George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Henry Lee, Jr., 16 March 1778

From Captain Henry Lee, Jr.

March 16th 78.


Enclosed are some letrs received this morning pr dragoon from Wilmington.1

By intelligence from Philada we learn that a large fleet sailed from thence on friday last; they had with them a number of flat-bottomed boats.2 My intelligencer did not know the design of this expidition. Conjectures in the city were various. Some insinuated that Wilmington was the object; others, that they were gone on a grand forage to the lower county, and the eastern shore of Maryland. I have the honor to be with most perfect respect your excellencys obedt servt

Heny Lee, jr

ALS, DLC:GW. The cover indicates that the letter was sent “pr dragoon.” It is docketed in part, “Answd,” but no reply has been identified.

1The letters have not been identified but may have included William Smallwood’s letter to GW of this date.

2The previous Friday was 13 March. On 12 Mar. the British 17th, 27th, and 46th Regiments along with the Loyalist Queen’s Rangers embarked on transports “to get Forrage down the River Delaware” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 164; see also Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 482; Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 48; and Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 168). The expedition, under the command of Col. Charles Mawhood, landed at Salem River in New Jersey on 17 March.

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