George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Benedict Arnold, 12 September 1780

From Major General Benedict Arnold

Head Quarters Robinson’s House Sept. 12th 1780

Dear Sir

Last Night I had the Honor to receive Your Excellency’s Favor of Yesterday inclosing a Copy of a Council of War held the 6th.

I will endeavour agreeable to Your Excellency’s request, to transmit my Opinion, on the Matters submitted by the Time required: I sincerely wish the Situation of our Affairs would admit my giving it with more Decission, than I am able to do at present.1

The Order contained in the Post[s]cript of Your Excellency’s Letter of the 7th, to send the Eight Bargemen of Colo. Putnam’s regiment, to join their regiment, I conceive to be on a supposition of their being idle at West Point; I beg Leave to Observe, that they are now employed as my Bargemen; That all the Militia Oarsmen had previous to the receipt of the Order been draughted & sent to different Commands, at Kings ferry and elsewhere,2 so that it is out of my Power to procure a proper Crew for my Barge. For which reasons I have thought proper to detain them, until I receive Your Excellency’s further Orders on the subject.

I take the Liberty of inclosing Extract of a Letter from Colo. Hay of the 9th, respecting Flour &ca. I sincerely Wish he may succeed in his Endeavours to procure Flour (of which I am very doubtful) in the Quantities he has requested; As I believe the requisition larger than, (when all others are answered,) the State can comply with.3

About thirty Batteaumen mentioned in Colo. Hays Letter, were sent down with Captn Denny to Kings ferry: As in Case of an Evacuation of those Posts, Colo. Livingstons Garrison with the Troops sent down will be sufficient to mann the Batteaus. I think it will be best to order the Batteaumen to be sent to Fish Kill.4

Your Excellency’s Genl Orders of the 28th & 30th ult. from the Adjutant General, were received last Evening & published in my Orders of this Day.5 I have the Honor to be, with the highest Sentiments of reguard & Esteem Your Excellency’s Affectionate & Obed⟨t⟩ Hble Servt

B. Arnold

LS, DLC:GW; Df, DLC:GW. GW replied to Arnold on 14 September.

1See GW to Arnold, 11 Sept., found at Arnold to GW, 14 Sept., n.1; see also Council of War, 6 September.

2See Arnold to GW, 5 Sept., and n.5 to that document.

3The enclosure was an extract from Lt. Col. Udny Hay, state agent for New York, had written to Arnold from Poughkeepsie on 9 Sept. explaining measures used to procure exceedingly scarce hay. The agent continued: “I have taken the Liberty of laying before the Legislature, now Sitting here, Hints of sundry Laws necessary to be enacted for the Benefit of both Quarter Masters & Commissary’s Departments. … Amongst others Matters I have endeavoured to propose a Mode, for Obtaining forty thousand Barrels of Flour above the Quota demanded by Congress, without distressing the Inhabitants.

“As the Batteaumen sent down by your Orders serve as Waggoners, & are the only Fatigue Men we have, I must request You to send them back as soon as they can be conveniently spared.

“I am thus far on my Way to the New Hampshire Grants, in Hopes of inducing the Good People there, on the Credit of the Continent, to furnish Me with a Quantity both of Cattle & Grain, The Task I know is arduous & shall therefore not be surprized if I am disappointed in my Expectation” (DLC:GW; see also Hay to GW, 13 Oct., found at GW to George Clinton, 1 Oct., n.2). Arnold replied to Hay from Beverly Robinson’s house on 12 Sept.: “I have transmitted Extracts of yours to His Excellency, that the Q.M. Genl may receive the very seasonable Hints offered to Him.

“I hope your Exertions in the Grants may be attended with the wished for Success, It is in their Power to furnish Us with some relief, if they are disposed to trust the United States, which to me, is a doubtful Matter” (DLC:GW).

4See Arnold to James Livingston, this date (DLC:GW).

5Adj. Gen. Alexander Scammell had sent Arnold an undated document with the paragraphs pertaining to rum in the general orders for 28 and 30 Aug. (DLC:GW).

Index Entries