George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 2 November 1780

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Camp at Totowa 2nd Novr 1780


We have frequently experienced every possible extreme of cold & fatigue in errecting Hutts at a late Season, which from a Variety of Intervening circumstances, could not be avoided—however at present I can not see anything to prevent us from taking time by the forelock, and making use of the new levies in building houses for the reception of such men as we now have, or may receive for the War, in the course of the Winter.

for which purpose I would advise your Excellency to move Immediately & make the best disposition that your little Army will admit of for the security of West Point & covering the Country & Communication between that Important post & Phila.

from a Comparitive view of the State & Number of the troops under Your Excellency’s Immediate command & that Of the Enemy in the Vicinity of New York, I do not think it advisable to Detatch from this Army (unless you can Command part of the french troops from Rhode Island to reinforce West Point) in which case the Pennsa Line may look Southward—Otherwise you probably will have occation for the utmost exertions of every man that will continue in Service after the first of January—for should Sr Henry Clinton at last open his eyes—should he profit from former error & Commence the General, he will not forego the Crisis in which you are most Vulnerable—& he is not to learn that period.

I have been thus concise upon the Subject matter committed by your Excellency to the consideration of the General Officers the day before yesterday, as I am confident that your own good Judgment will be the best Criterion to Determine the proper position for the Cantoonment of the troops.

I will only beg leave to Suggest that the Inclemency of yesterday & last evening points out the Immediate necessity of comming to a Decission.1

the Other matter which your Excellency was pleased to recommend—has not escaped my Memory, I have thought much on the Subject, & would freely contribute some blood—& risque the Contrubution of Life or limb—to finish—the Campaign with eclait,2 it may probably yet be done. I have the honor to be with every Sentiment of Esteem Your Excellency’s most Obt & very Huml. Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Wayne was responding to queries GW posed in the council of war held on 31 Oct. (see also n.6 to that document).

2At this point, Wayne wrote and then struck out: “which may probably be the last that I shall have the honor to make in a Military Capacity.”

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