<br /> Lee Letter: n273

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Charles Lee

My Dear Friend,

I have just received your letter from Baltimore covering one for Mr.
Hancock.1 My Brother who was present in
Congress when the Resolve you allude to passed, says that every
Gentleman acknowledged the necessity under which you acted, and
approved the measure. The precedent alone they feared, when less
judgment was used. They endeavored therefore to guard against pointing
at you by directing their Resolve to future
occasions.2 As then there was no design to
reflect on you, so we have concluded that the better way will be not to
present the letter, but content ourselves with informing Congress of
your having taken the Engineers and getting their
approbation.3 Gen. Washington entered Boston
this day sennight, the Enemy having quitted it with some precipitation,
and apparent apprehension of being disturbed in their retreat. To
prevent this, they left their works undemolished, and placed images
large as life representing Soldiers on guard as usual on Bunker
Hill – Our friend Sullivan first discovered the cheat. They have left 30
of their light Horse behind them almost famished, and stores to the
amount of 25 or 30,000 pounds. Where they will go next, heaven knows,
but we must endeavour to be prepared at all points. I this day moved in
Congress and succeeded, to send an order for four battalions to be
detached for Canada from Gen. Washington’s
Army.4 I am afraid we shall loose poor Govr.
Ward, who now lies dangerously ill with the small pox taken in the
natural way. The Eastern Army will all be at N.Y.

I sincerely wish you happy and successful because I am with great affection
Richard Henry Lee

General Lee, at Williamsburg, in Virginia.


Reprinted from New England Historic Genealogical Society Collections, The Lee Papers,, 4 (1871): 362 – 63.

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 171 – 72.

1 Charles Lee’s March 21 letter to John Hancock is in NYHS Collections 4 (1871): 360 – 61.

2 A resolution forbidding military officers from imposing test oaths was
passed on March 9, in reaction to General Lee’s administration of
such an oath to certain New York inhabitants. See Sac, 4:195; and
New York Delegates to the New York Provincial Convention, March 15,

3 Two engineers were elected for the southern department on March 30. JCC,

4 See JCC, 4:236.

5 Three days later Richard Henry wrote a brief note to the general
introducing his brother-in-law, William Aylett. “Give me leave to
introduce my friend and relation Colonel William Aylett to your
acquaintance and friendship. You will find Colo. Ayletts worth
deserving your esteem, and his connection with me, will, I am sure
not lessen it.

“No news since my last, we know not yet where the Boston fugitives are
gone.” Richard Henry Lee to Charles Lee, March 28, 1776. RPJCB