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Letter to Landon Carter, October 27, 1777

TRANSCRIPT GLC 7115
George Washington. Autographed document signed: Philadelphia County, to Landon Carter, 1777 October 27. 4 p. + enclosure

Philadelphia County Octr. 27th. 1777.

Dear Sir

Accept my sincere thanks for your sollicitude on my Acct. – and for yr [strike-out] good advice contained in your little paper of the 27th. Ulto. - at the same time [inserted: that] I assure you, that It is not my wish to avoid any danger which duty requires [strike-out] me [strike-out; inserted: to encounter]. I can as confidently add, that it is not my intention to run unnecessary risques. – In the Instance given by you, I was acting precisely in the line of my duty, but not in the dangerous situation you have been led to believe. – I was Reconnoitring, but I had a strong party of Horse with me. – I was, as (I afterwards found) in a disaffected House at the head of Elk, but I was equally guarded agt. friend and Foe. – the information of danger then, came not from me.

So many accts. have been published of the battle of brandy wine, that nothing more can be said of it – the subsequent Ingagement on the 4th Instt. had every appearance (after a hot contest of two hours and forty minutes) of a glorious decision; but after driving the Enemy from their Incampment – possessing their ground – and being, as we thought, upon the point of grasping victory, it was snatched from us by means altogether unaccountable; excepting that a very heavy atmostphere, aided by the smoke of our Field [2] pieces and Small arms, rendered it impossible, at times, to distinguish friend from Foe at the distance of 30 yards which caused our Men [inserted: I believe] to take fright at each other; since that the Enemy [inserted: have] retired to Phila., where they [inserted: have] been strengthening themselves as much as possible, whilst we hover round to cut of their Supplies.

The Enemy are exerting their utmost skill, to reduce the Forts constructed for the defence of the Cheveaux de friese in Delaware, and to drive of our little Fleet, employed in aid of them. – On the 22d. Inst. Count Donop a Hessian Officer of Rank, & great Military Abilities, with 1200 of his Countrymen undertook to storm one of these Works (called Fort Mercer at Red bank on the Jersey shore) when himself and about 400 others were [strike-out] killed and wounded – between two and three hundred were left slain, and badly wounded, on the spot – the rest got off with their retreating brethren, who made the best of their way to Phila. – the Count is among the Wounded - supposed [Mortally]. –

The next day, several of the Enemy’s Ships, having passed the lower Cheveaux de frieze, aided by their Land Batteries, began a most tremendous cannonade upon Fort Mifflin (on an Island near the Pennsylvania shore) and on our Armd vessels adjoining, which continued Six hours without Intermission; and ended in the destruction of two of the Enemy’s Ships of War -one, a Sixty four gun Ship [inserted: the other 18.] - Our damage on both these occasions was inconsiderable – in the Attack on Fort Mercer we had abt. 30 Men killed and wounded, at Fort Mifflin, and the Ships, less. – The [3] possession of these defences is of such essential Importance to the Enemy that they are leaving no stone unturned to succeed – we are doing what we can (under many disadvantages) to disappoint them.

The great and important event to the Northward of which no doubt you have heard must be attended with the most fortunate consequences – It has caused Sir Henry Clintons expedition from New York [inserted: in aid of Burgoyne] to end in (someth[ing] more than smoke indeed) burning of Mills, Gentlemens Seats, and the Villages near the Water. an evident proof of their despair of carrying their diabolical designs in to execution. – My Inclination leads me to give you a more minute detail of the Situation of our Army, but prudence forbids, as Letters are subject to too many Miscarriages. – My best respects attends the the good family at Sabine Hall – Neighbors at Mount Airy - &c. & with Affecte. regard I remain

Dr Sir
Yr Most Obt. Servt
Go: *loss [Was]*hington

P.S. I am persuaded you will excuse this scratch’d scrawl, when I assure you it is with difficulty I write at all.

I have this Instant received an acct. of the Prisoners taken by the Northern Army (Including Tories [inserted: in arms agt. us]) in the course of the [struck: land] Campaign. – this singular Instance of Providence, and our good fortune under it exhibits a striking proof of the advantages which result from unanimity, & a spirited conduct in the Militia – The Northern army before the surrender of Genl. *loss [Gates]* was Reenforced by upwards of 12000 *loss [Mil]*itia who [4]shut the only door by which Burgoyne could Retreat, and cut of all his supplies. – How different our case! the disaffection of great part of the Inhabitants of this State – the languor of others & internal distraction of the whole, have been among the great and insuperable difficulties I have met with, and have contributed not a little to my embarrassment this Campaign – but enough! I do not mean to complain, I flatter myself that a superintending Providence is ordering every thing for the best *loss* that, in due time, all will end well. that it may do so, and soon, is the most fervent [loss] of
Yrs.
Go: Washington

[docket]
from Washington *loss*
27. 1777 with the Cap[?]
when Burgoyne Surrendered

[attachment]
Prisoners
British…………………………………………………………2442
Foreigners…………………………………………………2198
Canadians……………………………………………………1100 5740

Genl: Burgoyne and Staff among which are 6
Members of Parliament………………………………………… 12
Sick and Wounded…………………………………………… 598
Prisoners of War before Surrender……………………400
1010

Killed and taken at Bennington……………………………… 1220
Ditto between the 17th. Sept; and the 18th: October……600 1820

Taken at Tyconderoga………………………………………………413
Killed in Genl: Herkimers Action………………300
Deserters……………………………………………………………… 300
9583

Indians Drivers Sutlers &c: Excepted

Ordnance
No. Wt.
At Bennington………………………………….. 2……………………… 12 Pounders 2……………………… 6
2……………………… 3
At Fort Schuyler………………………………… 2……………………… 6 & 4 Royals
At the Battle of the 7th:……………2……………………… 12
6……………………… 6
At the Capitulation……………………………2……………………… 24
2……………………… 12
12…………………… 6 9……………………… 3
Howitzers……………….. 2……………………… 8 Inch
Mortars………………….. 2……………………… 10 do
45 Encluding 4 Royals = 49
400 Setts of Harness a number of Amunition Waggons Compleat-


Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. Writings of George Washington. v. 9: 451-455.
The attachment presented above is incomplete. For complete version, see Fitzpatrick.