George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Nathaniel Woodhull, 27 June 1776

To Nathaniel Woodhull

Head Quarters New York. June 27. 1776


⟨The Necessity of the most vigorous⟩ & decisive Measures in our present Cir⟨cumstances⟩ will I doubt not justify to your Honourable ⟨Body⟩ the Removal of the Stock of Cattle & Horses from ⟨those⟩ Parts of the Coast most exposed to the Enemy. ⟨After⟩ a long & fatiguing Voyage they will need Ref⟨reshment⟩ of this Nature & there is no Doubt they will ⟨have⟩ them if possible on any Terms. Common Pruden⟨ce⟩ therefore & a Regard to our own Safety strongly e⟨vince⟩ the Necessity of depriving them of such Supplies as will enable them to act with more Vigour & Spirit against us. Tho’ painful & disagreeable, it seems to be a Measure which the great Law of Self Preservation now requires. Inclosed I transmit the unanimous Resolution of a Council of General Officers advising such Removal without Delay, in which it is proposed to pay a suitable Regard to the Necessities of the People.1 I flatt⟨er myself that in a matter of such Importance and Difficulty The Honble Body over wh[ich] you preside w⟩ill approve of ⟨the proposal & carry it⟩ into Execution or cooperate with me in ⟨the most⟩ effectual Steps for this Purpose.2 I hav⟨e the⟩ Honour to be with the greatest Respect & Regard Sir Your Obed. Hbble Serv.

Go: Washington

LS (mutilated), in Joseph Reed’s writing, N: New York Provincial Congress Revolutionary Papers; LB, in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The mutilated portions of the LS are supplied from the LB within angle brackets.

2The New York provincial congress read this letter on 28 June and appointed a committee to confer with GW about the removal of the livestock (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:509; see also Council of War, 28 June).

Joseph Reed wrote to Woodhull on 28 June, enclosing a copy of Joseph Davison’s letter to GW of 27 June concerning General Howe’s sailing from Halifax to Sandy Hook. “The Importance of the Intelligence and Critical Situation of Affairs,” Reed wrote, “will doubtless Suggest to your Honorable Body the Necessity of paying immediate Attention to those matters Contained in his [GW’s] Letter of Yesterday & if any farther measures can be taken to forward the Militia expected for the defense of this post, that they be immediately procured. To Gentlemen so Zealous in the public Cause & well apprized of all Circumstances, Arguments are unnecessary” (DLC:GW).

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