George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, 11 September 1776

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer

New York Sept. 11th 1776


I have received your favour by Colo. Weedon.1 As it seems every day more Probable that the Posts at Kingsbridge will be occupied by this Army & the principal defence made there, I have orderd Colo. Bradlys Regiment to move from Bergen. As that Post does not seem to be an Object of the Enemys Attention I am in doubt whether it is necessary for you to replace this Regiment or leave it to the remaining troops—as you best know what number there are from your Camp at that Post I must leave it to you to direct a further supply or not as under all Circumstances you think best & necessary—We find a moving Camp will require a great[er] Number of waggons than was expected. If Mr Biddle could engage about 50 of the common Country waggons or in proportion of the Philadelphia Teams to go up to Burdetts ferry, it would greatly releive us, The Idea of impressing is very disagreable & only to be adopted in Case of the most urgent Necessity2—The Enemy is taking Post on the Islands about Hellgate so as to make a landing with the greater Ease & Convenience. We are endeavouring to give them a suitable Reception & hope they will not be able to execute their Scheme. I am Sir Your Most Obbt Humbe Servant


LB, in Caleb Gibbs’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found. George Weedon (c.1734–1793), a tavern keeper from Fredericksburg, Va., served under GW in the Virginia Regiment as an ensign beginning in September 1755. Weedon was promoted to lieutenant in July 1757 and captain-lieutenant in May 1762, and after the French and Indian War he became a captain in the Spotsylvania County militia. When the Spotsylvania Independent Company was formed in December 1774, Weedon was named its captain, and on 12 Jan. 1776 the Virginia convention commissioned him lieutenant colonel of the 3d Virginia Regiment. In August the Continental Congress promoted Weedon to colonel and ordered him to march the 3d Virginia Regiment to New York, where, after arriving at GW’s headquarters on this date, it was stationed at Harlem Heights. GW appointed Weedon acting adjutant general in January 1777, and a month later Congress made him a brigadier general. In the spring of 1778 Weedon left active service after a long dispute about rank. He retained his Continental commission, however, and on returning to Virginia he was active in supervising the militia’s resistance to British raids up the James and Potomac rivers. His forces participated in the Virginia campaign of 1781 and were present at the Battle of Yorktown. Weedon resigned his commission in July 1783.

2Acting on orders from Mercer, Deputy Q.M. Gen. Clement Biddle previously had impressed nearly three hundred wagons, about half of which arrived at Burdett’s Ferry on the night of 4 September. GW then “orderd a number of them to be discharged & a part to be sent over” to Fort Washington (Biddle to Heath, 5 Sept., MHi: Heath Papers). Clement Biddle (1740–1814), a prominent Philadelphia merchant who in 1775 had helped raise a company of volunteers called the Quaker Blues, was appointed by Congress on 8 July 1776 to be deputy quartermaster general of the flying camp with the rank of colonel. Gen. Nathanael Greene made Biddle one of his aides-de-camp in November 1776, and GW named him commissary general of forage in July 1777. Biddle resigned from the army in June 1780, but at Greene’s urging, he accepted appointment as quartermaster general of the Pennsylvania militia in September 1781. During the 1780s and 1790s Biddle transacted much of GW’s personal business in Philadelphia, and in 1789 GW appointed him U.S. marshal of Pennsylvania.

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