George Washington Papers

Expense Account of Journey to and from Philadelphia, 21 May–12 June 1776

Expense Account of Journey to and from Philadelphia

[21 May–12 June 1776]
New York June 12th 1776

Expences paid for his Excellency General Washing⟨ton’s⟩ Journey to, at & from Philadelphia by Rob. H. Harrison

1776 Pensylv. Cy York Cuy
May 21 To ferriage from New York 1. 4. 0
No. 1 To Pawles Hook Tavern ⅌ Bill 18.10
Browns ferry1 5.  
Post at Elizth Town, for returning to Open Mail 3.  
Tavern at New Ark 12 Dollrs 4.16. 0
Tavern at Woodbridge Breakfastg &c. 1. 8. 0
Amboy ferry, to & from Staten Island 8. 0
No. 2 Hick’s, Tavern Keeper at Amboy 9 ⅙ Dollrs 3.13. 4
Ferry at Brunswic ¾ Dollr 6. 0
Jacob Hyer at Prince Ton2 2. 3. 0 13. 2. 2
Trenton Tavern 17/8. Ferry 7/6 1. 5. 2
Shamminey Ferry ferry3 4.  
Red Lyon Tavern4 1.      
Ship Carpenters at Philadelphia 1. 2. 6
A Lamd Rifleman returng to Virginia 7. 6
No. 3 Danl Smith. City Tavern ⅌ Bill5 3. 5. 0
No. 4 Jacob Hiltzheimer, for Stablage ⅌ Do 6 14. 2. 6
No. 5 Benja. Randall for board & Lodging ⅌ Do 18. 7. 3
No. 6 Benja. Fleming for Stablage ⅌ Bill 6.10. 6
Anderson at the Red Lion 1. 1. 4
Shamminey ferry 5/4. Trenton Ferry 12/6 17.10
Thos Jenny this side Trenton ferry, fish & Hay 7. 6
Hostler 2. 6
No. 7 Jacob Hyer, Prince Ton Tavern ⅌ Bill
Servants 3.9.7 }
3.13. 7
No. 8 Minne Voorhies. Brunswic 16 Dollrs7 6.      
Hostler 2/8 & ferriage 10/3 for 10.  
61. 0. 2
by ⅔ ⅌ Cent advance on Do to York Currency 4. 1. 4 65. 1. 6
No. 9 Wm Graham Eliz. Town ⅌ Bill 8 1.12. 6
Dr Dayton at Eliz. Town ferry 18/ }
Ferriage from Eliz. Town  8/
1. 6. 0
No. 10 Saml Frances, Alias Black Sam for Dinner 3.14. 0
George Baylor Esqr. ferriage from Eliz. point to Staten Island 13.  
Do from Staten Island to the Main 18.  
Do for Do at Paulus Hook 1.11. 6 3. 2. 6
87.18. 8
June 12th To Ballance of Cash reced this day repaid 12. 1. 4
£100. 0. 0
By Cash from his Excellency Genl Washington when in Philadelphia 150 Dollrs 60.    
By Do on Return at Brunswic 100 Dollrs 40.    

Rob. H. Harrison

DS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW, 5th ser., vol. 24.

Called to Philadelphia to confer with the Continental Congress about military matters, GW left New York on 21 May and apparently spent that night at Newark. After breakfasting at Woodbridge, N.J., on the morning of 22 May, GW made a side trip to Staten Island to inspect sites for defensive works (see GW to Schuyler, that date). He then proceeded on his journey to Philadelphia, probably stopping for the night at Princeton.

GW arrived at Philadelphia about two o’clock in the afternoon of 23 May (Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 27 May 1776), and that evening or the next day he met with a committee appointed by Congress to consult with him and generals Gates and Mifflin “upon the most speedy and effectual means for supporting the American cause in Canada” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:383–84). The committee reported on 24 May and was instructed by Congress to confer further with the generals “touching the most proper posts, and measures to be taken for effectually preventing the enemy’s communication with the upper country from Canada, and such other measures as shall tend to secure the frontiers” (ibid., 387–89). The committee made its second report on 25 May (ibid., 394–95; for discussions of this committee’s reports and Congress’s actions on them, see GW to John Thomas, 24 May, n.1, and GW to Hancock, 9 June 1776, n.7).

GW’s main purpose in traveling to Philadelphia, however, was to discuss general strategy for the approaching campaign (see Hancock to GW, 16 May 1776), and on 24 and 25 May he attended Congress to confer with the delegates as a whole about measures for dealing with the British military threat to the colonies (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:389, 391). Apparently finding this method of proceeding awkward and time-consuming, Congress decided after its conference with GW on 25 May to appoint a committee to meet with GW, Gates, and Mifflin “and concert a plan of military operations for the ensuing campaign” (ibid., 391; see also GW to Israel Putnam, 28 May 1776, n.3).

The principal recommendations of the report that this committee submitted to Congress on 29 May were to reinforce the armies in Canada and at New York with militia levies, to call out additional militia to form a “flying camp” or strategic reserve in the middle colonies, and to build fire rafts and row galleys for the defense of New York Harbor and the Hudson River (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:399–401). Over the next several days the whole Congress considered that report and a second one containing some minor recommendations that the committee submitted on 31 May (ibid., 408).

In response to the committee’s first report Congress resolved on 29 May “that an animated address be published to impress the minds of the people with the necessity of their now stepping forward to save their country, their freedom and property” (ibid., 401–2). The building of the fire rafts and row galleys was authorized on 30 May. Militia reinforcements for Canada were approved on 1 June, and militia for New York and the flying camp were agreed to on 3 June (ibid., 406–7, 410–14; see also GW to Putnam, 3 June, nn.2 and 3, GW to the New York Provincial Congess, 7 June, n.1, and GW to Joseph Trumbull, 9 June 1776, nn.1 and 2).

Having finished his official business in Philadelphia, GW received permission from Congress on 3 June to return to his headquarters (see Hancock to GW, that date), and the next day he began his journey back to New York (see GW to Burwell Bassett, 4 June 1776). GW arrived in New York about one o’clock in the afternoon of 6 June (see GW to Hancock, 7 June 1776, n.1) and apparently dined that evening at Samuel Fraunces’s Queen’s Head Tavern at the corner of Pearl and Broad streets. GW’s places of lodging on his return trip are not clear, but the large sum spent at Minne Van Voorhees’s tavern suggests that he spent one night at New Brunswick in New Jersey.

For an account of the military review that GW attended in Philadelphia on 27 June, see Message from the Six Nations, c.16 May 1776, source note. For Martha Washington’s inoculation for smallpox during this visit to Philadelphia, see Hancock to GW, 21 May, n.3, GW to John Augustine Washington, 31 May–4 June, GW to Burwell Bassett, 4 June, n.2, John Parke Custis to GW, 10 June, and source note, and Hancock to GW, 10 June 1776.

1Brown’s ferry crossed the Passaic River east of Newark.

2Hyer’s tavern at “the Sign of Hudibrass” was near the college’s Nassau Hall (Butterfield, Adams Diary and Autobiography description begins L. H. Butterfield, ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. 4 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1961. description ends , 2:112, 158). Hyer served as a lieutenant colonel and colonel in the Middlesex County militia 1776–78.

3Neshaminy Creek is in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Dr. James Thacher says in his journal that on the way to Yorktown in September 1781 the Continental army “crossed a small river at Shammany’s rope ferry. Our boats were pulled across with facility by a rope made fast at each shore” (Thacher, Military Journal description begins James Thacher. Military Journal of the American Revolution, From the commencement to the disbanding of the American Army; Comprising a detailed account of the principal events and Battles of the Revolution, with their exact dates, And a Biographical Sketch of the most Prominent Generals. Hartford, 1862. description ends , 271).

4The Red Lion Tavern was on Poquessing Creek in Bensalem Township, Bucks County.

5The City Tavern, which Daniel Smith opened in 1774, was a popular place for members of Congress to meet and dine after their sessions. Standing on the west side of Second Street above Walnut, it was modeled on the finest London taverns and featured several large clubrooms.

6Jacob Hiltzheimer (d. 1798), a native of Germany who came to Philadelphia in 1748, was superintendent of the Continental stables in the city throughout the war. See Robert Morris to Hancock, 16 Dec. 1776, and Executive Committee to Hancock, 10 Jan. 1777, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:610–11, 6:78–80.

7Minne Van Voorhees (1754–1794), a tavern keeper in New Brunswick, N.J., became an assistant commissary in the Continental hospital department army in April 1777 and served later as a captain and quartermaster in state service.

8William Graham (d. 1779) operated a tavern at the sign of the Unicorn in Elizabethtown from 1770 to 1779. Standing at the corner of Broad and East Jersey streets, it was one of the town’s largest and most popular taverns at this time.

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