George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 1 October 1780

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters Orange Town 1st Octobr 1780


I have received your Excellency’s favors of the 16th and 24th ulto with the several Resolves to which they refer—The first came to hand while I was absent on my journey to Harford.1 I most sincerely wish that the measures which have been adopted, for procuring a supply of fresh and salt Meat, may prove effectual.

Congress will perceive by the inclosed, which is the Copy of a representation made to me yesterday by the Commy Genl of Issues, that the Army must be again reduced to extremities for want of Flour, except a supply should arrive in the course of a few days—I have written to the States of New York and Pennsylvania on the subject, and have requested their immediate aid.2

The season must very soon deprive us of Grass Forage, on which the Horses now principally subsist, and I cannot learn from Colonel Pickering, that any effectual measures are taken, or are likely to be taken to establish Magazines of Hay or Grain. The State of Jersey must, thro’ necessity, have furnished, by impress and by purchase, more of both than the quota demanded of them,3 and therefore our future supply of Grain, at least, ought to be drawn from a distance, and before the state of the Roads will add to the difficulties of transportation. The Country in which the Army will probably lay, untill the expiration of the Campaign, has been already so drained, that I do not think it will be possible, even with stripping the inhabitants intirely, to subsist the Horses after the Grass fails.4 I think it my duty to mention these matters in time, that Congress may endeavour to concert some measures for our releif before we are overtaken by the Winter.5 I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s Most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 3 Oct. and referred it “to the committee appointed to confer with the directors of the bank” (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 , 18:893; see also Philip Schuyler to GW, 18 June, and n.4 to that document).

2See GW to George Clinton and to Joseph Reed, both this date.

The enclosure was from Charles Stewart, commissary general of issues, to GW, written from Tappan on 30 Sept.: “The Quantity of flour in the Magazine at Camp and in the hands of the Brigade Commissarys will only supply the Troops for to morrow. By Letters from philada of the 26th Instant and from Trenton of the 27th from my Deputys, am informed there was then none on hand at those places, So that the two hundred Barrells ordered from West point is all the flour that We are now sure of, I am therefore under the disagreeable necessity of informing Your Excellency that unless uncommon deligence is used in getting that Article from pennsylvania or New York at the end of three days the Army will be again without Bread” (ALS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to Huntington, this date, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169). For the flour ordered from West Point, see GW to Alexander McDougall, 29 Sept., found at GW to McDougall, 27 Sept., n.1.

3For this quota, see Circular to the States, 2 June, n.1.

4GW presumably meant Preakness, where the army soon returned (see General Orders, 6 and 7 Oct.).

GW wrote Cornelius A. Haring, provision contractor for Bergen County, along with Capt. John Stagg, Jr., and Daniel Tier, provision contractors for Orange County, N.Y., from headquarters at Tappan on 5 Oct.: “I shall be glad if you, or some person authorised by you, will meet the Commissary General of Issues at Maibee’s Mills tomorrow Morning at 9 OClock on business which materially concerns the supply of the Army” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). “Maibee’s Mills” refers to Abraham Mabie’s store near Tappan Slote, N.Y. (see Green, Rockland County description begins Frank Bertangue Green. The History of Rockland County. New York, 1886. description ends , 358).

Cornelius A. P. Haring (1744–1824) was a storekeeper who became the provisions contractor for Bergen County in December 1779.

5Huntington acknowledged this letter when he wrote GW on 6 Oct., postscript. GW’s request prompted Huntington to write the governors of Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania on 7 Oct. (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 , 16:161–62).

Index Entries