George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Officer Commanding Major Henry Lee’s Corps, 29 August 1779

To the Officer Commanding Major Henry Lee’s Corps

Head Qrs [West Point] Aug. 29. 1779


As from Major Lees present situation,1 the command of his Corps will devolve on you, I am to desire you will pay the strictest attention to the movements of the enemy down the river It is peculiarly necessary at this juncture as I am well informed the Arrival of Admiral Arburthnot has increased Sr Harry Clintons strength2—from this circumstance it will be necessary for us to double our diligence—I shall therefore rely on you, to take every step in your power to make the earliest discovery of any movements of the enemy & communicate them to me without a moments loss of time.3 Yrs &c.


Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s and GW’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The officers commanding the troops of Lee’s Corps were captains William Lindsay, Robert Forsyth, Henry Peyton, and Allen McLane.

1Maj. Henry Lee was under arrest until a court-martial could try him on the charges brought against him regarding his conduct of the surprise attack on the British fort at Paulus Hook, N.J., on 19 August. The court acquitted him with honor (see General Orders, 11 Sept.).

2GW is referring to the British army reinforcements, convoyed by the naval squadron of Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot, which had arrived at New York on 25 Aug. (see GW to John Jay, 24–27 Aug., and n.8 to that document). For the full scope of GW’s defensive preparations for the arrival of this long-expected British reinforcement, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.

3GW wrote the ampersand and the last ten words.

Index Entries