George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 13 September 1777

To Thomas Wharton, Jr.

Head Quarters [Germantown, Pa.], Sept. 13. 1777.


I must request you would immediately give some publick notice to the inhabitants of the City not to entertain or harbour the soldiers in their houses. And in order to oblige those, who have straggled into town, to join their respective corps, they are to deliver them up to the patroles, which will pass thro’ the town, in order to collect all stragglers & in case of refusal, to turn out, the inhabitants are desired to give notice of them to the patroles. The necessity & interest of the service, as well as the peace & good order of the City will, I hope, ensure a ready compliance with this request and a strict attention to it on the part of the inhabitants.1 I am Sir, your most obed. & very hbbl. servt

Go. Washington

Transcript, MH: Jared Sparks Collection.

1Wharton replied later on this date: “I had the Honor to receive your Excellys Letter a few minutes since, and immediately gave orders to the Town Major to attend to the subject of it. You may depend that Council will give every assistance in their power in the business you are pleased to recommend, being perfectly convinced of the necessity for every soldier instantly to Joyn the Army” (DLC:GW).

The supreme executive council’s letter of this date to the town major, Col. Lewis Nicola, reads: “As the good of the service at this important Crisis, requires that all possible attention should be given to his Excellency’s requisition, Council hereby recommend to & order you to take the most effectual measures to publish to the inhabitants of the City & Suburbs, by beat of Drum the foregoing, to the end that none may plead ignorance; all who shall entertain, harbour or conceal any soldiers of the Continental Army, whether regulars or Militia or other persons connected with the army, will be prosecuted with the utmost severity according to Law” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:619–20).

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