<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0537

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

My dear General

The resolves of Congress that you will receive by this Messenger, you may
be assured, are not intended, by any means, to obstruct your views a
single moment.1 If your judgment should
incline you to think that the Troops had better march on to Head
Quarters quick as possible, you have only so to order it, and it will
give pleasure to every good man here. The business of speedily
reenforcing you will not be obstructed, but accelilated, because they
now enter the City, where every days stay is 30 days injury to the
great purpose of strengthening your hands. And should the enemy destine
here, something like a military collection, may produce a greater
resort. If you will indulge my conjecture, I think they cannot purpose
coming here, because the water securities against such a plan are realy
formidable, and the situation of the land, where the water obstructions
are fixed, is such, that great delay, and probable ruin forbids the
enterprize, as they cannot so fix land Batteries as to remove the
strong Vessels that protect the Cheveaux de Frize, added to the
numerous fire rafts & Fire ships that in a narrow water with strong
current may destroy their Fleet. Your Army Sir feeble as it is, and the
North River, are more tempting Objects, because they are not strong,
and because the defeat of the one, or the acquisition of the other,
would avail our enemies greatly.

My wishes are Sir, and I think they correspond with the true interest of
America, that you should quickly be possessed of a strong Army, that
your powers might be such as to gratify your wishes of crushing of our
enemies before an addition of strength to them may render the business
more difficult & uncertain. I think I well know your situation and
from your excellent disposition, I know your feelings, and I do most
ardently wish to make the former good, and to render the latter
agreable, and therefore, whenever I can know either from yourself all
the powers I possess shall be exerted to accomplish both. The Troops of
Maryland are now under inoculation, and so are about 1000 Virginians
from Baltimore to Wilmington inclusive. Here, we suppose, may be near a
thousand of all kinds, who by the now plan of encampment, will be in
Tents as quickly as the Physicians can discharge them, or the Officers
collect them from this attractive Scene of debauch and amusement.

With every hearty wish for your health and prosperity I remain, dear Sir
Most affectionately yours,

Richard Henry Lee


Receiver’s copy, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 272 – 73. Addressed to Washington “at Head Quarters in Maryland.”

1 See Committee of Congress to Washington, this date, note.