George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 5 November 1777

From Henry Laurens

York Town [Pa.] 5th Novemr 1777

Sir.

I had the honour of addressing you yesterday in a Letter which from unavoidable delay will accompany this.

I now forward two Extracts from the Minutes of Congress both dated the 4th Inst.—One containing an Order founded upon a Report from the Marine Committee relative to the Continental Frigates & other Navigation at & near Borden Town submitted to your Excellency for approbation & in that event requiring necessary assistance for the construction & management of Batteries to be erected.1 The other minute testifying the attention of Congress to the Merits of such of the Officers & Troops of the United States as are specially recited in the Resolves, in order that the several Votes upon this occasion may be made public in the Army under Your Excellency’s Command.2

I beg the liberty of passing under Your Excellency’s protection Letters to Commodore Hazelwood Colonel Green & Lieutt Colo. Smith containing severally the Vote of Congress respecting each of those brave Officers.3 permit me also Sir, to trouble you with a packet for the Honorable Mr Speaker of Assembly in Delaware & to request you will order it to be forwarded by the first conveyance.4 I have the honour to be with great Respect & Regard Sir Your Excellency’s Most obedt humble Servant

Henry Laurens, Presidt in Congress

P.S.—P.M. the 5th November. Since writing as above Congress have confirmed several Resolutions for the disposition of the Troops in the Eastern & Northern departments, for the Recovery & protection of North River, the reinforcing the Main Army near Philadelphia & other matters, which extended & Certified Your Excellency will find under cover with this & to which I beg leave to refer.5

H.L.

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NNGL; LB, DNA:PCC, item 13.

1This resolution was passed in response to the Continental Navy Board’s report that GW had ordered the endangered frigates scuttled (see GW’s letter to the board, 25 Oct.). Congress suggested that instead the frigates should be lightened and “either run into some adjacent creek or hawled as high up on shore as may be without ballast, and a battery constructed with the guns” (DLC:GW; 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 , 9:863–64). Congress also suggested that preparations be made for burning the vessels and that obstructions be created to prevent their removal by the enemy if captured, and concluded by ordering that the resolutions be sent to GW for his approval. For GW’s response, see his letter to the Continental Navy Board of 9 November.

2This enclosure is actually a series of five resolutions commending the American officers and troops who took part in the recent American successes against the British in the northern department and along the Delaware River. The resolutions specifically name major generals Horatio Gates, Benjamin Lincoln, and Benedict Arnold, Col. Christopher Green, Lt. Col. Samuel Smith, and Commo. John Hazelwood (DLC:GW; 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 , 9:861–62).

3Laurens enclosed three identical letters of commendation to these officers for their defense of the Delaware, all dated 5 November. In addition, Congress ordered that each be presented with “an elegant sword” (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 , 9:862). Copies of the letters to Samuel Smith and Christopher Greene are in DNA:PCC, item 13, and a copy of Lauren’s letter to John Hazelwood is in PHi.

4The packet for Speaker Thomas McKean of the Delaware general assembly has not been identified. The general assembly was not in session at this time, and Samuel West was elected speaker when it reconvened in December 1777.

5Congress’s resolutions of 5 Nov. on these subjects are in DLC:GW (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 , 9:864–68).

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