George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 20 February 1781

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia February 20. 1781


Your Excellency will receive herewith enclosed, a resolution of Congress of this Day, by which you will be informed that all the Continental Troops, from Pennsylvania to Georgia inclusive, are to compose the southern Army, except Moylands Corps and such of the Pennsylvania Line as are on Command on the western Frontiers.1

Congress deemed themselves under a Necessity of adopting the Measure of ordering the Pennsylvania Line to the Southward without consulting your Excellency, from the late Intelligence received from that Quarter, and supposing you on your Journey to New Port:2 considering at the same Time that if the Plan suggested in my other letter which accompanies this, which proposes sending the french Forces to the Southward, should take Effect or any other Circumstances should render it incompatible with the Good of the public Service to send the Pennsylvania Line Southward, your Sentiments might be known and the Orders countermanded before that Line could be put in Motion.3

Your Excellency’s two Letters of the 13th have been duly received.4 The Paper you mention, addressed to President Reed, was inclosed through Mistake by my Secretary, but I do not find any Paper that ought to have been enclosed in Lieu of it.5 I have the Honor to be with very high respect Sir your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

Sam. Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 15.

1The enclosed document with this date reads: “Resolved, That the southern Army be composed of all the regular troops from Pensylvania to Georgia inclusive except Moyland’s Dragoons and those on command on the Western frontiers And that the Commander in Cheif be and hereby is directed to order the troops of the Pensylvania line except as above to join the Army in Virginia by detachments as they may be in readiness to march.

“That the Deputy quartermaster in Pensylvania be & he is hereby directed to put the Waggons belonging to the Pensylvania line in order for service immediately.

“That the several States southward of Pensylvania be & hereby are required to furnish their respective quotas of supplies to the southern Army timely & regularly.

“That the States aforesaid & the State of Pensylvania be & hereby are required to compleat their respective quotas of troops and forward them to join the southern Army without loss of time.

“Resolved That four hundred waggons be procured & furnished for the southern Army.

“Resolved That the Board of War be and hereby are directed to furnish the southern Army with ten thousand suits of Cloaths compleat, Eight hundred & sixty tents, five thousand Musquets with Bayonets & Cartouch boxes, Eight thousand Knapsacks, six thousand Haversacks, Eight thousand, Canteens, seven hundred Camp Kettles, Eight thousand blankets, ten tons of Musquet powder, five tons of Cannon powder and twenty tons of lead.

“That the board of War furnish the Artillery & Cavalry with the necessary Ammunition & equipments not comprised in the foregoing resolutions and that they employ a sufficient number of Artificers to repair the Arms in the Magazines of Virginia & other places.

“Resolved, That for purchasing the foregoing Articles the Board of War be and hereby are Authorised and directed to contract for payment in specie or other money equivalent payable in six months with Interest; and that bills of Exchange on the Ministers of these United States at the Court of Versailles be prepared immediately and deposited with the Board of war to be by them delivered to the persons so contracting to the amount of such contract at the expiration of the said term unless they shall have monies at that time to fulfill the said contracts.

“Resolved, That it be & hereby is recommended to the Executives of the States of Delaware, Maryland Virginia & North Carolina to agree upon & settle an arrangement for supplying the southern Army with provisions from the States most contiguous and for replacing the same with provisions from those that are more remote, And to Establish such mode of transportation as will be most convenient and least expensive to the whole” (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 19:177–78).

2GW had delayed his trip to Rhode Island (see GW to Rochambeau, 15 Feb. and 2 March).

3For the accompanying letter, see Huntington’s second letter to GW of this date.

4See GW to Huntington, 13 Feb., and the source note to that document.

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