George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Lacey, Jr., 21 March 1778

From Brigadier General John Lacey, Jr.

Camp Doylestown [Pa.] March 21st 1778

Dear Genl

I have just recd your favour the 20th Inst. I have ordered my Horse some days since (which is fifteen in number) on the different Roads, to keep pretty low down, in order to prevent the Quakers going into the City, I have ordered them, if they refuse to stop when hailed to fire upon them, and to leave their Corps laying in the Road1—I shall detach other parties of foot immediately on the different roads.

The Cumberland Militia leaves me this day the York in a few days.

Inclosed is a return of my Brigade,2 I am doing everything in my power to move the flour from the Mills near Newtown. I am Dear Sir your Excellency’s Most obet Hble Servt

John Lacey jur


1On 19 Mar., Lacey ordered Robert Vanhorn, commander of his light horse, “to proceed with your Troop towards the enemy’s lines—to keep on the roads leading to Bristol, to Smithfield, the York, and the White Marsh roads. You will keep constant patroles on these roads, by night and by day; and if the enemy should come out, you will immediately send me notice. If your parties should meet with any people going to market, or any persons whatever going to the city, and they endeavor to make their escape, you will order your men to fire upon the villains. You will leave such on the roads, their bodies and their marketing lying together. This I wish you to execute on the first offenders you meet; that they may be a warning to others. You are to let no person whatever go to the city” (Register of Pennsylvania, 16 May 1829, p. 308).

2The return has not been found. Lacey later wrote Maj. Gen. John Armstrong that on this date he had “Three hundred and fifteen present fit for duty—forty seven on command” (Register of Pennsylvania, 30 May 1829, p. 142 [342]). Those numbers for the Pennsylvania militia also appear in Adj. Gen. Alexander Scammell’s return of troops under GW’s command for this date. In addition, Scammell reported 61 militia officers, 70 noncommissioned officers, 26 rank and file “Sick present,” and 11 on furlough (DNA: RG 93, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–1783).

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