George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Erskine, 11 April 1778

To Robert Erskine

Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 11th April 1778


I recd yours of the 26th March inclosing an elegant draft of part of Hudsons River. If your Affairs are in such a situation that they will admit of your attendance upon the Army I shall be glad to see you as soon as possible. Capt. Scull, who is intended for one of your Assistants, has been for some time employed in surveying the Country adjacent to the Camp.1 I am Sir Yr most obt Servt.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The internal address on the draft reads “Robert Erskine Esq. Ringwood to the care of Colo. Taylor New Windsor,” while the docket indicates the letter was sent “per Mr. [William] Barber adjt to Spencers Regt.”

1William Scull (1739–1784), a corresponding member of the American Philosophical Society, was a grandson of the former surveyor general of Pennsylvania, Nicholas Scull, and in 1770 he had produced a revision of Nicholas’s map of the province. A member of the Northumberland County committee of correspondence, Scull was commissioned a captain in the county militia in February 1776 and became a captain in the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment in September of that year. Although Scull retained his commission until 1 July 1778, when he joined Erskine’s geography department, he had been involved at least since February “in making out a general Draught of the Country in neighbourhood of Camp for his Excellency General Washington” and at this time was surveying the area between Darby and Lancaster (see “Oath of the Officers employed in Surveying the Roads,” 27 Feb. 1778, PHi: Society Collection; Richard Peters to GW, 6 May). For a report of his progress along the Lancaster Road, see Scull to Tench Tilghman, 13 April, in PHi: Gratz Collection (Sprague transcript in DLC:GW).

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