Camp Augt 3. 1781.
In the inclosed proposition for general orders, I have these objects in view: To ascertain the quantity of forage consumed in this county, by knowing the numbers of cattle fed there—To find who are possessed of public horses—To see who keep horses to whom public forage is not allowed, or who keep more horses than are allowed them, or than your Excellency shall judge necessary; that what are superfluous may be removed.
There are so few inhabitants in this county, and so few of these cut any hay, I am apprehensive of the army’s being too soon distressed for forage, vast quantities of which have already perished. If two hundred mowers and hay-makers were immediately turned out, some magazines might be formed in the rear of the army: but if the forage masters cut only enough for the daily wants of the army, in a fortnight I fear nothing worth cutting will remain. Every thing but the bog grass will be dried up. There will be very little second growth, as the strength of the plant & the soil will be exhausted in ripening the seed of the first crop that is perishing on the ground.
I beg leave to submit these matters to your Excellency’s determination; and am, with the greatest respect your most obedt servt
Tim: Pickering Q.M.G.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.