<br /> Lee Letter: n231

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Robert Carter

Dear Sir:

We had the news of Williamsburg by Mr Jefferson. It seems indeed as if Lord
Dunmore was taking true pains to incur the censure of the whole
reasonable world, conceiving, I suppose, that it is the most likely way
to please his masters in the administration. The enclosed printed
hand-bill will give you an account of a very bloody engagement between
a detachment of the continental army and the ministerial forces from
Boston.1 Our enemies are compelled to remain
under cover of their ship’s cannon. Should they come out we have 15,000
men under command of Generals Washington, Ward, Lee, Putnam and others,
ready to give a good account of them. The ministerial plan against New
York we shall oppose with 5,000 men, under the immediate command of
Gen. Schuyler. The Canadians (20 noblesse excepted) have peremptorily
refused to join Gov. Carleton, and when he has warmly solicited the
Indians to take up the hatchet against US they tell him it is buried
too deep, they cannot find it. To us they promise a strict neutrality.
Things being thus secured where our enemies proposed to make the
deepest impression, it remains with us in the middle and southern
colonies to take care that the association be faithfully observed,
attend to military discipline, to the making of salt-petre for future
supplies. These things, with the necessary application to manufactures,
will prevent the powers of darkness from prevailing against us. . . .

We just hear that thirteen transports are arrived at New York with about
2,000 soldiers and on their being ordered round to Boston, they meet
and swear they will not go there to fight against their friends. Gen.
Howe, who commanded the ministerial troops in the late battle, we have
our accounts, is since dead of his wounds. He was, by much, the best
officer they had. He came on this business much against his judgment,
and died fighting against the country, that in honor of his brother’s
virtue, erected a splendid monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey.

The Congress, I fear, will sit a great part of the summer. Business crowds,
fast upon us, and the public here seems unwilling we should get up
before it is known how the battle of Lexington was received in England.

Yours obediently,
Richard Henry Lee.

Notes:

MS not found; reprinted from extract in The Collector 2 (September 1888):
9. Recipient identified in Stan V. Henkels Catalog, no. 663 (April
1891), item 940.

1 Perhaps Elijah Hide’s account of the June 17 battle at Charlestown that was
printed in broadside form by Francis Bailey of Lancaster, Pa., on
June 26, 1775. Charles Evans, American Bibliography, 12 vols.
(Chicago: Privately printed, 1903 – 34), no. 13857; and Am. Archives,
4th ser 2:1018 – 19.