George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Patrick Henry, 8 September 1777

From Patrick Henry

Wmsburgh [Va.] sept. 8th 1777


The Defence of this Country now rests upon the Militia, our regular Troops being absent. As the Enemy may possibly visit us unexpectedly, & the Militia cannot be long kept embodyed, the Necessity of having the earliest Notice of the Enemys Embarkation, is apparent.

In order to be furnished with that Intelligence upon which the Safety of the State depends, I have directed Capt. peirce to wait on you with this, & if it is not disagreable to you, he is to write me the interesting Events that may happen, but in an especial Manner, everything that relates to a Movement towards their parts.1 He will communicate his Instructions to you, & if they are not incompatible with your Veiws, any Assistances you may please to afford towards his accomplishing them will be acknowledged by him who has the Honor to be Sir Yr most Obedient & very humble Servant

P. Henry

ALS, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP. The addressed cover includes the notation: “Favr of Capt. peirce.”

1William Pierce (1740–1789) of Virginia was appointed a captain in the 1st Continental Artillery in November 1776. He subsequently served as an aide-de-camp to Gen. John Sullivan, and in December 1780 he became an aide to Gen. Nathanael Greene. In the latter capacity Pierce carried to Congress news of the Battle of Eutaw Springs, S.C., in the fall of 1781, and in recognition of his good conduct in the battle, Congress voted him the present of a sword (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 , 21:1085). Pierce was brevetted a major in September 1783. After the war he moved to Savannah, Ga., where he became a merchant. In 1787 Pierce served in the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.

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