George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 25 June 1779

From Major General John Sullivan

Wyoming [Pa.] June 25th 1779

Dr Genl

I arrived here on the 23d1 & find the stores not yet arrived they are now thirty miles down the river I was unhappy enough to find on my arrival that scarcely a Barrel of the salted meat can be eaten and that more than two third’s of the Bread is so mouldy that it is impossible to eat it—I have ordered the meat to be smoaked which I hope will save it but I know not what we shall do for want of Bread—I have wrote to Mr Blaine—Col. Cox2 & to the Board of War.3 but fear it will be the means of the most injurious delay. I also find that the troops will fall f[a]r short of what was intended.4 I dont think I shall have a single man from Pennsylvania. the broken Corps have fallen far short of what they were estimated at Middle Brook & great part of the men in the German Battalion will leave us by middle of next month as their times will then expire so that I have every possible disappointment & difficulty to grapple with I will endeavour to surmount the whole but I cannot look upon myself answerable for Consequences which are but too likely to follow an inattention to this department. I have the Honor &c.

Jno. Sullivan

L, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, enclosed in GW to John Jay, 15 Aug. 1779, DNA:PCC, item 166; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1The New York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury for 5 July printed an extract from a letter of a field officer at Wyoming, dated 24 June: “We arrived here yesterday about noon, the sixth day of our march from Easton, the distance 65 miles, the greatest part of which is through the most horrid swampy wilderness and barron mountainous desert that ever I saw. From here to the distance of about 35 miles towards Easton, a road was cut through this spring by a party of Continental troops, with incredible labour and fatigue, and notwithstanding the road is very rough and exceeding bad for carriages, we met with but few accidents on the march. . . .

“Our troops are healthy and well supplied, the greatest part of the stores and provisions comes up the Susquehannah in boats. Our army is large, and good soldiers, . . .

“We transport our stores, provision and baggage to Tyoga by water, the troops marching on both sides of the river to protect the boats from the savages—a few Indian scouts has been in dogging us in our march hither. . . . I expect it will be a fortnight before we set out from here, being detained till our stores and some troops came up. The distressed widows and orphan children at this place are real objects of pity and charity, some of them being quite naked and destitute having subsisted entirely on the charity of the troops for some time past.” For details of the march from Easton, Pa., to Wyoming, see the journal entries for 18–23 June of Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, Surgeon Ebenezer Elmer, Capt. Daniel Livermore, Maj. James Norris, Sgt. Thomas Roberts, and Rev. William Rogers, in Sullivan Expedition Journals, description begins Frederick Cook, ed., and George S. Conover, comp. Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 With Records of Centennial Celebrations. Auburn, N.Y., 1887. description ends 63, 80–81, 180–81, 223–24, 241, 247–48.

2Cornelius Cox (d. 1803) served in the Northumberland County, Pa., militia in 1776 and 1777 before becoming a deputy quartermaster general. In 1779, he was responsible for boat transportation on the Susquehanna River connected with Sullivan’s expedition against the Six Nations. His brother, John Cox, Jr., had been appointed assistant quartermaster general to Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene in spring 1778.

3These letters from Sullivan to Ephraim Blaine, deputy commissary of purchases; to Cornelius Cox; and to the Board of War have not been identified.

4See GW to Sullivan, 21 June, and n.6 to that document.

Index Entries