From Nicholas Cooke
Providence April 4th 1776
General Greene having informed me that your Excellency proposed to set out for Providence this Day I do myself the Honor to acquaint that a House is prepared for you and your Lady for Mr Custis and his Lady for General Gates and your whole Suite, Were it possible to have made it so agreeable to your Excellency it would have given me the highest Pleasure to have entertained you at my House.1
The several Companies of Cadets, of Grenadiers and Light Infantry will escort your Excellency into the Town. They propose to meet you about a Mile from the Court-House.
If an Indisposition which hath confined me several Days will permit me I shall wait upon and conduct you to your Quarters.2 I am, Sir Your Excellency’s &c.
Df, RHi: Cooke Papers.
1. During his visit to Providence 5–7 April, GW stayed at the house of Stephen Hopkins, who was then in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress. Martha Washington did not accompany GW to Providence. She and the Custises, escorted by GW’s aides Robert Hanson Harrison and Richard Cary, traveled to New York “on the upper, or Common Post Road,” which went through Hartford (Accounts with U.S., 1775–83, 13; see also GW to Joseph Reed, 15 April 1776).
2. Cooke accompanied the troops that met GW a short distance outside Providence on the afternoon of 5 April. In a diary entry for that date, Theodore Foster, town clerk of Providence, wrote that “the Company of Cadets commanded by Col. [Joseph] Nightingale and the Company of Light Infantry commanded by Col. [John] Mathewson appeared in their Uniforms and went as far as Mr. Sayles Tavern in North Providence where they waited for his [GW’s] coming up” (Preston, Washington’s Visits to Rhode Island description begins Howard W. Preston. Washington’s Visits to Rhode Island, Gathered from Contemporary Accounts. Providence, 1932. description ends , 8). In addition to those local units, Nathanael Greene ordered two Continental regiments from his marching brigade, those commanded by colonels Daniel Hitchcock and Moses Little, to turn out properly dressed with clean faces, hands, and muskets to escort their commander in chief into town (General Greene’s Orders, 4 April 1776, in Showman, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 1:208). GW and Cooke entered Providence side by side immediately preceded by the troops. In town there was “a Great concourse of People Many having come a Number of Miles to have a Sight of his Excellency The Houses through the Street were full of Women the Eminences covered with Men” (Foster’s diary, in Preston, Washington’s Visits to Rhode Island description begins Howard W. Preston. Washington’s Visits to Rhode Island, Gathered from Contemporary Accounts. Providence, 1932. description ends , 8; see also the Providence Gazette; and Country Journal, 6 April 1776).