George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Henry Lee, 29 April 1777

From Richard Henry Lee

Philadelphia 29th April 1777

My dear Sir,

Being often obliged to write in great haste, is the reason that I sometimes omit to date my letters. But I am now to acknowledge the favor of yours of the 24th, and I readily acquiesce with your reasons concerning the Iron works—I was indeed not apprized of so great a number of these being in Jersey. I shall certainly exert myself to have your views for Gen. Arnold and Colo. Huntington carried into execution. This day the Committee of Secret Correspondence received a letter from Doctor Lee of later date as you will see than the former of which I sent you an extract. From the letter now received is taken what I have now the honor to inclose you.1 I realy believe it contains the true design of the enemy, and it may serve to explain the late Apparatus of Boats with Gen. Howe, and the continuance of the Troops at Rhode Island. It may be some advantage to us to be apprized of their intentions. Doctor Lee is of opinion that the state of Europe was so critical, that it seemed impossible a war could hold off three months. However this may be, you are certainly right Sir, that our utmost vigor and vigilance should be exerted. I am, with most unfeigned esteem, dear Sir Your most obedient and most humble servant

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. I think this plan of dividing their force, highly advantageous for us. Be pleased to accept my thanks for Mr Swans appointment.

R. H. Lee


1The enclosed extract from the letter that Arthur Lee wrote to the Secret Committee on 20 Feb. 1777 at Bordeaux, France, reads: “Upon my arrival here in my way to Madrid, I found a letter dated Feby the 2d from a confidential Correspondent, which contains the following passage. ‘Ten thousand Germans are already engaged, and Ships sent to convey them; the number of British cannot exceed three thousand, & those very indifferent. But much is expected from their being sent early. Boston is certainly to be attacked in the Spring. Burgoyne is to command. Howe will probably turn against Philadelphia. The Government expects great advantages from dissentions in Pennsylvania”’ (DLC:GW). For the previously sent extract from Arthur Lee’s letter to the Secret Committee of 11–14 Feb. 1777, see Richard Henry Lee to GW, 16 April.

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