George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Timothy Pickering, 1 February 1781

To Colonel Timothy Pickering

Feby 1st 1781.

Dr Sir,

I have in contemplation a journey to Rhode Island, but previous to it, stand in need of a few articles from Philadelpa—which if obtained at all, must come soon.1 Is it in your power therefore, by the Morning, to provide me an Express on whose fidelity & dispatch I can absolutely depend? and can he, for the purpose of dispatch get fresh Horses on the communication? I am Sir Yr Most Obedt Ser.

Go: Washington

P.S. Have you any Portmanteaus in your Stores—The person (if one goes) must be provided with one & a Mail pillion.2

ALS, in private hands. The cover, with a docket of this date, is in NN: Washington Collection. The note “wants a trusty Express to go to Philadelphia” is written on the docket.

On this date, GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys wrote Pickering from headquarters at New Windsor: “I have by direction of His Excellency to inform you—that Report has been made to him, the new Road to West Point is so far opened, as to be passable by Sleighs: he requests therefore that the flour which he understands is on the communication may be thrown directly into the Garrison, by that way, as being the most convenient & expeditious mode, while the sleighing [continues]” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 26041). For the report, see William Heath to GW, 30 January.

1GW planned to depart on 15 Feb. for a meeting with Lieutenant General Rochambeau but subsequently postponed his journey (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 13 [first letter] and 17 Feb.).

2In this sense, a pillion is “a pad or cushion attached to the hinder part of an ordinary saddle … used for resting a mail or piece of luggage in transport” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray et al., eds. The Oxford English Dictionary: Being a Corrected Re-Issue with an Introduction, Supplement, and Bibliography of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. 12 vols. 1933. Reprint. Oxford, England, 1970. description ends ).

Index Entries