From John Chaloner
Commissaries Office Camp [Valley Forge]
March 21st 1778
May it please your Excellency
I take the liberty of informing you that there is large quantities of Flour, Salt Provisions and other Stores at the Head of Elk and Middletown in the State of Maryland, and daily expectations of more arriving there—that by the Laws of that State for procuring Waggons for the Army their Service is confined to the removal of the baggage of marching Troops as your Excellency will more fully see by the inclosed Letter;1 by which means the Transportation of the Provision to the Army is greatly impeded, and cannot be brought on for the consumption of the Troops.
As many Inconveniencies to the Army may arise from the Stores not being timely removed; I have thought it my duty in the absence of Ephraim Blaine Esqr. D. C. Gl of Purchases to give your Excelly this Information; to prevent any blame that might hereafter arise to the Commissaries department from being Silent. I have the honour to be Your Excellencys Most Obedient servant
John Chaloner A. Comssy of Pur.
LS, MdAA; LB, Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection. GW enclosed this letter with his letter of this date to Maryland governor Thomas Johnson.
1. Chaloner is referring to the Maryland “Act to expedite the March of Troops in and through this State,” passed in 1777, which set conditions for hiring or, if necessary, impressing “Carriages and Boats for expediting the March of . . . Troops with their Baggage and military Stores” (Md Laws, 1777 sess., chap. IV). The enclosure was a letter from Lt. Col. William Henry of the Kent County, Md., militia to Deputy Commissary John Ladd Howell, dated 14 Mar., in which Henry reported that he was unable to obtain one hundred wagons as requested because “the Act of Assembly made for Pressing teams only impowers the Justice to Issue his warrant to the Constable; desiring him to procure Waggons to carry the Baggage of any Troops marching through his county & that they shall not be taken more than sixty Miles from home.” Henry added, “The Act does not empower me to press Waggons for the removal of Continental stores” (MdAA). On 24 Mar., Chaloner wrote to Howell that he had “waited on” GW with Henry’s letter and “solicited him to write Governor Johnston on the Subject which he has complied with,” and he asked Howell and Dep. Q.M. Gen. Henry Hollingsworth to present GW’s letter to the Maryland governor (Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection).