George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Phillips, 18 December 1780

From Major General William Phillips

New York Decemr 18th 1780


I had the honour of receiving Your Excellency’s letter of the 9th Instant with the passport for the Flag of truce Vessel inclosed agreeable to the tenor of my request on that subject.1

When I communicated my wishes to Your Excellency that the Flag might have permission to proceed to James River, my reasons for soliciting of it were obvious, nor did I then know what I have Since been informed of by recent report that the Troops of Convention are removing from their Barracks in Virginia towards Maryland2—You are, Sir, doubtless apprised of this Circumstance, and I have now to request that you will please to extend Your passports for this Flag of truce to go up the Potowmack River, wherein Alexandria may perhaps be Supposed a proper place from its Vicinity to Frederick Town and the parts adjacent in which I understand the Troops are to be quartered, or to such port in the Chesepeak Bay as Shall appear the best adapted to answer the purposes for which She is intended, and that will afford the most ready Conveyance by land of the Stores and refreshments for the use of the Troops.

Should the German Troops not remove from their Barracks in Albemarle I am desirous that a liberty may be granted for the Vessel to proceed to James River with the Cloathing designed for them whenever the Commissions to the British may be executed.3 I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

W. Phillips


1See GW to Phillips, 9 Dec., found at Phillips to GW, 30 Nov., n.3.

2Only English prisoners among the Convention Army were moved from Albemarle barracks near Charlottesville, Va., to Fort Frederick, Md. (see Thomas Jefferson to GW, 3 Nov., and n.8; see also Jefferson to GW, 26 Nov., and James Wood to GW, 7 Dec.).

3When he replied on 8 Jan. 1781, GW informed Phillips that he had given permission for the flag-of-truce ship to proceed “to such other place” in Chesapeake Bay “as would be most convenient to transport” supplies “to Fort Frederick” (P.R.O.: 30/55, Carleton Papers; see also GW to Jefferson, 9 Dec. 1780).

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