Abbildungen der Seite

of the harbour of New York, with remarks made on it by the pilots, not have been lost, I could wish you would be so obliging as to forward it or a copy to me by some safe conveyance, as it may be eventually advantageous to have it here. Colonel Tupper, who goes to relieve Colonel Vose, will have the honor to deliver this letter to you. I am, &c.



New Windsor, 10 May, 1781. DEAR SIR, Major-General Heath, second in command, and an officer whose high rank and consideration entitle him to particular notice and attention, is prevailed upon to proceed to the several eastern States, to represent the present distresses of the army for want of provision, and the consequences which must inevitably ensue, unless a more regular system and more vigorous measures for affording supplies are speedily adopted.

From the post of Saratoga to that of Dobbs's Ferry inclusive, I believe there is not (by the returns and reports I have received) at this moment one day's supply of meat for the army on hand. Our whole dependence for this article is on the eastern States; their resources I am persuaded are ample. To request and urge that they may be drawn forth regularly, and to be informed with precision and certainty what may absolutely be depended upon through the campaign, are the objects of this application.

I have already made representations to the States, of the want of provisions, the distress of the army, and the innumerable embarrassments we have suffered in consequence; not merely once or twice, but have reiterated them over and over again. I have struggled to the utmost of my ability to keep the army together, but all will be in vain without the effectual assistance of the States. I have now only to repeat the alternative, which has been so often urged, that supplies, particularly of beef-cattle, must be speedily and regularly provided, or our posts cannot be maintained, nor the army kept in the field much longer. I entreat your Excellency, that this representation may be received in the serious light it is meant and deserves, or that I may stand exculpated from the dreadful consequences, which must otherwise inevitably follow in a very short time. I enter not into the detail of matters, as General Heath will be able to give your Excellency every necessary information, as well as to lay the proper estimates of supplies for the campaign before you. I am, &c.*


New Windsor, 11 May, 1781. DEAR SIR, Not having seen or heard of any resolve of Congress for establishing the principles of promotion in the army, I am apprehensive that the report of the committee, who had this matter under consideration, is now sleeping in Congress. This, and a recent instance in the Pennsylvania regiment of artillery in proof of the absolute necessity of adopting some mode, by which the whole army may be bound, and a stop thereby be put to those disputes, which keep it in a continual state of distraction and discontent, are the reasons for my troub

* Sent as a circular to each of the eastern States. VOL. VIII.

ling you again on this subject, and praying that some decision may be come to by Congress. It is much easier to avoid disagreements, than to remove discontents; and I again declare, that if my differing in sentiment from the opinions of the committee in some points has been the occasion of delay, I would, rather than have the matter lie over a moment, yield a free assent to all their propositions ; for any principle is better than none. I also wish, though this is more a matter of private than public consideration, that the business could be taken up on account of Mr. Tilghman, whose appointment seems to depend upon it; for, if there are men in the army deserving the commission proposed for him, he is one of them.

This gentleman came out a captain of one of the light infantry companies of Philadelphia, and served in the flying camp in 1776. In August of the same year he joined my family, and has been in every action in which the main army was concerned. He has been a zealous servant and slave to the public, and a faithful assistant to me for nearly five years, a great part of which time he refused to receive pay. Honor and gratitude interest me in his favor, and make me solicitous to obtain his commission. His modesty and love of concord placed the date of his expected commission at the 1st of April, 1777, because he would not take rank of Hamilton and Meade, who were declared aids in order (which he did not choose to be) before that period, although he had joined my family, and done all the duties of one, from the 1st of September preceding.

My public letters to Congress will have informed you of the situation of this army, and I have no scruple in giving it as my decided opinion, that, unless a capital change takes place soon, it will be impossible for me

to maintain our posts, and keep the army from dispersing.

The resolution of Congress to appoint ministers of war, foreign affairs, and finance, gave, as far as I was able to learn the sentiments of men in and out of the army, universal satisfaction. Postponing the first, delaying the second, and disagreeing about the third, have had the directly contrary effect; and I can venture to assure you, not from random guess or vague information, that the want of an able financier, and of a proper plan for the disposition of foreign loans, will be a greater bar to the obtaining of them than perhaps Congress are aware. I could say more on this subject, were I at liberty; but I shall only add, that there is not in my opinion a moment to be lost in placing a proper character at the head of our finance, that he may as soon as possible enter upon the duties of his office. I am, &c.


Head-Quarters, New Windsor, 11 May, 1781. DEAR SIR, I am pleased to hear so flattering accounts of the prospects of obtaining men and some kinds of supplies; but so great are my apprehensions, on the score of provisions, that I am sending General Heath purposely to the eastern States to represent our distresses, and to endeavour to fix a plan for our regular supply in future. I refer you to him for particulars, which I do not choose to trust to paper. After General Heath has finished this business, his private affairs will detain him some time at home; and, as he will be able at the same time to attend to what you

have at present in charge, you may, upon his return from New Hampshire to Boston, come to the army. You will have my warmest thanks for the zeal, with which you have promoted and forwarded every measure tending to the good of the service. I am, &c.


New Windsor, 14 May, 1781. Sir, I have had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letter of the 11th instant. Give me leave to congratulate you on your safe arrival, and your appointment to the command of his Most Christian Majesty's fleet and sea forces upon these coasts. It affords me no small degree of pleasure to find the command devolve upon an officer of your Excellency's distinguished character. I have appointed Monday, the 21st of this month, for the time of our interview at Weathersfield ; and I shall very impatiently wait for the opportunity of convincing you personally, that I am, &c.*

* From the letter of Count de Barras. — “I have the honor to announce to your Excellency my arrival at Boston, on the 6th of this month, in the frigate Concord ; the King having appointed me to the command of his squadron in these seas. I arrived here yesterday. The Count de Rochambeau has communicated to me the letter, which he had the honor to write to your Excellency, requesting an interview. When he shall receive your answer, we will conform to your decision. I am very impatient to have the honor of making an acquaintance with you, and to assure you that I have nothing so much at heart as to render myself serviceable to the King and to the United States." Newport, May 11th.

Count de Rochambeau had written, in communicating the intelligence of the arrival of Count de Barras at Boston ;-“I believe it will be necessary, as soon as we have received our despatches, that we should have a conference with your Excellency. By the next express I shall inform you of it. Your Excellency may, however, fix upon the place for our meeting. The Commodore is about sixty years of age, a particular friend

« ZurückWeiter »