To William Livingston
Valley Forge February the 14: 1778
I do myself the honor of transmitting you a Letter from the Committee of Congress, now here.1 These Gentlemen have represented the distress of the Army for want of provision so fully and in so just a light, that I shall forbear to trouble you with further observations upon the subject. I shall only observe, that if the picture they have drawn is imperfect, it is because the colourings are not sufficiently strong. It does not exceed our real situation. From your zeal & earnest wishes to promote the service, I am firmly convinced we shall have every relief in your power to give. I should have troubled you before on this interesting and alarming business—had I not supposed Congress the proper Body to have been informed, and that the means of relief should be under their direction. not to mention our distresses the last Campaign and that we were supplied from hand to mouth and frequently not at all, from the day Mr Trumbull left the Commissary department, This is the second time in the course of the present year, that we have been on the point of a dissolution, and I know not whether the melancholy event may not take place.
The subject of Horses too is so fully explained by the Committee that it is needless for me to enlarge on that head. The advantages derived from a respectable Cavalry will strike you at once, and I have the most entire confidence that you will with pleasure afford any aid in your Power to promote our views in this instance. I have the Honor to be with great esteem & regard Yr Excellency’s Most Obedt servant
Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. The letter to Livingston from the Continental Congress camp committee, dated 13 Feb., is in DNA:PCC, item 192; see also Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 9:87–89. The committee warned Livingston of the dangerous shortage of provisions at Valley Forge and appealed for his assistance in procuring additional transport as well as remount horses for the cavalry stationed in New Jersey. In response to the request for transport, Livingston wrote an address on 16 Feb. to the New Jersey general assembly, requesting legislation permitting the impressment of wagons and teams for supply of the army. The general assembly obliged Livingston with a temporary resolution to that effect on 17 Feb., and on 24 Mar. it enacted a law extending authority to impress teams indefinitely (N.J. Proceedings of the General Assembly description begins Votes and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey. At a Session begun at Trenton on the 28th Day of October, 1777, and continued by Adjournments until the 8th of October, 1778. Being their Second Session. Trenton, 1779. description ends , Oct. 1777–Oct. 1778 sess., 54, 74, 85–86, 89–90; N.J. Proceedings of the Legislative description begins Votes and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey. At a Session begun at Trenton on the 28th Day of October, 1777, and continued by Adjournments until the 8th of October, 1778. Being their Second Session. Trenton, 1779. description ends -Council, Oct. 1777–Oct. 1778 sess., 28–29, 44–45; see also Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 2:230–31, and Livingston to GW, 16 February).