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From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 29 June 1780

To Thomas Jefferson

[Ramapo, N.J., 29 June 1780]

Dr Sir

I have been honored with two of your Excellency’s favors both of the 11th inclosing an extract of a letter from Governor Rutlege.1

I cannot but feel most sensibly affected by several parts of your Excellency’s letter. The successive misfortunes to the Southward—the progress of the enemy—and the great deficiency in military stores give rise to the most serious reflections, while our situation in this quarter precludes every hope of affording you further assistance. What from the system of short inlistments, and the unfortunate2 delays in filling up our battalions the army in this place, is3 reduced to a mere handful of men, and left as it were at the mercy of a formidable enemy, subject to see the honor and dignity of the States daily insulted without the power either to prevent it or to retaliate. Under these circumstances your Excellency will perceive how utterly impossible it is to go further in succours than what is already sent.4 To oppose our Southern misfortunes & surmount our difficulties our principal dependence must be on the means we have left us in your quarter. And it is some consolation amidst all our distresses that these are more than adequate to remove them; and to recover what we have lost that it is only necessary these be properly directed.

The steps your Excellency have taken to establish posts of communication with the Southern army are essential to facilitate your measures the necessity of which I had urged in strong terms to Congress.5 I am apprehensive that Congress have it not in their power to furnish you with the Cartouch boxes. I have the honor to be with great respect. Yo⟨urs⟩.

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft lacks date and location except for 29 June on its docket. GW’s headquarters was then at Ramapo, New Jersey.

1The letter from South Carolina governor John Rutledge was enclosed in Jefferson’s second letter to GW of 11 June.

2GW wrote the previous two words.

3GW wrote this word.

4GW already had sent to the southern department the North Carolina and Virginia brigades and the Maryland division (see GW to Thomas Clark, 19 Nov. 1779; to William Woodford, 8 Dec. 1779; and to Johann Kalb, 2 and 4 April 1780; see also GW to Benjamin Lincoln, 15 April 1780).

5GW wrote the previous twelve words.

See GW to Samuel Huntington, 20 June (see also GW to the Committee at Headquarters, 11 and 19 June).

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