George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Richard Peters, 2 April 1779

To Richard Peters

Head Quarters Middle Brook 2d April 1779.

Sir

I have been honored with yours of the 27th March.1 Upon consulting General Knox it is our opinion that the contract with Mr Hughes for the thirty Eighteen pounders should be renewed, as the Cannon are absolutely necessary, and it does not appear that they can be procured from any Work so soon as from his—nor I suppose upon cheaper terms. Should a Contract be made between the public and the owners of Salisbury Furnace, it will be a considerable time before any thing can be expected from thence, as the Works are in every respect intirely out of repair—Except the Board have any particular use for the twenty twelve pounders, I think they may be dispensed with, as they are too heavy for the Feild, and too light for Garrison Guns.2

Be pleased to direct the 18 pounders to be sent down, as they are finished; that some of them may be got up to the Highland posts, where they are exceedingly wanted, as speedily as possible.3

Should the arrangements of any of the Regiments of Artillery be made out, be pleased to transmit them, that I may endeavour to have them compleated—The Officers of Colo. Cranes and Colo. Lambs Battalions are particularly anxious for their Commissions, as by some regulations of the Eastern States such of them as belong to them are to draw supplies in proportion to the Rank they hold. I have the honor to be &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Tilghman indicated Peters as the addressee on the docket of the draft manuscript. For the reply to this letter, see the Board of War to GW, 9 April (DLC:GW).

1This letter has not been found.

2Samuel Hughes (born c.1741) and his brother Daniel Hughes operated ironworks in Maryland, notably near Antietam Creek in Washington County. The brothers had signed a contract with Congress in July 1776 to supply 1,000 tons of cannon, which Congress had modified in 1778 (see Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 12:40; 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 , 5:593, 599, 835, 10:306–8, 12:967; and Samuel Hughes to Samuel Purviance, Jr., 22 July 1776, in Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964–. description ends , 5:1182; see also Samuel and Daniel Hughes to Robert Treat Paine, 19 Aug. 1776, in Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964–. description ends , 6:236, and Paine to Samuel and Daniel Hughes, 24 Aug., 1 Oct., 20 Nov., and 7 Dec. 1776, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:57–58, 283, 524, 588–89). For subsequent negotiations over cannon between the Board of War and the Hughes brothers, see Board of War to GW, 9 April 1779, DLC:GW; see also GW to Alexander McDougall, 19 April, CSmH. For production and financial problems at the Salisbury furnace in Connecticut, 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 , 13:405–7.

3Maryland delegates George Plater, John Henry, Jr., William Paca, and Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer wrote Maryland governor Thomas Johnson on 11 May from Philadelphia that “General Washington at this time stands in need of heavy Cannon, for the further Defence of the North River, and the Necessity of being immediately supplied with at least five pieces, has induced Congress to apply to our State, for such Cannon as can be spared either on Loan or purchase, at the Election of the General Assembly. Under the circumstances of this case, and knowing the Necessity, we cannot suppose the General Assembly (if you have not power already) can have any objections against granting the request of Congress. If you should lend the Cannon, Mr. Hughes who has now contracted with Congress for a considerable Number, will be directed to send to Annapolis or such place as you may direct, the like number and weight of metal, with those that shall be lent by the state” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:460–62; see also 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 , 14:541, and Jenifer to Johnson, 9 May, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:443–44).

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