George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Stephen Moylan, 29 April 1778

To Colonel Stephen Moylan

Head Quarters Valley Forge 29th April 1778

Dear Sir

I recd yours of the 21st instant.1 I am as much at a loss as you can possibly be how to procure Arms for the Cavalry; there are 107 Carbines in Camp, but no Swords or pistols of any consequence. Genl Knox informs me, that the 1100 Carbines, which came in to the Eastward, and were said to be fit for Horsemen, were only a lighter kind of Musket. I beleive Colo. Baylor and Bland have procured Swords from Hunters manufactory in Virginia,2 but I do not think it will be possible to get a sufficient number of pistols, except they are imported on purpose: I long ago urged to Congress the necessity of importing a large quantity of Horse accoutrements from France, but whether the order was ever given, or whether they have miscarried in the passage I do not know.3

I suppose the Horses purchased by Governor Livingston’s order in Jersey will be immediately delivered to the different Regiments.4 Colo. Baylor and Bland will send on those purchased in Virginia without loss of time,5 and I am informed that a number are purchased and purchasing in this State.6 Necessity will oblige us to bring them into the feild very raw, as I look upon it too late to think of engaging the Connecticut Militia Horse, neither do I think the number you mention could be procured.

If the Enemy wait for Reinforcements, it will probably be a considerable time before the Campaign grows active and fatiguing, and if the Officers are attentive, great progress may be made in training while the duty is easy. I am Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt for his Excellency the Commander in Chief.

Tench Tilghman

L, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC: Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, Philip Landsdale; ADf, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Although Tilghman signed this letter on GW’s behalf, the content indicates that it is from GW, and the Varick transcript has GW’s name in the signature position. Moylan replied to GW on 5 May.

1This letter has not been found.

2James Hunter, Sr. (d. 1785), operated Hunter’s Iron Works at the falls of the Rappahannock River above Falmouth and also manufactured muskets for the state of Virginia in a smaller operation at Fredericksburg. In February 1777 the Virginia council had asked Hunter “to fabricate so many Arms requisite for Cavalry as may be sufficient to arm a Regiment compleat” (Va. State Council Journals description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends , 1:332).

4For discussion of the purchase of horses in New Jersey, see William Livingston to GW, 15 April, and note 3 to that document. The New-Jersey Gazette (Trenton) of 23 April printed Livingston’s directive that the purchasers should send the horses “as soon as purchased . . . to Capt. Harrison, at Pennington; to Col. Shelden, at Chatham; to Major Clough, at Trenton; or to Lieut. Col. White, at Brunswick, or the commanding officers at those places.”

6On 28 Feb. the Continental Congress camp committee had written Pennsylvania supreme executive council President Thomas Wharton, Jr., requesting that the state purchase horses for the use of the Continental dragoons. For reports to Wharton from some of the men purchasing horses under state authority, see Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:396, 415, 443, 448 (see also Adam Reigart to John Hambright, 5 July 1778, ibid., 626; and Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 6:447, 489).

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