From Major Henry Lee1
[Haverstraw, New York, September 10, 1779]
My dr sir
I wish you would send me a copy of Gen Washingtons letr. of instructions to me,2 a copy of gen orders on the subject of the 19th.3 & the sentence of the court martial.4 The emissarys from the virginia party have been industrious to injure my military character.
I am dr sir yours sincerely
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. The background of this letter can be briefly summarized: Following Henry Lee’s assault on the British outpost at Powles Hook, New Jersey, on August 19, 1779, some officers of the Virginia line (notably Brigadier Generals William Woodford and Peter Muhlenberg, and Major Jonathan Clark) criticized Lee’s preparations and conduct of the raid. Their principal complaint, however, seemed to be that an officer of the Virginia line was not put in command of the attacking force. Lee was court-martialed, tried on eight different charges, acquitted, and, in fact, commended for his conduct. In the letter printed above, Lee is requesting the official papers concerning his acquittal. For the charges against Lee and the actions of the court of inquiry, see GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XVI, 262–64.
2. Washington to Lee, September 1, 1779 (George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).
3. The general orders referred to are those of August 22, 1779 (GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XVI, 149).