George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Smallwood, 19 September 1777

From Brigadier General William Smallwood

James Mechlans Tavern1 [Pa.] September 19th 1777


Last Night Colonel Gist joined me he has * Troops—our united Force amounts to §. I am now on my march and rest assured every Effort shall be exerted to §§—as expeditiously as possible which I hope to effect Tomorrow—the Shameful neglect in the Commissarys Department throws many Obstacles in my way and retards my March—I am reduced to the Necessity of sending Officers forward to provide for the Troops which has been the case ever since I set out notwithstanding I have acquainted Mr Buchannan with this Defect I cannot obtain any Remedy—once more allow me to assure you that my utmost endeavours shall be exerted to comply with your Requisitions of yesterday—I have—† this County Lieut. and others of Integrity with me but cannot ascertain my Route so precisely as to point it out. my Baggage I shall send by §—but believe I shall fall more down to the Right with the troops. in much haste I have the honor to be yr Excellency’s most Obedt Sert

W. Smallwood

ALS, owned (1994) by Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Fla; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. Smallwood franked the addressed cover of the ALS. Important parts of the text on the ALS were erased and replaced with typographical symbols, apparently as a precaution in case the letter was intercepted by the British. Although these symbols may have constituted some sort of simple code, no key for such a code has been identified.

1The proprietor of this tavern may be James Machlin who lived in West Caln Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Mordecai Gist wrote Gov. Thomas Johnson on 18 Sept. from the “Cross Roads Near Nottingham” that “I expe[c]t to form a Junction with General Smallwood this Evening who I understand is about nine miles from this place” (Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 16:378–79).

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