George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Henry Lee, Jr., 9 January 1778

From Captain Henry Lee, Jr.

Scotts-farm [Pa.] Jany 9th 78


In compliance with your Excellency’s orders received by Lieutenant Lindsay, I have been engaged in acquainting myself with the roads which communicate with the left of the army.1 Being a stranger in that quarter, it has taken some time to be informed accurately, which is the occasion of this late report.

Near the ten mile stone, below the Buck-tavern, the gulph mill road takes out from the Lancaster road. It affords a convenient route directly thro’ the gulph to the left of the camp.

Near the eight mile stone, another road distinguished by the name of Roberts’s road leaves the Lancaster-road, & falls into the gulph mill road near Roberts’s mill. Above the Buck tavern, one mile & a half, the Hartford road joins the Lancaster road. At this latter place, a party posted, with directions to patrole down the Lancaster-road, as far as Roberts’s road, appears to be the most eligible mode, that the situation of the country affords for the purpose of security on that quarter.2 The distance from support will be rather far, which admits of the possibility of the patroles being cut off, & therefore points out an imperfection in the plan If a post of infantry was established at the gulph-mill, (where a body of troops might be commodiously quartered, it would completely secure the left of the army,) tho’ an accident should befal the patrole of horse, & would be an additional security to the post at Radnormeeting. Intelligence from the city mentions, that there is no talk of any movement shortly. With perfect respect

Heny Le⟨e jr⟩


Richard Kidder Meade replied to Lee on this date: “Your favor of this date his Exelly received, & commands me to inform you, that he is struck with the propriety of taking a Post at the Gulph, but that our present situation renders it impossible, to be done at this time, as soon as the Huts are finished, and some other matters accomplished, your proposition will take place; In the mean time your attention to that part of the Country must be the greater, as you will be without the aid of any Patroles. As usual you will make report to his Exelly of any event that you may think worth communicating” (DLC:GW).

1GW’s orders have not been found.

2The Gulph Mill Road, which was opened in 1726, entered the Lancaster Road from the northwest a short distance to the east of Buck Tavern and about ten miles west of Philadelphia. heading northwest, the road passed Gulph Mill at Gulph Creek four miles from the Lancaster Road, intersected the Swede’s Ford Road three miles farther on, and reached Valley Forge after eleven miles. Roberts Road entered the Gulph Mill Road from the east about two miles north of the Lancaster Road and headed southeast past the mill formerly owned by John Roberts to join the Lancaster Road near the eight-mile stone.

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