George Ross to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety
ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
<Lancaster, December 29, 1775: The bearer, Samuel Atlee, was the eldest captain in the Pennsylvania service when the troops were disbanded at the end of the last war. He told me this morning that he intended to ask the committee of safety to recommend him for command of one of the battalions to be raised on order of the Congress. His character as a gentleman is good among us; his conduct as an officer I have heard well spoken of, and Colonel Miles, with whom he served, knows it well.7 I recommend him as one who, if appointed, will do honor to the nomination. Many members of the committee are well acquainted with him, and I should not bring any one to their attention unless I were fully satisfied that he deserved it. I am so recently recovered from the gout that traveling would be dangerous in this severe weather;8 otherwise I should attend the committee on Tuesday next. Addressed to Franklin as president of the committee.>
7. Samuel J. Atlee (1739–86) and Samuel Miles (1739–1805) were not only of an age but had interconnected careers. Both emerged from the French and Indian War as captains, when Atlee retired to a farm near Lancaster and Miles became an Assemblyman. In March, 1776, they were both commissioned as colonels of Pennsylvania units, Atlee of a militia battalion and Miles of a continental rifle regiment. Both were captured at the Battle of Long Island, and remained prisoners until 1778. Atlee then served in Congress. Samuel W. Pennypacker, “Samuel John Atlee,” PMHB, II, (1878), 74–84. W. A. Newman Dorland, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” ibid., XLVI (1922), 72–3. For Atlee see also Biographical Directory of the American Congress. . . ([Washington,] 1971).
8. See his earlier letter above, Dec. 10.