<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0295

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Secret Committee
Recipient: Commissioners at Paris

Honorable Gentlemen

We have the honor to enclose you a Resolve of Congress that is of great
Importance to the public Service,1
which has suffered considerably the last Fall, and during this Winter,
by the insufficient manner in which our Soldiers vuere clothed. Having
found much Delay heretofore in getting Cloth made up, the Congress
desire that 40,000 compleat Suits of Soldiers Cloaths may be sent. In
giving directions for the making these Cloaths, it may be necessary,
Gentlemen, to inform that both the Coats and Waistcoats must be short
skirted, according to the dress of our Soldiery, and that they should
be generally for Men of stouter make than those of France. Variety of
Sizes will of course be ordered.

The Eastern Ports are generally entered with so much more Safety than the
Southern, that we recommend the former for these Goods to be sent to,
giving Orders to the Captain to inform Congress immediately of his
Arrival, either by Express or by personal Attendance. We expect this
Letter will be delivered you by Capt Johnston, Commander of the
Lexington armed Vessel,2 and as the
Congress are very anxious to hear from you, it is probable Capt.
Johnston will not remain long enough in France to get either Cloth or
Cloaths in any quantity, but since it is necessary for the health of
the Soldiers to cover them from the Dews of summer it will be of great
Advantage to send a considerable quantity of Blankets and Tent Cloth by
the Return of the Lexington, with Stockings, Flints, & Muskets with
Bayonets. The Soldiers Cloaths and the Cloth should be so contrived as
to reach North America by the month of September at furthest.

We are with esteem, honorable Gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble
Servants.

Richard Henry Lee
Fras Lewis
Wm Whipple

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, British Museum, Additional Manuscripts 34413. Drafted by Lee. Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 258 – 60. Another draft by Lee is in the Lee Papers, Harvard University Library.

1 Undoubtedly the resolve of February 5, directing the commissioners to
procure blankets and clothing. JCC, 7:92 – 93. A variant draft of this
letter, in Lee’s hand, included as a postscript a list of the items
requested by this resolve. Lee Papers, MH-H.

2 John Hancock, on behalf of the Marine Committee, sent Robert and Samuel
Purviance a brief note this day requesting that they make $90
advances to seamen “without delay that the manning of the Lexington
may be promoted with all possible dispatch.” Naval History
Collection, NHpR. see JCC, 7:127.