<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0642

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

My dear Sir,

Being often obliged to write in great haste, is the reason that I sometimes
omit to date my letters. But I am now to acknowledge the favor of yours
of the 24th and I readily acquiesce with your reasons concerning the
Iron works.1 I was indeed not apprised
of so great a number of these being in Jersey. I shall certainly exert
myself to have your views for Gen. Arnold and Colo. Huntington carried
into execution.2 This day the Committee
of Secret Correspondence received a letter from Doctor Lee of later
date as you will see than the former of which I sent you an extract.
From the letter now received is taken what I have now the honor to
inclose you.3 I realy believe it
contains the true design of the enemy, and it may serve to explain the
late Apparatus of Boats with Gen Howe, and the continuance of the
Troops at Rhode Island. It may be some advantage to us to be apprized
of their intentions. Doctor Lee is of opinion that the state of Europe
was so critical, that it seemed impossible a war could hold off three
months. However this may be, you are certainly right Sir, that our
utmost vigor and vigilance should be exerted.

I am, with most unfeigned esteem, dear Sir Your most obedient and most
humble servant,

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. I think this plan of dividing their force, highly advantageous for us.
Be pleased to accept my thanks for Mr. Swans
appointment.4

R.H. Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. Addressed to Washington “At Head Quarters in New Jersey.” Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 284 – 85.

1 For Lee’s suggestion that iron workers be exempted from military service,
see Lee to Washington, 16 April 1777.

2 Benedict Arnold was belatedly promoted to major general on 2 May and
Jedediah Huntington was appointed a brigadier general on the 12th.
JCC, 7:323, 347.

3 The enclosed extract, which Richard Henry labeled “Bordeaux, 20 February 1777,” is identical to the first paragraph of the Arthur Lee letter
printed under an 18 February date in Wharton, Diplomatic
Correspondence,
2:272 – 73.

4 John Swan had recently been appointed to a captaincy. See Washington’s
25 April letter to George Baylor in Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 7:470.