George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Emlen, 13 December 1778

To George Emlen

Head Quarters Middle Brook [N.J.] 13th Decemr 1778


I recd your favr of the 20th November, respecting the damage done to your farm by the Army in the Fall 1777, and am not a little surpd1 that General Mifflin should refer you to me when2 he well knows that3 this is a business clearly within the line of the Quarter Masters department, & that every Acct of the kind is to be settled by him, up to the date of General Greene’s appointment to that Office in March 1778. For Such purposes as these it was, I thought, the late Sum was put into his hands. I am sorry you should have delay & difficulties to encounter, and that I am obliged to refer you back to the only Gentn whose proper business it is to settle with you. Be pleased to make my Compliments to Mrs Emlen. I am &c.

Df, in GW’s and Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW obliterated most of the original draft written by Tilghman, replacing it with his own text.

Emlen had written to GW from Whitemarsh, Pa., on 20 Nov.: “I applied to General Mifflin the late Quarter Master General; Respecting the damages done by the Army, on my Plantation, last winter in Wood & Fencing; who tells me he can do nothing in it, And advis’d me to write to your Excellency concerning it.

“I shall therefore Esteem it a great favour If you’l please to give orders to the proper Officer to pay me, I dont expect the present high prices of Wood & Rails, but shall be satisfied with a moderate Valuation.

“As my Fences in Particular were of great Service for Fires to the Army, when the Enemy were out, & the Axes sent away, And as the present Quarter Master General, I understand has paid some of the like damages at the Valley Forge; I am in great hopes you’l Consider me.

“I shall be highly pleas’d If you’l honour me with an answer to this letter.

“Mrs Emlen Joins me in most Respectfull Compliments to your Excellency” (DLC:GW).

GW and George Emlen (1741–1812), a Quaker merchant from Philadelphia, were acquainted. In November and December 1777 GW had made his headquarters in Whitemarsh, Pa., at a house built in 1745 by George Emlen (1718–1776), father of the younger George Emlen (see General Orders, 2 Nov. 1777, n.1). The younger George Emlen’s wife was Sarah Fishbourne Emlen (1755–1823).

1GW wrote “not a little surpd.”

2GW wrote “when.”

3GW wrote the following text through the words “to settle with you”; Tilghman wrote the closing salutations.

Index Entries