George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 18 June 1781

Roxbury June 18th 1781

Dear General

I have been honored with yours of the 7th instant.

I have not for a moment neglected the business of my mission, or eased my solicitations to effect it and have the pleasure to assure your Excellency, that there is a disposition in all the New England States, to afford every aid and support you have required as far as is within their power.

This Common wealth, have passed the most spirited resolutions for completeing their Battalions, To ensure the seven thousand rations of Fresh Beef pr Day, for the month of July, and the remainder of the Campaign, they have passed a resolution requiring the several Towns to collect monthly three Hundred and seven teen thousand pounds of live Beef, which quantity it is supposed after the deduction of hides and tallow and the wastage in driving &c. will afford the seven thousand pounds pr Day at the Army. Blank Executions are sent out that in case of any delinquency, the deficiency may be levied by distraints immediately. To ensure a supply between this time and the opperation of the resolve, a Sum of money partly in specie is sent to Mr Phelps the superintendant to enable him to continue his purchases. I think the supply of Fresh Beef [is] certain in Massachusetts. From Rhode Island your Excellency has already heard,From Connecticut and New Hampshire I expect to hear bytomorrows post.

Your Excellencys letter of the 7th with a pressing solicitation, I have laid before the Assembly here, and shall by the post send coppies to this other three States. The Rum has been under consideration to Day, a Quantity will be procured and forwarded immediately[.] in all my former applications I had represented the necessity of it, both for the Comfort, and health of the troops, and flattered myself twenty Hogsheads from Connecticut had long since arri[ved] at the Army. I had also requested Governor Greene to forward a part of that at Rhode Island, the Quantity I am soliciting is One Hundred and twenty Hogsheads pr month.

Between two and three thousand frocks and Overalls, will go on from this State in a few Days. I have, and shall continue to urge, on all the States, the necessity of a competent supply.

Messrs Otis and Henley had Opened all the packages of Cloathing from Spain, by order, as they inform me of a member of the Board of war (Genl Cornell) before I was favored with your letter and they add that it was fortunate that they did, as some of the packages were wet. The waist Coats Breeches a number of Hatts &c. went forward the last week. I have directed the remainder of the whole to be packed and forwarded as soon as possible.

The ordnance with the military Stores are going on, the marine mortars, will be a heavy, and expensive Jobb. The Common wealth, most chearfully grant every aid in their power, but the present fluctuating state of the currency, and embarrassed state of their finances with the almost instant complication of calls, for provisions, cloathing, transportation and completeing their Battalions, the latter of which is attended with very great expence taken all together, are a burden, which trys all their feelings, and it affords a most pleasing satisfaction, to see with how much chearfullness, and fortitude they bear it— A convention of Committees from the four States, are to meet at Providence on monday next, in order to establish a System for regular supply for the Campaign.

Your Excellency will doubtless before this reaches you, have heard of the success of the Army of our great and good Ally in the East Indies, and the probability of Great Britain’s being striped of her invalluable possessions in that Quarter of the Globe; we have other news of consequence that can be depended on. I have the honor to be with the highest respect & Esteem your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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