George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 31 May 1779

From Major General John Sullivan

Easton [Pa.] May 31st 1779

Dear General

I Last Evening returned from the Great Swamp for which place I Set off the Day before I found the Road Cleared to within twenty three miles of wyoming & through all the Difficult parts of the Swamp Colo. Cilleys Regt has Joined Courtlandts & Spensers to assist in Clearing the Road. I find that those persons who pretended to know the Country misrepresented matters Exceedingly The Indian Path was no kind of advantage nor does the Road now Cut follow it half a mile in the whole way the Road is new Cut the whole Distance & through a Country the most Difficult I Ever Saw—it is not possible for a Country to be Thicker with wood among which the Laurels are So thick that a man cannot get through them but on his hands & Knees The number of Sloughs & Creeks are almost Incredible nothwithstanding all these Difficulties Cols. Courtland & Spenser have So Exerted themselves as to have a Road very passable for a Coach. They & their men have great merit for their Industry what now remains is nothing Compared with what they have done. on my Return I was Honored with your Excellenceys favor of the 28 with its Inclosures Copies of which I immediately forwarded to General Hand Lt Colo. Smith will Join him tomorrow by 12 of Clock with 200 men ogdens Regt moves for wyoming tomorrow Leaving their Baggage to Come on with the Army the Road will be ready for the Army in five Days If your Excellencey has any further orders or Instructions I shall be happy to receive them. I have the Honor to Inclose your Excellencey Copy of a Letter from Colo. Blain1 that you may See our prospects on the Susqehannah & wish your Excelly to advise me when you think proper for us to move on I think the Detachments Sent on will be Sufficient to Secure wyoming against any attack & to afford Sufficient Guards for the Stores Especially as three Regiments are So near & Constantly moving nearer to the Garrison I have wrote in the most pressing terms to the President & Councils of Pensylvania to Send on their ranging Companies to Guard the Stores on the Susquehannah & if they are not ready to order out Some militia for the purpose as the Sending troops from hence would be attended with great Delay & the Fatigue to the Troops would be highly Injurious.2 I have Ever feared more Delay from the Susquehannah than from this Quarter for Difficult as the Country is the road would have been Compleated to wyoming before this Day if the weather had not been So unfavourable we have been oblidged to Bridge the Talehannah3 & Several other Creeks not Laid Down in any of our maps but as the Country is without any Hills it will be an Exellent road when Compleated—I Shall in Consequence of your Excellenceys Instructions be as favorable as possible in my Demands for Supplies in future—I have the Honor to be with the most profound Respect Dr General yr Excellys most obedt Servant

Jno. Sullivan

ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 166; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169.

1The enclosed copy of a letter from Ephraim Blaine to Sullivan, dated 24 May at Carlisle, Pa., reads: “I have the pleasure of informing you that I have found the Magazines at Middleton and Harris’s ferry, well furnish’d with flour, salt, provisions and Whisky, nothing delays their immediate transportation to Wyoming but want of boats—the river flush of water and in most excellent order for boating—a great misfortune that the boats are not ready & properly equipp’d with men &c.—(were they) should be able to forward to Wyoming a very large quantity of provisions; there are fifty five boats finish’d & Captains are recruiting men to man them. Col: Cox hopes to have them ready, in a few days. I shall be able to forward you, three thousand barrels & seven hundred kegs of flour, fifteen hundred barrels of salt provisions, sound & in good order fifteen thousand gallons of rum & whiskey, also one thousand cattle will be on their way to Wyoming by the 30th Instant, four hundred of which to go from Middleton; please to order a prudent officer, with about thirty men as a guard to convey them up—Here all the Military, Commissary & Quarter Masters stores, & not a single man to guard them, one or two disaffected persons, might in one night destroy the whole, & many such are suspected, being about the river, if you approve would wish a strong guard, order’d up to Harris’s & Middleton, have order’d properly pack’d into barrels, one hundred gammons, six rounds of beef, three hundred & forty dried tongues, there were a few sent to Genl Hand the other day, which will ease your store, have given great charge to Col: Cox, to put them under the care of some superintendant of the boats who will take care & keep them from wet, will not leave Middleton until ev’ry matter which respects my department is in a proper chain to forward the provisions—shall write you from Philadelphia by the first express—be assur’d evr’y thing in my power will be executed to make your ensuing campaign agreable, & the troops under your command happy, by being well supplied with provisions—the residue of the stores which you order’d, shall be fully complied with upon my return to Philadelphia” (DLC:GW).

2For Sullivan’s letter of this date to Joseph Reed, see Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 7:450–51.

3Sullivan apparently is referring to Tobyhanna Creek, in what is now Monroe County, Pa., which flows through the Great Swamp into the west branch of the Delaware River.

Index Entries