<br /> Lee Letter: n335

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Benjamin Rush
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir,

My letters I fear will prove troublesome to you but I cannot help it. Your
industry as well as zeal in the Service of your country encourage me to
convey every hint that occurs to me to your knowledge – being well
convinced that if you think them of importance, you will force the
congress to attend to them.

The Sufferings of our brave Continental troops from the want of cloaths
exceed all description. I shall not give you or myself the pain of
attempting to paint them. It becomes us to do every thing to remedy
them as quick as possible, and guard against them for the future. For
heaven’s sake let it [be] a standing order of Congress that no subject
should be broached there for three weeks to come but what relates to
the cloathing and officering of the Army. I am in hopes we have got a
sufficient stock of Woolens for the present year – But what shall we do
for linnens? Every soldier in the British army is obliged to have four
shirts, and to shift twice a week. Clean linnen is absolutely necessary
to guard against lice and sickness. All the medicines in the world will
not make an Army healthy without cleanliness. Suppose an Application is
made to every man in America for one or two of his own shirts for the
benefit of the Army? The application I am sure will be successful. Col:
Griffin informed me that had our scheme for cloathing the Army with
second hand cloaths proposed three months ago in Congress been adopted
three fourths of the poor ragged fellows whose times are now expired
would have reinlisted. Let nothing prevent the execution of this Scheme
but a large supply of new linnen which I believe is not to be had. It
would tend greatly to preserve the health of our Army if each soldier
would have two flannen [sic] shirts instead of two linnen ones to wear
in wet weather & in the fall of the year. But I fear we have not a
sufficient stock of wool by us for that purpose.

Nothing new. Col: Griffin with only 800 men keeps How’s whole army under
constant alarms in New Jersey. He has had several successful skirmishes
with them. Our militia who croud in daily call aloud for Action! Yours,

Benjn Rush


Receiver’s copy, University of Virginia Library.