George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 7 October 1779

From George Clinton

Pokeepsie [N.Y., 7] Oct’r 1779.

D’r Sir,

Immediately on the Rec’t of your first Letter intimating that it might be necessary to reinforce your Excellency by a formidable Body of the State Militia,1 I recommended to the Legislature the enact’g such Laws as sho’d appear adequate to this Purpose as well as for draw’g forth new Supplies of Provision on this extraordinary occasion.2 Since which I have been favored with a Copy of the act of Congress of the 26 ult. on that Subject3 (a Duplicate of which you inclose me4) & have laid it before the Legislature, and as they discover the most chearful Disposition for promoting this Service I have not the least Doubt but they will adopt the most vigorous measures. Notwithstand’g the peculiar Situation of the State, I have not to complain of the Number of Men which your Excellency has required of us, and I flatter myself with the Hope that no Failure will take Place, for want of a prompt & full Compliance on our Part & it shall be my first Business to issue the necessary Orders and my greatest Care to see them carried into effectual Execution.5 I think it proper however to mention to your Excellency, that we will not be able to take the Field with Tents & Camp Kettles as what we have had of these articles has been long since expended or delivered over to the Continent and we have not had it in our Power to replace them. Exclusive of the Flour & Wheat which the Legislature have by Law enabled the Commissary to furnish the Army with it is proposed that the militia provide themselves with 40 Days Flour, as it is thought they may be able to draw this Supply from their own private Stock without interfering with such as the Commissary may be able to collect.

[G.C.]

L, printed in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 5:317–18. Hastings and Holden date this letter, 9 Oct., but, in his reply of 10 Oct., GW refers to the letter as being dated 7 October.

1See GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 27 Sept., a version of which GW also sent to Clinton. GW also had addressed this subject in his letter to Clinton of 4 October.

2On 5 Oct., Clinton laid before the New York legislature John Jay’s circular letter to the states of 26 Sept. calling for their aid in furnishing men and supplies to “the allied Armaments in America” (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 13:559). Clinton also presented extracts of GW’s letters to him of 27 Sept. and 1 Oct. (see N.Y. Assembly Proc., 9 Aug.–25 Oct. 1779 sess., 50; see also Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 5:307).

3See 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 15:1108.

5Clinton is referring to GW’s request that New York furnish 2,500 militia to support the army’s anticipated joint operations with the French fleet (see GW to George Clinton, 4 Oct., and Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October).

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