George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Henry Lee, Jr., 16 October 1780

From Major Henry Lee, Jr.

Light Camp [near Totowa]1 16th Octr 80

I waited on Col. Dey yesterday, but received no information favorable to the business you was pleased to charge me with.

On my return last evening The Marquis mentioned to me the same matter as very eligible, & Col. Hamilton made some enquiry on the same subject.

I communicate this to your Excellency, least a mention of it by those gentleman to you may alarm you, on the score of secrecy. Be assured sir, I shall endeavor most earnestly to accomplish your wishes, & have hopes to establish commencement on wednesday next.2

I beg leave to acquaint you, that I Made application to the board of war for saddles & cloathing for my corps in August last. They expected supplys from France, & therefore declined the necessary Orders for furnishing them—Our Wants are now pressing particularly in the article of saddles, that I think it necessary to request your Excellencys interposition on this head, otherwise much delay will probably occur in the transaction—We have never had but one set of saddles since in service with a few new ones annually—They are now altogather unfit for service. As they will necessarily be Made, I could wish to have them done on a model of my own, & that one of My officers might superintend their Making.3 I have the honor to be sir with the most perfect respect your Excellys Most h. sert

Henry Lee Junr

P.S. the fleet fell down to The narrows yesterday morning.4

ALS, DLC:GW. Lee wrote “private” on the cover.

1For Lee’s location, see Lafayette to GW, 12 Oct., and General Orders, 15 Oct., n.2.

2The next Wednesday was 18 October. For GW’s scheme to capture Benedict Arnold, see The Discovery of Major General Benedict Arnold’s Treachery, 25 Sept.–24 Nov., editorial note, and n.28.

3The earlier correspondence regarding saddles and clothing between Lee and the Board of War has not been identified, but see GW to the Board of War, 22 Oct., found at Lee to GW, 21 Oct., source note; and GW to Huntington, 7 Nov. (DNA:PCC, item 152).

4This British fleet soon sailed for Virginia (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 17 Oct., and n.2 to that document).

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