George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to John Hancock, 30 August 1777

To John Hancock

Wilmington [Del.] August 30th 1777.

Sir

Since I had the Honor of addressing you Yesterday, Nothing of Importance has occurred and the Enemy remain, as they then were. I was reconnoitring the Country and different Roads all Yesterday, and am now setting out on the same business again.1

Sensible of the advantages of Light Troops, I have formed a Corps under the command of a Brigadier, by drafting a Hundred from each Brigade, which is to be constantly near the Enemy and to give ’em every possible annoyance.2 I have the Honor to be with great respect Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

10 OClock. This Minute 24 British prisoners arrived, taken yesterday by Capn Lee of the Light Horse.3

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the addressed cover of the LS. The postscript, which Harrison wrote on the cover of the LS, is not included on the other manuscript copies. Congress read this letter on 1 Sept. (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 , 8:699–700).

1Howe’s aide Captain Muenchhausen says in his diary entry for this date: “At noon about 200 dragoons appeared in front of our jaeger picket; many of their officers are said to have observed our positions very closely, but without approaching us. It was possibly Washington or one of his first generals, reconnoitering. The officer of the jaeger picket lobbed a few shots from an amusette at them. They were too far away, but it caused them to withdraw” (Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 26; see also Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 444).

2For the creation of this corps and the appointment of Gen. William Maxwell to command it, see the General Orders for 28 Aug. and this date.

3Muenchhausen says in his diary entry for this date that “Again last night some of our men, while pillaging, fell into the hands of the enemy” (Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 26).

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