George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General James Potter, 12 January 1778

To Brigadier General James Potter

Head Quarters [Valley Forge] Jany 12th 1778


I have duly receiv’d your favor of yesterday & Observe the Pernicious tendency which may arise from a Continuation of Intercourse between the City & Country—in order to prevent which, you are hereby instructed to take the most immediate & Coercive Measures—I should gladly Know, who the Officers are who act so directly contrary to my inclination, & express Commands, in granting passes for taking Provision into the City.

I must repeat my desire that you will adopt the most rigorous Means (if nothing less will do) to put a Stop to this practice—in the execution of which you shall receive every necessary support from me.1

The Comissary of Purchases will in a few days go over to the Counties of Bucks & Burlington for the purpose of Purchasing Beef & Pork from those who will agree to take Continental Currency, from the others, there will be a necessity to take these Articles where it is known they can be spared, allowing a reasonable price for them—it is unnecessary to request your assistance in this matter as I know you will afford every Aid in your Power.

The Bearer will deliver you some of my Proclamations which you will have distributed as you See proper. I am Sir Your mo. Obed. serv.

Go: Washington

LS, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, PHi: Washington Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1An additional sentence appears at this place on the draft: “Majr Jammison (I’m sure) will give you every assistance in his power.” GW’s aide John Fitzgerald wrote John Jameson on this date: “Reports having been made here thro a variety of Channells that a great Intercourse is supported between the Country & City & in many Instances countenanced by the Officers & Men on that Station One Circumstance reported is ‘that a Countryman coming out of the City told another who wanted to take some things in (& met a difficulty in doing it) that if he gave the light Horsemen a little Money he might take in whatever he pleased.’

“His Excellency is of opinion that this matter should be minutely enquir’d into, & that you should get some Countrymen, in whom you can confide, to tamper with your Horsemen, by which means you may ascertain the truth of this report & be able to point out any who may be guilty of such perfidy.

“By this Conveyance Genl Potter receives positive Instructions to fall upon the most rigorous Measures in order to put a Stop to all Intercourse with the City to effect which you are requested to Co-opperate & give every aid in your power.

“A person just from the City reports that the Enemy are determind (if possible) to Catch the light Horse on that Station—his Excellency thought this Information might be necessary to put you on your Guard. . . . you will pay particular attention to the Roads leading towards this Camp from the City & give proper Notice upon any approach” (DLC:GW).

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