To Major General Stirling
Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 13th April 1778.
You will be pleased to assemble the Brigadiers and commanding Officers of Brigades, to take into consideration the inclosed Letter from Mr Blaine and determine on the most effectu⟨al⟩ Remedy for the evil which he complains of1—While you are together there is another matter of importance which I would have you employ your thoughts upon—from the present facility of procuring passes to cross the Schuyl⟨kill⟩ by Sullivans bridge, there is every day an incredible number of Straggling unarmed Soldiers dispersed in the Country on the other side the River—from whence two capital inconveniences arise—first the Markets are forestalled2—and secondly a number of men are exposed to be swept off by the Light Troops of the Enemy—as this danger will increase every day—I hope proper attention will be paid to it.3 I am with great regard and esteem Your most obedt Servt
LS, in John Laurens’s writing, N.
1. The enclosed letter has not been identified.
2. Brig. Gen. James Mitchell Varnum explained in more detail in a letter to Stirling of 24 Mar.: “By Genl Orders, the Market is to be held this side the Bridge; But that Order is effectually frustrated by the Officers and Soldiers being allowed to pass out of Camp to purchase. They go over the Bridge, meet the Market People at a Distance, and give Prices for their Articles above the Rates agreed upon; by this Practice, the Market is intirely forestalled, and Nothing can be purchased; For the Country People will not come into Camp, when they can sell at higher Prices out of it” (DNA:PCC, item 33).
3. Later on this date GW’s aide John Laurens wrote Stirling, “His Excellency desires me to inform you that you have mistaken the meeting alluded to in his Letter of this morning—he meant the meeting which was announced in the orders of the day—for wednesday ten oClock—if however you should have already sent your Summons for this afternoon 5 oClock—His Excellency would be glad that the mischiefs arising from the multitude of passes for Sullivans bridge may be attended to and a Remedy agreed upon” (NN: Emmet Collection). GW addressed the issue of passes in his general orders of 17 April.