George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 24 April 1784

From Timothy Pickering

Philadelphia April 24. 1784


No opportunity having presented during the winter, of sending your barge to Potowmack; when last in New York I left fresh directions to find a conveyance by the first vessel bound to Alexandria. I have this moment received advice that such a conveyance is engaged. Captain Brothes has agreed to deliver the barge at Alexandria, to colonel Fitzgerald, for whom I left a letter, requesting him to pay the freight, and draw on me for the amount. Capt. Brothes’ owners live at Alexandria. He intended to sail from New-York about the 25th instant.1 I have the honour to be very respectfully Sir your most obedt servt

Timothy Pickering

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA: RG 93, Letters Sent—Col. Timothy Pickering.

Timothy Pickering (1745–1829) became quartermaster general of the Continental army in the summer of 1780 and was GW’s choice in 1795 to succeed Edmund Randolph as secretary of state. In May 1783 Pickering formed a partnership with Samuel Hodgdon as commission merchants in Philadelphia.

1GW as commander in chief in 1783 had a barge on the Hudson manned by a coxswain and eight oarsmen. See for instance, David Humphreys to John Pray, 9 April 1783 (DLC:GW). GW employed Pickering’s partner, Samuel Hodgdon, to ship his personal effects by water from Philadelphia to Mount Vernon in December 1783 (see GW to Hodgdon, 13 Dec, and Hodgdon to GW, 11, 18, 20 Dec. 1783). No notice of the arrival at Alexandria of the barge or of GW’s personal effects has been found; but in GW’s account with Lund Washington there is this entry for 18 Mar. 1784: “By William Marbury Freight of 22 Boxes & other Packages of Goods from Phila. here” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 177). John Fitzgerald (d. 1799), an Irishman who settled in Alexandria before the Revolution and during the war was an aide-de-camp to GW, was a merchant in Alexandria. Captain Brothes has not been identified.

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