Lebanon 31st August 1780
I have the honor to receive inclosed in a circular Letter from the Honble Committee of Cooperation, a Copy of your letter to them dated 17th instant. I am sorry to find the large deficiences from the respective States as expressed in that letter.
I think it my duty to inform your Excellency that measures have been, & still are taking to furnish the men requested from their State, with the other requisites of provisions, teams, horses &c. that I belive the men will be soon collected to the army, not without some unavoidable, tho’ I hope no great failures. The men to serve in the Continental Army ’till the first of January, are daily going forward—the three months men are also Collecting. Of these latter Hez. Wyllys Esqe Lt Colo. Commandant hath with him at New London, and on Norwich River cutting and preparing fascines, gabions &c. about 800—he is with me this day—informs that work is now going on well, and will not be long in accomplishing, and his corps ready to join the army. The rest were order’d to Danbury—Lt Colonels Welles and Beebe with their Regiments are at Horseneck, ready for your call—Hope when they are marched off, that place may be in greater safety than they have been for some time past. The appearance of any thing decisive being undertaken, this State, I think will supply men sufficient to fill all it’s deficiences in that regard, by sending volunteers and independent Companies to enter the service, agreeable to a proposition sent me by B. Genl Parsons.
On the score of provisions, Good Providence hath afforded ample supplies. The regulations of Congress have put us into a condition, whereby they, especially the fresh Beef, I fear will come on to the Army very irregularly. We have been endeavouring a Correspondence of the Superintending Commissaries of the New England States, that they may know and keep up a regular course of droves of cattle. This State, if I am not misinform’d is in advance beyond the rest and the requisition made from it—I have heard there hath been a time lately when the army were destitute of cattle on hand—and at other times there may be more than is convenient—The droves ought to be under a direction which will bring them on regularly—This State have at New London four or five hundred barrels of best Irish Mess Beef, which, if requested, may be sent—It will be but to take an opportunity to send it into Connecticut River to Middletown or Hartford, which will be a great saving in expence of carriage—which brings me to the Quarter Master’s Department—the new regulations of which I fear, will bring on us fresh embarassments—I should have thought former experience would have taught a useful lesson, on the expediency of making such refin’d rules, and changes in the season for an Action campaign however, this State will make the best of it—though my fears are many.
The great difficulties and perplexities you are laid under, when duly notified to the concerned, and not remov’d, must forever exculpate Your Excellency from imputations of blame—it is my wish also to exculpate this State.
The affairs of our Currency is in a delicate situation—I see nothing to relieve but taxation & loans.
The enemy are endeavouring to sap the foundation of our credit, by draining us of our specie by clandestine trade—by sending out their emissaries with Goods to sell for hard money only, and by the nefarious practice of sending counterfeit Bills amongst us. The Lord reigns is just matter for our rejoicing with thankfulness [for] mercies receiv’d and in hope of those we still stand in need of; and a real belief [thereof a solid] foundation for our humble trust in him—for he is Good a strong hold in [the day of trouble,] he knoweth them that trust in him. I am with every sentiment of Esteem & Consideration Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Hble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Committee of Cooperation Lebanon 29th Augt 1780
Yours of the 19th instant have duly recd... The Force and Justice of your ingenuous Observations on American Affairs most sensibly affects my Mind... Yet can by no means believe the Spirit of Liberty is so farr lost. But that America may yet be roused and by her Exertions rise superiour to the Power and Policy of her relentless Enemies... Her Resourses are by the Blessing of Heaven adequate to her Necessities and doubt not they may be drawn forth... This State ever anxious to support the American Cause have made Provision for complying with the Requisitions in Men Provisions Forage & Teams and no Exertions will be wanting to carry the Same into Execution... The Men are daily going on and Measures using to hasten the Remainder should they prove unsuccesfull and an Attack be made on New York the Difficiencies will be made up in a short Time as such an Event would rouse the People to Arms... proper Persons are employed in purchasing Provisions & Forage and the advanced Season will I hope render the procuring the Same less difficult... The Ox Teams are procured & sent on and the greatest Part of the Horses the Residue will I doubt not be soon had... Hope no Relaxation in the necessary Preparations for a vigourous offensive Campaign will take Place on the Idea that every Requisition on this State for Men & Supplies will not be compleated. I am, with Esteem & Consideration Gentln Your Obedient hble Servant