George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Christopher Greene, 27 October 1780

From Colonel Christopher Greene

Newport 27th Octr 1780


Your Excellency’s letter of the 21st I received This Day and Observe the Levies in my Regiment are not to join the Army1—I wish for Instructions how they are to get their pay, as well as for those for The War and the Officers. We are exceedingly bare of Cloaths both Officers and Soldiers my Lt Col. has wrote to the Cloather Genl how our Situation in that respect is and Sent him a return of Our wants,2 Should we be Order’d to join the Army it would be Almost Impossible to march without it—I beg the favour of your Excellency to Order a Supply—Mr Reynolds, Agent Cloather here, can Supply the Soldiers if he has Orders for it, he very lately informed me he had Cloathing on hand. As the Officers have not received pay for a very considerable time, they are not able to purchase Cloathing If they could be Supplied from The Stores on Acct it wou’d be very Agreeable.

By Captain Tew of Col. Angells Regt lately from the Army I was informed that Congress had in contemplation the reduceing the Regiments of the Army to a less Number, and That the State of Rhode-Island wou’d have but one.3 If that is or Should be done, I Suppose there must be Some Officers out of Command. Such of my Officers as are likely to be in that Situation wish to have early Notice of it that They may Arrange their affairs for private Business.

The Time of The Massachusetts Militia will expire in a very few Days. they will not be able to make the work at Butts Hill defensable before they go of4 as many of my Regt as are left after making the Necessary Detachments for Guards will work there as long as the Weather will Admit.

I Should be very much pleased if your Excellency could Consistant with the good of the Service Order me to the Southward with Genl Greene—I have no other motive in Asking that favour than having a better Oppertunity of Serving my Country than I probably can have here—It is not from any Dislike I have to the French Troops but the reverse I have been Treated with the greates⟨t⟩ Respect and Politeness By them from the Commander in Chief and all under him—Should it be my lot to remain here I wish to have your Excellencies Orders for the Rule of my Conduct in the Command.

A Flag Arrived here this Day from Admiral Arburthnot with Nin[e]ty Six prisoners That were Taken in the Privateer Ship Washington5 they left Arburthnots fleet consisting of Nine Ships of the Line one forty gun Ship and Two Frigates of Block Island they are in Sight of here at Anchor Lt Page of the Privateer Says each Ship has a Company of Soldiers on Board and that they are to be join’d by four Ships more of the Line the Day after tomorrow6 There Design is he Says to get Stock from the Vinyard.7 I am your Excellencys Most Obt Humle Servt

C. Greene

ALS, DLC:GW. GW replied to Greene on 3 Nov. (DLC:GW).

1For these levies, see Jonathan Trumbull to GW, 31 Aug., n.3. For GW’s letter to Greene dated 21 Oct., see Greene to GW, 14 Oct., n.3.

2These documents have not been identified.

5The American Journals, and the General Advertiser (Providence) for 4 Nov. reported the capture of “Privateer Ship General Washington, of this Port, Silas Talbot, Esq; Commander,” on 16 Sept. near Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Roughly twenty prisoners “were sent to New-York; the Remainder arrived at Newport, in a Flag of Truce” on 27 Oct. (see also Heath to GW, 28 Aug.).

6Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot commanded thirteen ships of the line (see George Rodney to Philip Stephens, 28 Oct., in Rodney of the White Squadron description begins Letter-books and Order-Book of George, Lord Rodney, Admiral of the White Squadron, 1780–1782. 2 vols. New York, 1932. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 65–66. description ends , 1:54–58; see also Rochambeau to GW, 27 Oct., and n.2 to that document).

7Arbuthnot’s fleet previously raided Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. (see Heath to GW, 31 Aug.).

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