To John Hancock
Head Qrs Falls of Delaware Decr 10th 1776
Since I had the honor of addressing you Yesterday, nothing of importance has occurred. In respect to the Enemy’s movements, I have obtained no other information,1 than that they have a number of parties patrolling up and down the River, particularly above.2 As yet they have not attempted to pass, nor do any of their patrols, though some are exceedingly small, meet with the least interruption from the Inhabitants of Jersey.3
By a Letter received last night from Genl Lee of the 8th Instt, he was then at Morristown, where he entertained thoughts of establishing a Post; But on receiving my dispatches by Major Hoops, I should suppose he would be convinced of the necessity4 of his proceeding this way with all the force he can bring. I have the Honor to be with great respect Sir Your Most Obedt Servt
P.S. 9 OClock A.M. I this minute received information that the Enemy were repairing the Bridges,5 three or four miles below Trenton, which seems to indicate an intention of their passing lower down and suggests to me, the necessity that some attention should be had to the Fort at Billingsport, less they should possess them selves of it, the consideration of which I beg leave to submit to Congress;6 I have wrote to the Council of Safety on the Subject.
LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, in Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. For significant variations in wording in the draft, see nn. 1–6. Congress read this letter on 11 Dec. (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 , 6:1023).
1. The draft reads: “In respect to the Enemy’s movements, no other information has been obtained.”
2. The draft reads: “(particularly the former).”
3. The draft reads: “nor do their patrols meet with the smallest interruption from the Country people.”
4. The draft reads: “But on receiving my dispatches by Major Hoops, it is probable, he will see the necessity.” These dispatches have not identified (see Lee to GW, 8 Dec. [second letter], and GW to Hancock, 8 December).
5. The draft reads: “the Bridges which had been taken up.”
6. The draft reads: “an intention of passing lower & Suggests to me the necessity of payind [paying] some attention to the Fort at Billingsport.” Billingsport (now Paulsboro), N.J., is about twelve miles down the Delaware River from the center of Philadelphia. Congress on 14 June 1776 had authorized the Pennsylvania committee of safety to build a redoubt at Billingsport as part of a system of defensive works designed to protect Philadelphia from a British attack up the river (see 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 , 5:443).