George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 24 October 1777

To John Hancock

Head Quarters [Whitpain Township, Pa.] Octor 24th 1777.


I do myself the honor of transmitting to Congress the inclosed copies of sundry letters just now received, and congratulate them most sincerely on the important intelligence which they contain.1 The damage the Enemy have sustained in their Ships, I hope will prevent their future attempts to gain the passage of the river, and the repulse of the Troops under Count Donnop and his Captivity, I flatter myself will also be attended with the most happy consequences. At the time these Actions happened, a supply of Ammunition was on the way to the Forts, and I have also ordered a further quantity to be immediately sent. By Colo. Blaine, one of the issuing Commissaries, who left Red Bank, in the morning before the action, I am happily informed, that he had thrown considerable supplies of provision into both garrisons. he also adds, that he came from Jersey this morning, and that the Enemy had recrossed the Delaware and returned to Philadelphia. I have written to Colo. Green, that the Prisoners must be immediately sent from his Post, and Mr Clymer, a Deputy under Mr Boudinot, will set out to morrow morning to make a proper disposition of them.2

It gives me great concern to inform Congress, that after all my exertions we are still in a distressed situation for want of Blankets and Shoes. At this time no inconsiderable part of our force are incapable of acting, thro’ the deficiency of the latter, and I fear without we can be releived, it will be the case with two thirds3 of the Army in the course of a few days.

I am, and have been waiting with the most anxious impatience for a confirmation of Genl Burgoyn’s surrender. I have received no further intelligence respecting it, except vague report, than the first account which came to hand so long ago as Saturday morning.4 If Congress have had authentic advices about it, I wish to be favor’d with them. I have the honor to be With great respect, Sir your most Obet hum. Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the addressed cover of the LS. Congress read this letter on 27 Oct. and referred it to the committee of intelligence (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 , 9:841).

1GW enclosed copies of the letters that Robert Ballard, John Hazelwood, and Samuel Ward, Jr., wrote him on 23 Oct., concerning the attack on Fort Mercer by Hessian troops supported by British warships in the Delaware River.

2See GW to Christopher Greene, this date. Daniel Cunyngham Clymer (1748–1810), an attorney who had practiced law in Philadelphia since 1770, became a first lieutenant in the 2d Battalion of the Philadelphia City Associators in June 1775 and lieutenant colonel of the 5th Philadelphia City Rifle Battalion in April 1776. Although Clymer evidently was acting as a deputy Continental commissary general of prisoners, he was not appointed officially to that position until December 1777. Clymer resigned as deputy commissary general of prisoners sometime in early 1778, when he moved to Reading to resume his legal practice. He served in the Pennsylvania assembly 1783–84 and in 1787 and 1791.

3At this place on the draft manuscript Robert Hanson Harrison first wrote “half.” He then struck out that word and wrote “⅔ of.”

4The previous Saturday was 18 October.

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