George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Laurens, 2 January 1778

To Henry Laurens

Head Quarters Valley Forge 2d Jany 1778


I take the liberty of introducing Major John Clark, the Bearer of this, to your notice. He entered the Service at the commencement of the War and has for some time past acted as Aid de Camp to Major Genl Greene.1 He is active, sensible and enterprising and has rendered me very great assistance since the army has been in Pennsylvania by procuring me constant and certain intelligence of the motions and intentions of the Enemy.

It is somewhat uncertain whether the ⟨State⟩ of the Majors Health will admit of his ⟨remai⟩ning in the military line, if it should, I ⟨may⟩ perhaps have occasion to recommend him in ⟨a⟩ more particular manner to the favor of Congress at a future time. At present I can assure you that if you should, while he remains in the neighbourhood of York, have any occasion for his Services, you will find him not only willing but very capable of executing any of your Commands.2 I have the Honor to be with great Respect Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 41; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, DNA:PCC, Misc. Papers; copy, DNA: RG 46, Records of the United States Senate; copy, PHi: York County Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The text in angle brackets was written in a different hand, in place of letters missing from the mutilated LS. Congress read this letter on 10 Jan. and referred it to the Board of War (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:38).

1Tilghman struck out an additional sentence at this place on the draft: “His Health and a necessary attention to his private Affairs requires his Absence from the Army for a time.”

2For a report of Clark’s reception by Congress, see his letter to GW of 13 January. In Clark’s absence Henry Lee, Jr., took over his intelligence contacts (see Lee to GW, 4 January).

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