George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Meshech Weare, 2 August 1781

Head Quarters near Dobbs’ Ferry Augst 2. 1781.


I regret being obliged to inform you that I find myself at this late period very little stronger than I was when the Army first moved out of their Quarters. Of the Militia which were required of the State of New Hampshire & which were to have joined me by the 15th of last Month, none have come in, and of the Levies for the Continental Battalions only thirteen in the course of the last Month. The reinforcements from the other States have been very inconsiderable.

I leave you to judge of the delicate and embarrassed situation in which I stand at this moment—Unable to advance with prudence beyond my present position, while perhaps in the general opinion my force is equal to the commencement of operations against New York, my conduct must appear, if not blameable, highly mysterious at least—Our Allies, with whom a junction has been formed upwards of three Weeks, and who were made to expect from the engagements which I entered into with them at Weathersfield in May last, a very considerable augmentation of our force by this time, instead of seeing a prospect of advancing, must conjecture, upon good grounds, that the Campaign will waste fruitlessly away—I shall just remark that it will be no small degree of triumph to our Enemys, and will have a very pernicious influence upon our friends in Europe, should they find such a failure of resource; or such a want of energy to draw it out, that our boasted and expensive preparations end only in idle parade.

I cannot yet but persuade myself, and I do not discontinue to encourage our Allies with a hope that our force will still be sufficient to carry our intended operation into effect, or if we cannot fully accomplish that, to oblige the Enemy to withdraw part of their force from the Southward to support New York, and which, as I informed you in my Letter from Weathersfield, was part of our plan.

You must be sensible, Sir, that the fulfilment of my engagements must depend upon the degree of vigor with which the Executives of the several States exercise the powers with which they have been vested, and enforce the Laws lately passed for filling up, and supplying the Army—In full confidence that the means which have been voted will be obtained I shall continue my preparations: But I must take the liberty of informing you that it is essentially necessary I should be made acquainted immediately on the receipt of this, of the number of Continental Levies and Militia which have been forwarded and what are the prospects of obtaining the remainder.

I will further add, that it will be equally necessary to see that the monthly Quota of Provisions stipulated at the meeting of the Commissioners at Providence is regularly complied with. I am With great regard & esteem Your Most Obedient Servt

Go: Washington.

Nh-Ar: Weare Papers.

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