George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Smith, 18 October 1777

To Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Smith

Head Quarters [Worcester Township, Pa.]
October 18th 1777


In order to put your garrison in a more effectual state of defence, I have sent you a reinforcement of 200 men under Lt Col. Greene, who marched this morning to join you. Col. Arendt having now recovered from his indisposition will this day proceed to Fort Mifflin to take the command there agreeable to my first intention. Your conduct since you have been vested with it, has been such as to merit my intire approbation,1 and I am assured it will continue to be such as will finally preserve to you an equal claim to it. Col. Arendt’s knowledge and experience in war fully intitle him to the confidence of every officer and man under his command.

I am happy to communicate to you the important intelligence contained in the following letter.2 I am Sir Your most Obedt servt.

P.S. The enemy I am informed are preparing some floating batteries.3 This should be seriously attended to. Youll mention it to the Commodore. do not mention any thing of the reinforcement lest it may reach the Enemys ears—and they might endeavour to intercept it.

A very intelligent Gentleman just from Philada informs me that the Enemy find as much difficulty in raising Batteries from the Wetness of the Meadows, as from any thing else and rather more. They have stopped the Breaches as well as they can, but he thinks if a party of Men were to go privately every night or two and peirce the Banks of province Island that it would be next to impossible for them to carry on the Work. Endeavour by all means to have this done, but never let the thing be spoke of before it is undertaken or it may some how or other come to the Enemy’s Ears and they may take steps to prevent you.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s and Tench Tilghman’s writings, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Hamilton wrote all of the draft except for the last sentence in the first paragraph of the postscript and the entire second paragraph of the postscript, which are in Tilghman’s writing.

1At this place in the text of the draft manuscript, Hamilton wrote and then struck out the following phrase: “and would intitle you to a continuance in the chief command, did not the arrangement originally made, require it should be otherwise.”

2At this place in the text GW included a copy of the letter reporting Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga that he included in his letter to Christopher Greene of this date (see also Israel Putnam to GW, 16 Oct., and note 3).

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