Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE EXECUTIVES OF THE EASTERN STATES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778)
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TO THE EXECUTIVES OF THE EASTERN STATES. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VI (1777-1778).
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TO THE EXECUTIVES OF THE EASTERN STATES.
I take the liberty of transmitting to you the enclosed return, which contains a state[ment] of such of the Connecticut1 regiments as are in the army immediately under my command. By this you will discover how deficient, how exceedingly short, they are of the complement of men, which of right, according to the establishment, they ought to have. This information I have thought it my duty to lay before you, that it may have that attention which its importance demands; and in full hope that the most early and vigorous measures will be adopted, not only to make the regiments more respectable, but complete. The expediency and necessity of this procedure are too obvious to need arguments. Should we have a respectable force to commence an early campaign with, before the enemy are reinforced, I trust we shall have an opportunity of striking a favorable and an happy stroke. But if we should be obliged to defer it, it will not be easy to describe, with any degree of precision, what disagreeable consequences may result from it. We may rest assured that Britain will strain every nerve to send from home and abroad, as early as possible, all the troops it shall be in her power to raise or procure. Her views and schemes for subjugating these States and bringing them under her despotic rule will be unceasing and unremitted. Nor should we, in my opinion, turn our expectations to, or have the least dependence on, the intervention of a foreign war. Our wishes on this have been disappointed hitherto, and perhaps it may long be the case. However, be this as it may, our reliance should be wholly on our own strength and exertions. If, in addition to these, there should be aid derived from a war between the enemy and any of the European powers, our situation will be so much the better; if not, our efforts and exertions will have been the more necessary and indispensable. For my own part, I should be happy if the idea of a foreign rupture should be thrown entirely out of the scale of politics, and that it may have not the least weight in our public measures. No bad effects could flow from it, but, on the contrary, many of a salutary nature. At the same time, I do not mean that such an idea ought to be dicsouraged among the people at large.
Your ready exertions to relieve the distress of your troops for clothing have given me the highest satisfaction. At the same time, knowing how exceedingly the service has been injured, how that every measure will be pursued that circumstances will admit to keep them supplied from time to time, no pains, no efforts can be too great for this purpose. The articles of shoes, stockings, and blankets demand the most particular attention, as the expenditure of them, from the operations and common accidents of war, we find to be greater than of any other articles. I assure you, sir, it is not easy to give you a just and accurate idea of the sufferings of the troops at large. Were they to be minutely detailed, the relation,—so unexpected, so contrary to the common opinion of people distant from the army—would scarcely be thought credible. I fear I shall wound your feelings by telling you, that by a field-return on the 23d instant, we had in camp not less than 2,898 men unfit for duty by reason of their being barefoot and otherwise naked. Besides these, there are many others detained at the hospitals and in farmers’ houses for the same causes. I will no longer dwell upon the melancholy subject, being firmly convinced that your views and most studious care will be employed to render the situation of the troops, both officers and privates, comfortable in future. If the several States direct their attention to this indispensably essential object, as I trust they will, I have the most sanguine hopes that their supplies, with those immediately imported by Congress themselves, will be equal to every demand.
The return transmitted comprehends only such troops of your State as are at this camp. I imagine all the regiments stand nearly upon the same footing in point of deficiency; and from it you will be able to form a pretty just estimate of the men that will be necessary to fill the whole.
Before I conclude I would also add that it will be essential to inoculate the recruits or levies as fast as they are raised that their earliest services may be had. Should this be postponed the work will be to do, most probably, at an interesting and critical period, and when their aid may be materially wanted.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir.
P. S.—We have taken post here for the winter, as a place best calculated to restrain the ravages of the enemy, and busily employed in erecting huts.
[1 ]The name of the State varied with the letter.