George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 25 May 1779

From Major General Nathanael Greene

Camp [Middlebrook] May 25th 1779


In consequence of what your Excellency said to me yesterday morning I had given orders for distributeing the Camp Equipage before the receipt of yours to day. The business is now executing as fast as possible.

I dispached the orders to Col. Cox for ordering in the Teams Saturday Evening past.1 I have now repeated the orders, to hasten them in as soon as possible: with such additional Stores as may be necessary to equip both Officers and Soldiers for opening the Campaign. I have not been very urgent to bring forward the Stores as we have not been in a condition to move.

I have also sent copies of your Excellency’s orders respecting the preservation of public Stores to Fenny, Hollingsworth & Wade who seem to be exposd to Naval invations.2 I wrote to General McDougal yesterday respecting my apprehensions of a predetory war; and of the necessity of haveing the public Stores seasonably removd from places exposd; as it was imposible to replace them should they be lost. I shall write to Col. Hay upon the same subject this afternoon.

The following is a paragraph extracted for Mr Mitchels letter of the 23d which induces me to believe the Military Stores are gone forward.

“I find great difficulty in geting Carters tho I keep men constantly out to enlist all they can. Am obligd to make use of some brigades of Continental Teams to convey stores from the Commisary of military Stores & to Estherton & Easton, but hope it will not be above one trip I do not wish to impress Waggons if possible to avoid it.”3

I have wrote Mr Mitchel—advertizeing him of the complaint from the Board of War & others; and directed him to call out as many Waggons at once as may be necessary to forward all the Stores designd for the Western expedition. But I am in great hopes from the pressing Letters I have wrote him on this subject four or five days past, that the whole are gone forward. For fear there should not be due attention paid to the business I have also wrote to Mr Pettit to give Mr Mitchel such aid and advice as might be found necessary to facilitate the removal of the Stores.

I shall wait upon your Excellency either this Evening or tomorrow Morning with a plan for propotioning the Stores. Particularly with respect to Markees & Horsemans tents. A General Order will be found necessary to prohibit the Officers from having a greater propotion even if they find them themselves as it will swell our baggage too much.4

I have wrote to Mr Pettit to make the necessary enquiry respecting the number and condition of the flatbottom’d Boats upon the Delaware and Schuylkill. In my letter I wrote to him to make the enquiry in such away as not to set the spirit of curiosity in motion. I expect his answer hourly.5 I am with great respect Your Excellencys most Obedient humble Sert

N. Greene Q.M.G.


1The previous Saturday was 22 May.

2See GW to Greene, this date. Deputy quartermasters William Finnie, Henry Hollingsworth, and Francis Wade maintained stores along the Chesapeake Bay that seemed particularly vulnerable at this time because of the British raid on Portsmouth, Va., and its vicinity; see William Maxwell to GW, 3 May, n.2.

3For the full text of John Mitchell’s letter to Greene, see 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 , 4:65–67.

5Charles Pettit’s reply to Greene of 23 May, in which he enclosed a list of boats being repaired in and around Philadelphia, is in PPAmP; see also 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 , 4:71–72.

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