From William Shippen, Jr.
Buckingham Hospital [Bucks County, Pa.]
Decr 12. 1777.
In consequence of your Excellencys direction which I received to day from Dr Cochran I have given orders to have the sick removed from Trenton—& will immediately direct the removal of those at Princeton,1 if you think tis absolutely necessary, altho they are now very comfortably situated & it will be fatal to many of them to move. If it can be allowed, I should wish two or three weeks continuance at princeton, if not, please Sir to signify it by the bearer, who waits on your excellency for an answer. The Buckingham & Plumsted hospitals are moving.2 What is your desire concerning the Hospitals at Easton & Bethlehem? They are now in very good order and where to fix them so well I know not; but your orders shall be punctually obey’d & my utmost exertions used to make the poor soldiers happy.
If Col. Nicola & his corps of Invalids can be spared they will be very useful at our Hospitals & the Hospitals very useful to them for two thirds are generally in the Hospitals.3
I intended to have waited on your Excellency to morrow, but the removal of the sick makes my presence absolutely necessary here. I am Dr Sir Your obedt & very humble Servant
W. Shippen Jr.
1. No written orders from GW to either Shippen or John Cochran on this subject have been identified.
2. The hospital at the Plumstead Friends meetinghouse, a small stone structure built in 1750 at present-day Gardenville in Plumstead Township, Bucks County, Pa., was moved to the Moravian community of Lititz in Lancaster County on 19 December. A return of the patients at the Plumstead hospital made on 10 Dec. shows that 40 men had been admitted between 25 and 30 Nov., of whom 2 had died and 10 had been discharged, leaving 28 (Jordan, “Continental Hospital Returns,” description begins John W. Jordan. “Continental Hospital Returns, 1777–1780.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 23 (1899): 35–50, 210–223. description ends 35, 40).
3. GW in his reply to Shippen of this date agreed to allow Nicola’s corps to serve at the hospitals. Nicola later questioned the order, however: “what motives induced the General [GW] to order the Invalides to attend the hospitals, I do not know, unless he did it at the desire of Dr. Shippen, who had often spoke to me about it in Trenton, nor can I see the utility of the measure” (Nicola to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 22 Jan. 1778, in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:197–98).