. Moses Hazen’s regiment away from the Canadian border, see his letter to Huntington of 20 Nov.; see also Jacob Bayley to GW, this date, and n.1 to that document.

William Sever (1729–1809) graduated from Harvard in 1745 and received a master’s degree from the same institution in 1748. He joined his father’s mercantile business in Kingston, Mass., and held town offices. Sever was appointed to the Governor’s Council in 1769 and acted on occasion as president of the Massachusetts Council during the Revolutionary War. He subsequently became a judge in Plymouth County and served until his death.

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