George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major John Clark, Jr., 22 December 1777

From Major John Clark, Jr.

Newtown [Square, Pa.] Decr 22d 1777–2 oClock P.M.


I have just returned from Springfield, having met one of my Spies on the Road, he informs me Genl Sr Wm Howe Sr Wm Erskine & a number of other Generals are with the party at Derby, refreshing the Troops—they have a very formidable Body with them—my Spy was taken by their advanced Guard one Mile this side Derby, on the Springfield Road—& carried to the Generals at Derby—they’ve made great many fires—one of their Guides assured my Spy they were only forageing, & meant to proceed towards Chester, I now observe a considerable smoke towards Providence Meeting House1—Intelligence from another says they’ve 200 Waggons with them—I shall order my Spy to return & bring me further information—wou’d to God! I had only a few good Light Dragoons—I will now take a tour in their front—no Waggons had passed Derby before my Spy came away. I am in haste with the greatest Attachment your Excellency’s Obedt

Jno: Clark Jun.


1The Providence Quaker meetinghouse in present-day Media, Pa., was on the border of Upper and Nether Providence townships in Chester (now Delaware) County, about five miles from Chester and fifteen miles from Philadelphia, near the intersection of Providence Great Road running north out of Chester and the road running west from Philadelphia to Chadds Ford on the Brandywine River.

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