From Major Henry Lee, Jr.
May 18th 79 Burlington [N.J.]
In consequence of Captain McCleans request, I do myself the honor to mention to your Excellency, the very great satisfaction I should receive, on having the Captain and his company annexed to the Corps under my command.
Exclusive of the great advantage resulting from a small, choice, and alert body of infantry, I flatter myself with deriving particular assistance from the approved zeal, prudence and activity of the officer who commands them.
Altho’ fully confident from experience, that this connexion would give additional security and additional vigor to the small business that may fall to my lot during the campaign, yet, as it enlarges my command, I should not have troubled your Excellency with the proposition, had it not been for special reasons offered by Capt. McClean, which he will communicate in person.1
I take the liberty farther to propose, that a sergeant & twelve of Major Gibb’s infantry be mounted for the performance of the ordinary business of Headquarters, by which means that business I presume, will be done with more ease, & the cavalry of the army benefitted, because all detachments called for, will receive the countenance & be under the daily inspection of commissioned officers. I have the honor to be with most perfect respect & esteem your Excellys obt servt
Heny Lee Jr
ALS, DLC:GW. The letter was carried “p. favor Capt. McClean.”
1. Congress had resolved on 16 Dec. 1778 to incorporate Capt. Allen McLane’s light infantry company into the Delaware Regiment (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 12:1225; see also James Duane to GW, 15 May 1779, n.1). On 9 June, GW ordered McLane to place his company under Lee’s command, but it was not formally incorporated into Lee’s force until 13 July (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 14:822–23; see also GW to McLane, 9 June [NHi: McLane Papers], and John Jay to GW, 15 July [DNA:PCC, item 14]).