George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 30 July 1780

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters Paramus [N.J.] July 30. [17]80


The Honorable The Committee address Congress by this opportunity to inform them of the most disagreeable crisis to which our affairs are brought in the Quarter Master Generals department.1 I think it my duty to assure Congress, that I intirely agree with the Committee in opinion; and that unless effectual measures are immediately taken to induce General Greene and the other principal officers of the department to continue their services, there must of necessity be a total stagnation of military business.2 We not only must cease the preparations for the campaign; but shall in all probability be obliged to disperse, if not disband the army for want of subsistence. With every effort, it will be possible for us to make, embarrassed as we are on every side, it will be extremely difficult, if not impracticable to keep the great departments of the army in motion—any interruption therefore in addition to what arises from the present posture of affairs must prove ruinous at this important juncture.3 I have the honor to be with perfect respect and esteem Sir Your most Obed. & hum. serv.

Go: Washington

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 1 Aug. and referred it to a committee (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 , 17:684).

1For the letter of this date from the Committee at Headquarters to Huntington in which the committee also strongly recommended a suspension of the new system for the quartermaster general’s department, which had resulted in Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene’s resignation, 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 , 15:523–25. In its letter, the committee stated that a conversation with GW had prompted them to write to Congress. For the new system, see GW to Greene, 26 July, n.1.

2For Greene’s resignation as quartermaster general, see his second letter to GW of 27 July.

3Congress did not seek to retain Greene and did not suspend the new system; instead it appointed Timothy Pickering as quartermaster general (see Huntington to GW, 5 Aug., n.1).

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