George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 5 November 1779

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Light Infantry Camp Paramus [N.J.]
5th Novr 1779 12. OClock

Dear General

I have been favored with yours of yesterday within this half hour—& shall keep a watchful eye on the Enemy—altho’ I am Confident that no move whatever had taken place—unless in the Night—the night before last as my Guards were posted at every look out from Wihoaks opposite New York,1 as far up the River as Tapon with constant partrole’s from one post to an other, so that a Single person could not move unobserved.

I wrote your Excellency yesterday from New-bridge, giving an acct of our foraging at Bergen, Wihoak, &ca—I have nothing new to Communicate—but have ground to belive that if any Considerable move had taken place I should have been Informed of it.

We have been totally destitute of Salt & Rum for Eight days, Indeed we had but a very limited supply of the last Article for three months past—I wrote to the Commissary General on the Occation but have not yet recd an Answer, or any Supplies except a few Barrels of flour2—was it not for the Supplies we procured by our late forage, we should have experienced great difficulty in keeping the Troops together, as we were totally destitute of every kind of Provisions—thro’ the Neglect or Incapacity of the Commissary lately Appointed to this Corps.3

I have sent the Quarter Masters to Morristown & Other Posts—After Provisions; but can not procure any, as the Stores are exausted.

Will your Excellency be so Obliging as to direct the Commissary at West Point to forward a Supply by Stoney Point the soonest Possible, fresh beef we have a Redundancy of—for which we are beholden to the good Nature of the British. I am Your Excellency’s Most Obt & very Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers. Wayne wrote on the cover of the ALS: “ Dragoon who is to pass.” For the likely forwarding of the ALS, see William Woodford to GW, 6 November.

GW’s assistant secretary James McHenry wrote Wayne from West Point on 7 Nov.: “His Excellency this morning set out to visit the Virginia division; and I have the honor of acknowleging your letter of the 5th Instant.

“We shall communicate immediately to Mr Wadsworth your situation respecting provisions &c., and I make no doubt but he will take the proper measures for your supply” (PHi: Wayne Papers; see n.2 below).

1Wayne is referring to Weehawken, New Jersey.

2A margin notation on the ALS in the writing of GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison indicates that Wayne’s complaint about salt and rum was transmitted to Jeremiah Wadsworth, commissary general of purchases, on 7 November. Harrison wrote to Wadsworth from West Point on that date: “By direction of His Excellency, who set out for General Heath’s this morning—I transmit You an Extract of a Letter from General Wayne of the 5th Instant. You will be pleased to act in consequence of it, as shall be right” (DLC:GW). The extract of Wayne’s letter to GW has not been found. For the Continental army’s persistent rum shortage, see GW to Alexander McDougall, 28 June, and n.1 to that document, and to John Glover, 29 July, and n.5; see also GW to Wayne, 5 July. For GW’s remarks on the inadequate flour supply, see his letter to Wayne of 9 November.

3This commissary has not been identified.

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