George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 20 September 1777

To Major General John Sullivan

Camp near Fatland Ford [Pa.] 20th Septr 1777.

Dr Sir,

In answer to your favr, and request of yesterday,1 I wish it was in my power to give you the compleat satisfaction you desire—but how is it possible? I saw nothing of the disposition you had made, not getting up till the action was, in a manner over; & then, employed in hurrying on a reinforcement; and looking out fresh ground2 to form the Troops on, which, by this time, were beginning to give way.

To certifie what I have heard this, or that Officer say, respecting your conduct, could answer no valuable purpose, nor the end you have in view—Some have condemn’d your disposition tho time perhaps wd not allow a better but none have accused you of want of bravery, & exertion, that I have heard of.3 I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, NhHi: Sullivan Papers; copy, NhHi: Sullivan Papers.

1This letter has not been found.

2On the manuscript GW first wrote: “a fresh piece of ground.” He then struck out the words “a” and “piece of.”

3For Sullivan’s defense of his conduct at the Battle of Brandywine, see his letter to GW of 24 Oct. 1777. See also Sullivan to Hancock, 27 Sept., 6 Oct., and to John Langdon, 9 Nov. 1777, in Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 1:460–70, 475–78, 572–77.

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