George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 17 February 1781

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters New Windsor 17th Feby 1781


I have been honored with your Excellency’s favors of the 9th instant.1 General Morgans signal victory over Colo. Tarleton, with the flower of the British Army, reflects the highest honor upon our Arms, and I hope will, at least, be attended ⟨with⟩2 this advantage, that it will check the offensive operations of the Enemy, untill General Greene shall have collected a much more respectable force than he had under his command, by the last accounts from him.3 I am apprehensive that the Southern States will look upon this victory as much more decisive in its consequences, than it really is, and will relax in their exertions. It is to be wished that the Gentlemen of Congress, who have interest in those States, would remove such ideas, if any such should be found to exist, and rather stimulate them to redouble their efforts to crush an enemy—pretty severely shaken by the two successful strokes upon Ferguson and Tarleton.4

Be pleased to return my thanks to Mr Sharpe for his description of the Western parts of South Carolina.5

I shall not fail to communicate, to Majr General parsons and the Officers and Men who were under his command, the very flattering notice which Congress have been pleased to take of their expedition to Morrissania.6

Upon General Knox’s return from the Eastward, I desired him to form an Estimate of the Artillery and Ordnance Stores necessary for an operation upon the largest scale, which would be that against New York.7 He has accordingly furnished one, Copy of which I do myself the honor to inclose for the information of Congress, and that application may be made in time to the States possessed of the heaviest Cannon, for the loan of them and other Stores, should they be wanted, and that directions may be given to the Board of War, and to those Boards whose Business it is to provide Ammunition &c. to endeavour to procure the deficiency of the estimate.8 We ought, without doubt, to be prepared for an operation against New York. Should circumstances make it requisite to lessen the object, the overplus Stores would, nevertheless, form not only a valuable, but such a Magazine as we ought ever to have in reserve.

The impossibility of crossing the North River with Horses, and some unforeseen Business have hitherto prevented my journey to Newport and makes the time of my setting out precarious.9 With the greatest Respect and Esteem I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s most obed⟨ient⟩ and humble Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 26 Feb. 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 , 19:194).

1For the two letters to GW on 9 Feb., see Huntington to GW, that date, and the source note.

2The LS is mutilated at this point; this word is supplied from the draft, which is also in Tilghman’s writing.

3For the most recent letters and returns from Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene in GW’s possession, see his letter to Greene, 9–11 Jan., and n.1 to that document.

4For the defeat of British lieutenant colonel Patrick Ferguson and his Loyalist corps at the Battle of Kings Mountain, see General Orders, 27 Oct. 1780.

6See Huntington to GW, 9 Feb., source note.

8For the estimate, see Knox’s first letter to GW of this date. The enclosed copy has not been found.

9GW was planning a conference with French lieutenant general Rochambeau. For the delay and his eventual departure, see GW to Rochambeau, 15, 24, and 27 Feb., and 2 March.

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