George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Erskine, 14 November 1777

To Robert Erskine

Head Quarters Whitemarsh [Pa.] 14th Novemr 1777


I shall be glad to know by Return of the Bearer whether the portable Ovens bespoke last summer are finished. If they are you may send them down to the Army if you can procure Waggons, if you cannot, let me know and I will order the Qr Mr General to send for them.

Be pleased to let me know when you think you will be able to enter upon any of the duties of the Office which I spoke to you about last summer.1 I am Sir Yr most obt Servt.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1On 28 July 1777 GW had written Erskine to ask him whether he would consider becoming the Continental army’s geographer and surveyor of the roads. He did not at that time, however, mention the subject of “portable Ovens.” A few days later, on 1 Aug., Erskine wrote a long discourse on the strenuous nature of the position and expressed his regret that the press of business would prevent his giving the post the time it needed. In his response of 24 Nov., however, Erskine wrote GW that he hoped to be able to attend to his duties at camp by April of 1778. Even this timetable proved a bit optimistic as Erskine did not arrive at Valley Forge until later in the spring.

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