George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 19 July 1776

From John Hancock

Philadelphia July 19th 1776.


My Earnestness to convey to you as soon as possible, the Intelligence this Moment received from South Carolina, on which I most sincerely congratulate you, I am confident, will apologize for my not adding more, than to tell you, that enclosed you will find the Copy of General Lee’s Letter, and the Account from the Deserters who escaped after the Action.1 I am loth to hinder the Express one Moment. He is ready; and I will only say, that the enclosed Resolves of Congress were this Day passed, & to which I beg Leave to refer you.2 I will write General Schuyler tomorrow.

You will please not to print the Letter &c. received from Genl Lee, as by tomorrow’s Post, I shall write you again, and forward the Account printed for the public Information. I have the Honour to be with great Regard, Sir your most obed. & very hble Sert

John Hancock Presidt

I cannot detain the Express to give you the particulars of Govr Rutledges Letter, but will print it with the other parts submitted to me by Congress & forward you by to morrow’s post.3

God Bless you my Dr Sir, may you ever be under the Divine protection, & see an happy Issue to your noble Exertions. Yrs


LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A. The postscript of the LS is in Hancock’s writing.

1News of the American victory at Sullivan’s Island on 28 June was conveyed in copies of Gen. Charles Lee’s letter to Hancock of 2 July and the undated account enclosed in Lee’s letter that describes the British side of the battle as witnessed by five American prisoners who subsequently escaped from the enemy’s fleet (DLC:GW; see also Lee Papers description begins [Charles Lee]. The Lee Papers. 4 vols. New York, 1872-75. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 4–7. description ends , 2:107–13, and Charles Lee to GW, 1 July).

2The enclosed resolutions of this date deal with the engrossing and signing of the Declaration of Independence, various matters concerning Schuyler’s army, the march of militia reinforcements to New Jersey and New York, the appointment of a deputy adjutant general for the flying camp, rejection of Lord Howe’s peace overtures, and the manufacture of cannon (DLC:GW; see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:590–93).

3Hancock apparently also enclosed with this letter an undated note from Edward Rutledge covering an undated extract of a letter from his brother Hugh Rutledge describing some of the action at Sullivan’s Island (DLC:GW). Edward and Hugh Rutledge’s brother John Rutledge was governor of South Carolina at this time.

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