George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 13 December 1780

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 13th 1780.


I have been honored with your Excellency’s favors of the 29th Novr and 4th instant.1 I shall communicate to the Officers of the Army such of the Resolves as relate to them—I would beg leave to remark on that of the 29th Novr respecting the payment for wounded and disabled Horses—that it makes no provision for any that may be left wounded upon the field, and of course lost to the owners—All the former Resolves confined the payment solely to Horses killed in action—the present makes it a condition, that the Horses wounded and disabled shall, upon payment of the value, be delivered up to the Quarter Mastr Genl—I recollect several instances of Officers who left their Horses wounded upon the Field, and who could not recover the value of them, because the words of the former Resolves, restricted the Qr Master General to the payment for those killed in action.2

I have received information from a person with whom I am unacquainted, but who I know has been employed to gain intelligence, that another embarkation was going on at New York the 8th instant, and that he had himself seen the greatest part of the Troops go on board. The Detachment was to be commanded by Generals Knyphausen and Phillips, and to consist of 1 Battalion British Grenadiers—1 Battalion Lt Infantry—1 Battalion Hessian Grenadiers—42d British Regt—Knyphausen’s Regt—2 Troops light Dragoons, and a Draft of 5 Men from each Company of the remaining part of the Army. The destination was kept a secret, the Southward was the general conjecture—I have communicated the intelligence to Governors Lee, Jefferson & Nash, and to General Greene.3

I have been under the necessity of discharging the New Levies before the expiration of their time, for want of Bread, of which we have yet but a very scant supply4—and if our Magazines do not receive an addition before the River is obstructed, and the Roads broken up, I foresee the greatest distress.5 I have the honor to be With the Most perfect respect Your Excellencys Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in David Humphreys’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 18 Dec. and referred it to the Board of War (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 , 18:1156).

1For the latter letter, see Huntington to GW, 4 December.

2Congress eventually accommodated this situation in December 1782 (see 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 , 23:795–96)..

3For this intelligence, see Anthony Wayne to GW, 10 Dec. 1780, and n.2 to that document; see also GW to Thomas Jefferson, 9 Dec., postscript, and n.9, and to Nathanael Greene, this date (first letter). For GW’s letter to Maryland governor Thomas Sim Lee, with the intelligence in a postscript, see Circular to State Executives, 10 Dec., source note. The postscript of GW’s same letter to North Carolina governor Abner Nash, which has not been found, also contained the intelligence (see GW to Nash, 23 Jan. 1781, DLC:GW).

4See GW to William Heath, 28 Nov. 1780, and n.1 to that document.

5Huntington acknowledged this letter when he wrote GW on 16 Dec., postscript.

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