George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Timothy Pickering, 14 February 1781

To Colonel Timothy Pickering

[New Windsor, 14 Feb. 1781]


I shall set out in a day or two for Rhode Island.1 The command in my absence will devolve upon Major General Heath. I must request you will make every effort to enable the Commissary to throw as ample a supply of provisions as he can into the Garrison of West point, that it may not be exposed to any accident from a sudden investiture2—and will do every thing else, that depends on you, to furnish it with a proper stock of Fuel and other necessaries of which it may stand in need.

You will also be pleased to attend closely to the several objects recommended to you in my former instructions towards the next Campaign.3 Given at Head Quarters New Windsor 14th Feby 1781.

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 25419; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote Pickering on this date from headquarters: “Will you be kind enough to continue the letters sent herewith over the River to the first Express of the Chain, and direct them to be forwarded? His Excellency wishes you to order the Dy Qr Mr at Fishkill, upon the arrival of the southern and Eastern Mails at that place, to call upon the post Master for the letters for Head Quarters and send them immediately to the post Master here by an Express. For want of something of this kind, we have been kept out of the letters for near a Week—Be pleased to send an intelligent Express immediately up to lattimers ferry, and direct him to bring an account of the state of the Ice there—whether it will bear Horses and Carriages, and whether it will be likely to do so on Friday if no material change of Weather happens … P.S. The letters for Genl Lincoln and prest Weare to go over to the post Office Fishkill” (NN: U.S. Army 1775–1789).

On this date, Tilghman wrote Pickering in the “Evening”: “The Duke Lauzun and the Gentlemen with him want to cross tomorrow to Fishkill landing, if possible—Their Horses are already on the other side, so that a light Boat to transport themselves will be all that will be necessary. If you think such a passage will be practicable, be pleased to let me know, by return of the Bearer, at what hour the tide will best suit, and the Gentlemen will be at Newburgh precisely at that time.

“His Excellency wishes to cross on Friday [16 Feb.] if possible, with Horses and Carriages. If the Weather continues moderate he desires you will endeavour to have a passage cut thro’ the Ice on each side tomorrow so as to admit the large ferry Boats to pass from Wharf to Wharf.

“If the Express has returned from Lattimers be pleased to let me know his report” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 26008).

1GW postponed his departure (see GW to Rochambeau, this date [first letter], 15, and 24 Feb.).

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