George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 4 October 1777

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Camp near last Head Quarters1
4th Octr 1777 8. OClock P.M.

Dear Genl

After we left the field of Battle2 the Troops, who took the Upper Rout were formed at White Ma[r]sh Church under Genl Stephens—it was thought Advisable to Remain there for some time in Order to Collect the Straglers from the Army.

the Enemy made their appearance with a party of Light Horse and from 1500 to 2000 Infantry with two field pieces—the Troop[s] upon this were Orderd off—I took the Liberty to call on Col. Bland to Cover the Rear with the Horse aided by some of the Infantry—but finding the Enemy Determind to push us hard—I Obtained a field piece from Genl Stephens—and taking the Advantage of a hill that over looked the Road we marched on—they met with Such a Reception as Induced them to Retire back over the Bridge which they had passed.

the time we gained by this Stand favoured the Retreat of a Considerable Number of our men three or four Hundred of which are now Encamped here and I hope will facilitate the Retreat of Almost all those that were Scattered—so that you are now in my Huml. Opinion in as good if not a better Situation than you were before this Action your men are Convinced that the Enemy may be drove—and A[l]tho’ we fell back yet our people have gained Confidence—and have Raised some Doubts in the Minds of the Enemy which will facilitate their total Defeat the Next Tryal which I wish to see brought to Issue the soonest Possible.3 Interim I am your Excellencies Most Obt Huml. Sert

Anty Wayne

I shall join you tomorrow Morning.

ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers. Wayne docketed the draft: “4th Octr 1777 Genl Washington Evening of the Battle of German[town].”

1Wayne apparently was camped near Peter Wentz’s farmhouse about seven miles southeast of Pennypacker’s Mill, where GW established his headquarters after the retreat from Germantown on this date.

2For accounts of the Battle of Germantown on this date, see GW to Hancock, 5 Oct., and the notes to that document.

3Maj. Henry Miller wrote his family on 10 Oct.: “Our army is in higher spirits than ever, being convinced from the first officer to the soldier, that our quitting the field must be ascribed to other causes than the force of the enemy: for even they acknowledged that we fled from victory. We hope to meet them soon again, and, with the assistance of Providence, to restore our suffering citizens to their possessions and homes” (Watts, “Memoir of Henry Miller,” 12:426–27; see also T. Will Heth to John Lamb, 12 Oct., in Commager and Morris, Spirit of ’Seventy-Six description begins Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of ’Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants. 2 vols. Indianapolis and New York, 1958. description ends , 629–30; letter of an American officer, 6 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 139 vols. to date. 1877–. description ends , 11 [1887], 330–32; and John Sullivan to Meshech Weare, 25 Oct., in Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 1:542–47).

Index Entries