George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General James Potter, 10 November 1777

To Brigadier General James Potter

Head Quarters [Whitemarsh, Pa.] Novr 10th 1777


It is without a doubt with me that the Enemy intend makeing attack on Mud Island, perhaps this may be the time, as a considerable firing is heard. You must know it, if tis so & I hope will take every step in your Power, by Manœuvres or otherwise, to attract their attention for the relief of the Fort. When ever this event may happen I must request you to give me the very earliest information.1

Should a Mrs Gibbons or Mrs Hannum apply for leave to go in to Philadelphia you will please grant it, unless you should see cause for doing otherwise.2 I am Sr your most Obet Sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, ViLGu.

1Potter replied on 11 Nov., minimizing the British artillery assault and stating that he could do nothing of use for the fort. For a description of the artillery attack on Fort Mifflin on 10 Nov., see the letters of this date written to GW by Brig. Gen. James Mitchell Varnum and by Lt. Col. Samuel Smith.

2Alice Parke Hannum (c.1744–1830) of Chester County, Pa., the wife of Pennsylvania militia colonel John Hannum, a prisoner of war in Philadelphia (see John Clark, Jr., to GW, 24 Nov.), and Margery Gibbons (1740–1814), Colonel Hannum’s sister and the wife of Joseph Gibbons, Jr., a tavern keeper in Springfield Township, Chester County, had sought passes to carry sustenance to Hannum and other prisoners of war in the city (Frazer, “Reminiscence,” description begins Persifor Frazer. “A Reminiscence.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 46 (1922): 39–56. description ends 50, 53).

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