George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Charles Lee, 22 June 1778

From Major General Charles Lee

Camp [near Amwell, N.J.] June the 22d [1778]

Dr General,

About eleven miles from Head Quarters and eight miles from this Camp is a most admirable position for the whole Army either in two or one line—it’s left is coverd by Stony Brook—it’s front Clear, excepting to the front of the right where is a strong wood and mill dam where it will be proper to throw a brigade a strong Brigade or two shoud occupy likewis a Wood on the right—it’s situation is high and commanding—the ground dry and good—it is well waterd—having besides Stoney Brook on the left—a large Rivulet in the front another in the rear—it commands likewis both the roads to Princeton that by Pennyton and that inclining to Hopewell meeting house.1 I am, Dr Sir, Yours

C. Lee

woud it not be proper to hint your intention to Gov’r Livingston—his letter which Colonel Scammel will deliver to you shews the necessity.2


1Lee apparently was referring to a point southeast of Amwell, New Jersey. Stony Brook begins a few miles southeast of Amwell and flows south of Princeton before entering the Millstone River a short distance southeast of that town. Pennington is about eight miles southeast of Amwell on the road to Trenton and two miles west of Stony Brook. Hopewell Baptist Meeting House, established in 1715, was located in a valley near the village of Columbia (now Hopewell), about ten miles east of Coryell’s Ferry and four miles north of Pennington in Hopewell Township, Hunterdon (now Mercer) County, New Jersey. GW’s headquarters on 23–24 June were located at John Hunt’s house, which stood near the meeting house; on 25 June, Robert Hanson Harrison paid Hunt £10.2.6 “for Sundries” (vouchers and receipted accounts, 1776–80, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 29).

2Lee enclosed a letter to him from William Livingston, dated 22 June at Princeton: “Last night I had from General Dickinson the following account—That he had been below & was just returned, that is to Borden Town—That the Enemy had made no movements yesterday except bringing up their rear which was the cause he believes of their halting at Holley—That they were expected to march early this morning—That he had three detachments of Militia on their lines who were briskly engagd in obstructing the different roads, & will be prepared to skirmish when they advance, & that the Enemy had lost near 500 men by desertion since they left Philadelphia.

“I do not see upon principles we retard their progres, except that of the grand army’s engaging them—If that is not in contemplation, I think for the good they do, we ought rather to hang on their rear, & drive the rascals thro’ the State as soon as possible” (DLC:GW).

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