George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major John Clark, Jr., 12 November 1777

From Major John Clark, Jr.

Mr Jacobs House [Chester County, Pa.]1
Novr 12th 1777 8 oClock A.M.

My dear General

This will inform you I left New Castle Yesterday Evening, at which place there lay about one hundred sail of Men of War & Transports, chiefly of the later, one large Ship of Force at the mouth of Christiana—Day before Yesterday thirty five sail of Transports hove in sight & soon after taking advantage of the Flood, moved up & joined the Fleet at Chester—The Inhabitants say they had no Troops on board—same Day nine Hessians came on shore to bring a Hessian Captain, who died of the Wounds he received at Brandywine;2 and informed the Inhabitants they had between two & three thousand Troops on board & wou’d land Yesterday—I have also received information that all the Transports have Orders to hold themselves in readiness to sail with six Weeks provision excessive of what they had.

My Freind from Philadelphia has not yet returned I expect him every hour—I wrote to Genl Greene lately & desired him to shew it you3—The Militia of the Delaware State have taken 5 or 6 Shallops trading with the Enemy & a considerable quantity of Cash (solid Coin) about 20 prisoners—The bearer Mr Benjamin Jacobs obliges me by delivering you this, he is a Son of Mr John Jacobs (late Speaker of the House of Assembly of this State).4 I am with respect your Excellency’s Obedt Humble Servt

Jno. Clark Junr

P.S. A pilot Boat was going to New Castle when I came away, probably to pilot the Shipping up. J.C.

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter is docketed in part “Ansd 13th,” but that letter has not been found.

1John Jacobs (1722–1780), a member of the Pennsylvania general assembly from 1762 to 1776 and a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1776, lived in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Jacobs was elected speaker of the general assembly for one term in November 1776.

2Johann Friedrich Trautvetter (d. 1777), said to be the only Hessian captain wounded at the Battle of Brandywine on 11 Sept. 1777, died on board a British vessel in November 1777.

3Clark’s recent letter to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene has not been identified.

4John Jacobs’s son Benjamin Jacobs, a surveyor, served as a judge on the Chester County court of common pleas from 1792 to 1803.

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