George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Henry Lee, Jr., 14 November 1777

From Captain Henry Lee, Jr.

No. 14th 77.


I have just returned from the lower counties on Delaware. In our excursion thro’ that country, the several landings on the river were visited, but to our satisfaction, we learned that the intercourse between the inhabitants & fleet was totally broke up. Lord Howe has positively forbid the least connexion under severe penalties.

I should have proceeded down as far as Dover, in order to destroy some small craft, that were employed in furnishing the enemy with fresh provision fuel &c., from Ducks creek, but this business being completed by Gen. Patterson, I concluded the route unnecessary, & returned to my former station.1 Thirty eight sail of Transports arrived in the delaware while I was down & joined the fleet off Chester. It was expected they had troops on board from N-york, but none could be discovered as they passed up the river. I am with the most perfect respect, your Excellys Obt H. Servt

Heny Lee jr


1Samuel Patterson (c.1733-1785), a prominent miller of White Clay Creek Hundred in New Castle County, Del., was Delaware’s state treasurer from 1771 to 1778. A veteran of the French and Indian War, Patterson had commanded the Delaware regiment of flying camp in 1776, and at this time he was brigadier general of the Delaware Whigs, a militia corps that in October 1777 had been ordered to be raised for the two months’ service. Patterson also served in the Delaware general assembly, and in 1784 he was elected to the Continental Congress but did not attend.

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