George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Timothy Pickering, 25 January 1781

From Colonel Timothy Pickering

Newburgh [N.Y.] Jany 25. 1781.


I wrote last evening to Mr Humphrys, & gave him an account of my expectations respecting forage.1 The uncommon badness of the roads (either very rough or very miry) has prevented the farmers bringing in the forage the Justices of Ulster & Orange agreed to furnish & have in fact assessed: The present snow will enable them to come in. For instant relief to your Excellency’s horses I directed Mr Roberts to come up this morning with his team & take all the public forage at my quarters, as I could subsist my own horses on my private hay purchased with hard money for my cow, till another supply of public forage could be obtained.2

I know not what other measures can be pursued than those I have taken to procure forage, unless money can be obtained to purchase, or a military force sent to seize all the forage within reach: the latter is not eligible; and the former is unattainable to any considerable amount. Yet I will apply part of the pittance of money in my hands to procure a small supply of forage for your Excellency, till it is known whether the assessment of the Justices will be duly levied. If it is not, the military alone can give relief.3 I am &c.

T. Pickering Q.M.G.

LB, DNA: RG 93, Records of Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering, 1780–87.

1Pickering’s letter to GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys has not been identified. On 24 Jan., Humphreys wrote Pickering from headquarters: “The Letter for Governor Clinton, the General would have forwarded by Express if there is no private conveyance. Our Horses are literally starving—without exageration or hyperbole they have actually eaten up their Mangers; Not a Mouthful yet, nor prospect of it, as we learn—The General is very anxious—Is there no way to avoid all this & worse?” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 26036). For GW’s letter to New York governor George Clinton, dated 23 Jan., see Circular to the States, 22 Jan., and the source note to that document; see also Clinton to GW, 26 January.

2For GW’s appeal for forage, see his letters to Pickering of this date [first and second].

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