Front Page Titles (by Subject) CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE STATES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782)
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CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE STATES. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. IX (1780-1782).
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CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE STATES.
Weathersfield, 24 May, 1781.
In consequence of a conference held between the Count de Rochambeau and myself at this place, the French army will march, as soon as circumstances will admit, and form a junction with the American upon the North River. The accomplishment of the object, which we have in contemplation, is of the utmost importance to America, and will, in all probability be attained, unless there should be a failure on our part in the number of men, which will be required for the operation, or the enemy should withdraw a considerable part of their force from the southward. It is in our own power, by proper exertions, to prevent the first; and, should the last take place, we shall be amply repaid our expenses, by liberating the southern States, where we have found by experience we are only vulnerable.
Upon the calculations, that I have been able in concert with some of the most experienced French and American officers to form, the operation in view will require, in addition to the French army, all the Continental battalions from New Hampshire to New Jersey inclusive to be completed to their full establishment. You must be sensible, that the measures taken for that purpose, in consequence of the last requisition of Congress, have been very far from answering the end; as few recruits, comparatively speaking, have yet been sent forward, and of those, many have been discharged on account of inability. You must also take into consideration, that a number of those men, who were returned when the requisition was made, have since been taken off by the various casualties incident to an army; I estimate about one sixth of the number, therefore provision must at this time be made to replace them.
From what has been premised, you will perceive, without my urging further reasons, the necessity I am under of calling upon you in the most earnest manner, to devise means to send into the field without delay the number of men, which have been already voted for the completion of the battalions of your State, and the further deficiency of one sixth just mentioned. The term of three years, or for the war, would undoubtedly be preferable to any shorter period; but if they cannot be obtained on those conditions, necessity must oblige us to take them for the campaign only, which ought to be reckoned to the last of December. I should hope, that, by proper exertions in collecting and sending forward the men that have been already raised, and compelling by vigorous and decisive methods the delinquent towns to furnish their quotas, the greater part of the men may be collected by the 1st of July.
Arguments surely cannot be wanting to impress the legislature with a true sense of the obligation, which they are under, of furnishing the means now called for. The enemy, counting upon our want of ability, or upon our want of energy, have, by repeated detachments to the southward, reduced themselves in New York to a situation, which invites us to take advantage of it; and, should the lucky moment be lost, it is to be feared that they will, after subduing the southern States, raise a force in them, sufficient to hold them, and return again to the northward with such a number of men, as will render New York secure against any force, which we can at this time of day raise or maintain. Our allies in this country expect and depend upon being supported by us in the attempt, which we are about to make, and those in Europe will be astonished, should we neglect the favorable opportunity, which is now offered.
As it is probable, that some militia, in addition to the full complement of Continental troops, may be necessary to support communications and other purposes, you will be pleased to direct — men to be held in readiness to march within one week after I shall call for them, to serve three months after they have joined the army. And I would take the liberty of requesting, that the executive may be vested with full powers, during the recess, to comply with any further requisition I may make for men, provisions, or for the means of transportation, which last may be most essential in the course of our operations, should it become necessary to bring provisions or stores from a distance.
I shall be glad to be favored with an answer as soon as possible, with an assurance of what I may depend upon; that, if I do not clearly see a prospect of being supported, I may turn my views to a defensive instead of an offensive plan, and save the States and our allies the expense, which would be needlessly incurred by any but an ample and effectual preparation.
I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]The number of militia requested from Massachusetts was two thousand two hundred, from Connecticut fifteen hundred, from Pennsylvania, sixteen hundred, from New Hampshire four hundred, and from New Jersey five hundred. As the defence of Newport, after the French army should leave it, was to be entrusted to the militia of Rhode Island, no militia were required from that State to join the army. Soon after Pennsylvania was called upon to furnish two thousand five hundred men for the southern army, and its quota under the above call was allotted to the other States.