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Washington, George (1732-1799) to Caesar Rodney

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06482 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Potts Grove, Pennsylvania Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 24 September 1777 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket : free frank ; 30.8 x 19.7 cm.

Discusses poor performance of militia and possibility of losing Philadelphia. "The conduct of the Militia is much to be regretted. In many instances, they are not to be roused, and in others, they come into the Field with all possible indifference, and to all appearance entirely unimpressed with the importance of the Cause in which we are engaged. Hence proceeds a total inattention to order and to discipline, and too often a disgraceful departure from the Army, at the instant their aid is most wanted. I am inclined to think, the Complaints and Objections offered to the Militia Laws are but too well founded." On military operations says, "I wish I could inform you that our affairs were in a happier train than they now are...Genl Howe made a sudden Counter march on Monday night, and in the course of It...crossed the River...he will possess himself of Philadelphia in all probability, but I trust he will not be able to hold it. No exertions on my part shall be wanting to dispossess him." Docketed and signed on verso by Rodney.

Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Camp 4 Miles from Pots Grove Septr 24th: 1777.
M
D Sir
I last night received your Favor of the 21st, and am much obliged to you for [text loss] Book. This and One taken in the Action at Ch[text loss] Ford compleat Genl How's Orders from Apr[text loss] to the 10th Inst. I am sorry for the Capt[text loss] of Mr Berry, whom you mention to be a yo[ung] man of merit, But no Proposition for his Exchange can be made at this time, nor can [text loss] he be exchanged but in due course, which is the only Rule, by which equal justice can take place. The conduct of the Militia is much to be regretted. In many instances, they are not to be roused, and in Others, they come into the Field with all possible indifference, and to all appearances, entirely unimpressed with the importance of the Cause in which we are engaged. Hence proceeds a total inattention to order and to discipline, and too often a disgraceful departure from the Army, at the instant their aid is most wanted. I am inclined to think, the Complaints and Objections offered to the Militia Laws are but too well founded. The Interest of the community has not been well consulted in their formation, and generally speaking, those I have seen are unequal.
I wish I could inform you that our affairs were in a happier train than they now are. After various Manuvers and intending his Army high up the Schuylkill, as if he meant to turn our Right Flank, Genl Howe made a [2] sudden Countermarch on Monday night, and in the course of It and Yesterday Morning, crossed the River, which is fordable in almost every part, several miles below us. he will possess himself of Philadelphia [inserted: in all probability] but I trust, he will not be able to hold it. No exertions on my part [s]hall be wanting to dispossess him.
I am in haste
Dr Sir
Yr Most Obed Sevt.
Go: Washington

[address leaf]
(On Public Service)
Brigdr Genl Rodney
________________
Go: Washington

[docket]
Letter from
Genl Washington
Sept 24th. 77
4. Miles from Pott's Grove before the British took possession of Philada
Speaks of the inefficacy of militia & c.
C Rodney

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