George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major John Clark, Jr., 18 November 1777

From Major John Clark, Jr.

Mr Lewis’s Newtown [Square, Pa.]1
18th Novr 1777, 4 oClock P.M.


The bearer of this has been employed by me to bring intelligence of the Enemy’s movements at Chester, from which place he has just arrived, & informs me the Enemy have been busy since their arrival putting their Horses on board, & embarking Troops, a Ship, & a Brig, were loaded & hauled of from the Wharf into the Channel before he came away, he immagines they have at least 3000—are encamped at Gallows Hill—two of them came into the House of Mr Gill & one of ’em declared they were going over to Jersey,2 & the other said he did not know where they were going, this the bearer had from a person who conversed with them—they have plundered the Neighbouring Inhabitants of every thing3—a 64–Gun Ship & a Frigate arrived at Chester Yesterday—the Generals have not returned from reconnoitring as yet. I am in haste your Excellency’s Most Obedt Humble servt

Jno. Clark Junr

P.S. My Hands are so cold I can scarce write you—I sent an Express to you at 12. this Day.

ALS, DLC:GW. Clark signed a pass to “all concerned” on the cover: “per Express Permit the bearer to pass.” The cover is docketed in part “Answd 19th,” but no reply has been found.

1Nathan Lewis (d. 1788), a Quaker who previously had been part owner of a family-operated store at Water and Front streets in Philadelphia, lived on the Goshen Road in Newtown Township, Chester County, Pa., at the village of Newtown Square.

2George Gill, a native of England, kept an ordinary near the Delaware River on James (later Third) Street in the town of Chester, Pa., on the west side of Chester Creek. Gill accompanied the British army to Halifax at the end of the war, but he soon returned to Chester, where he was imprisoned briefly before being pardoned. Gill’s wife Sarah Salkeld Gill ran the inn after his death.

3For more on the depredations committed by the British against American citizens at this time, see Clark to GW, 19, 22 November.

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