George Washington Papers

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison to John Hancock, 10 September 1777

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison to John Hancock

Chads Ford [Pa.] Septr 10th 1777.


Yesterday Evening, I received the honor of your Letter of the 9th with its several Inclosures. I have written to Genl Putnam to detach the Fifteen Hundred Men mentioned by Congress, and inclosed my Letter upon the subject, which you will be pleased to forward to him by the earliest Opportunity.1

In respect to the Subject of Monsr Du Coudray’s Letter, I would beg leave to observe, however eligible the measure might otherwise be, which he recommends, An attempt to carry it into execution at this time would answer no valuable purpose, as the work in all probability could not be more than marked out, when it would be wanted. I would also add, that I do not conceive any great advantages would be derived from it, supposing it would be compleated, as we are certain the Enemy will never attack Lines, which they can avoid. If they were obliged to approach Philadelphia, by a particular route, in such case, no exertions should be spared to erect works and the adoption of the plan would be highly expedient.

The Enemy are now lying near Kennets Square and in a tolerably compact body. They have parties advanced on the Lancaster Road and on those leading over this Ford & to Wilmington.2 Manuvring appears to be their plan; I hope, notwithstanding, that we shall be able to find out their real—intended route & to defeat their purposes.

By Light Horsemen this instant come in, the Enemy are in motion, & appear to be advancing towards us. His Excellency is giving the necessary Orders & getting the Troops under Arms which prevents him signing this himself as was intended at first. I have the Honor to be Sir Yr Most Obedt servt

Rob: H: Harrison

1, OClock. It is said the Enemy have halted.

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 152; ADfS, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The postscript is not included on the draft or the Varick transcript. Congress read this letter on 11 Sept. (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 , 8:731).

2British engineer Capt. John Montresor says in his diary entry for this date: “At 6 this morning the Army moved and arrived at noon at Kennet’s Square. . . . our march this day about 6 miles through an amazingly strong country, being a succession of large hills, rather sudden with narrow vales, in short an entire defile. This days march and not a shot fired. Encamped on very strong ground where we joined Lt.-General Kniphuysen’s division. . . . Accounts that the Rebels had moved heavy Artillery to the Turks Head [present-day West Chester, Pa.] by intelligence at 5 this evening. Rebel Light Horse about but fled” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 449). Hessian captain Johann Ewald writes in his diary: “we arrived on the morning of the 10th at Kennett Square, where the army brigades rested one behind the other. General Knyphausen remained here with the left column, while the column under Lord Cornwallis marched a good hour to the right as far as East Marlborough, where it camped along the highway to Philadelphia with the Jäger Corps covering the right flank” (Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 81; see also Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 30–31; Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 146; and Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 105–6).

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