George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 29 November 1778

From Major General John Sullivan

Providence [R.I.] Novemr 29th 1778

My Dear General

The Inclosed Letter of General Stark with the Certificate of Mr Southwick (Issuing Commissary in this Department) will Shew your Excellencey how Little faith is to be placed in the promises of Commissaries; They Lead us along by promises from Day to Day till our Stores are Compleatly Exhausted & then Leave us to provide for ourselves or Starve.1

If their Impudence as well as Indolence did not Baffle all Description They would (to Save their own Credit) have paid Some attention to this post After they had made Such Extravagant promises to your Excellencey & to myself and after they had Endeavored to perswade your Excellencey that my Employing persons to Supply the post was unnecessary. but the facts being Established your Excellencey can make your own Comments. The Flour is out at Every post and Considerable Arrears due to the men I can hear of none Coming nor is there the Least prospect of Supply I will if possible Endeavor to Borrow Enough to keep the Troops alive till I Can hear from your Excellencey though I much Doubt whether it will be in my power—your Excey will please to give me Such Directions as you may think proper which Shall be Strictly Complied with by Dear General your Excellenceys most obedt and very Humble Servant

Jno. Sullivan M.G.

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, CtHi: Jeremiah Wadsworth Papers; ADf, dated 27 Nov., NhHi; copy, dated 27 Nov., MHi: John Sullivan Papers.

1The enclosed letter from Brig. Gen. John Stark to Sullivan, dated 28 Nov. at Providence, R.I., reads: “I am Informed by the Comsy at North Kingstown & Likewise by the Comsy at this place That they have no Flower, nor none as they know of on the Road, should be glad You would give orders that we may be Supplyed, & that some Stock may be Layed in, as I am Informed that it will be Difficult Passing in a Few days. . . . N.B. I am Informed by Colo. Green that here is a number of Continental Horses that are Very Poor & of Little or no Value he thinks it would [be] well Enough to send them to Prudence Island where they may be Kept at no Expence to the Continent & should the Enemy get them they are of no Value” (DLC:GW).

Sullivan also enclosed a letter to him from deputy commissary general Solomon Southwick, written on this date at Providence: “I hereby certify, that many Times since the first of last April, this Department of the Army has been in such Want of Flour, that there has been the greatest Danger of being totally out at almost every Post; and at this Time, by all Accounts from the different Posts there is not Bread and Flour enough to supply a full Allowance for this Day; and at the same Time the Troops, at some Posts, have one, & others Two Days Allowance due to them. I further certify that tho’ I have taken the utmost Pains, to keep the Troops supplied with Flour, by calling on the Purchasing Commissaries, I have not been able to do it; and now know of no Flour on the Road for this or any other Post, except there may be some going from Bedford to Howland’s Ferry, a small Quantity having just arrived there from Philadelphia, which I have sent Orders to have procured for supplying the Post at said Ferry, but am not yet sure it can be had for that Purpose” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries