George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Lafayette, 22 February 1781

To Major General Lafayette

Head Quarters New Windsor 22d Feby 1781

Dear Marquis

Inclosed you have a letter under a flying seal to Genl St Clair.1 Upon your arrival at Philada you will learn with a degree of certainty from Genl Wayne—Colonel Butler—Colo. Stewart and other Officers who you will find in town whether it will be possible to derive such a reinforcement from the Pennsylvania line, in time to answer your purpose, as I have mentioned in the letter—Should those Gentlemen be of opinion that it may be done, you will lose no time in delivering or forwarding the letter to General St Clair and agreeing with him upon the time at which the detachment shall be at the Head of Elk—I think if they can certainly follow you in [  ] days, you will derive advantage from their services, for it will take you some time to make a debarkation of your troops and stores, and prepare matters for an operation, should you find the enemy in a situation to dispute their ground.2

You will not fail to give the Quarter Master due notice of this second embarkation, should it be about to take place, that he may have the transports in perfect readiness—And you will recollect the necessity of having thirty days provision for them at the place of embarkation. Should it be deemed impracticable to form the Battalion or the half Battalion in the proper time, you need not deliver my letter to Genl St Clair.

Inclosed you have a letter for the Officer commanding the Jersey Brigade3—The five Companies from thence and the three under the command of Majr Reid are to form a Battalion to be commanded by Lt Colo. Barber.

You will probably find Colo. Charles Steward Commy of Issues in Philada it is his proper business to make the arrangements of provision, he is very active and intelligent and will do every thing in that way that you direct. With my best wishes for your health happiness and success I am &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the draft of the letter, see GW to Arthur St. Clair, this date.

2For GW’s orders for this expedition, see his letters to Lafayette of 20 February [1 and 2].

3On this date, GW wrote from headquarters at New Windsor to Col. Elias Dayton or the officer commanding the New Jersey brigade: “You will put the detachment of 250 Men ordered in mine of the 16th inst. under the Command of Majr Genl the Marquis de la Fayette” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). For the orders, see GW to Dayton or the Officer Commanding the New Jersey Brigade, 16 February.

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