George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major John Clark, Jr., 6 October 1777

From Major John Clark, Jr.

Red Lyon Uchland Township [Pa.]
6th October 1777 5 oClock P.M.

Dear General

Cadwalader Jones a Quaker on whom I can rely,1 is just returned from Philadelphia, & informs me that about 2000 Hessians crossed the Schuylkill at the lower ferry Yesterday on their way towards Chester,2 that he was informed by Friends in the City at Yearly-meeting that Brigadier Agnew was killed3 & one or two other Generals mortally wounded, it was the current report in the City, that the Rebels had used the British Troops barbarously—several Quakers from the City say that upwards of two hundred Waggons came in before they left it, with wounded Soldiers4—A few Days ago a number of Waggons went towards Chester, ’tis thought for Provisions—whether the Troops that crossed Yesterday went to escort them—or to establish a Post at Derby or Chester, to secure their retreat, I submit to your Wisdom—you may depend on this information—as my informants are Persons of Credit. I am [with] due respect Your Excellencys Most Obedt

Jno. Clark Junr

I thought it my duty to give you the earliest intelligence—The Enemy have suffered much The Spirits of the Citizens are depressed, & the Country elated.

ALS, DLC:GW. Clark addressed the cover to “His Excellency General Washington at Head Quarters near Pennybackers Mills Perkioming.” Clark also wrote and signed on the cover a pass addressed “To all concerned” dated 6 Oct., which reads: “Permit Wm Dougherty to pass all Guards to his Excellency Genl Washington Express.”

1Cadwalader Jones owned a farm in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

2British engineer Capt. John Montresor, who was erecting artillery batteries at Philadelphia, says in his journal entry for 5 Oct. that “one captain, 2 subalterns, and 30 of Royal artillery [were] detached this day to Chester, to bring to Philadelphia two 8 inch Howitzers, and two Eight Inch Mortars, if no Howitzers then another mortar of 10 Inch. A Battalion of Grenadiers and the 23rd or Welsh Fusileers went at the same time to escort them.” The detachment returned to Philadelphia on the night of 6 Oct. (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 , 462). The lower ferry was Gray’s Ferry.

3James Agnew (d. 1777), who had been commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 44th Regiment in 1764, was appointed an aide-de-camp to the king with the rank of colonel at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 4 April 1776, and on the same date he was named a brigadier general of the army in America. Agnew was killed in the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct. 1777 while commanding the British 4th Brigade.

4Robert Morton, a young Philadelphia Quaker, wrote in his diary entry for 6 Oct.: “I went to see the wounded soldiers now in this City, some at the Seceeder meeting house, some at the Presbyterian meeting house in Pine Street, some at the Play House, and some, and those the most, at the Penns’a Hospital, where I see an Englishman’s leg and an American’s arm cut off. The American troops are mostly at 2 new houses in Fourth Street near to the Presbyterian meeting house, amt’g to about 30 and not so much attended to as might be. The British have about 300 wounded in this city” (“Morton Diary,” description begins “The Diary of Robert Morton, Kept in Philadelphia While That City Was Occupied by the British Army in 1777.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1 (1877): 1–39. description ends 15–16).

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