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Biddle, Clement (1740-1814) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.01205 Author/Creator: Biddle, Clement (1740-1814) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 2 October 1781 Pagination: 2 p. + addr. + docket

Assures Knox that he will not publish his correspondence and asks him to write often about the operation in Virginia. Reports that the British "suffered much more severely in the Action off Cape Henry than you seem to have expected," referring to the Second Battle of the Virginia Capes. Mentions the actions of several naval vessels. Reports that British troops have landed on Staten Island and impressed many wagons. There are rumors of the British coming to burn Philadelphia and the militia is preparing. The remainder of the Pennsylvania line is in Philadelphia and plans to march 600 men southward in a few days. Gives news that Knox's daughter Lucy is well and enjoying her school. The Continental Army was then engaged in the Battle of Yorktown.

[draft]
Philad. October 2. 1781.
Dear General
I was much obliged by your favour of 23d. ulto. as we were full of Anxiety to hear from your Quarter & had no Intelligence we could depend on for some time -
You may be assured I shall not publish any of your Letters & [inserted: shall] use the proper precaution, in communicating anything you may write therefore I entreat you to let me hear from you frequently during your Operations in Virginia which at present engage our whole Attention. -
The Brittish [sic] fleet have sufferd [sic] much more severely in the Action off Cape Henry than you seem to have expected by the Accounts from you- There are various reports of their damage but that from Genl. [Freeman?] seems most perfect - he says the Terrible was burnt in a sinking condition, the Vengeance is missing the Princessa dismasted, the Robust & Shrewsbury condemned - their Fleet have come up to the watering place -
The Troops which were embarked and lay at the hook probably to take advantage of any favorable Operations of their fleet have since landed on Staaten Island & from their impressing a great number of waggons [sic] the [2] alarm has been taken of their coming here to burn the City - but their delay is a strong argument against this - probably they may come out in Jersey, - but to prevent any Insult here half of our Country militia on this side Susquehanna are mustering at Newtown & the whole City militia under Orders for marching on the shortest Notice - I wish there may be no Occasion for the militia going out as it will be a great Expence [sic] when our Finances so much require OEconomy but we should [inserted: not] for that reason be unprepared. [struck: require so much when we are so] The remainder of the Pennsylvania Line are here but if there is no movement in a few days will [strikout] march to the southward with about 600 men -
Mrs. Biddle writes by this Conveyance to Mrs. Knox. - Lucy is very well and contented with her School - Mrs. Biddle will pay every attention to her that is in her power. -
Please to present my Compliments to Major Shaw & all our former Friends
With much Esteem I am
Dr. General
Your mo: Obedt Servt
Clement Biddle
Shall be glad to
hear from you
by post.

[address leaf]
Honble
General Knox
Head Quarters
Virgina
by post

[docket]
from Colonel Biddle
2d October 1781.

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