George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 20 February 1781

In Congress Feby 20th 1781.


You will perceive by the Enclosed Copies that a Reinforcement to the british troops in the southern department has arrived in North Carolina. Congress wish you to be well informed of some Circumstances which render the situation of that department peculiarly in want of succour which can only be given by the troops of our Ally.

The people of North Carolina in that part last invaded are destitute of arms & Military equipments, and so great is the distance of that Country from the only Magazines from which they could be supplied and so great and almost insurmountable are the difficulties of transportation that there wants cannot be relieved in time to preserve them from the ravages of the Enemy. The people in the western parts of that Country are fully occupied in the Arduous Opposition to the forces under lord Cornwallis. The States of Virginia & North Carolina have it not in their power to Cloathe & Equip troops for the field, and the disappointments in receiving supplies from Europe render it impossible for Congress to give them such aid as will be effectual.

Congress wish you Sir, to take into Consideration all those circumstances and many others which are peculiar to that department, and produce such weakness as the public resources are not able to remedy in time for their effectual protection, & which are well known to you—And they desire you to urge all those Considerations to the Commanders of the fleet & army of our Ally, and if it should not very Materially interfere with the general dispositions designed for those forces to take the spediest measures for their reinforcing the Army in the southern department or if this be not Eligible to make such dispositions as may create a diversion.

Congress hope that the damage sustained by the british fleet in the late storm has Occasioned a change of circumstances so favorable to the forces of our Ally as to render them superior to the Enemy, and in Condition to perform this Essential service to the United States without danger of being exposed to a superior force. This measure is no less important than that of Opposing the Enemy with a well appointed & well equipped force in place of a force composed of troops perhaps destitute of every thing requisite for keeping the field. By order of Congress

Sam. Huntington President

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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