George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Board of War, 23 November 1780

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] Novr 23d 1780.


The board being called upon to make provision of clothing, Arms, accoutrements, Horse furniture &ca for the Cavalry; have the honor to request that you will be pleased to order returns to be made to them of the Articles necessary to be procured for each corps under your Excellency’s immediate command. They would Also wish to have returns of the Strength of the corps in horses & men—and of the present state of their Clothing & other equipments. together with returns of what has been drawn by each Corps since the 1st of September. 1779.1

These last mentioned returns would come with more propriety from the heads of the different departments, but the issues have hitherto been made in a way so very desultory, that the board cannot depend intirely upon returns through that Channel.2 I have the honor to be With the highest respect Yr Excellency’s most Obed. Hble Servt

by order. Ben. Stoddert Secy


1For directives to submit these returns, see GW to Elisha Sheldon, 8 Dec., and the source note to that document; see also Sheldon to GW, 27 December.

GW also wrote Capt. Bartholomew von Heer from headquarters at New Windsor on 10 Dec.: “You will be pleased to make to me as soon as possible an accurate return of the Men and Horses in your troop—the quantity of Cloathing and number of Arms—Accoutrements and furniture of every kind fit for service, and what will be your deficiencies for the next Campaign. You will also make a return of all the Articles of Cloathing and Accoutrements drawn by the troop since the 1st Sept. 1779. The foregoing are called for by the Board of War, for their government, as they are directed by Congress to make provision for the Cavalry” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). Heer replied to GW on 16 December.

GW subsequently wrote the Board of War from New Windsor on 19 Dec.: “Inclosed you have Capt. Von Heers return of the Men—Horses, Accoutrements &ca in his troop—He will wait upon the Board himself and explain the Return, which is not very intelligible in its present form—I have directed Colo. Moylan to make his return immediately to you. Colo. Sheldons has not yet come to hand—I have your favr of the 9th. The passport for the Flag Vessel had been forwarded previous—to the rec[eip]t of it” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also n.2 below). Heer’s return has not been identified.

2GW replied to the board from headquarters at New Windsor on 7 Dec.: “I had the honor of receiving your favor of the 23d ulto while on my way to this place, at which I arrived last Evening. The Returns which you require from the Officers of Cavalry shall be immediately called for and transmitted when brought in.

“The passport for the Sloop Carolina packet only came to my hands this day. I am under the necessity of forwarding it by the Count de Custine, as the Quarter Master Genl has it not in his power to furnish an Express with the means of bearing his Expences to Philada” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

The Carolina was set to transport supplies to prisoners at Charleston (see GW to Henry Clinton, 16 Nov., and n.3). The Board of War wrote GW from Philadelphia on 9 Dec.: “The Board are extremely apprehensive that the Vessell going to Charlestown will be prevented by the Ice from proceeding on her Voyage. As we have not recieved the Flag we are fearful that some Embarrassments are thrown in the Way by the Enemy. Everything is ready but the Papers for the Departure of the Vessell & we shall therefore be obliged to your Excellency for Information on the Subject” (ALS, by Board of War secretary Richard Peters, DLC:GW; GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote “only to be acknowledged” on the docket; see also n.1 above).

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