From Lieutenant Colonel Loammi Baldwin
Chelsea [Mass.] Novr 13th 1775
May it please your Excellency
Agreable to your direction I have ordered all the Stocks drove back from where they were exposed, in Chelsea Pulling & Shirley Point,1 The Inhabitants of the Points have been to me with there complaints and very much lament there hard fortune and beg that your Excellency would permit them to take one pair of working oxen to a famaly and a few Milch cows, the other Cattle & Sheep they say they cannot provide for and are reduced to the necessaty of selling them for what they will fetch and they beg that they may have the Priviledg of Killing & Supplying the Troops themselves with the Stock that is now fitt to kill and think it would be as will for the Public since the Charge of Transport will be Saved[.] there are about 79 horn Cattle & 428 Sheep[.]2 they think the chief of the Sheep will do to kill & about 10 or 12 of the horn Cattle without further fatting.
I beg that your Excellency would give me som direction in this affair as the Cattle are drove back & have nothing to eat.3
Nothing Remarkable has transpired Since the last from your Excellencys most obediant & Very Humbe Servnt
Loammi Baldwin L. Col.
ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MH: Baldwin Papers.
1. For GW’s orders on this subject, see Robert Hanson Harrison to Baldwin, 10 Nov., quoted in Baldwin to GW, 11 Nov. 1775, n.1. Baldwin enclosed a copy of his orders to Sgt. Abijah Hastings dated 11 Nov., directing him “to Repair with Eight men to Pulling Point Early tomorrow morning & bring from thence all the Stock of Cattle leaving only one Cow for the use of Mr John Sergeant and another for the use of Mr Andrew Dewksbury” (DLC:GW).
2. Baldwin enclosed Hastings’s return of the livestock (ibid.).
3. Robert Hanson Harrison replied to Baldwin on this date: “I am commanded by his Excellency, General Washington to inform you, that he has no Objections to your letting each family have a pair of oxen & a milch Cow or two, but he would have them take the utmost care that they do not fall into the enemy’s hands, for should they, the publick will make them no compensation for the loss—As to their killing & disposing of such of the Cattle &c. as may be fit for use to the Troops, that is a matter that must be referred to the Commissary General, it coming properly under his department, If he & they can agree, his Excellency has no objection” (MHi: Miscellaneous Bound Collection). On 22 Nov. Harrison wrote to Baldwin: “I have it in command from his Excellency, to inform you, that some of the people living about Chelsea have applyed to him for leave to drive their Stock there again, which were Removed a few days ago. they say that the shores are so full of Ice, that the Enemy’s Boats cannot land to get any of them; His Excellency would by no means have any there which may fall into their hands, but as the people are so exceedingly desirous of their being returned, he desires you to examine into the matter & If you think they can be & kept in security, youl grant permission for the same. His Excellency expected that every day or other day, you would have reported to him any Manuvres of the enemy in Boston, or the Arrivals of any Vessels &c.” (ibid.).