George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General James Potter, 20 October 1777

To Brigadier General James Potter

[Whitpain Township, Pa.]
Monday Night Nine OClock. 20th Octob: 1777


As I understand that the Party of the Enemy, that crossed Schuylkill last night, are intended as a covering party to a Convoy of provisions that is expected up from Chester, I am determined to intercept them if possible upon their return. For this purpose Genl Green will march with a party this Evening, and I desire that you will hold yourself in readiness to join him with the Troops under your command. If you should be above Merion Meeting House you will immediately fall down to that place and there wait for Genl Green, but if you should be between Merion and Derby you may wait upon your ground, only sending an Officer to meet Genl Green at Merion Meeting and to conduct him to you.1 You will keep scouts constantly out upon the Road to know whether the Convoy has passed Derby upon its Return, and you are to order your parties to stop every person going toward Chester, to prevent intelligence. You will also keep parties upon the Roads leading from the middle and from Grays Ferries lest any more troops should come over. I am &c.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Joseph Reed wrote Thomas Wharton, Jr., on 24 Oct. that “on Sunday [19 Oct.], we had Intelligence that 113 Waggons, with an Escort of 1500 Men, had pass’d over the lower Ferry [Gray’s Ferry] to go down to the ships for Provisions. General Green was ordered to pass the Schuylkill to attack them, but a heavy Shower coming up before he reach’d the River, he returned as he had been directed in Case of Rain” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:701). Merion Quaker Meeting House was located on the Lancaster Road about six miles northwest of Philadelphia. For General McDougall’s subsequent efforts to intercept this British provision convoy, see GW to Potter, 21 Oct., Joseph Reed to GW, 23 Oct., and General Orders, 24 October.

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