George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Wharton, Jr., 3 January 1778

From Thomas Wharton, Jr.

In Council
Lancaster [Pa.] January 3d 1778


Yesterday I had the Honor of receiving your Letter of the 1st Inst. which I communicated to Council, and it is with pleasure I can assure your Excellency that Council is perfectly convinced of the strict attention which you have always paid to the safety and ease of the inhabitants of this state. the proposal which Genl Armstrong has made and to which your Excelly has acquiesced in keeping up not a greater number of the Militia on the East side of Schuylkill than about One thousand, with a few Light Horse, will answer as salutary a purpose as double the number under our present circumstances by which a very great expence will be saved and the good people of the state much less harrassed, objects worthy the attention of your Excellency and of the Council.

As the time of the Militia now in the Field is nearly expired—I purpose to order out such Classes as will furnish the number of Men required, and will endeavor to provide the Light Horse demanded by General Armstrong.1 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency Obedient Hum. servant

Tho. Wharton jun. Prest

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790.

1On 5 Jan. the Pennsylvania supreme executive council ordered “That the Sixth & Seventh Classes of Militia of York County; The Fifth & Sixth Classes of Militia of the County of Cumberland; and the Fifth Class of Militia of the County of Northumberland, be immediately sent to Head Quarters,” and on 9 Jan. the council called out in addition two classes of militia from Northampton County. On 20 Jan., however, in view of a report that Indians had killed “several inhabitants” of Northumberland County “and that there was reason to apprehend that a considerable body of them was now meditating a blow against the frontiers of the said County,” the council ordered that “the Lieut. of the County of Northumberland use his best discretion with respect to the Class of Militia now called out, & apply such part thereof to the defence of the inhabitants as may appear to be necessary” (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:395, 398, 403; see also the Pennsylvania supreme executive council’s directions of 9 Jan. to the county lieutenants, in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:169). The reinforcement of thirty light horse was provided by an order of 7 Jan., when the council resolved “That Colo. Kirkbride be directed to send out Thirty Light Horse, to be commanded by a Cornet, to do duty in the Camp under Colo. Lacy” (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:396; for Lt. Col. John Lacey, Jr.’s appointment to command the militia, see Daniel Morgan to GW, 5 Jan., n.1). Despite Wharton’s confidence, it proved difficult to maintain even the force of 1,000 that had been requested by Maj. Gen. John Armstrong; see GW’s letter to Wharton of 12 Feb. and Wharton’s explanation of his difficulties in his letter to GW of 17 February.

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