From Lund Washington
Mount Vernon March 11th 1778
Since my last1 the weather has been Wet, first Snow, in a day or two after rain until now, and I see no prospect of its clearg up—it has prevented me from going up the country—I am told the snow about the mountains, and for some distance below was very deep, therefore the Runs above must be impassible—I shall set off so soon as I think there is the least chance to cross them;2 This will keep me longer from seeing you than I thought to be, yet I think to set out for the Camp before the last of this month—I have some Flour and Corn which I shoud be glad to sell before I go, I was told a day or two past that Congress had orderd a Qty of Shad, to be cure’d on this River,3 I expect as every thing sells high Shad will also, I shoud be fond of cureg about 100 barrels for them, they findg Salt—we have been unfortunate in our Crops, therefore I coud wish to make something by fish, or any other way to make up for the loss. I engaged (but not diliverd) 12 Barls of Porck and Eight of Beef, the other day at £15 pr Barl—you will ask where I got Salt to cure it—the Porck was put up for family Consumption but I think too much of it, therefore I sell 12 Barrels of it—by Boilg up all the Brine which cured the Bacon Beef &c. for family Use I made out to cure 8 Barrels of Beef—By which I gain in the whole (the differance sellg it green or in Barrels) more than a £100—It is a matter of doubt whether I shall be able to prevail on Lanphier to come to work this Spring or not,4 if he comes I shall be at a loss how to manage in my absence about Victualing him and others about the family, experiance teaches Bishop is not to be trusted—Milly Posey will be from home, what to do as yet I cannot tell, but I will fall upon some way or other, tho indeed I cannot tell What—If I can sell the Negroes I mention’d to you by private Sale I will—but the Best way of Sellg is at Publick Sale.5
The people of Loudon are in confusion about being draughted—where, or how it will end I cannot tell but I hope well, one of the Mutineers got shot, but not Mortal, for which they threaten to kill Colo. F. Peyton, another atempt is to be made this day to Draught them—it is said this mutiny was begun by a Married Man, I expected they wou’d have been Silent, as the draught did not extend to them, but some people must do wrong, it is a pity but he had been Shot as well as the one that was.6
Mr Custis not yet returnd from Wmsburg I cannot tell how Mrs Custis and her Children are not haveg heard from Mt Airy7—this Weather has given several of our people bad Colds, some, Fevers, Jack & Sylla are much distressd about partg.8 I shoud have sent her down before this had it not have been for the badness of the Weather—Bad weather this for Lambs—we have lost more than I coud wish—I told you in my last the Mare you sent by Lewis was Sick, the cause of her disorder was eatg Ivy9—she is not yet well. My Compliments to Mrs Washington And am Dr Sir your affectionate Servt
3. By mid-February the Continental Congress camp committee had recommended efforts “to have large Supplies of Fish laid up from the Rivers of Virginia particularly the Potowmack in the ensuing Spring” (Committee at Camp to Henry Laurens, 12–25? Feb., in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 9:83; see also Gouverneur Morris to John Harvie, 19 Feb., ibid., 137). In response, a report to Congress on 9 Mar. recommended steps to purchase “Ten thousand barrels of Fish, well pickled and saved for Use, and as many of them shad as can be procured,” although final consideration of the report was postponed (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:235–37).
4. For discussion of Going Lanphier’s work on the mansion house at Mount Vernon, see GW to Lund Washington, 20 Aug. 1775, and note 14. For Lanphier’s agreement to continue the work, see Lund Washington to GW, 18 March. Lund Washington balanced his accounts with Lanphier on this date (Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book, f. 65, ViMtvL).
5. No previous letter from Lund Washington mentioning the proposed slave sale has been found. For subsequent discussions, see Lund Washington to GW, 8 April and 2 Sept. 1778, and GW to Lund Washington, 24–26 Feb. 1779. On 18 Jan. 1779 Lund received on GW’s account £2,303.19 “Cash for the Following Negroes. Abram, Orford, Tom, Jack, Ede, Fattimore, Phillis, Bett & Jenny” (Ledger B, 156, DLC:GW; see also Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book, f. 82, ViMtvL).
6. For discussion of the Virginia draft law, see GW to James Innes, 2 Jan., n.1, and John Parke Custis to GW, 12 Feb., and note 3 to that document. On 27 Feb. the Virginia council of state considered a complaint from Loudoun County lieutenant Francis Peyton “that the Draught of Militia which was appointed to be made in that County on the 16th . . . was prevented by the violent & riotous behaviour of the people, in Consequence of which the 11th of March was appointed for Compleating that necessary Business, but that without some exertions of Government there was little reason to expect a more successful Issue than before.” Nine alleged leaders of the riots of 2 and 3 Feb. were tried in May (see Madison Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends , 1:230–32).
7. John Parke Custis’s wife, Eleanor Calvert Custis, and their two daughters, Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Parke Custis and Martha (“Patsy”) Parke Custis, were at her father’s home, Mount Airy, in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
9. Lund Washington is referring not to English ivy but to mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) or sheep laurel (Kalmia augustifolia). Both laurels, which were sometimes called mountain ivy in Virginia, were poisonous to grazing animals.