George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh, 26 March 1778

From Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh

No. Wales [Pa.] 26th March 1778.


I wrote yesterday per return of an Express Sent here.1 my reconoitering partys returned Yesterday without making any discoverys, only a rumour they heard that a large Detachment of the Enemy were making ready to come out, which I give no faith to, yet as I heard nothing further of the Cattle as I expected, & Numbers of the Country people were well acquainted with our Situation, I thought it prudence to March Silently here last Night about two Miles nearer where I expect to hear when the Cattle will come first, & shall continue Covering them as they proceed towards Schuylkill.2 with great respect I have the honor to be Yr Excellys most obt Servt

Lachn McIntosh

A Colo. Robison just now brot me information the Cattle are over sherrards Ferry & will be as far as Keichlands this Night. he says he came on purpose with a Letter from Mr. steel for me, but forgot it, therefor I opened the Inclosed. Mr Robison pleads hard for one of the Prisoners I sent Yesterday who I think was Sentenced to receive 100 Lashes.3

ALS, DLC:GW. The surviving portion of the cover appears to indicate that the letter was carried by “Robison.”

1McIntosh’s letter of 25 Mar. has not been found.

2McIntosh returned to camp on the evening of 27 Mar. “with the agreeable intelligence that the supply of Cattle which he was ordered to protect, was out of danger” (John Laurens to Henry Laurens, 28 Mar., in Laurens Papers description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Laurens. 16 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003. description ends , 13:49).

3The enclosure has not been identified. “Colo. Robison” was probably Robert Robinson (Robeson; d. c.1789) of Bedminster Township, Bucks County, who was chosen a lieutenant colonel of the Bucks County Associators in July 1775 and served at that rank in the county militia throughout the war. Andrew Keachline (Kachlein, Kechlein), who kept an inn in Rockhill Township, Bucks County, Pa., was colonel of the 3d Regiment of Bucks County associated militias in 1775–76. In March 1777 he was appointed a Bucks County sublieutenant, a post he held until at least 1779. Brig. Gen. John Lacey had apparently promised the cattle drovers that a guard would meet them at Keachline’s (see John Chaloner to Tench Tilghman, 24 Mar., Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection). Alexander Steel was appointed a second lieutenant of Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment in February 1777 and became regimental quartermaster in July 1777, but he left the army in October 1777. At this time he was an assistant commissary of issues stationed at Trenton, N.J., where he remained until May 1779. Steel served as deputy commissary general of issues for the western expedition of Maj. Gen. John Sullivan in the summer of 1779.

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