George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Nathanael Greene, 1 August 1777

To Major General Nathanael Greene

City Tavern Philadelphia 1st Augst 17771

Dear sir

We have not recieved any certain intelligence that the Fleet have got within the Capes. By the last accounts they were beating in, the Wind unfavorable; It was supposed they would get in about three OClock yesterday Evening.

I would wish you to collect and bring up your rear, as soon as may be, to German Town or to proper Grounds contiguous to it where the Troops are to remain untill further orders—if they can be got on this side the better.2

You will reduce the division to a proper Arrangement in all its parts, and as the Brigades arrive, you will order them immediately to set about cleaning their Arms and putting them in the best possible fix.

Neither Officers or Soldiers are to be permitted to leave their Corps and come to this place. The Soldiers (not a man) are to be allowed to load to prevent these things you’ll issue the most peremptory orders.3 I am Dr Sr Your most hum. Servt

Go: Washington

p.s. youll place Guards on the ways leading to this to prevent the Soldiers from passing.

LS, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, owned (1979) by John f. Reed, King of Prussia, Pa.; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The postscript appears only on the LS.

1According to Adj. Gen. Timothy Pickering’s journal entry for 31 July 1777, GW and “his aids, &c.” arrived at Philadelphia at “about ten in the evening, leaving the army behind” (Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:148). GW and his staff were escorted from Coryell’s Ferry to City Tavern by a detachment of Continental light horse (see John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1 Aug., 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 , 7:400, and “Hiltzheimer’s Diary,” description begins “Extracts from the Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer, of Philadelphia, 1768–1798.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 93–102, 160–77, 412–22. description ends 99). GW spent much of the day of 1 Aug. inspecting American fortifications on both sides of the Delaware River and reconnoitering the ground from Philadelphia to Chester, Pa., where he spent the night.

2The Continental army encamped between Germantown and the Schuylkill River on a plateau to the east of the river’s falls in Roxborough township (Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:149).

3Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene issued orders to this effect to the Continental army later on this date (see 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 , 2:131–32). GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman included similar instructions concerning the prohibition of troops passing through Philadelphia when relating GW’s orders of this date to Col. Daniel Morgan to march from Trenton, N.J.: “His Excellency being fearful that if the Troops enter this City it will only tend to debauch them, has ordered that part of the Army which came down with him to halt at German town, seven Miles from hence, and desires that you would file off with your Regt to that place and there take your orders from Major Genl Green. If there are any other continental Troops on their march with you be pleased to shew them this order and desire them to go to Germantown also....P.S. No Officer or Soldier is to come to this City on any Acct” (NN: Myers Collection, Daniel Morgan Papers).

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