George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Israel Putnam, 9 November 1777

To Major General Israel Putnam

Hd Qrs Whitemarsh [Pa.] 9th Novr 1777.

Dear Sir

I am favor’d with yours of the 3d acquainting me with the exhausted state of your Treasury. I am just in the same situation, but have wrote to Congress for a supply.1 I will in my next to them inform them of your wants, and desire them to forward a sum of Money to you.2

I have not the large Spy Glass, belonging to Mrs Morris, with me. I think it is at Bethlehem with my Baggage. I will write to the officer who has the care of the Baggage, and desire him to send the Glass to you.3

As Genl Warners Brigade of Massachusets Militia have so small a time to serve I have directed them, if the Express meets them on the road, to turn back & finish their service with you. If they should not have Marched, you will please to detain them for the reasons just given.4 Winds Brigade of jersey Militia will scarcely reach home before their times are expired we therefore cannot count upon them.

As the reinforcements that have sail’d from New York are so considerable that the Enemy cannot have more force left than is barely sufficient to keep a Garrison, I desire you will send on all the Continental Troops, except Colo. Saml Webbs & sherburns Regiments & the New York Battalions, these with the Militia, will fully answer your present purposes.

If Genl Howe is determin’d to remain in Philadelphia it will require a very large detachment posted on the West side of Schuylkill to cut him off from a communication with his Shipping. For want of an addition to our Numbers we have been under the necessity of permitting him to draw large supplies, indeed his whole subsistence from his Ships.

I beg you will press the reinforcements forward, as I fear those destin’d for Genl Howe will arrive before ours.5

you will take care to make a demand of as many Militia as will be sufficient for your purpose, and I think you had better do it immediately, that they may be with you by the time the present Class return home. I am Dr Sr, your mo. Obet Sert

G. W——n

Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2See GW to Henry Laurens, 10 November. On 14 Nov. Congress, responding to GW’s plea for funds, ordered that $150,000 be transferred and that “the commanding officer at Fish kill . . . inform the troops there, that money shall be sent as soon as possible to discharge the arrearages due to them” (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 , 9:901). Putnam was the commanding officer at Fishkill.

3See Putnam to GW, 3 November. No such letter from GW has been found, and it is unknown whether GW ever located the missing spyglass.

4See GW to Jonathan Warner, this date. Putnam already had decided to retain the brigade (see Putnam to GW, 7 Nov.).

5The British reinforcements from New York City entered the Delaware River on 10 Nov. (see James Potter to GW, 11 Nov.).

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