George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Joseph Trumbull, 28 May 1777

To Colonel Joseph Trumbull

Morristown May 28th 1777.


Though your remaining at philadelphia longer, to compleat the Business, you are upon, may be a desireable circumstance, Yet, it is of infinitely more importance, that you should repair to Camp without a Moments delay. All our Troops in Jersey are nearly collected at a point. Every day, we are to hope, will bring in further Reinforcements. At this time, we are greatly distressed for provision, nor do I find, that your Deputies have any on hand or a prospect of getting more. From the best Opinion, I am able to form from inquiry on this Subject, you must immediately join the Army & procure Supplies for It, or It must disperse. This is an Object superior to all Others, & you will inform Congress of the necessity of your Instant departure. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Trumbull enclosed the LS in his letter to Hancock of 29 May, in which he says: “His Excellency [GW] Seems to think that the Army is to be provided for in Jersey—but the Fact really is, that the Provisions depended on for immediate supply is to go from this place [Philadelphia], & from others this way & that none are to be had in Jersey—& in my own Opinion, I should render the Army, a much more Essential service, by stayg in this place a few days longer, to forward the Provisions to Camp, where are Assistants plenty to Issue it to the Troops.

“The Provisions being Sent to Lancaster & Carlisle, & places, so far distant from the Army without attention to present Supplies of the Army, has occasioned a delay of geting them in season, to prevent fears of want—I have now got the Beef coming from Lancaster—I sent to Lebanon, to Genll De Haas, who when I came to this place, had by return then made to me, 1,500 bls Salted Beef & Pork in his Hands, to forward a quantity to Camp, by way of Easton—to which Order, I recd for answer that he had sent the Beef &c. to Carlisle, by Positive Orders of Congress” (DNA:PCC, item 78). Congress read Trumbull’s letter on 29 May (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 , 8:395).

Within the next week Trumbull submitted to GW a provision report that has not been identified. Hamilton wrote Trumbull on 4 June: “His Excellency has examined your Provision report; and finds every part of it very well, except that relating to the placing a quantity at Trenton. This is the most improper place in the world; for if the enemy should move towards Philadelphia the provisions at trentown in the hurry occasioned by such an event would inevitably fall into their Hands. You will therefore without loss of time have them removed much higher up the river, at least as high as Corels—a moment should not be lost in doing this” (Ct: Joseph Trumbull Papers).

Index Entries