George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith, 18 March 1778

From Lieutenant Colonel William Stephens Smith

Lancaster [Pa.]
March 18th 1778

May it please your Excellency

I have this Day Recd your Excellency’s Letter of the 14th Instant repeating the Orders that I was honour’d with when I had last the Pleasure of waiting on you & must confess that it gives me considerable unneasiness that I should ever give your Excellency the trouble of repeating your Orders. But I can with truth assure your Excellency that upon my return to this Place I Issued Orders for my Men to hold themselves in readiness to March at the Shortest Notice & should have marchd according to your Request if the Roads & Wheather would have permitted as your Excellency was so Polite as to observe in your Letter.

I shall march on Saturday or Sunday next Wheather permitting1 & upon my Arrival at the White Horse shall Wait on your Excellency for my Orders to proceed to the advancd Post of the Army which I hope your Excellency still intends Honouring me with—If your Excellency should have any doubts arriseing in your mind concerning the propriety of my Behaivour in this particular I would wish that Coll Gibson’s sentiments might be taken on the Subject he being Commanding Officer at this Post must be acquainted with the Reason for my Delay2 for I should be render’d extreamly unhappy if I had the least suspission that your Excellency harbour’d a single Sentiment to my Disadvantage particularly that of Neglect of Duty which I hope your Excellency will never find me Guilty of. I remain with the utmost Respect Your Excellency’s Most devoted Servt

Wm S. Smith

ALS, DLC:GW.

1The next Saturday and Sunday were 21 and 22 Mar., but Smith apparently did not leave Lancaster until 24 Mar. (see George Gibson to GW, that date).

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