George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Craik, 13 May 1777

From James Craik

Maryland Portobacco May 13th 1777

Dear Sir

Your Affectionate & very freindly Letters I have the pleasure to Acknowledge1 And cannot too much express my gratitude for the freindship shewen me on all Occasions This fresh instance of it when so much taken up with affairs of the Utmost consequence And so many waiting for Offices lays me under the greatest Obligations. The freindly, and pointed manner in which the proposal is made to me, deserves my warmest thanks; and must make a deep impression on a gratefull mind—Having as you request, considered with mature deliberation, the Contents of your Letters, and examined my present Situation in every point of View, And as my own inclinations are to embark in the Service for this Campaign at least, I shall think my self honoured by your procuring me the Deputy Director Genl Place in the middle department provided you think me Capable of discharging the Dutys of that Office, for I must own at present, I am not fully Acquainted what they are—At the Same time that I Solicite for this Appointment I must inform you that in case my immediat attendance at Camp is necessary, it will not be in my power to Comply with it as I have Some familys under Inoculation near Fredericksburgh whom I am not certain that I could leave under three or four Weeks from this time. Should the nature of the Office be Such as my Absence for that time could not be excused, I can by no means desire it to be kept open for me and must Submitt to a Dissapointment. I have wrote the Director Genl of my Situation in regard to this point Should I be appointed under those Circumstances; were it not adding to the trouble I have already given you I should be glad to know how long I may be absent; and if there is any part of the Duty that I can do while here.

I have the Pleasure to inform you that Mrs Custis’ Child has got over the Small Pox very well,2 and all your Negroes who have been Inoculated, and all others in that Neighbourhood whom I have Inoculated. Coll Mason has had it very favourably and is now well3—It is expected every day to be in Fredericksburgh where I am Solicited to Inoculate but I shall obey your Commands by the time I have mentioned if you think proper to order me—Mrs Craik joins me in Sincere Prayers for your health & prosperity—and that God may grant you a Glorious & Successfull Campaign and restore you to your friends Crowned with the Blessings of a free and gratefull people—We likewise beg that our most Respectfull Compts May be offered to Mrs Washington and hope that she has recovered her former good state of health.4 I ever am Dr Sir your Most obliged & Obedt hume Sert

Jas Craik


1See GW to Craik, 26 April. No other letters from GW to Craik during 1777 have been found.

2Elizabeth Parke Custis, daughter of John Parke Custis and Eleanor Calvert Custis, was born on 21 Aug. 1776.

3George Mason wrote George Wythe from Gunston Hall on 14 June 1777 that “though I am otherwise thoroughly recovered from the small pox, my arm which has been so much ulcerated where the inoculation was made, still continues so bad, that my being able to attend this session [of the Continental Congress] remains doubtful” (Rutland, Mason Papers description begins Robert A. Rutland, ed. The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. description ends , 1:345–46). Mason never served as a delegate to Congress.

4GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote his father James Tilghman on 10 May: “Mrs. Washington sets out for philada. in a day or two, if Matters remain as quiet as they are at present I shall attend her so far on her Journey. She is at present a little indisposed, but if she is better, she will set out on Monday [12 May]” (Tilghman, Memoir description begins Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aid to Washington, together with an Appendix, containing Revolutionary Journals and Letters, Hitherto Unpublished. 1876. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 159). Martha Washington, as was her custom during the war, returned home to Virginia before active campaigning began in the spring, and she rejoined her husband when he again went into winter quarters. Tilghman accompanied Mrs. Washington to Philadelphia as planned, and he returned to GW’s headquarters before the end of May (see Apollos Morris to GW, 29 May, and Tilghman to Zebulon Butler, 30 May, in Butler to GW, 29 May, source note).

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