George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Charles Craig, 3 December 1777

From Captain Charles Craig

Frankford [Pa.] 3rd Decemr 1777


The enemy have not made any movement since I had the Honour of Adressing Your Excellency.1

I have been inform’d since my last, that, the Number that Crossed Schoolkill Consisted of Three Thousand Men, with six field pieces, The Took a Number of flat Bottom’d Boats, with which the intend to Cross on your Excellencys rear, the enemy are very Diserous to Know where our Stores and Baggage are at present, the are making great preparations, But I believe dread the Consequences of Makeing an Attackt.2 I am With great Truth & respect Your Excellencys Most Obt Servt

C. Craig

ALS, DLC:GW. The cover, which indicates that Craig sent this letter “per Dragoon,” is docketed in part “Answd,” but that reply has not been found.

Several days after this letter was written, GW was sent an anonymous accusation concerning Captain Craig’s activities around this time. Dated 11 Dec., the letter, part of which is torn away, reads: “This day week [4 Dec.] I was Informd That a gentlm. on horse back came down The Evening Before [3 Dec.] within two or three hundred yards of the british gaurds on point Road & two gentlm. from Town met him & stop had som discorse the two Gentlm. then Returnd to Town and the other up the Road a young woman comeing down the Road says she saw the three to gather And met the one going up the Road & Said to him how do you Doo Captn Crage ant you afraid to come down so farr not at all Said he and whent of a soldier then at the pickett guard informd an old woman that the two gentlm. was Willm Allen & Able James and the other was Captn Crage whome was there spie Ever Since the came to town ⟨mutilated⟩ur after the first infor⟨mation mutilated⟩ me there was two ⟨mutilated⟩ Crage in the woods on ⟨mutilated⟩ exchangeing Cloaths ⟨mutilated⟩ but he had bin seen on ⟨mutilated⟩ett by two gentlm. ⟨mutilated⟩om them and whent of And he farther said that two british officers Came to a Cityzen of Phila. and Askd if he new general Erven That was taken Prisiner he said he new one Col. Erven In the Continatal Service Said the officer It is the Same then turnd about And said to the orther officer I wonder Captn Crage dont Come in Says the orther he is of more service where He is” (DLC:GW). With the accusation in DLC:GW is Craig’s signed pass “To All Consernd” of 23 Dec. permitting “Mrs Lawrence’s servant to pass & repass to and from the City, with such Necessaries as Mrs L. may please to send,” which may be the pass that James Potter enclosed in his letter to GW of 14 Jan. 1778. Elizabeth Francis Lawrence (1733–1800) was the wife of Loyalist John Lawrence (1724–1799), former mayor of Philadelphia, and an aunt of GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman. Her daughter Elizabeth (d. 1800) was the wife of James Allen (c.1742–1778), an older brother of William Allen, Jr., the Loyalist officer mentioned in the accusation against Craig. Mrs. Lawrence joined her daughter and son-in-law at their estate in Bethlehem on 3 December. On 26 Dec., James Allen traveled to GW’s headquarters, where he received permission for his family to return to Philadelphia (see “Diary of James Allen,” description begins James Allen. “Diary of James Allen, Esq., of Philadelphia, Counsellor-at-Law, 1770–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 9 (1885): 176–96, 278–96, 424–41. description ends 9:192–93, 428, 430–31).

Craig was aware of the rumors circulating within GW’s headquarters, and he referred to them in his resignation letter to GW of 5 Mar. 1778.

2As had been the case in his previous letter, Craig’s intelligence of a British advance seems to have been premature. Howe’s army did not march out of Philadelphia en masse until the evening of the following day, 4 December.

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