George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel John Cadwalader, 7 December 1776

To Colonel John Cadwalader

Trenton 7th Decr 1776.


As your Troops (from Philadelphia) can be better accomodated in this place than at Princeton, where Quarters are scarce, I would have you remain here till the whole of your Brigade comes up. In the meanwhile, keep me regularly advised of their arrival that I may endeavour to time other matters thereby.

If they are not already properly arranged no time should be lost in doing of it. nor in compleating them with Ammunition. keep them regularly supplied with three days Provisions ready Cooked—that they may be ready to March at a Moments warning.

The Marines—Sailors &ca from Philadelphia you will take under your care till a further disposition of them can be made, if necessary, letting me know in the meanwhile if they came out resolved to act upon Land or meant to confine their Services to the Water only.

Delay no time in advising me of your Strength. with sincere esteem and regard I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obt

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Cadwalader Collection.

John Cadwalader, a brother and business partner of Lambert Cadwalader and one of the wealthiest and most influential merchants in Philadelphia, was colonel of the 3d Battalion of Philadelphia associators, and as the senior colonel among the city’s associators, he commanded the brigade of Philadelphia associator battalions that reinforced GW’s army during December and January (see GW to Joseph Reed, 23 December). On 21 Feb. Congress appointed Cadwalader a brigadier general in the Continental army (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 , 7:141), but despite earnest urging from GW to accept that commission, Cadwalader declined it (see GW to Cadwalader, 3 Mar. 1777, PHi: Cadwalader Collection, and ibid., 170). Cadwalader again refused appointment as a Continental brigadier general in September 1778 (see ibid., 12:897, 941), but he did become a brigadier general of Pennsylvania militia in April 1777 and commanded a militia brigade in the field during the Philadelphia campaign later that year. Cadwalader subsequently moved to Kent County, Md., and served several terms in the Maryland general assembly before the end of the war.

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