West Point 5 Feby 1783
Agreeably to your Excellency’s request I enclose the estimate required in your favor of the 1st instant. I am sorry it is out of my power to render it in the manner you wished. But my not having any general returns of stores from the War Office prevents my stating, in a summary view, the difference of the estimate from what is in possession of the Continent. I am, with the highest degree of respect, Your Excellency’s most obedient servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
West Point 5 February 1783.
An Estimate of Ordnance, Ammunition, &ca necessary for the Siege of New York, comprehending an operation by Long Island, upon similar principles to the estimates made for the same purpose in the three preceeding years—the shots and shells conformable to the ordnance in possession.
|York Island and its communications|
|Long Island and its communications|
|24 light;||which may answer||10||4||8||3|
Fifty tons 12 & 16 ounce shots for the mortars and howitzers
|Cannon||Mortars and Howitzers|
|Mortars and Howitzers|
|5 1/2||inch,||26000||rounds||at||2||pounds each||=||52000|
|Cannon cartridge paper for extra service||100 reams|
|Old Junk for spun yarn to make wads||20 tons|
|Two inch oak plank for platforms||30000 feet|
|The cartridge boxes in general are old, and in case of an active campaign ought to be replaced with new ones—say||15,000.|
|at any rate, there ought to be five thousand to replace the bad ones.|
|Musket cartridges for 15000 men, each to have three sets of 40||1800,000|
The arms in general, it may be presumed, will last throughout another year. Deficiencies can be replaced with the new arms, of which there are about five thousand in store.
There are also in store Ten thousand damaged arms, most of which could be repaired—but there is not one armorer for that purpose.
I have been constrained to place a great number of 18 pounders in the estimate, we having but very few of larger calibres. The effect cannot be so great from them as from 24 or 32 pounders, the force being in proportion to the weight of the shot. But as we cannot obtain the larger sizes, we may have great confidence in those which are specified. [The] 12 pounders may answer for some of the communications.
All the cannon, mortars and howitzers, are in possession, at West Point and Philadelphia—it being presumed those which were left at York Town have been brought to the last mentioned place. In addition to those specified, twenty or thirty heavy pieces might probably be of great service. But as we have in our former designs obtained all the cannon that the neighbouring States would, upon the most pressing requests furnish, it is thought unnecessary to add a [ ] that cannot be procured.
In case of a combined French and American force, we might be relieved from the operation of Long Island—in which case, the ordnance in the estimate would, it is presumed, be amply sufficient for York Island and its appendages.
In the former general estimates it was observed that there were many other articles which would be wanted for a siege—particularly an immense laboratory preparation of fuzes, [potr]fires, tubes [for] fireballs, carcasses; cordage, canvass &c. &c. all of which I would prefer to have made immediately under my own direction at this place. Particular estimates for the materials, which will be very considerable, may as occasion shall require be presented to Your Excellency, and the Minister of War.
I should have been happy to have laid before Your Excellency, in one view, the articles demanded—those on hand—and the deficiencies. But as I have no return of any stores at Philadelphia or South of it, or any place Eastward of this River, I am consequently incompetent to the task. It can however be obtained from the War Office. I have annexed the returns of the shots and shells at Hibernia, Mount Hope and Pompton furnaces in Jersey, and at Salisbury in Connecticut. These are considerable magazines and the returns are of a late date. There are very large quantities of shots and shells in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Report of Shots and shells,
at the places hereafter mentioned.
H. Knox Major General
Commanding the Artillery