George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 28 June 1781

Head Quarters Peekskill 28h June 1781

Dear Sir

The following is an extract of what I have just received from the Board of War in a letter of the 22d Inst. "The Board are unhappy to inform you that nothing is yet done in consequence of General Knox’s letter: immediately on the receipt of it they made the necessary estimates and applications to Congress for the following Sums—To the department of Military Stores £3794 Specie and for transportation £43,747 Specie but the money is not yet granted and nothing can be done without it. The Board have been informed that their Estimates were referred to a Committee who were directed to confer with Mr Morris on the subject."

I am every day more and more dubious of our being able to carry into execution the operation which we have in contemplation, not only from the small prospect of the necessary number of Men, but from an information which I have just received from the Minister of France and which is, that a reinforcement, said to consist of between three and four thousand Men, arrived at Charles town the beginning of this month. part were landed at Charles town, the remainder were intended for Augustine and New York. You must be sensible that a trifling augmentation of force at the latter place must render our success at least precarious. Under the foregoing circumstances, I am confirmed in what you know has always been my opinion, that it will be wrong to bring more Stores from the Southward than will be absolutely necessary, because, should we be disappointed here, they come so far out of the way. The case is different as to those which come from the Eastward. I have for these reasons, in my answer to the Board of War, desired them to compleat the Estimate at all events if possible, as the Stores will be always valuable, and have referred them to you for directions as to the transportation of such Articles as will be essentially necessary for a commencement of operations—the remainder may either be brought on when we see a certainty of proceeding—may remain where they are if the matter falls through, or may be turned southward should there be occasion. This plan appears to me such an one as does not put a stop to preparations, and yet avoids the great expence, except necessary, transportation. You will therefore, as soon as possible, make out the Returns of what will be first wanted and transmit them to the Board. You see their difficulties and will therefore be pleased to confine them to the essentials. I am with very great Regard Dear Sir Yr most obt and hble servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Be pleased to send down 6 dark Lanthorns and 12º Rockets by the Bearer.

MHi: Henry Knox Papers.

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