TRANSCRIPT GLC 6488
George Washington. Letter: Head Quarters Orange Town, to The
Committee of Cooperation, 1780 August 17. 4 p.
Head Quarters Orange Town 17th Augst. 1780
We are now arrived at the middle of August if we are
able to undertake any thing in this quarter, this campaign,
our operations must commence in less than a month from this,
or it will be absolutely too late. It will then be
much later than were to be wished, and with all the exertions
that can be made, we shall probably be greatly straightened
But I think it my duty to inform you that our prospects of
operating diminish in proportion as the effects of our applications
to the respective States unfold, and I am sorry to add that
we have every reason to apprehend [struck: that] we shall
not be in a condition at all to undertake any thing decisive.
The completion of our Continental Batalions to their full
establishment of 5th Rank & file has been uniformly &
justly held up as the basis of offensive operations
How far [inserted: we] have [struck: we] fallen short of this
the following state of the levies received and of the
present deficiencies will shew
By a return to the 16 Inst we [struck: have] [inserted::
had] recd from.
The deficiencies of the Battalions from a Return  of the
12th. allowing for the levies since arrived to the 16th are
St Battalions R & File
Jacksons [struck: lately] adopted
Webbs [struck: lately] adopted
In the whole
If the [inserted: amount of these] deficiencies [struck:
of, replaced: &] the detached Corps, necessarily on the
frontier and at particular Posts [struck: to] be deducted,
and a proper allowance [struck: to] made for the ordinary
casualties, and for the extra calls upon the army for Waggoners,
Artificers & c. it will be easy to conceive how inadequate
our operating force must be to any capital enterprize against
the enemy. It is indeed barely sufficient for defence.
Hitherto all the Militia, for three Month that have taken
the field under my Orders [struck: are] have been about
700 from New Hampshire
1700 from Massachusetts
800 from New York
500 from New Jersey
A part of the eastern Militia has been detained to assist
our allies at Rhode Island, and will shortly march to join
the Army: But from all the information I have ; the number
of Militia will fall as far short of the demand as the Continental
troops. And from the slow manner, in which the latter
have fo*r* some time past come in, I fear we have had nearly
 the whole we are to expect.
In the article of provisions our prospects are equally unfavourable.
We are now fed by a precarious supply from day to day. The
Commissary from what has been done in the several States,
so far from giving assurances of a continuation of this supply,
speaks in the most discouraging terms, as you will perceive
by the enclosed copy of a letter, of the 15th Inst. in which
he proposes the sending back [struck: of] the Pensylvania
Militia, who were [struck: ordered] to assemble at Trenton
the 12th. on [struck: a, replaced: the] principle of [struck:
the, replaced: a] failure of provisions.
As to forage & transportation our prospects are still
worse. These have lately been principally procured by military
impress - a mode too violent, unequal, oppressive and consequently
odious to the people, to be long practiced with success.
In this state of things, [inserted: Gentlemen,], I leave
it to your own judgment to determine how little it will be
in my power to answer the public expectation, unless more
competent means can be, and are without delay put into my
hands. From the communications of the General and Admiral
of our allies, the second division, without some very unfortunate
contrariety, will in all probability arrive before the time
mentioned as the ultimate period for commencing our operations.
I submit it to you whether it will not be adviseable immediately
to lay before the several States a view of our circumstances
at this juncture, in consequence of which they may  take
I have the honor to be
with greatest respect & esteem
Your Most Obedt Servt
N.B. The return of the Rhode Island Recruits, is to the last
of July more may have since joined There is a body
of Connecticut [struck: Militia, replaced: State] Troops and
Militia [struck: on the sound], employed in preparing Fascines
& c on the sound.
The committee of Congress
[struck: Honble. Committee Cooperation]
Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George
Washington. v. 19: 391-94.