George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Lacey, Jr., 11 March 1778

From Brigadier General John Lacey, Jr.

Camp Near White Marsh [Pa.] 11th March 1778.


I have made two attempts to destroy the forrage in the p[o]int,1 the party was one time disappointed by the Pilot and the other by a party of the Enemies Light horse I Cannot learn their is any forrage of consequence left in it, I have destroyd a Quantity of forrage between the red lyon and Dunkses Ferry.2

I have moved over into this Quarter to join Colo. Nagle but find he has Returnd to Head Quarters—as their is a Number of Mills on the Neshamany imployd in grinding for the Army, Some of them have a Considerable Store of Wheat and flour in them I have thought It might be of more Service to Lay Some Where in Reach of them to provent the Enemy from destroying or taking off the flour—for which purpose I mean to move farther in that Neighbourhood. my Scouting parties keep prety Low down toward the Enemy.

In[c]losed is a return of my Brigade, they are Situatd in the following Manner

Present at this place Rank & file 399
on Commad with Cattle    do 50
on  do  with Capt. Henderson & Capt. Humfres in Bucks County 50
at Dyles town guarding the Stores3 35
Sick 64
on furlow 9
Deserted 9
⟨9⟩ Dschd

ADf, NHi: Miscellaneous Manuscripts.

An earlier draft of this letter, dated 9 Mar., conveys the same information about destruction of forage, and then continues: “As Soon as I Come within eight or ten Miles of the enemies lines the Inhabitants having their Horses Conceald in by places mounts them, and taking through fields & by paths, repair directly to the City with the intiligence that the Rebels is in the neighbourhood, not one word of Intiligence can we procure from them, not even the Direction of the Roads there is large Sums of Counterfit money circulating in the lower part of Bucks & phila. Counties, which is brought out of the City by the Market people. I am of the opinion, were the Inhabitants within eight or ten Miles from the City to be ordered either to move their families into” (NHi: Miscellaneous Manuscripts). A version of this letter, incorporating material from both drafts, was published in Samuel Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania, 16 May 1829. Although Hazard identified the addressee as the Pennsylvania council, the content of the letter suggests that the letter was probably addressed to GW.

1GW had written Lacey on 21 Feb., ordering him to destroy forage in the Point-No-Point district.

2Lacey is referring to the Red Lion Tavern on Poquessing Creek in Bensalem Township, Bucks County, about twelve miles from Philadelphia.

3Doylestown was situated near a branch of Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County, Pa., about twenty-six miles north of Philadelphia, in what was then Warwick Township (now Doylestown Township).

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