George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Thomas Clark, 1 October 1779

To Colonel Thomas Clark

[West Point, 1 Oct. 1779]

In consequence of a Resolve of Congress of the 23d Septemr directing the two Regiments of No. Carolina at present under your command to proceed to South Carolina,1 you are to march immediately by the Route which shall be pointed out to you by the Quarter Master General, and upon your arrival at Philadelphia, put yourself under the command of Brigadier General Hogan to whom you will deliver the inclosed directions for his conduct and the Route which shall have been given to you by the Quarter Master General.2

It is possible that the Honble the Congress may, should they receive advice of a change of circumstances to the southward in consequence of the operations of His Excellency the Count D’Estaing, think proper to countermand the march of these Troops. Should you therefore receive such countermanding orders, between this post and Philadelphia from His Excellency the president of Congress or the Board of War, you are immediately to march back and join the main Army.3

You will I am persuaded upon your march preserve the strictest discipline—endeavour by all means to prevent desertion—and make as much expedition as may be consistent with the health and welfare of your troops. Given at Head Quarters at West Point this 1st day October 1779.


Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See John Jay to GW, 23 Sept.; see also 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 15:1093. The resolve was dated 22 September.

2For GW’s directions to Brig. Gen. James Hogun, see GW to Hogun, this date. In a letter to Clement Biddle of 30 Sept., ordering Biddle to furnish money to Clark for the purchase of forage along his route of march, Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene enclosed two detailed routes of march to Charleston, S.C. (Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:426); see also GW to Clark, 29 Sept., n.2.

3After receiving GW’s letter to Samuel Huntington of 30 Sept., Congress did countermand the march of the North Carolina brigade (see Huntington to GW, 5 Oct.). However, GW had already ordered Clark to return to the main army because GW had received authoritative word from Congress that Vice Admiral d’Estaing was on the American coast with a French fleet (see Jay to GW, 26 Sept.; GW to Clark, 3 Oct.; and GW to Huntington, 4 Oct.; see also Huntington to GW, 8 Oct.).

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