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Letter to Caesar Rodney, June 20, 1780


George Washington.  Letter copy fragment: Springfield, sent by John Mathews to Caesar Rodney, 1780 June 20.  3 p. + doc. + address leaf.


Extract of a Letter from Genl. Washington Dated
Head Quarters Springfield 20th. June 1780.–


“The Honble the Committee will have informed Congress from time to time of the measures which have been judged essential to be adopted for co-operating with the Armament expected from France and of their requisitions to the States in consequence.  What the result of those has been I cannot determine to my great anxiety as no answers on the subjects of them have been yet received.  The period is come when we have every reason to expect the fleet will arrive – and yet for want of this point of primary consequence It is impossible for me to form or fix on a system of Cooperation.  I have no basis to act upon – and of Course were this generous succour of our ally now to arrive I should find my self in the most awkward embarrassing and painful situation.  The General & [inserted: the] Admiral from the relation in which I stand as soon as they approach our Coast will require of me a plan of the measures to be pursued; and there ought of right to be one prepared; but circumstanced as I am I cannot even give them Conjectures.  From these considerations I have suggested to the Committee by a Letter I had the honor of addressing them yesterday the indispensible necessity of their writing again to the States urging them to give immediate and precise information of the measures they have taken and of the result.  The interest of the States the honor and reputation of our Councils, the Justice [2] and gratitude due our Allies - a regard to my self all require that I should without delay be enabled to ascertain and inform them what we can or cannot undertake.  There is a point which ought now to be determined on which the success of all our future operation may depend which for want of knowing our prospects I am altogether at a loss what to do in.  For fear of involving the fleet and army of our Allies in circumstances which if not seconded by us would expose them to material inconvenience and hazard I shall be compelled to suspend it and the delay may be fatal to our hopes. –


Besides the embarrassments I have mentioned above and upon former Occasions there is another of a very painful and humiliating nature.  We have no shirts from the best enquiry I can make to distribute to the Troops when the whole are in great want and when a great part of them are absolutely destitute of any at all.  Their situation too with respect to summer over [struck:  h]all I fear is not likely to be much better.  There are a good many on hand at Springfield it is said, but so indifferent in their quality as to be scarcely worth the expense and trouble of transportation and delivery.  For the troops to be without cloathing at any time is highly injurious to the service & distressing to our feelings, but the want will be more peculiarly mortifying when they come to act with those of our Allies.  If it is possible I have no doubt immediate measures will be taken to relieve their distress.  It is also most sincerely to be wished that there could be [3] some supplies of cloathing furnished for the Officers  There are a great many whose condition is really miserable still, and in some instances it is the case with almost whole State lines.  It would be well for their own sakes – and for the public good - if they could be furnished.  When our friends come to co-operate with us they will not be able to go on the common routine of duty - and if they should they must be held from their appearance in low estimation.” –


Extract of a Letter from
Genl. Washington to
Congress – Dated 20th.
June 1780. –


Letter from
Jno Mathews
with a Copy of a Letter
from Genl. Washington
to Congress
Augst. 1780



Public service.
His Excellency,
Caesar Rodney, Esr.
State of
Jno. Mathews –