George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 12 September 1778

From Henry Laurens

[Philadelphia] 12th Septr [1778]


This will be accompanied by a Letter of the 9th, since which I have had the honor of presenting to Congress Your Excellency’s favor of the 7th which the house were pleased to commit to the Board of War.1

My present duty is to transmit to Your Excellency the undermentioned Acts of Congress which will be found within the present inclosure.

1. An Act of the 11 th Septr for removing if necessary the Troops of the Convention of Saratoga—for obtaining Passports for American Vessels to transport Provision and fuel for the said troops—for establishing Magazines of Provision [in] the Eastern States—for removing the Cavalry now with the Main Army if their service can be dispensed with, to places where they can be best subsisted, and for reducing the number of Horses kept by Officers in the Army.2

2. Duplicate of the Act of the 13th of January last refer’d to in the Act above mention’d.3 I have the honor to be &c.

P.S. since writing the above I have been directed to transmit an Act of Congress of the 4th Inst. Resolving that no Ratification of the Convention of Saratoga not equivalent to the terms prescribed in the Act of the 8 January last can be accepted which Act will be found inclosed with this & Your Excellency is requested to transmit it to the British Commissioners at New York4—And this Instant the Secretary has brot me an Act of the present date for regulating the purchase of forage & other purposes therein mentioned which will be also inclosed.5

By an unanimous ballot in Congress on the 10th Inst. General John Cadwalader was appointed Brigadr & Commr of the Cavalry in the service of the United States & on the 9th a Brevet to rank Lieutt Colo. granted to Maj. Lewis Morris.6

LB, DNA:PCC, item 13. A note on the letter book indicates that this letter was carried “by Dodd.”

1Laurens was probably referring to his letter to GW of 10 September. No letter of 9 Sept. has been found. GW’s letter to Laurens of 7 Sept. was read in Congress on 10 Sept (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 12:896).

2For this act, see ibid., 12:901–3; the enclosed copy has not been identified.

3The resolution of 13 Jan. 1778 directed GW to require Gen. William Howe to provide “proper passports for vessels to transport salted meat, flour, and fuel to Boston, necessary for the subsistence of Lieutenant General Burgoyne’s army” and to inform Howe that if Howe refused, “these states … shall think themselves at liberty to remove or separate the said army” (ibid., 10:45).

4For the act of 4 Sept., see ibid., 12:880. The act of 11 Sept. directed that certified copies of the resolutions of 4 and 11 Sept. and 13 Jan. be sent to Gen. Henry Clinton. For the act of 8 Jan., see ibid., 10:35.

5In the act of 12 Sept., Congress resolved “That the quarter master general be directed to order the commissary of forage to give immediate directions to his deputies and assistants not to purchase any wheat for forage, except in the vicinity of camp, unless in cases of absolute necessity”; that the commissary general of purchases should give orders to his assistants “forthwith to deliver to the commissary of forage, and his deputies, the bad wheat and offals of wheat, which they at present have, or hereafter may have,” and order the purchasers “not to purchase, in future damaged wheat”; and “That the quarter master general be directed to consult with the Commander in Chief, whether a reduction of the stationary teams cannot be made … or whether ox-teams cannot…be substituted in a great measure for horse-teams,” and to execute those changes if GW so advised (ibid., 12:906–7).

6For these acts, see ibid., 12 :897 and 894.

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