George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel George Gibson, 2 March 1778

From Colonel George Gibson

Lancaster [Pa.] 2d March 1778

May it please Your Exy

I had the Honor of writing to Your Excelly the 22d ultimo in which I inform’d Your Excelly I had recd a letter from the Board of War with directions respecting 7 Waggon loads of Cloathing that were on the road from York to this place, since which the Waggons arrived, the directions from the Honble the Board of War have been fully comply’d wth except sending the Goods to Camp, Three of the Waggons that brought the Cloathing to this place were impressed, the other four are Continental property, the horses belonging to the whole are so emaciated as to be Scarce able to dragg the empty waggons Immediately after the arrival of these Waggons, I made application to the D.Q.M.G. at this place for four Waggons two days after he informed me that he had waited on the Honble the Supreme Executive council of this state & that no Waggons cou’d be had, Yesterday I wrote him a note the Copy of which this answer I do myself the honor to transmit Your Excelly as well to Exculpate myself from Blame on accot of the detention of those articles at this place as to inform Your Excy of the Waggon departmt in this County & to Know how I am to Conduct myself in future when the Service waggons shou’d any future exigency require an immediate supply1 I am sure they cannot be procured agreeable to the present mode of procuring them in time to answer the demand—Having heard that Your Excy had given directions to the Clothier General to procure some Blue & Buff Cloth2—have packed up 20 yds of each of these Articles together with All the Gilt Buttons that came wth those Goods in Case directed for Your Excy I cou’d wish they were of a Better Quality; however I have compared the Cloth with several pieces deem’d of the best Quality; that sent your Excy certainly has the preferance, that the Almighty may give You health to wear out this & many more pieces of Cloth is the Sincere prayer Of Your Excellys Obedt Humble Servt

Geo: Gibson

The Waggons that carry the Goods have been procured from some Forage Waggons kept here for supplying the Continentl horses at this Place.

ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 7 Mar., PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790. The extract includes the first two-thirds of the letter, ending after “time to answer the demand.”

1Gibson’s letter of 1 Mar. to Col. George Ross, Jr., the deputy quartermaster general at Lancaster, reads: “Four waggons with covers are wanted immediatly for the purpose of conveying some clothing to head Quarters for the use of the Army, as I have receiv’d orders from the Honorable the Board of Warr to send on these Articles immediatly to Camp I must request You will put it in my Power to comply with their orders by procuring the above carriages without Delay” (PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790; see also Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:319). Ross replied on 2 Mar. “that it is out of my Power to furnish them until I can send off an Express to the W. Master General of this County, who lives about 15 miles from this. A similar Application happened last Wednesday by a Lieut. Gamble for 5 teams for the same purpose. I did not know where to apply, the W. Master of this district being gone with some teams to Camp. I however Determined to wait on the President & Council to know what was to be done, they told me they knew of no other method than by sending off an Express to the W. Master of the County, which I immediately did, he came down, and to my great surprise told me they could not be had—that he had rece’d orders for a certain quota, and that he had been making them up & Could procure no more without further orders—for which he apply’d to Council & then was told they could give him no further assistance in the W. Department, but that the Assembly perhaps might see the Inconvenience & remedy the law; that they had gone as far as authorized by the Law, in appointing him a W Master for this County. . . . Then in this hopefull situation the W. Department is. . . . Indeed the prospect of sending the quota of teams from this County is very discouraging, several Brigades which were not to be less than 12, to my certain knowledge, are gone to camp with but 7, & further, the W. Master of this District told me that he could not get a Constable to execute a Warrant for bringing in some teams which had been warn’d & refus’d to attend.

“In short, I am afraid if the Army depends on the present mode of procuring teams they will be disappointed, for over & above the quota to be raised I am called upon every day for more or less teams, & shall be obliged on every application, as I am on yours, to send off an Express to the W. Master, which will delay the team or teams at least 3 days” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:324–25). Ross was probably George Ross (1752–1832), son of former congressman George Ross (1730–1779).

2No such directions to James Mease have been identified.

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