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Valley Forge 1-2-78

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  • umfspock87@cs.com
    Dear Liste, Here is a letter from General Washington to the Congressional War Board outlining the current situation at Valley Forge, 225 years ago today.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2003
      Dear Liste,

      Here is a letter from General Washington to the Congressional War Board
      outlining the current situation at Valley Forge, 225 years ago today.


      Mike Cecere 3rd & 7th VA

      George Washington to Continental Congress War Board, January 2, 1778
      Head Quarters, Valley Forge, January 2--3, 1778.

      It would be a happy circumstance, if the Cloathing from Virginia was made up,
      that it might be delivered to the Troops from thence. I believe there will be
      little, nay none for any other part of the Army, after they are supplied,
      supposing such to be the wish of the State. Their views do not extend only to
      such of their Soldiery as are now in Camp, but to their Men in Hospitals and
      the recruits or drafts who will join hereafter; And I am satisfied, should
      any of it be appropriated to the use of others and their own troops want,
      there will be disgust and dissatisfaction. From the Letters I have received
      upon the Subject, it is particularly mentioned that the supplies which the
      states procures, are intended for their own Men and this is agreeable to the
      Idea entertain'd by the other States.

      The Connecticut Troops now here, have received from thence more necessaries
      of an essential nature than their present wants require and these are kept
      for their future demands. As to Blankets, I really do not know what will be
      done. Our situation in this instance is peculiarly distressing. I suppose
      that not less than from 3 to 4000 are now wanted in Camp, Our Sick want, Our
      unfortunate men in captivity want. I gave Doctor Shippen an order some time
      ago for 400, said to be coming from the Eastward; whether they have been
      received or not, I cannot tell. To relieve in one quarter, is to distress in
      another, and I do not see that any of those sent from Virginia, can be
      possibly spared from the Troops here.

      I have written to Genl Smallwood, who is posted at Wilmington, respecting the
      Cattle said to be driven to the Marshes in Kent County, and given him
      direction to inquire into the fact and if found true, to pursue proper
      measures for their removal and security.

      Whether the Men from the Eastward, drafted for a short term of Service, have
      received Cloathing is a matter I am not able to determine. I do not apprehend
      that they have drawn much since they joined this Army; Because the supplies
      in the Cloathier's hands would not admit of it; nor do I know certainly
      whether they have had any. As far as it is in my power I shall attend to the
      prohibition, tho' the observance of it will be found easier in Speculation
      than in practice.

      I have given directions to the Commissary and Qr. Master about the Flour and
      Bread at Elk and hope measures will be pursued, that they will be with the
      Army or in the vicinity of it by the time they are wanted.

      The Army being much reduced by Sickness, by the expiration of the time of
      service of Several of the Troops, by Detachments and other Causes, I cannot
      think it safe to weaken it more, and therefore cannot comply with the
      requisition for sending Taylors to Lancaster. However, that the Supplies of
      Cloathing may be forwarded, I have directed a return to be made of all the
      Taylors and they will be set to Work either in Camp or at some place
      Contiguous to it, as soon as Cloth and other materials arrive.

      January 3.

      Your favors of the 28th and 30th Ulto. came to hand this Morning. In
      compliance with the Board's request, I have ordered Colo. Heartley's Regiment
      to march to York, and in turn shall expect as soon as possible the Detachment
      of Men, which you mention. This measure at the same time, does not appear to
      me very adviseable, The Army, as I have observed before, being greatly
      reduced and weakened by the term of service of several Regiments being
      expired and from other causes. It is daily diminishing. On the 31st day of
      Decr. the Inlistments of near 300 of Colo Stewart's Regiment ended and they
      are all gone. Our condition in point of force is far from being the most
      eligible or respectable, and in case the Enemy should make a General push,
      would be hazardous.

      I shall use every exertion, that may be expedient and practicable, for
      subsisting the Army and keeping it together; But I must observe, that, this
      never can be done by coercive means. Supplying of Provisions and Cloathing
      must be had in another way, or it cannot exist. The small seizures, that were
      made of the former, some days ago, in consequence of the most pressing and
      urgent necessity, when the alternative was to do that or dissolve, excited
      the greatest alarm and uneasiness imaginable even among some of our best and
      Warmest Friends. Such procedures may relieve for an Instant, but eventually
      will prove of the most pernicious consequences, besides spreading
      disaffection and jealousy in the people, they never fail even in the most
      veteran Armies, under the most rigid and exact discipline, to raise in the
      Soldiery a disposition to licentiousness, plunder, and Robbery, which has
      ever been found, exceedingly difficult to suppress and which has not only
      proved ruinous to the Inhabitants, but in many instances to Armies themselves.
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