George Washington Papers

Circular to the States of Connecticut and Massachusetts, 19 January 1781

Circular to the States of Connecticut and Massachusetts

Head Quarters New Windsor Janry 19th 1781

Dear Sir

I should not trouble your Excellency, with such reiterated applications on the score of supplies, if any objects less than the safety of the Posts on this River, and indeed the existance of the Army, were at stake. By the enclosed Extracts of a Letter, of Yesterday, from Major Genl Heath, you will see our present situation, and future prospects.1

If therefore the supply of Beef Cattle demanded by the requisitions of Congress from Your State, is not regularly forwarded to the Army, I cannot consider myself as responsible for the maintainance of the Garrisons below, or the continuance of a single Regiment in the Field.2 I have the honor to be With very great regard & esteem Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant

Go: Washington

LS, addressed to Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., in David Humphreys’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; LS, addressed to Massachusetts governor John Hancock, in Humphreys’s writing, M-Ar; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Trumbull docketed the LS addressed to him: “recd 24th.”

For replies, see Trumbull to GW, 31 Jan., and Hancock to GW, 5 February.

In exchange for an equal quantity collected in the eastern part of the state, the Connecticut Council of Safety on 24 Jan. ordered 500 barrels of pork held at Fish-kill, N.Y., by the agent of the French army delivered to the Continental army, and it ordered all beef designated for public use in the towns of the state forwarded to the army (see Conn. Public Records description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894–. description ends , 3:295).

On 27 Jan., the Massachusetts legislature read this letter and appointed a five-man committee to consider it and make a report (notations on the LS addressed to Hancock; see the source line above).

1For the extract enclosed in the LS addressed to Trumbull, see William Heath to GW, 18 Jan., source note. The extract sent to Hancock has not been found.

2Under the requisitions of Congress, Connecticut authorities were to supply 539 cattle weekly and Massachusetts authorities 385 (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 , 18:829; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 16 Sept. 1780, n.2).

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