Office of Finance Philadelphia august 28th 1781.
Your favour of the 27th from Chatham, has just been delivered me by Coll Miles, and in consequence, I have advised him to secure the assistance of the President & Council of this State, in case it should be necessary; but, as a preferable mode of procuring the Craft, I advise his engaging to pay them in a short time after the Service is performed and, if needfull, I shall join in this assurance, and finally see it performed. I directed the Commissary General, immediately on my return from Camp, to cause the deposite of three hundred Barrels of Flour, three hundred Barrels Salt meat, and twelve Hogsheads of Rum to be made at the Head of Elk; and pointed out the means of obtaining them, For this purpose, he sent down a Deputy some days since; and I expect all will be ready there. I am much more apprehensive on the Score of Craft, both in Delaware & Chesapeak. I have written to the Quarter Master of Maryland & Delaware, Mr Donaldson Yates, to exert himself in procuring the Craft. I have written to the Governor, and to several of the most eminent merchants in Baltimore, to extend their assistance and influence in expediting this business. Foreseeing the necessity of Supplies from Maryland & Delaware, I have written in the most pressing Terms, to the Governors and Agents to have the Specific Supplies required of them by Congress in readiness for Delivery to my order, and now that your movements must be unfolded to them, I shall still more strongly shew the necessity and stimulate their exertions, by holding forth what is due to their own immediate Interest and Safety. But still I fear you will be disappointed, in some degree, as to the Shipping; and that I shall be compelled to make purchases of provisions, which if it happens must divert the money from those payments to the army that I wish to make. I have already advised your Excellency of the unhappy situation of money matters, and very much doubt if it will be possible to pay the Detachment a months pay as you wish, therefore it will be best not to raise in them any expectation of that kind. Should it come unexpectedly so much the better. I do not think it practicable to provide the Salt Provisions here, even if a disappointment happens in New England but have particularly recommended attention to the Article in Maryland, which is to furnish 10.500 barrels of Beef & Pork.
No news here yet of the Count De Grasse; but I have had occasion to lament, that too many People have for some days past seemed to know your Excellency’s intended movements.
This City is filled with Strangers, so that Coll Miles cannot procure private Lodgings, and my Family being chiefly at Springetsbury, affords me the opportunity of appropriating my House in Town to your Use. I believe we can accommodate your aids &c. with matrasses, but our Beds are chiefly in the Country, and as what I have cannot possibly be appropriated to a better use, I beg your Excellency will Consider and use my House and what it affords as your own. I have the honour to be Your devoted Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.