George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 28 October 1778

From Major General Horatio Gates

Hartford 28th October 1778.


I am just now honour’d with the receipt of Your Excellency’s Letter of Yesterday’s date. The Orders respecting the Cloathing of these three Brigades, shall, as far as in my power, be complied with; I have this morning written to Major Measam, and inclosed Your Excellency’s Letter to him, upon that Subject.1 A great Quantity of Flour has passed through this Town, this Summer, in it’s way to Boston, & the Eastern States, upon private Account. This morning a Team with [ ] Barrels, was, by my Order, stopped at the Ferry; for, we have not one handfull in the public Stores. Colonel Hubbard the Deputy Quarter Master General for this Town, writes by this conveyance to General Greene upon the Subject. The Colonel says, he can procure any number of Teams to go from hence to Fish-Kills, if Loads can be furnish’d them there, or at the Fish-Kill landing.2 I desire Your Excellency’s Orders for my continuing to detain the Flour, passing to the Eastward, upon private Account: I hear there is a very considerable Quantity of it, now upon the Road; but I shall not presume to act decisively without Authority: And the object is so important that I think myself justifiable for what I have ’till now done.3 I have no Intelligence of the Enemy’s motions since I last wrote to Your Excellency, & inclosed Major Gray’s Letter;4 in the packet is a New York News paper of the 20th Instant, sent me by Governor Trumbull; the paragraph most worthy our remark, is, that I have noticed with my pen;5 The Eldest Captains of the Fleet are, with the Transport Agents, gone passengers in Transports to England; and many others, whom I think would remain, if all hopes of an Offensive War were not abandoned. I am Sir Your Excellencys most Obedt Servant

Horatio Gates

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, NHi: Gates Papers. For GW’s efforts to provide the needed flour, see his reply to Gates of 1 Nov. (NHi: Gates Papers).

1See GW to George Measam, 27 October. Gates’s letter to Measam of this date has not been identified, but Measam replied to Gates on this date from Springfield, Mass., “I will be with you tomorrow night, God willing” (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ; see also Measam to GW, 30 Oct.).

2Nehemiah Hubbard (1752–1837), a merchant of Middletown, Conn., who had been appointed paymaster of Col. Charles Burrall’s Connecticut regiment in July 1776, had become the Continental deputy quartermaster for Connecticut in May 1778, and he served in that capacity until the fall of 1780. Although Hubbard’s letter to Nathanael Greene has not been found, it apparently was the one that Greene quoted in his letter to Royal Flint of 3 Nov.: “In a Letter just receivd from Mr Nehemiah Hubbart DQMG at Hartford, is the following paragraph.

“NB. ‘General Gates desires me to inform you that we have no Flour at this Post but what is taken from private people.’

“Hubbart then goes on and says I can furnish any Number of Teams to transport it to this place if I was directed where to send them” (Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:34–35).

3GW responded to this request for orders in his letter to Gates of 1 Nov. (NHi: Gates Papers).

4See Ebenezer Gray to Gates, 24 Oct., in Gates to GW, 25 Oct. (second letter), n.2. Although Gray’s promotion to lieutenant colonel of the 6th Connecticut Regiment was dated 15 Oct. 1778, both GW and Horatio Gates continued for some weeks to refer to him by his former rank.

5The newspaper was the Royal American Gazette (New York) for 20 Oct., which has not been found.

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