<br /> Lee Letter: n353

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Francis Lightfoot Lee
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Brother,

On Friday last we received advice from Genl. Sullivan that the Enemy was
advancing with their whole force, in two columns, one to Prince town,
the other to Coryel’s ferry. As we knew Genl. Howe had arrived at
Brunswick with a considerable body of troops, It threw this City into
great consternation, being in no state of defence, tho it has had so
long warning. Sullivan with 1600 C[ontinental] troops & as many
Jersey militia marched on Saturday to Coryel’s ferry, secured his
baggage, heavy Cannon & the boats; and on Sunday morning expected
to be join’d by 2000 more J. militia, when he proposed to meet the
Enemy, harrass them & retard their march. We learn since that it
was only part of Howe’s Army, and that they are encamped at Somerset
Courthouse. Genl. Washington writes that he did not think it proper to
follow them immediately as he supposed their principal intention was to
draw him out of his strong camp into the plain being as yet much
superior in numbers & their train, that he had endeavor’d to
harrass them with light troops but with little effect, being too well
guarded with Artillery.1 Genl. Arnold, who
is guarding the passes upon the River, wrote us yesterday, that the
Jerseys are all in Arms; presses for the Militia of this State to be
sent forward directly, for that if the party at Somerset shou’d escape,
still Howe must be attacked while the spirit of the people is so high.
Unhappily, tho the parties here have droped their dispute, yet things
were left in such confusion by it, that it will be some time before
they can be got into order. However as Genl. W. has order’d most of the
troops at Peek’s Kill to join him, we expect he will be strong enough
with the assistance of Jersey to attack Howe. A Letter was recd.
yesterday in this City, from a reputable person in Statia dated May 8th
who says, he had just recd. a very late Bristol paper which said, the
people of England were in the greatest consternation from the certainty
of a French war, that there was the hotest press all over England, but
very few seamen to be found, that they gave up America as lost, &
were beyond measure confounded & distressed. We have not yet heard
from the Boston fleet. Genl. Gates arrived here yesterday. Every thing
is in a very good way in the north. He is extreamly offended with our
proceedings towards him, & will certainly leave the service. Your
packet for France is not yet gone, & God knows when she will. I
wish you wou’d have some measures fallen upon, to prevent the rascally
tory Jew engrossers of this City & Baltimore from buying up the
Salt & other necessaries imported into Virginia. None of the
importations shou’d be allow’d to be exported, but by public agents of
some State in distress & they shou’d purchase only under
regulations made by the Governmt. Roman de Lyle talks of offering his
services to Virginia, & depends upon you for an introduction When
he arrives there. What troops shall hereafter come from Virginia,
shou’d bring arms with them, for we are exhausted by the militia. My
best complimts to the Govr & other friends. Yr. afft. bror. &

Francis Lightfoot Lee


Receiver’s copy, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

1 Washington’s June 13 – 15 letter is in PCC, item 152, 4:253 – 58, and
Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 8:239 – 44.