John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia Septr. 14. 1777
My dearest Friend
You will learn from the Newspapers before this reaches you, the situation of Things here. Mr. Howes Army is at Chester, about fifteen Miles from this Town. Gen. Washingtons is over the Schuylkill, awaiting the Flank of Mr. Howes Army.—How much longer Congress will stay here is uncertain. I hope We shall not move untill the last Necessity, that is untill it shall be rendered certain, that Mr. How will get the City. If We should move it will be to Reading, Lancaster, York, Easton or Bethlehem, some Town in this state. It is the Determination not to leave this state. Dont be anxious about me—nor about our great and sacred Cause—it is the Cause of Truth and will prevail. If How gets the City, it will cost him all his Force to keep it, and so he can get nothing else.—My Love to all Friends. Yours,
RC (Adams Papers).
1. On 11 Sept. in a general engagement at Chadd’s Ford on Brandywine Creek, Washington had, in his own words, “been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field” and to retreat first to Chester and then to the eastern bank of the Schuylkill at Germantown. On the 12th JA had moved from Capt. Duncan’s in Walnut Street to Rev. Mr. Sproat’s in Third Street, for what was to prove a short stay and a precipitant departure. On the day he wrote the present letter Congress resolved that if it should prove necessary to leave Philadelphia, “Lancaster shall be the place at which they shall meet.” A warning received early on the morning of the 19th that Howe was in possession of a ford over the Schuylkill caused the members to depart that day. They sat at Lancaster, however, only on the 27th and adjourned to meet at York on the 30th. See JA to AA, 30 Sept., below; to Speaker of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 15 Jan. 1778, NN: Emmet Coll.; Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:262–267; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 9:207; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 8:742, 754–756.