George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 23 January 1781

To Samuel Huntington

New Windsor Jany 23d 1781


I have been successively honoured with your Excellency’s dispatches of the 12th 13th & 16th and shall duly attend to the contents.1

Your Excellency, probably by this time, has heard of the revolt of the Jersey Troops in imitation of the Pensylvania line. Advice that this had been the case with a part of them, with an expectation of its becoming general, reached me the night before last—their complaints and demands of the same complexion with those of the Pensylvanians.2

I immediately ordered as large a detachment as could possibly be spared to be Marched from West point & put it under the Command of Major General Howe—with orders to bring the Mutineers to unconditional submission and, their principal leaders to instant & condign punishment3—I have also taken measures to induce the Jersey Militia to act in conjunction with him.4

It is difficult to say what part the Troops sent to quel the revolt will act; but I thought it indispensable to bring the matter to an Issue and risk all extremities. Unless this dangerous spirit can be suppressed by force there is an end to all Subordination in the Army, and indeed to the Army itself. The infection will no doubt shortly pervade the whole mass.

On receiving the News of this disagreeable event, I immediately dispatched a letter to the Committee of Congress at Trenton, recommending that no conceliatory measures might be attempted.5

I am entirely of opinion with your Excellency that more certain & permanent funds must be found for the support of the War, than have hitherto existed.6 Without them, our opposition must very soon cease. The events that have recently taken place are an alarming comment upon the insufficiency of past Systems.

We continue under the most distressing embarrassments in the articles of Provision & Forage.7 I have the honr to be with perfect respect Yr Excellys Most Obedt & Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 29 Jan. 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 , 19:94). GW sent this letter with a flying seal to John Sullivan (see Sullivan to GW, 29 Jan.). For its acknowledgement, see Huntington to GW, 27 Jan., postscript.

1See Huntington to GW, 12, 13, and 16 January.

2See GW to Frederick Frelinghuysen and to Israel Shreve, both 21 Jan.; see also Anthony Wayne to GW, 2 Jan., and the source note to that document.

4See GW to Philemon Dickinson and to William Livingston, both this date.

6Huntington had expressed this view in his letter to GW of 16 January.

7On the draft, which is in the writing of GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton, GW wrote the previous two words.

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