George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 21 October 1780

21st Oct. 80

I have just returned from Newark, where I Completed the business your Exccelly committed to me. The virtuous serjeant deserted last night, I saw the two in newark this day. This night they go to york.

Desertion among us is a [   ] a stranger; my officers are very attentive, & some of them men of nice discernment, this leads me to apprehend they will discover that the Serjeant is on some secret command. Least the example may operate on the soldiers, the Captains will probably inform their troops of their conclusion. From the soldiers, the same sentiments may reach the people.

To prevent this I wish your Excellency will order me to move to a forage country—this is very Scarce of hay—I can send two troops, including the one to which the deserter belongs to an abundant neighborhood back of the Mountain meeting-house where they will be safe, & ready for any operation. One troop can remain with me here, which number is adequate to the common dutys.

Sir Henry Clinton is still in New-York. Report says Arnold sailed with the fleet, tho’ this is not credible. I have the honor to be Sir with the most perfect respect your Excelys ob. h. sert

Henry Lee secnd.

The sooner the cavalry move the better.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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