George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Matthews, 30 June 1780

In Committee of Congress Morris Town June 30. 1780

Sir

We inclose you copies of our several letters to the states, agreable to the inclosed list.

We must rely on your Excellency’s candor & generosity, to excuse us for not having done this sooner; but a variety of business has so constantly occupied our time; as render’d it impracticable to have copies of the whole made out before.

The committee have as yet received no answers to any of their circular letters except from New Jersey Rhode Island and Delaware, copies of which are also inclosed for your information. We are with the highest respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obt Humble servants

Jno. Mathews

Nathl Peabody

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Enclosure

In Committee of Congress, Morris town. 2d June, 1780.

Sir,

In a letter of the 31st Ult: from the commander in chief, which we had the honor to receive on the same day, his Excellency observes, "That in the expected co-operation with the force of our ally, against that of the common Enemy, it is of great moment that we should proceed with circumspection, and on the surest ground. Before we can determine what ought to be undertaken, we should be able to appreciate the means we shall have it in our power to employ, on some precise scale. To begin an enterprize against any point in possession of the Enemy, on a general presumption of sufficient resources in the Country, and proportionable exertions in the respective Governments to bring them forth, would hardly be justified by success—could never be defended in case of misfortune, to say nothing of the fatal consequences that might ensue. It appears to me necessary to ascertain the number of men, and the quantity of supplies which the States are capable of furnishing in a given time, and to obtain assurances from them, founded on experience of their continuing supplies in the same proportion. I esteem the plan adopted by the Committee in their circular letter, an extremely good preparatory one: But I think it of indispensible importance, in the next place, to come to something fixed and determinate. I therefore take the liberty to submit to the Committee the necessity and propriety of calling immediately upon the States, for specific aids of men, provisions, forage, and the means of transportation."

His Excellency next states the Enemies number, and position—mentions the points against which the combined Arms will probably be directed, and furnishes us with an estimate of the force which America ought to draw into the field, with others, exhibiting a state of the provisions, horses, carriages, and a variety of other articles indispensibly necessary to give vigor and a probable prospect of success to our operations. Duty and inclination equally impelled us to a conference with the General, and to the most serious consideration of the subject. The result was a determination, specifically to apportion to, and request from the states referred to in the resolutions of Congress of the 19th ult:, to furnish the requisite supplies by the first day of July. In estimating these, we have paid all possible regard to the probable resources of each, and to their relative position to those scenes of operation, which are at present in contemplation. We shall accordingly annex the kind and quantum of supplies which are monthly expected from your State; and we have to intreat that you will fully comply with the requisitions we have the honor to make, and that they will be kept up, in the same proportion until the last of November, if necessity should induce us to continue the application to that period, even although any of the articles now called for, should exceed the quota assigned you by the act of Congress of the 25th February last: and you will please, Sir, to signify to us, without delay, the determination of your State, on this important subject.

Here it becomes our duty to advise you, as upon examination you will perceive, that we have stated your quota per month, in some articles, beyond what it would have been, could we have strictly adhered to the proportion on which the allotments made by the act of the 25th February last, were adjusted; but this was found impracticable, because of the exhausted condition of some of the States, in which the Army and its principal detachments have wintered. But as these, in the course of the campaign, will be enabled to afford more than they can at present, your quota as now stated, will of course diminish. The requisition, Sir, is large, but it is barely competent—It is the least adequate to the intended operations, as it is calculated on the most limited expenditures, without the smallest allowance for accidental losses, or extra consumption.

Having given the states a fixed point to regulate themselves by, their measures will be equal to it, and their exertions competent to the magnitude of the object. In matters of such high import, it appeared to the General, and to us, essential that there should be a proper understanding on all hands. That the States should know the wants of the Army and what is expected for it. That the General and the Committee should be clearly and explicitly advised of their abilities, both individually, and collectively, and to have determined with precision, what may be expected. We do not fear to discourage by the largeness of the demand, as we conceive it impossible they should not bear with the knowledge of the wants of their Army, and because knowing them, we are persuaded their wisdom and patriotism will impel them to every exertion fully to afford the supplies.

Thus far circular.

No. 1 New Hampshire. The supplies apportioned to your state, are as follows, 166,835 pounds of Beef per month, and 25 hhds of Rum per month, to be transported and delivered where the commissary General shall direct; also 150 horses to be attached to the Army, and to be delivered where the quarter master general shall direct, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The horses are an additional article to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies cannot be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the united States.

No. 2—Massachusetts-bay. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are 666,035 pounds of Beef per month, and 225 hhds of Rum per month, to be transported to, and delivered where the commissary general shall direct, also 4571 Bushels of grain per month, to be transported to, and delivered where the quarter master general shall direct—and 1020 draft horses to be attached to the army, and to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The forage and horses are additional articles to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

No. 3—Rhode Island. The supplies alloted to be furnished by your State, are 71,675 pounds of Beef per month, and 30 Hhds of Rum per month to be transported to and delivered where the commissary general shall direct, also 2,285 bushels of grain for forage, per month, to be transported to, and delivered, where the quarter master general shall direct, and 200 draft horses to be attached to the Army to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones, monthly, within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The forage and horses are additional articles to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, cannot be dispensed with, and the amount thereof together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the united States.

No. 4 Connecticut. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are, 1500 bbls flour per month, 666,035 pounds of beef per month, 100 Hhds of rum per month, and 500 bushels of salt per month, to be transported and delivered where the commissary general shall direct—30,000 pounds of bacon, in three equal parcels monthly to the last of September, transported and delivered as aforesaid—9142 bushels of grain for forage per month—100 Ox carts, and 400 Oxen, with the number of yokes, bows, chains, clevesses and pins, also 1000 draft horses, the Carts, Oxen, and horses to be attached to the Army, all those to be delivered where the quarter master general shall direct, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding as the quarter master or commissary General may direct: The flour, Bacon, Carts, Oxen, horses, and grain, are additional articles to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

No. 5 New York. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are, 71,675 pounds of Beef per month, 140 Barrels flour per month, and 2285 Bushels of grain for forage per month, the two former to be transported to and delivered at Albany, and the latter, as the quarter master general shall direct, also 600 draft horses to be attached to the Army, and to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding; as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The horses are an additional article to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, cannot be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

Your quota of Flour and beef as now apportioned, is short of what it should be, in consideration of the exhausted condition of the State, when it shall be in a condition to afford more ample supplies, additional requisitions will be made.

No. 6 New Jersey. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are, 500 bbls Flour per month. 36,760 pounds of Beef per month, and 500 bushels salt per month, to be transported to and delivered where the commissary general shall direct. 6857 Bushels of grain for forage, per month, to be transported to, & delivered as the quarter master general shall direct. 51 waggons and harness compleat, and with four horses to each, and 696 draft horses, the two last mentioned articles to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or the commissary general may direct. The forage may be, and the horses and waggons are additional articles, to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th of February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

No. 7 Pennsylvania. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are 5000 bbls of flour per month, 1000 bbls of which to be delivered at Easton, 1000 bbls at Corryels farry, and the remainder at Trenton. 166,835 pounds beef or pork per month to be delivered in Philadelphia with 30,000 pounds of bacon, in three equal parcels monthly, to the last of September. 225 Hhds of Rum per month, delivered at the Army—9142 Bushels of grain for forage, per month—1500 of which to be delivered at Easton—1500 at Corryels ferry, and the remainder at Trenton. 250 Waggons with harness compleat, and with four horses to each, and 1500 horses without harness, all those to be attached to the Army, and to be delivered where the quarter master general may shall direct, and on or before the first day of July next. the first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The beef, bacon, horses, and waggons are additional Articles to those stated in the Act of Congress of the 25th of February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

No. 8. Delaware. The supplies apportioned to your State, are as follows, 500 Bbls flour per month—71,675 pounds of Beef per month, to be transported to, and delivered where the commissary general shall direct—5,000 pounds of bacon in three equal parcels monthly to the last of September, transported and delivered as aforesaid. 6857 Bushels of grain to be transported to and delivered where the quarter master shall direct. 50 waggons with harness compleat, and with four horses to each, also three hundred draft horses—the waggons and horses to be attached to the Army, to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The bacon, waggons and horses, are additional articles to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th of February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any must be charged in account with the United States.

No. 9 Maryland. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State, are, 2,500 bbls flour per month, 143,045 pounds of beef per month to be transported to and delivered where the commissary general shall direct—30,000 pounds of Bacon, in three equal parcels monthly to the last of September, transported and delivered as aforesaid—11,428 bushels of grain for forage, per month, to be transported to and delivered where the quarter master general shall direct. 50 Waggons with harness compleat, and with four horses to each, also 400 draft horses. The waggons and horses to be attached to the Army, and to be delivered as last aforesaid, and on or before the first day of July next. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones, monthly within the months succeeding as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The Bacon, Waggons, and horses are additional articles to those stated in the act of Congress, of the 25th of February last, but the requisition on your State, as on others, for extra supplies, could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the united States.

No. 10. Virginia. The supplies allotted to be furnished by your State are 60,000 pounds of Bacon in three equal parcels, monthly, to the last of September—and 60 Hhds of rum per month, to be transported and delivered where the commissary general shall direct, also 29,714 Bushels of grain for forage per month, to be transported to and delivered as the quarter master general shall direct. The first monthly quota of supplies to be delivered by the first day of July next, and the subsequent ones monthly, within the months succeeding, as the quarter master or commissary general may direct. The Bacon is an additional article to those stated in the act of Congress of the 25th of February last—but the requisition on your State as on others for extra supplies could not be dispensed with, and the amount thereof, together with the transportation of any, must be charged in account with the United States.

We have not apportioned to your State, any flour, beef, salt, or hay, as we were apprehensive that calls might be made on you from the Southward, should that not be the case, you will forward as much beef and flour, monthly as will amount to about a fifteenth part of the quota assigned you, of those articles, by the act of Congress of the 25th February last.

What follows is circular.

We believe it would be advantageous to the States in general, that the Carts, Oxen and horses, should be procured by hire, in preference to purchase, as the drivers who will then accompany them, will be more careful of the cattle—should your State adopt that mode, we recommend that the contracts may be made, payable in specie, or in paper money equivalent and that the value of the carts, waggons, oxen and horses should be appraised on oath, and a return of the appraisement be made to the quarter master general. As the object against which the military operations will be directed, cannot be positively ascertained, we have it not in our power to call on you for a determinate quantum of transportation, but believe it will be considerable. The Continental troops already engaged, and with the Army, together with the addition requested by the generals letter of the 25 Ulto to compleat the battalions to 504 rank & file, will still in his opinion, and our own, be inadequate to secure success, in the intended operations. In our circular letter of the 25th Ulto we intreated your legislature to adopt measures for drawing forth your militia on the shortest notice. We have now to request that such arrangements may be made, as that your quota of Militia, which, with the concurrence of the General, we state at   * rank and file, shall rendezvous at the army, or at such posts and places as the General shall direct, by the fifteenth day of July next at furthest, & to continue in service for the term of three months, computing from the day of their arrival at such rendezvous, as aforesaid.

Such of the supplies, herein required, as make part of the quota assigned to your State, by the act of Congress of the 25th of February last, and which it is requested you will transport to, and deliver where the quarter master general or commissary general shall direct, will be receipted for by the Continental officers appointed for that purpose, before either they, or your agents, convey or transport the same beyond the limits of your State. If however such Continental officers should not be present, you will give directions, that the weight or quantity of the articles may be estimated & an account or invoice transmitted with each parcel. We have to observe, that in the beef requested, hides and tallow are not included, allowance must therefore be made for these, when cattle are sent to the Army. If drivers are sent with the draft horses & cattle requested of your State, we wish to have one for every four horses, or oxen. We are &ca

(Copy)

P. Schuyler

John Matthews

Nathl Peabody

P.S. We do most earnestly intreat that the requisition now made on your State, for the quota of Militia, may not be suffered on any consideration whatever to retard the completion of the Continental battalions, as recommended in our second circular letter of the 25th Ulto—The necessity of that measure becoming daily more striking and important.

* The number of militia requested from the different states is contained in the first column of the estimate of supplies.

Enclosure

(Circular) No. 5.

In Committee of Congress Morris Town June 19. 1780

Sir

We inclose you a copy of General Washingtons letter to us of this day.

We have in our former letters dwelt so forcibly on the several matters contain’d in the Generals letter that it is now become almost unnecessary for us to say any thing more on them. But when we consider the season for operation wears fast away, the small force we now have in the field, being still fed in a scanty and uncertain manner; the hourly expectation of the fleet and Army of our Ally, on our Coast, and that the Commander in Chief, as well as ourselves, are as yet totally uninformed what are to be our expectations on the subject of our former Letters. Be assured Sir, we feel an anxiety congenial with his; You will therefore, we are persuaded pardon us for being thus solicitous, when we again intreat you in the most earnest, in the most urgent manner to use every exertion in your power to engage your State, to a speedy and decisive complyance with our former requisitions. The two points we would wish to impress most forcibly on yours, and the minds of the Legislature of your State, are, immediately, forwarding your quota of troops necessary to compleat your Battallions in the Continental Army, and of supplies of provision agreable to the estimates inclosed you in our letter of the 2d Instant, at the same time we would not wish you to consider any part of our former requisitions, as become in the least degree un-necessary. On the contrary we are more strongly convinced, That they are already as small as the important objects in view, can possibly admit of—We only mention the two first as the most immediately and indispensibly necessary for, reinforced as the Enemy now are, by the return of their Troops from the reduction of Charles Town, we momently expect an attack will be made on our weak and almost resistless Army. Should this event happen whilst in this state, we seriously dread the result.

From the well known indefatigable attention of your State to the welfare of the United States, we cannot entertain a doubt of its exertions at this interesting conjuncture, and we most earnestly intreat you to give us the earliest information of the final determination of your State on the subjects of this and our former Letters. We are Sir with the highest respect, Your Most Obedt Servts

J. Mathews

N. Peabody

signd

To the State of Pennsylvania.

N.B. We take the liberty of again calling your attention to the urgent necessity of forwarding the flour to West Point. The reasons for this pressing call, are fully contained in our public letter of the 2d Instant to which we beg to refer you.

Enclosure

Dover, June 22d, 1780.

Gentlemen,

In consequence of the requisitions of Congress, the commander in chief and you, the Committee of co-operation; I convened the General Assembly. They adjourned yesterday, and as I think it my duty to give you the earliest intelligence of their proceedings relative to the business recommended, beg leave to inform you, that, during their sitting they passed the following Acts—An Act for furnishing the Continental treasury with one hundred and thirty two thousand eight hundred dollars by loan on the credit of the State—An Act for immediately emboydying three hundred and fifteen of the Militia of this State for the purpose of reinforcing the Army of the United States, to continue in service, until the first day of November next, unless sooner discharged—And an act for procuring an immediate supply of provisions, waggons, horses &c. within this State, for the Army of the United States.

At the request of the general Assembly, I have inclosed you a copy of a resolution entered into by them: and, Gentlemen, you may be assured of the greatest exertions on my part, to carry into effect the abovementioned acts as far as I am vested with authority for that purpose. I am, with the highest esteem & respect Gentln Your most Obt hble Servt

Caesar Rodney.

Enclosure

(Circular)

In Committee of Congress Morris Town June 23d 1780

Sir

Impressed with the necessity of giving you the earliest information of every important occurrance. We therefore inclose you a copy of a letter from the Commander in Chief, this moment received.

From the accumilated destresses of our Army which we are daily spectators of—From the jeopardy we have twice seen them in—and from the fatal consequences that must have resulted from a defeat (which would inevitably have been the consequence, had the enemy at first, and still will be, should they even now pursue their object.) We are constrained, again to call on you in the most pressing manner, to forward Your Quota of men and supplies agreable to our estimate of the 2d Inst. and prevent the total sacrifice of the few brave and intripid spirits that at present compose our Army, and avoid the indelible stain that must consequently be fixed on those states, should such an event take place (Thus far Circular).

(To the States of Pensyla & New Jersy)

That part of the Generals Letter respecting the state of the stores here, is a matter of such pressing necessity, that we conceive it to be our duty to give the earliest attention to it. The situation of the Magazines at this post, is truely deplorable, the enemy are certainly pushing at them, and we are in no condition to move them for want of teams, if they do not affect their purpose at this time, it is evident they mean to persist untill the situation of our affairs renders it necessary for the remains of our Army to move from hence, when there will be no impediment to the execution of their plan. We hope therefore Sir, you will enable the Officers of the Department to improve this interval so as to effect their removal to a place of greater safety by having the Teams which are requested of your State immediately sent forward. We have the honor to be With the highest respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Humble servts

signed

J. Mathews

N. Peabody

signd

Enclosure

Providence, June 25th 1780.

Gentlemen,

I have been honored with your dispatches to the twelfth instant, inclusive. The General Assembly have ordered six hundred and ten men to complete the State’s quota. To effect which they have proportioned them to the several towns, to be raised and rendezvous at Providence by the first day of July; every exertion of Government will be made to complete this number, as well as to furnish the required supplies to the Army. You may be assured, Gentlemen, this State will make every exertion in their power to answer the expectations of the Public. I am, with the utmost esteem, Gentlemen Your most obedt humble [Servt]

W. Greene, Govr

True copy

Ab. Brasben Secy

Enclosure

Turkey 28th June 1780

Gentlemen,

I beg leave to inform you that the law of this State for enlarging the powers of the contractors, directs them to hire, purchase or impress their respective quota’s of horses, teams and drivers assigned to each county, amounting in the whole to the number required; and empowering them to purchase more of any article of Provision, until the first of January next, than their quota fixt in the former law—And a resolution of both houses direct the magistrates to impress all the teams they possibly can, in the counties of Hunterdon, Burlington, Monmouth, Middlesex and Sussex.

The Legislature has also passed a law for compleating the three regiments of this State, in the service of the united States, which is now carrying into execution. But they have not vested in any persons such powers as to enable them on the requisition of Congress or their committee to draw forth the Military resources of this State.

This, Gentlemen, is all the answer I am able to give to your several favours of the 19th & 23d June instant. I have the honor to be, With great respect, Gentlemen, Your most humble servt,

(Copy)

Wil: Livingston.

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