Janis' Genealogy - George Washington Letter

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A copy of this document is on file at the Limerick Township Historical Society.

George Washington Letter

In September of 1777, in trying to defend the city of Philadelphia, Washington and his troops crossed over the Schuylkill River near Parker Ford. They camped briefly at the home of Mordecai and Catherine Evans. The following letter is supposed to have been written by Washington to the President of the Continental Congress while at the Evans' homestead.

September 19, 1777

Sir: I was honored, this Morning, with your favors of the 17th and 18th with their Inclosures. I am much obliged to Congress for the late instance of their confidence, expressed in their Resolution of the 17th, and shall be happy, if my conduct in discharging the objects they had in view, should be such, as to meet their approbation.

I am now repassing the Schuylkill at Parker's Ford, with the Main body of the Army, which will be over in an hour or Two, tho' the water is deep and rapid. Genl Wayne, with the Division under his Command, is on the rear of the Enemy, and will be joined to morrow or next day, I expect, by Genl Smallwood and Colo. Gist with their Corps. As soon as the Troops have crossed the River, I shall march them, as expeditiously as possible, towards Fatland, Swedes and the other Fords, it is most probably the Enemy will attempt to pass.

When I left Germantown with the Army, I hoped I should have had an opportunity of attacking them, either in Front or on their Flank, with a prospect of Success; But unhappily a variety of Causes concurred to prevent it. Our March, in the first place, was greatly impeded thro' want of Provisions, which delayed us so long that the Enemy were apprized of our Motions, and gained the Grounds near the White Horse Tavern, with a part of their Army turning our right flank, whilst another part, composing the Main Body, were more advanced toward our left. We should have disappointed them in their design by getting on their left; But the Heavy rain which fell that evening and in the course of the night, totally unfitted our Guns for Service and nearly the whole of the Ammunition with which the Army had been compleated a day or two before, amounting to Forty Rounds per Man. At first I intended to file off with the Troops a few Miles to replace it and clean their Arms and then to proceed on my Original plans; but upon examination, found it as I have mentioned, and that we had not a sufficient supply with us to furnish the Men with the necessary Complement. In this Situation it was judged necessary, that we should proceed as far as Reading Furnace for the security of the Army. Owing to these accidents, particularly the latter, matters have not been conducted as I intended and wished, and the Enemy have had an opportunity of making their advances without being attacked. I yet hope, from the present state of the River, that I shall be down in time to give them a meeting and if unfortunately they should gain Philadelphia, that it will not be without loss. I have the honor &ea. [sic]

N.B. The Main body of the Enemy afterwards moved towards the White Horse and took their Rout down the Road from thence. I should have advised you this Morning by Express of the Enemy's advance and situation, had not Colo. Hamilton informed me that he had written you on the Subject.

Your most obedient Servant, George Washington

(In hand of Robert Hanson Harrison; see Fitzpatrick IX 237-9.)

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