George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Champion, Sr., 26 May 1780

To Henry Champion, Sr.

Head Qrs [Morristown] May the 26th 1780

Dr Sir

We are in a situation of extremity for want of meat.1 The Troops on several days have been entirely destitute of Any—and for a considerable time past—they have been at best at half—at Quarter—at an Eighth allowance of this essential ⟨Arti⟩cle—This distress produced a mutiny last night in the Connecticut line.2 I entreat your best & every exertion to give us relief.3 I am Dr sir, with great regard Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS (photocopy), in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, CtLHi; Df, DLC:GW; copy, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date, Charles Stewart, commissary general of issues, wrote GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison: “On hand a sufficiency for to Morrow at half a pound of pork ⅌ man the like quantity Issued to day.

“200 Bbls sent from Philada 23d May & an express sent from Morris Town to meet and hurry it on to Camp this quantity is the Collection of the Merchts in philada.

“a Small drove of Cattle supposed fifty to set out the 24 Inst. from Philada.

“some Cattle wintered in sussex County sent for dont know the number, no return of them.

“Flour equal to fifteen days supply at the rate of ten thousand rations ⅌ day if baked into Bread.

“Champion’s Letter to His Excelly promised some Cattle have not heard whether they are stopped at N[orth] River or if they are nearer to Camp—Blaine promised a second and third drove none yet come nor any Letter since that by Mr [John] Mathews.

“I know of nothing else in my power to inform you of” (DLC:GW). Stewart is referring to Champion’s letter to GW of 6 May that promised several head of cattle from Connecticut. For salt provisions from Philadelphia and the supply of beef cattle, see Ephraim Blaine to GW, 21 May, and notes 3 and 4; see also Board of War to GW, 22 May, and n.2 to that document.

1A supply of pork and beef soon arrived at camp (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 27–28 May).

3Champion replied to GW from Colchester, Conn., on 2 June: “I received yours of 26. ulto yesterday, carefully noticed the contents. I have been and am anxiously concerned on account of the sufferings of the army & the consequences of the want of meat, have done every thing in my power, have a considerable number of fat cattle started and that will start in a few days, tho’ not half enough, have some ⟨illegible⟩ing hopes I shall be able to increase the supplies in the course of one or two weeks from this date in case no embarrassment of a public nature happens” (Sprague transcript, DLC:GW; see also Champion to GW, 5 June).

Azariah Dunham, superintendent of purchases for New Jersey, wrote Ephraim Blaine, commissary general of purchases, from Morristown on Sunday, 4 June: “One hundred and nine good Cattle came in from Colo. Champion last fryday two of which most excellent—I hear another drove has cross’d the north river & may be expected soon” (DLC:GW: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

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