To William Livingston
Head Quarters Middle Brook  June 1779
General Greene has informed me that he addressed your Excellency some time since upon the subject of Waggons,1 and suggested that it would be necessary, owing to the difficulties of procuring them in the ordinary way, for the Legislature to authorise Col. M. Foreman to impress them in cases of exigency. I would take the liberty to add, that it appears to me indispensibly necessary for the several Legislatures to give their earliest attention to this subject—and to adopt measures, from which supplies of Waggons may be derived in times of emergency and if this is not done, there is every reason to apprehend that the movements of the Army will be frequently impeded and sometimes found impracticable.2 We have already experienced great3 inconveniencies on this head and from the unhappy depreciation of our money, they will most probably increase. I most heartily recommend the subject to your Excellencies consideration and as you will readily perceive that the success and even security of an Army in a variety of cases may depend upon the rapidity with which it may be able to move, I am persuaded it will have every proper countenance and support on your part. The desultory kind of War, which the enemy seem determined to persue, is a further cogent reason4 for the Legislatures interposing with their authority in the case.5 I have the honor to be With sentiments of respect & regard Yr Excellency’s Mo. Obet Servt
LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, Nj-Ar; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LS is blank before “June” in the dateline, and the “2” is supplied from the docket of the draft manuscript.
1. This letter from Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene to Livingston has not been identified, but Greene mentioned it in a letter of this date to Moore Furman, deputy quartermaster general, which in part reads: “I have wrote to Governor Livingston to pass a temporary Law to enable you to call out as many Teams as the service may require. Bread, meat and forage is to come from Trenton. You may expect therefore a prodigious demand on you for Teams.
“I hope you will be prepard at all points as a failure may be productive of the most disagreeable consequences” (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 4:113–14; see also Furman to Greene, 9 June, in 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 4:135–36).
2. For GW’s later decision to impress wagons, see General Orders, 15 August. For his subsequent decisions to impress teams, see his letters to Greene of 15 Aug. (NjP: deCoppet Collection) and 24 Aug. (DLC:GW).
3. At this place on the draft, which was written by GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison, the word “infinite” appears initially. He then struck out that word and wrote “great” on the line to the right.
4. At this place on the draft, Harrison first wrote “motive.” He then struck out that word and wrote “cogent reason” on the next line.
5. Livingston presented this letter to the New Jersey General Assembly on 5 June with a message of that same date, which urged action “to facilitate & give all possible dispatch to our military operations upon the Success of which our future Liberty & happiness so eminently depend” (Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 3:105). After reading GW’s letter on “procuring Teams for the Use of the Army,” the general assembly resolved “that the Laws of the State are adequate to the Purposes therein mentioned” (N.J. Gen. Assembly Proc., April–June 1779, 2d sitting, 3d sess., 129; see also Livingston to GW, 8 June). For the New Jersey laws governing the procurement of carriages, teams, and drivers, see Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 2:230–31.