Warwick June 7th 1781
The General Assembly of This State, deeply impressed with the absolute Necessity of assembling a respectable Armey in the Field, did, in the Begining of the Last winter, chearfully adopt proper Measures for Filling up our Continental Battalion, agreeable to the Arrangement of the Armey. With unwearied Exertions, and at a vast Exspence, they have proved so far successfull That the whole Number demanded have been inlisted, and mustered, Excepting Thirty nine; and such Measures are now pursuing that I trust the Remainder will be very soon Compleated. Sensiable allso that to provide for the Cloathing and feeding the Troops was equally necessary, They have hitherto Supplied, and sent forward, their Quota of Fresh Beef, and have laid up considerable Quantities of Salted provisions, and Rum; of that Former of which we now have nearly Seven Hundred Barrels, and of the latter about. Eleven Thousand Gallons, besides what hath been delivered to the Troops who have done Duty in the State. They have allso provided and sent on a Sufficiant Quantity of Summer Cloathing for the Battalion; and have on hand the Greatest part of the warm Cloathing for winter.
I Laid your Exellencys letters of the 18th and 24th of May before the General Assembly at their Sessions the Last week, they entered upon that Consideration of them with that Seriousness and Attention, which their Importance required. They contracted for Thirty Thousand Pound weights of Fresh Beef for the Month of June and the Same Quantity for July, to be delivered on the Hoof at such place or places On The East Side of the North River as the proper Officer for receiving it shall direct. And the Character of the Person contracted with is such that the punctual Performance of his Contract may be securely relied on.
Although there was a sufficient number of Tents in this State for the use of Your Battalion procured with money advanced by us, yet the Service requiring them For the Southern Armey, the General Assembly appointed a Committee to procure the Materials for, and to Cause One hundred and Twenty Tents to be immeadiately made for our Battalion. They will be soon compleated and delivered to the Assistant Quarter Master General in this State.
In Consequence of your Exellency’s Letter of the 24th of May the General Assembly ordered a Regiment of Militia to be embodied to do Duty on Rhode Island, for one Month: they are to rendevouse there to Morrow—Exepting Two Hundred of them who at the request of his Exellency Count de Rochambeau were ordered upon the Island Yesterday. I have received Information that a Considerable Part of them have gone on. Col. Archibald Crary, an Officer of Experience and Ability is Appointed to the Command of the Regiment and of the parts upon Rhode Island.
I will not Excite in your Excellencys Breast Those disagreeable Sensations which must arise from a Detail of The Distresses of this small State—I will only say that it is impossable for us, without the assistance of the neighbouring States, to garrison Newport—And Must earnestly request your Exelly to make an early Application to the other New England States for a just and equitable Proportion of Troops for the Defence of that Post which we conceive to be of Great Consequence to our Allies as well as to us.
During the Time the Enemy were in great strength at Rhode Island it frequently happened that this State was left in a Manner destitute of Succor from the Neighbouring States. At one Time there was not a Single Man from Conecticut, nor New Hampshire and but about One Hundred and fifty from Massachusetts. Sometimes, all the servicable Men in the State, sometimes a third and at others a forth Part were called upon Duty. The intolerable Burthens we then laboured under are so recent and the Apprehentions of Suffering Similar Distresses from a like Conduct in the neighbouring States are so Great that your Excellency will Excuse my being Importunate with you to make early Requisions and in such terms and with such Precision as your Excellency shall think best adapted to procure seasonably the necessary Succors. I have the Honor to be with the Greatest Esteem Sir your Exellencys Most obedient and Most humble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.