<br /> Lee Letter: b111

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: Count de Vergennes

[Encloses extracts of letters from Richard Henry Lee and George Washington to Arthur Lee]

Extract of a letter from Richard Henry Lee, member of Congress for the state of Virginia; dated York town in Pennsylvania Octr. 13th 1777

“The Committee have written so fully of the events of war in their public Letter, that I can only add that our continued accounts confirm the great loss sustained by the Enemy on the 4th instant in the battle of German-town. We understand that Generals Grant & Agnew are dead & Sir Willm. Erskine mortally wounded. Some reports place Gen. Kephausen among the slain & Lord Cornwallis with the wounded.

“Our Army is now by re-inforcements, stronger than before the last battle, in high spirits, and we expect will give Genl Howe battle soon.

“Suffer me here to observe a little upon the Enemy’s possession of Philadelphia. In Europe where our affairs are not so well understood perhaps it may make some noise. When first we enterd into this war we not only considerd but openly declard, that we regarded our great towns as indefensible, but that the possession of them wou’d avail little towards the accomplishment of the views of our Enemies. With us therefore the Enemy’s possession of Philadelphia is really of little importance. In truth our towns are only as spots upon the great map of our strength. But it is far from being certain that Gen. Howe will retain Philadelphia two months. We know that during the late battle he had given orders for his Baggage to cross the Schuylkill, & the friends of government as he calls the detestable Enemies of their Country, to quit the town. Boston was once theirs. They have no reason to triumph on that.”

Extrait of the letter from Gl Washington to the same, dated Octr. the 5th.

“The event turned out contrary to the promising appearences at the beginning. But we are in as good a condition as before the battle, except the loss of some officers & men But our men have gained what is always valuable to yung troops some experience. I have this moment seen Gl Green, whose column had also drove the Enemy & were about closing with ours when unhappily, for I can no otherwise account for it, each took the other for fresh troops of the Enemy & retreated. The fog & clouds of smoke contributed to this as we coud scarce distinguish objects at fifty yards distance.”

Notes:

Affaires Etrangères, Correspondences
Politiques, Angleterre, 1777, Vol. 526: fo. 185, 186
Archives at Paris

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 323 – 30.