George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 24 December 1779

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters Morris town 24th Decemr 1779.


I do myself the honor of transmitting the Copy of a letter which I received late last evening from General Wayne, from which it appears, that the fleet has sailed from New York.1 The moment I receive any further particulars of their destination, or the number of Troops on board, I shall forward them.

Your Excellency will also find inclosed the Copy of a second letter from Mr Champion to Colo. Wadsworth.2 Every day brings us fresh proofs of the deplorable state of our magazines, and points out the necessity of the most strenuous exertions for our releif on the score of provisions.

I have been compelled to order a quantity of Indian Corn, belonging to the forage department, to be ground up, to supply the want of Flour.3 Thus we are obliged to attempt to save the Men at the expence of the Horses. I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read GW’s letter on 27 Dec. and referred it to the Board of War with directions “to forward on the Virginia troops with all expedition” (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 15:1410; see also GW to Huntington, 29 Nov., source note).

1For this enclosure, see Wayne to GW, 23 December. Congress formally and informally communicated the contents of Wayne’s letter to Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln (see Committee of Congress to Lincoln, 27 Dec., and Elbridge Gerry to Lincoln, same 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 14:303–4).

2The enclosed letter from Henry Champion, deputy commissary general of purchases, to Jeremiah Wadsworth, commissary general of purchases, written at Colchester, Conn., on 14 Dec., reads: “Since my last to you I have had returns from all my purchasers and find I shall not be able to send on to Camp more than 120 Cattle more than has already started. This 120 will start from Amenia & Crompond which will carry them to Camp sooner than some drivers which have already started from here—My purchasers are now in debt to the amount of about 1,420,00 and they must have money to pay their debts and to purchase the few Cattle that are now up in the stalls before the Army can have any supply of Cattle from this department as no man will sell on Credit. I think it my duty to give you this early information, that I can start no more Cattle that you may inform the Honble Congress & His Excellency Genl Washington if you think proper. It will be about 14 days from this time before the last droves will arrive at Head Quarters.

“I am still confident that had cash come on these three or four Months past as it was needed the price of Cattle would not have been more than two thirds so high as they have been of late, if so much. And I am sure that had the money come on, and no prevailing reports of a limitating Law, Cattle would have been plentier this Winter & the coming Spring than ever heretofore but its now the reverse” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

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