George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Royal Flint, 3 January 1780

From Royal Flint

Morris Town Jany 3. 1780


I have frequently, within these few days acquainted Colo. Hamilton with my prospects of supplies.1 And though I had good authority for all I communicated, yet I now find the event does not precisely agree with what I foretold. As soon as I was informed that there would be a failure of Beef cattle from the eastward, I used the most probable methods of procuring a supply in this state, and I had reason to suppose a sufficiency could be collected to serve the army several weeks. Proper persons were employed to explore every part of the state: they reported at first rather indefinitely; but as soon as it was known they could expect no immediate sums of money, their resources drew to a point and they informed me with exactness what they were able to afford. Upon a calculation, it appeared their succour would carry us nearly to the middle of the present month. They gave me assurance of sending on the supplies they had immediately and from the distance, I had reason to expect considerable before this time. But it does not yet come, and the army are almost perishing for want. It distresses me exceedingly that I am obliged to make this report; but I must mention facts.

My expectations are as follows.

From Mr Hoops2 in Sussex in salt meat 400
From       Pitstown  50
From the Counties of Middlesex & Somerset — 250
At the North river are Cattle 200
In the County of Orange 150
In sussex at least  20
In care of Mr Dunham3 say  50

Our distresses are known to the several persons who have charge of the foregoing provisions, and I am persuaded they will leave nothing undone to forward them. I have no absolute dependance on any further supplies of meat than are mentioned above. The purchasers here say they could buy cattle if they had money; of which I can neither give nor promise them any, as there is not the least prospect that any adequate sums of money will be furnished the department and our credit is totally exhausted. With respect to bread, I can only say that there is grain, in a great number of mills in this state which is getting ready as fast as possible and will not be delayed unnecessarily. There is no more bread at present in camp than will serve the troops tomorrow. I fear the storm will keep the waggons from moving as well as the cattle from travailing.4 I am with great respect your Excellencys most obt hbl. Sevt

Royal Flint A.C.g.⟨p.⟩

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to Samuel Huntington, 5 Jan., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, Ct: Trumbull Papers; copy, CtHi: Jeremiah Wadsworth Papers; copy, DeHi; copy (fragment), N-Ar: George Clinton Papers; copy, PHarH-Ar: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments (RG 27).

On 12 Jan., Congress sent copies of this letter to the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania (see 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 14:337).

1On 23 Dec. 1779, GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton had written to Flint: “By a return of provisions on hand it appears there is only two day’s meat. The General’s anxiety induces him to inquire again into your prospects; and to request you will inform him with precision what present supply you can depend upon” (Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 2:232). In response, Flint wrote two letters to Hamilton on the same day. In the first, he reported an ample supply of beef cattle in Connecticut. In the second, he stated that this report was too optimistic, but that he hoped to obtain “fat cattle sufficient for our subsistence several weeks” (Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 2:233).

2Robert Hoops was a deputy quartermaster general.

3Azariah Dunham was superintendent of purchases for New Jersey.

4On 5 Jan., GW reported to Samuel Huntington that forty of the cattle had made it to camp at Morristown.

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