George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Henry Lee, Jr., 9 June 1779

To Major Henry Lee, Jr.

9th June 1779


I recd yr favor of yesterdays date1 & am happy to find you are in the neighbourhood of the enemy & make no doubt but you will fully answer the purposes of yr being placed there. The Stores you mention to have been at Kekiat were there without my knowledge—& I much approve the removal of them—As to the live Stock being driven off as you mention within a certain distance—though a desireable circumstance, I would not have you to undertake without the approbation of the Officers commanding the Militia & the well affected inhabitants—when if you gain their approbation I should wish the measure to be put into execution immediately.

Capt. McLane I fully intended to have joined you before this and thought he had received orders for that purpose, but owing to some mistake, I find it was not done—he is however now order’d to march & place himself under yr command, with his company2—Yr Letter of this date is just come to hand.3

Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The letter of 8 June from Lee to GW has not been found.

2GW’s letter to Capt. Allen McLane, written at “Smiths Tavern in the Clove,” N.Y., on this date, reads: “On the receipt of this I request that you will proceed with your company by the nearest route towards Suffrans near the entrance of Smiths Clove, where, or in the Neighbourhood you will meet with Major Lee, and place yourself under his command” (LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, NHi: McLane Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). McLane, then at Raritan, N.J., wrote in his journal for 12 June: “R[eceived] from Majr [Joseph] Vaughn a letter from his Excellcy Gnl Washington ordering me to Join Major Lees Core amediately in the nabourhod of Kakiate near Kings ferry” (NHi: McLane Papers). In his journal entry for 15 June, McLane reported that he joined Lee “near Kakiate meeting house” (NHi: McLane Papers). For Lee’s request to add McLane’s company to his command, see his letter to GW of 18 May; see also GW to Lee, 21 and 30 June.

McLane evidently disputed GW’s order to transfer his company to Lee’s command, prompting a letter from Delaware congressional delegates John Dickinson and Thomas McKean to him, written at Philadelphia on 5 July, reading in part: “His Excellency General Washington has undoubtedly a right to detach any company in his army as he shall conceive to be most beneficial for the service; and we are perfectly satisfied with his having ordered yours to join Major Lee’s corps” (Smith, Letters of Delegates, description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends 13:148–49). In his journal entry for 24 June, McLane recounted a meeting with GW: “arrived at Head Quarters. Waited on the Genl found him desposed to Detatch my Compa[n]y to Majr Lees Core” (NHi: McLane Papers).

3This letter from Lee has not been found.

Index Entries