George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Udny Hay, 20 January 1781

From Lieutenant Colonel Udny Hay

Poughkeepsie [N.Y.] 20th January 1781.


The resolve of Congress, requiring Supplies from each State, is worded in such a manner as makes it appear they did not intend any allowance should be made for the Transportation thereof; but that they should be furnished by each State (the expence of Transportation included) at an average Price.1 As therefore I have now a Quantity of Flour & Forage at different Landings on the River, from whence, I imagine, it is the Business of the Public Officer to take them away; I must beg your Excellency will give the necessary Directions, on the Subject, as I do not think myself Justifiable in occasioning an Expense to the State, which ought to be bore by the United States, though, in the mean time, I have desired my different Assistants, who have any Stores deposited on this side the River, to have them Transported to Fishkill Landing, as expeditiously as possible, and promise those who furnish Teams for the purpose, that they will be paid, either by the State or the Public, as shall hereafter be determined.

Should the Transportation of the Stores, already at any of the Landings, be deemed the Duty of the Public Officer, Your Excellency may rely, that on his Application to me, he shall have every Assistance in my Power to grant; for though I wish to be as saving, as I with propriety can, in the Expenses of the State, I by no means wish to be so, in my own personal Trouble, where the good of the Public is the least concerned.

I beg to hear from your Excellency on this Subject;2 and have the Honor to be, with the utmost Respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedient & very Humble Servant,

Udny Hay


1For this resolution of 4 Nov. 1780, see Samuel Huntington to GW, 12 Nov., n.1; see also 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 , 18:1011–18.

2GW replied to Hay on 30 Jan. from headquarters at New Windsor: “With respect to your Letter of the 20th Inst. I can only observe that it appears to me, the transportation of the specific supplies demanded by the Resolution of Congress of the 4th of Novr to the Places of Deposit, is to be considered as properly a State expence, as the supplies themselves; especially since they are directed to be delivered at such Places as shall be pointed out by the Commander in Cheif. The removal from those Depositories will, I should suppose, be a Continental Expence. But I have no further information on the subject, than is derived from the act of Congress.

“I should have given an immediate Answer to Your Letter had not business of great importance intervened & prevented” (Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). GW alludes to the New Jersey line mutiny (see Israel Shreve to GW, 20 Jan., and the source note to that document).

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