George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 10 February 1778

To Thomas Wharton, Jr.

Head Quarters Valley Forge 10th Feby 1778.


I have been honored with your favors of the 15th and 22d ulto with the several public Acts referred to, inclosed. I most sincerely wish that, for compleating your quota of Men, may be found adequate to the purpose, but I very much doubt it. I have ordered two proper Officers, from every Regiment belonging to your State, to repair to Lancaster, and take their recruiting instructions from you.1

I observe, that the State have appointed Colo. Francis Johnston to receive and distribute the Cloathing collected by the Commissioners. That Gentleman has not been able to do duty for some time on account of his Health, he is not in Camp at present, and I do not find that he is expected. I therefore most earnestly desire that some other may be appointed, and that what cloathing is collected may be immediately sent down. General Wayne brought a tolerable supply for the two Brigades under his command, but the 3d 6th 9th 12th and 13th Regiments are in great distress, and are the more uneasy and discontented, as they see their companions are provided for.2

Colo. Lutterloh Deputy Qr Mr General informs me that he found a considerable quantity of cloathing collected at Reading, waiting for an order to be sent forward. This being the particular property of your State, I did not think myself at liberty to interfere with it, but I hope you will immediately order it to Camp. It may come down by Water and save the labor and expence of Waggons.

It certainly was never expected or intended, that the States should furnish their Officers with such Cloathing as was demanded of yours. The recommendation of Congress is, that each State should furnish their Officers and Men with proper (by which I understand decent and substantial) cloathing at a price in proportion to their pay, and that the loss, which will arise between the first cost and the price at which it may be charged upon delivery, shall be defrayed by the Continent at large.

Inclosed you have the Return of the Commissioned and Staff Officers of your State.3 You will observe that there are many promotions and vacancies to fill. I put a stop to them untill the new arrangement of the Army, now under consideration, shall be compleated. I have the Honor to be Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The Pennsylvania supreme executive council appointed recruiting officers on 17 Feb., based on a “list ... recommended by” GW (see Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:418–21).

2Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne, who had just returned to camp from Lancaster, Pa., where he had been procuring clothing for the Pennsylvania regiments under his command, wrote Wharton on this date that “The Clothier General Informed me when I was at Lancaster that there were shirts in plenty at Camp. I find he was mistaken, for altho some Hundreds of our poor worthy fellows have not a single ragg of a shirt, (but are obliged to wear their waistcoats next their skins & to sleep in them at nights,) I have not been able to draw a single shirt from the store, for the want of which our men are falling sick in numbers every day—contracting vermin and dying in Hospitals, in a condition shocking to Humanity, & horrid in Idea —for God sake procure a Quantity for me if you strip the Dutchmen for them” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:251; see also Col. Richard Butler’s letter to Wharton of 12 Feb., ibid., 252–53; and the memorial of the officers of the 3d and 9th Pennsylvania regiments to Wharton of 3 Feb., ibid., 2d ser., 3:148–49). The Pennsylvania supreme executive council on 17 Feb. ordered the supply of a quantity of clothing to be sent to the neglected regiments (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:418).

3The enclosed return has not been identified.

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