George Washington Papers

General Orders, 14 January 1781

General Orders

[New Windsor] Sunday January 14th 1781

Parole Countersigns [  ]

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Having returned to New Windsor, Major General Lafayette wrote French minister La Luzerne on this date: “Since my return here … I have had serious conversations with General Washington, and the result is, I assure you, anything but pleasant. In all the confidence of friendship and in the bitterness of our hearts, we agreed that without prompt assistance in ships and money our affairs will become desperate. It is impossible to imagine our present difficulties; we can barely provide for the sustenance of the weak garrison at West Point” (Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 3:288–89).

On this date, Abraham Woodhull, using his alias Samuel Culper, wrote from Setauket, N.Y., to “John Bolton,” an alias for Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, who managed the Culper spy ring. The letter, with some words written in code, reads: “280 [I] last 415 [night] returned from 727 [New York] Where I had the pleasure of seeing C——Jr. He tells me he will write you Shortly, And give Some reasons why he hath neglectd to Serve—And intends to undertake the buisiness again in the Spring—Your Troops are Said to have mutinied And in great disorder in consequence thereof G. Clinton called all the Troops That he could Spare on to Staten Island, Hopeing To take Some advantage, But after a day or two He thought proper to order them to their Several cantonements, I beleive he expect’d to do every thing that he pleas indeed it was the general expectation The papers inclosd will give you an Idea how much noise thers ben about you, One person was Said to come in and declared that the pensylvania Line had gone to Philedelpha to Dround the Congress in the Delaware—I hope Some prudent Step may be taken to prevent Such Mischeifs it is of the greatest inportance to prevent any Such disterbences—Thers Said to be a list of the new parliment at ⟨illegible⟩ but could not See it The Enemy for Some reason conceals it But thers Said to be one Hundred new Members—Thers no Account of Gl Arnold yet, nor nothing late from any other quarter—Youll See the Enemys intention against the Amarican Courts in the papers inclosed—Markets are lower here now than they have been this three years. Good Beaf for 10d. The cause of which is So much provision Brought in from Jersey And across the Sound—whi[c]h is encouraged by the Enemys giveing permissions to those persons to carry of[f] goods of all kinds that will do you the Least Service, The Sail of the Enemies goods is of great advantage to them and every Guinea got from you is one Saved in England, I Want to know wheather its Agreeable to you to receive their goods, if it is not, I will propose a way that will prevent it intirely it is not uncommon to See 10000£ Worth of goods cross to Brooklin in one day or an afternon; Thers all kinds of produce Brought on to L. Island And it is goods that draw them here. do let me know soon, as never was a better t[i]me to put my plan into execution or give the Enemy a more Sensible Shock and villans receive their Just reward—I am convinced that Cloths would be of service to you, And answer you some good purpose, I could forward Cloths to a very great amount in a few months, if Agreeable, not that I want buissiness, But wish to do every thing that I could to Serve you And for Advantage” (DLC:GW; for the code, see Tallmadge to GW, 25 July 1779). The enclosures have not been identified.

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