George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Benedict Arnold, 2 September 1780

To Major General Benedict Arnold

Head Quarters Bergen County 2d Sepr 1780

Dear Sir

You will receive a letter from the Commy General of Issues by this conveyance upon the subject of supplies—He informs you of what you may expect in lieu of what he has been obliged to draw dow⟨n⟩ from West point1—I am sorry that you have been obliged to consume the salt provision in the Garrison, but necessity has no law.

The Militia Officers must be served with Rum agreeable to the late General Order for the supply of all Officers. This I imagine has been transmitted by the Adjt General.2 I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW.

1Charles Stewart, commissary general of issues, wrote Arnold on this date that flour recently sent from West Point for GW’s army would be replaced by at least “four hundred Barrells” from New Windsor, New York. He also sought Arnold’s assistance in bringing “a large quantity” of rum from Springfield, Mass. (DLC:GW).

GW wrote Ephraim Blaine, commissary general of purchases, from headquarters on 7 Sept.: “I am informed there is a quantity of Rum in the hands of some persons in the neighbourhood of the State, amounting to about Thirty Hogshead. At present the Army is destitute of any and a supply is immediately & indispensably requisite, which I find cannot be obtained in the ordinary and usual line. I wish You to try to procure this Rum by purchase or to be replaced in kind in a reasonable time as may be most convenient; but if the Holders of it will not part with it in this way Our necessities are so great that You must take it. In this case You will also take care to make proper satisfaction to the proprietors of it, either by returning a like quantity or paying its just value as soon as circumstances will admit” (Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

Blaine wrote Massachusetts delegate Samuel Adams from Philadelphia on 1 Oct.: “The want of Rum in the Army is very great, they have not had One Days allowance this four Weeks & the Season is now at hand in which the Soldiery cannot be contented without it.” Blaine then requested assistance in purchasing “large quantities” of rum for sale in Philadelphia (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Letterbook).

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