George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Clinton, 27 November 1780

To George Clinton

⟨Head Quarters Passaic Falls 27th Novemr 1780⟩

Dear Sir

I take the liberty of ⟨inclosing your Excellency⟩ an extract of a letter which I have ⟨just received from⟩ Colo. Hay, and of assuring you at the ⟨same time that⟩ the prospects of the Army, especially of ⟨that part of it⟩ which is to winter in the Highlands, ⟨were never so alar⟩ming in respect to the want of Bread, as ⟨at this⟩ time.1 We carry with us, from this ground, tom⟨orrow,⟩ every pound which the Commy General is posses⟨sed⟩ of, and I cannot learn from him, that he has a sin⟨gle⟩ Barrel in Magazine in Pennsylvania or Jersey.2 I shall leave the Pennsylvania and Jersey Troops in Jersey to depend upon precarious supplies from that State, and what may, in the course of the Winter, be brought from Pennsylvania—Delaware and Maryland.3

The mode proposed by Colo. Hay is, I confess, disagreeable, and what ought not to be practiced, but in extremity—We seem to have arrived at that point; and if your Excellency views the thing in the same light that I do, I cannot but hope that you will give a sanction to the measure, upon the footing which Colo. Hay has placed it, or upon some other which will as effectually answer the end.

Did the season admit, of waiting till we saw whether a supply of Flour could not possibly be ⟨obtained from the Southward, I should not be so sollicitous about the matter, but when it is considered that⟩ the first spell of bad weather may ⟨render⟩ both the Rivers and Mountains impassa⟨ble,⟩ I think not a moment ought to be lost in adopting and carrying into execution such measures as seem most likely to afford support to the Army in their intended Cantonments.4 The difficulty which we had to keep it together last Winter, makes me dread a repetition of the same trial,5 this—if, to the want of Cloathing and every comfort, that of provisions is added.6 I have the honor to be with the warmest Sentiments of Respect and Esteem Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS (partially burned), in Tench Tilghman’s writing, N-Ar: Clinton Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Burned material in the LS is supplied in angle brackets from the draft, which GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman also penned.

1For the extract sent Clinton, see Udny Hay to GW, 23 Nov., and the source note to that document.

3For the winter quarters of GW’s army, see his letter to Samuel Huntington, 28 Nov., and n.12; see also General Orders, 26 Nov., and n.3.

4GW renewed his appeal to secure provisions from New York (see his second letter to Clinton, 10 Dec., and Clinton to GW, 15 Dec.).

5GW alludes to the winter encampment at Morristown, N.J. (see GW to Nathanael Greene, 30 Nov. 1779, n.2).

6Clinton apparently did not reply to GW, but see GW to Udny Hay, this date, n.4.

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