George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Henry Lee, Jr., 12 July 1779

To Major Henry Lee, Jr.

Head Quarters—New Windsor July 12th 1779

Dr Sir,

In mine to you of the 5th—I requested you to attend to the movements of the enemy on the river below and for this purpose to engage the country people as look outs along the River—I would wish you to have such persons on whose fidelity and vigilance you can rely stationed at different places as low as fort Lee, that we may have the earliest intelligence of any collection of vessels or boats or embarkation of troops on the opposite side. The enemy are now manœuvring to the Eastward1—it may be to divert a part of our force that way—then to make a rapid movement back embark—and proceed up to the forts—We must give a certain degree of protection and cover to the country, which will occasion a detachment of our force;2 and this makes it the more essential that we should be upon our watch this way. Your activity and care I rely upon. I am Dr Sir Your obedt servant.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. For the sale of the LS, see ABPC, description begins American Book-Prices Current. New York, 1895—. description ends 74:1246, and New York Times, 19 April 1968, p. 45.

1GW is referring to British operations in Connecticut, which came to his attention in letters to him from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 7 July; from Norwalk, Conn., Officials and Stephen St. John, 9 July; and from Samuel Holden Parsons, same date.

2For this detachment, see GW to William Heath, 10 July (first letter); see also GW to Parsons, 10 July; GW to Norwalk, Conn., Officials, 11 July; and GW to Trumbull, Sr., this date (first and second letters).

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