George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 2 June 1781

New Windsor 2d June 1781


The proposed operations of the campaign will occasion such a demand for heavy cannon and military stores, as to exceed the number and quantity of those articles immediately in possession of the Continent. This insufficiency obliges me to apply to such of the neighbouring States as can afford us any assistance, with a full confidence that the importance of the object, and the apparent probability of success, will induce a ready compliance, according to their respective abilities.

If the States do not give the assistance requested, the most favourable moment that has happened during the war will be lost, and our weakness be too conspicuous, as well to our good Allies as to our enemies.

Upon these principles I apply, to the State of Massachusetts for the loan for the campaign, of eight pieces of heavy cannon with travelling carriages, either 24 or 18 pounders, as may be most convenient, and for the delivery of two 13 inch Sea mortars, which the Enemy left at Boston when they evacuated it in 1776. Col. Crane of the artillery, who is in Boston, will receive and endeavor to transport them to this river. The situation of the quarter master’s department, for want of money, also constrains me to request the State to give the Dep. Q. Master & Col. Crane the necessary assistance to forward these and other essential articles.

The urgency of knowing as soon as possible what we shall have to depend upon induces me to request an immediate answer to this, and my letter of the 25 ult. from Weathersfield, respecting the loan of Powder. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Your Excellency’s most obedt Servt

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