George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fitzhugh, 24 October 1778

From William Fitzhugh

Annapolis Oct. 24. 1778.

Dear General,

Having the honor to meet with your relation, Capt. Lewis at this place, I am happy in the opportunity of addressing you.1

I find my son was taken prisoner with a party of our friend Baylor’s dragoons and is now on Long Island. I have not a letter from him; but advice that he is well; and I have sent him by this week’s post letters of credit for whatever he may want. I am afraid, as we have advice that the enemy are moving from New York, that they will also remove their prisoners, & that my son will be gone before his credit gets to hand. However being truly sensible of your friendship, I am perfectly easy, Knowing I have no occasion to solicit he may be released as soon as possible.2

Our General Assembly were called to meet here on the 19. inst. ever since which I have been in waiting; but we have not a sufficient number of members to make a house. Expect we shall meet tomorrow. I am told there is a letter from You[r] Excellency addressed to both Houses.3 I have not yet seen it. But whatever may be you[r] requisition, I am confidint it will meet with Great respect from our Legislature whom I hope to meet heartily disposed to promote the Good of the Common Cause. The new elections have removed more than half the old members which I do not think will hurt us. I have the honor to be Yr sincere friend,

Wm Fitzhugh.

Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. The addressed cover, which is with the Sprague transcript in DLC:GW, includes the notation: “Favor’d by Capt. Lewis.”

1GW’s nephew Capt. George Lewis had gone to Virginia the previous spring to purchase horses for his regiment, Col. George Baylor’s 3d Continental Light Dragoons, and he was now returning north (see GW to Baylor, 1 May 1778, and GW to Lewis, 3 May 1778). Because Lewis went north only as far as Bristol, Pa., where he met the shattered remains of his regiment, someone else delivered this letter to GW, and it did not arrive until late November (see GW to William Fitzhugh, 25 Nov., NHi: George and Martha Washington Papers). For GW’s strong reprimand of Lewis for his long absences from his regiment, see GW to Lewis, 13 Feb. 1779, DLC:GW.

2For GW’s role during the previous spring in obtaining a commission for Peregrine Fitzhugh as a cornet in Baylor’s 3d Continental Light Dragoon Regiment, see GW to Baylor, 1, 3 May 1778; Baylor to GW, 11 May 1778; and GW to William Fitzhugh, 8–18 June 1778. The younger Fitzhugh, who recently had been promoted to lieutenant, had been taken prisoner by the British at Baylor’s defeat near Old Tappan, N.J., on 28 September. For GW’s counsel to Peregrine’s mother, Ann Frisby Rousby Fitzhugh, of acquiescence to his captivity, see GW to William Fitzhugh, 25 Nov., NHi: George and Martha Washington Papers; see also William Fitzhugh to GW, 2 Jan. 1779, DLC:GW. Peregrine Fitzhugh was exchanged in October 1780, and he served as an aide-de-camp to GW from 1781 to 1782.

3See GW to the President of the Maryland Senate and the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, 5 October. William Fitzhugh was speaker of the house from 1778 to 1779.

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