George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 9 October 1780

Philadelphia October 9. 1780

Sir,

Agreeable to the request of General Gates I transmit your Excellency the enclosed Papers No. 1, 2, 3 & 4 this Day received—I have the Honor to be with the highest respect your Excellency’s obedient humble servant

Saml Huntington

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Enclosure

No. 1

Hillsborough 27 Septr 1780

Sir,

The 25th instant in the afternoon, I was honoured with the receipt of your Excellency’s Letter of the 9th of this month from Philadelphia—The Act of Congress of the 8th Instant, inclosed in your Letter will I hope have due weight with the States directed to Supply Six Months provisions and forage for fifteen thousand Men, The Army appointed to serve in the Southern department—By this Conveyance I shall write to the board of War, and acquaint them, with what Articles I can get supplied here; and what I must depend upon them for—I had no letter from the board of War by Colo. Senf except one, containing only a resolve of Congress reflecting the Exchange of Lieut. Col. Lawrens; but except Major McGill will bring their particular commands—A great many of the Virginia Militia have returned from their own homes, since the Action of the 16th Ultimo—they seem to be so mortified at the reception they met with in Virginia, and so ashamed of their past conduct; that I firmly believe they will, upon the first opportunity, face the stigma that at present tarnishes their reputation—I shall do all in my power to establish this resolution in their Hearts—and do therefore discourage the too frequent reflections upon their past bad behaviour—I have attentively considered the resolves of Congress of the 8th and 11th instant, by that of the 8th this State is directed to raise her Quota of Continental troops—the Assembly broke up lately, and only voted Militia to serve for three Months, and this is all that can be expected from this State until the next meeting of the Assembly—When Major Magill arrives, and I have sufficient light to guide me in fixing upon the proper places for forming magazines of provisions and forage, I shall in concert with the Governors of this, and the neighbouring States, determine upon that important business—I am happy to assure your Excellency, that Virginia and Maryland are exerting themselves to raise their Quotas of Men for the public service. Carriages, and provisions seem to me, to be Articles that will be more in request than Men—The specific Tax in this State is the only mode by which the two former can be procured—And that operates so slow, that its Efficacy can only be known hereafter—at present, we have no Magazine of provisions or forage and are only fed from hand to Mouth—Carriages are also very scantily supplied, but the board of War in whom the Executive powers of the State, are by the Legislature, invested; assure me things will shortly wear a more pleasing aspect—With this board, I am apparently upon the best terms, and every thing our joint Endeavours can effect, will be exerted for the Interest of the United States—I have requested the Governor of Virginia, and Maryland, with whom I constantly correspond; to send your Excellency Copies of every Letter, and paper transmitted to them, and I must entreat your Excellency will order these, with every other State paper, to be immediately copied, and sent to his Excellency, the Commander in Chief, for notwithstanding whatever may have been formerly insinuated to the Contrary; it was never in my Intention or design to be guilty of the smallest neglect to the exalted character, who so eminently fills that Station.

From the great depreciation of the Money, and particularly that of this State; the expences of the Commissary’s department, is become Enormous, I desire Congress will be pleased immediately to order a deputy Auditor General, well acquainted with the business of the Army, to this department; that the burthen upon my shoulders may in some degree be lessened, by the appointment and attendance of that necessary Officer—Major Armstrong the deputy Adjutant General in the Southern department having early in the Campaign, by the unwholesomeness of the Climate, contracted a violent fever, which terminated in an Intermittant—And had reduced him to a skeleton, he has my permission in order to save his life, to go to the Northward; I desire Congress will please to indulge him, with leave of Absence, until his health is restored—I am Sir your Excellency Most Obedient & Most humble Servt

Horatio Gates

P.S. The returns of the Continental troops & Militia, will come by the next express; I believe the first to be 1400, and the Latter about 1600; but this includes all that are at present in this State.

Enclosure

No. 2

Petersburg Sept 19th 1780

Sir

I beg leave to inform your excellency that there is here at my station about forty waggon Loads of arms and ammunition and other accoutrements, but how they can be got on to your excellency I am at a Loss to know. We have only two waggons at this station, and col: Gibson is now in want of some for his regiment, the troops are collecting fast and no provision making for Q.M. stores for them, a large quantity is wanting before they can possibly march. there is no D.Q.M.G. for the southern department, unless your excellency will interfere in this matter. I expect I shall have the whole preparation to make when it is wanted as I had for the Maryland Line. If your excellency will please to write Colonel Pickering the board of war or Congress to furnish me as Q.M. with cash or credit, I will go where I can get waggons and gears on good terms as also Q.M. stores, and will use my every effort to make preparations for your army immediately. I have the offer of a number of Q.M. Stores if I had money or could make the people certain of it in some short time. If your excellency, will favor me with your orders and instructions, I will go immediately to Philadelphia for that purpose, I hope to receive some directions from you on return of this bearer. I am with much respect &c.

Geo. Elliot A.D.Q.M.G.

Enclosure

No. 3

Hillsborough 27 Sept 1780

Sir

I must desire that you will as soon as possible after the receipt of this Letter proceed to Richmond and confer with his excellency the governor and the executive upon the measures to be taken for supplying and forwarding the continental troops from Petersburg to the army. Yesterday I received a Letter upon that subject from Mr Elliot A.D.Q.M.G. at Petersburg; a copy of which is sent by this express to the Governour. You will have the perusal of it when you arrive at Richmond. Having finished your business at Richmond I request you will proceed immediately to Petersburg where you will settle and adjust matters with Mr Elliot from thence I would wish you to come to me at my camp near Hillsborough where I should be glad to be informed by yourself how and in what manner, the Q.M. genl department in Virginia is to be conducted for the future that I may give every assistance in my power to promote the good of the public Service. I am Sir your very humble servant

Horatio Gates

Enclosure

No. 4

Hillsborough 27th Septr 1780.

Sir,

Inclosed is the copy of a Letter I received yesterday afternoon by Colo. Senf, it deserves immediate notice & attention; for unless the troops when they are assembled, & equipped, are enabled to march forwards, it will cause a most injurious delay to the public service. If bills at sixty days sight upon the treasuries of Virginia & Maryland will supply the necessary & unavoidable expence of the Qr Mr Genls department, I will with your approbation engage to issue them to Mr Elliot or Colo. Finnie for the engagements they are obliged to make in providing the troops to be sent to the southward. This State are providing & promised to equip their own troops, which is all we can ask from them, except paying their quota of the expence of victualling, or by their specific tax supplying that quota—I think Colo. Finnie should directly wait upon your excellency to know your sentiments upon this subject; inclosed is my letter Directing him to do so & then to proceed to my quarters thro’ Petersburg to take such orders & directions, as in consequence of his conference with your excellency it is found the public exigencies will require—Colo. Senf has the honor to deliver you this packet. I send him to your excellency to be employed upon the service mentioned in my last letter, his abilities are great in the engineers department & a better draughtsman I never saw; His integrity I am satisfied is unquestionable, but for the satisfaction of the execution I think Genl Nelson, or some other person of the first consideration in the State, might be requested to go with Colo. Senf to see & report his plans & observations. Earnest that Congress should have every information of the state of public affairs in this department I request your excellency to order copies of all the letters & papers that I have the honor to address to you, to be sent by the first proper conveyance to President Huntington—Colo. Morgan acquaints me that the bacon collected in Virginia for the army, is at several of the posts between Roan Oake & Richmond, issued to passing troops & others; this I must request your excellency may positively forbid, as cattle will be good for six weeks to come, consequently we ought to save the Bacon for winter & for a march.

Please to seal and forward the letter to Colo. Finnie. With great respect I am Sir your excellency’s most Obedient humble servant

Horatio Gates

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