George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 8 March 1778

From George Clinton

Poughkeepsie [N.Y.] 8th March 1778.

Dear Sir

I wrote your Excellency the 5th Instant informing you of the little Success I had in procuring a present Supply of Provision for the Army under your immediate Command—I am now happy in being able to tell you that since that Time I have had collected at the different Posts in West-Chester County so much more as will make in the whole 400 Barrels Pork which are all on the Way towards Head Quarters—I expect the last of it will pass the River at King’s Ferry and NewBurgh Tomorrow1—I begg Leave to suggest to your Excellency the Propriety of sending faithful active Officers to the different Posts on the Rout to forward it on Genl Parsons is furnished with Ample Authority to cause an Impress of Teems and Carriages to be made in this State for the Purpose and I am perswaded he has & will continue to exert himself on the Occassion.2

I have taken the Liberty to inclose a Letter I have wrote to Congress inclosing a Copy of one to the State of Connecticut which as they treat of Military Matters I have left open for your Excellency’s perusal—If they contain any Thing inconsistent with the good of the Service at large your Excellency will be able to point out to Congress wherein I have erred so as to prevent any Mischief they might occassion3—I am with the most perfect Esteem & Regard your Excellencys Most Obedt Servt

Geo: Clinton


1Newburgh, N.Y., where GW kept headquarters in 1782 and 1783, lay on the west side of the Hudson River about nine miles north of West Point.

2Shortly after GW received this letter, his aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote Assistant Commissary General John Chaloner a letter “informing that General Clinton has forwarded a Large quantity of pork, for the use of the Army in the Middle Department & that it is his Excellencys desire the same be removed into the province.” Tilghman’s letter led Chaloner to request “the Assistance of a press warrant for the teams;” and Chaloner noted that “Mr Azariah Dunham will receive the pork at Morristown & deliver it to the Carters when called for” (Chaloner to unknown, 19 Mar., Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection; see also Chaloner to Dunham, 20 Mar., Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection).

3Clinton’s letter to Henry Laurens of 7 Mar. has not been found. The other enclosure was a copy of Clinton’s letter to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., of 6 Mar., which reads in part: “I enclose you Copies of certain Resolves of Congress relative to the Defence of Hudson’s River, by Several Letters from them on that Subject they appear to consider it as an object of the last Importance. . . . I must therefore request your Excellency to raise in your State what you shall conceive your Quota of three Thousand Men which are absolutely necessary for the Security of the passes of the River in Case of an early attempt of the Enemy to Gain possession of them. We for our part will raise 700 Men which I am Satisfied you will think our full proportion of that Number considering our exhausted and Mutilated State. . . .

“I flatter myself that the Number you may think it prudent to raise will be at the posts by the Middle of April at farthest.

“I would beg leave to Suggest to your Excellency the propriety of having a part of your Westermost Militia equiped and ready to March at the first Notice, under the Command of your best officers. no Measure necessary for the Security of these Important posts will I hope be neglected by either of the States Interested in their preservation—your Excellency will be pleased to advise the State of Massachusetts of the Number of Men your State proposes to raise that they may govern themselves Accordingly and I will be most obliged to you for the like information by the earliest opportunity—If among the Number to be raised in your State there might be a Company or two of (armed) Artificers especially Carpenters they would be of Singular use” (DNA:PCC, item 152; see also Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 2:872–73). GW forwarded the enclosures with his first letter to Henry Laurens of 16 March.

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