George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Oliver Phelps and Samuel Osgood, 20 January 1781

To Oliver Phelps and Samuel Osgood

Head Quarters New Windsor Janry 20 1781


Since my Letter to you of the 28th of Decr1 the supply of Beef Cattle has been so inconsiderable, that we have been compelled to break in upon the salted Provisions, which were designed as a reserve against the distresses of unforeseen or unavoidable contingencies.

You will observe, from the enclosed Extracts of a Letter from Major General Heath the terrible prospects now before us:2 Nothing, I am persuaded can prevent the Most tremenduous consequences, but an immediate & regular supply of the Beef Cattle demanded by the Requisitions of Congress from Your State. I have advised His Excellency Governor Hancock of this; and have further informed him, that unless we may depend upon this supply; I cannot consider myself responsible for the safety of the important Posts on this River, or even the continuance of a single Regiment in the field.3 I am Gentlemen Your Most Obedt Hble Servant.

Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See GW to Osgood and Phelps, 28 Dec., found at Osgood and Phelps to GW, 15 Dec., n.3.

2The enclosed extracts, which have not been found, were most likely taken from Maj. Gen. William Heath’s letter to GW of 18 January.

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