George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Trumbull, 6 September 1775

From Joseph Trumbull

Cambridge 6th Septr 1775

The Commissary General Proposes to Genl Washington the Expediency of purchasing, in Philadelphia, for the Use of the Continental Army 10 or 15,000 bbs. Flour—He supposes Flour may be purchased after the 10th Septr at Phila. at 13/ Currency per Ct or under—that he can have it freighted to Newbury at 1/3 per Ct he risking the Vessells, agst the Enemies Cruisers, only—& can have the whole Interest in Vessells & Flour covered in Phila. at 10 per Ct which will not bring the flour, delivered at Newbury Port up to 13/ Lawful money of New England—whereas the lowest we get flour at from Connecticut is 13/ per Ct there & 7/ per Ct Carting—A saving worthwhile may be made[.] But as this mode is attended with a Risk, The Commissary, in this as in every other Case, thinks it his Duty to apply to your Excellency for direction, & likewise to hint to your Excellency, that it may occasion no material delay, if you Should lay the Matter before Congress for their Advice, as the Business must be transacted where that Body are now Convened.

The Commissary General also requests direction from your Excellency, as to procuring Pork, for Supplying the Army the Winter & Summer next Coming—The Season for killing Pork is approaching, when he can purchase that Article, in any Quantities in the Country, drive it in, & have it killed & Salted, at proper places, within 20 miles of Camp; & thereby save transportation—The Transportation of much the greatest part of the Pork Supplied to the Army the Summer past, has Cost 20/ & 21/ per bb.—the Pork may be put up here as Cheap, as in Connecticut—& the whole Transportation saved—Salt, Barrels, &c. can be had here—& in a quantity sufficient for 20,000 Men one year more than £10,000 may be saved, & should the War be at an End the Pork will fetch it’s first Costs, at Least, when the Trade Opens.

AL, DNA:PCC, item 152; two copies, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, NjMoHP. GW enclosed this letter in his letter to Hancock of 7 Sept. 1775. Congress read GW’s letter on 21 Sept., and Trumbull’s proposals were referred that day to a committee of five members. The committee apparently did not approve the scheme for sending flour by water from Philadelphia to Newburyport, for fear that it would be captured by British warships, thereby depriving the Patriots of its use while increasing the British supply of provisions at Boston (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 , 2:253, 3:257–58, 299 Eliphalet Dyer to Joseph Trumbull, 15 Sept. 1775, 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 , 2:14–15). Congress did accept Trumbull’s plan for procuring pork, resolving on 3 Oct. “that the Commissary general contract for such quantities of beef and pork as may be thought proper by the General, and have the same salted up in convenient houses near the camp” (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 , 3:273).

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