George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Nathanael Greene, 8 June 1778

To Major General Nathanael Greene

Head Quarters [Valley Forge] June 8th 1778


The very sickly situation of the camp, and the danger of its becoming still more alarming makes it improper we should remain longer on the present ground. You will be pleased in the course of this day, to reconnoitre a new camp, with the aid of the chief Engineer. The object, principally to be attended to, is a wholesome situation, convenient for the accommodation of the men, well provided with wood and water, and at such a distance from this position, that we should run no risk, of its being gained by the enemy, on a sudden attempt, before we could have time to repossess it and make our dispositions—If to this advantage; could be added that of a defensible position, it would be desireable, but this you will only consider as a secondary object—In choosing the new camp you will endeavour to avoid taking one, which on account of the destruction of the woods, which it will necessarily occasion, may tend to weaken our present post. I am informed, there is some good ground for an incampment on our right; but I apprehend it is liable to the objection just mentioned—You will examine it and judge how far it may be the case.1

I request your report this evening. I am Sir Yr Obedt servt.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The huts that the troops had been occupying since the beginning of January were by this time dangerously filthy. Joseph Clark wrote in his diary around this time: “Our army in camp was now very strong; but a fever prevailed amongst them, which in many instances proved mortal. To prevent this misfortune, the army removed from their huts the 10th of June, and encamped in front of our old ground in clear fields, where we had good air, good water, and comfortable shelter and supplies” (Clark, “Diary,” description begins “Diary of Joseph Clark, Attached to the Continental Army, from May, 1778, to November, 1779.” Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society 7 (1853-55): 93–110. description ends 105). See also General Orders, 9 June.

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