<br /> Lee Letter: n355

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Samuel Adams
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

On Wednesday last the enemy reinforcd, as it is said, with Marines, marchd
from Amboy, through a Road between Brunswick and Elisabeth Town <to> a
place called Westfield about 10 Miles, with Design as it is supposd to
cut off our Light Troops and bring on a General Battle, or to take
Possession of the High Land back of Middlebrook, for which last purpose
Westfield was the most convenient Road and it was also a well chosen
Spot from whence to make a safe Retreat in Case he should fail of
gaining his Point. On this March they fell in with General Maxwell who
thought it prudent to retreat to our main Army then at Quibble town
from whence Genl W. made a hasty march to his former Station and
frustrated the supposd Design of the Enemy. I have given you a very
general narrative of the different Situations & Movements of the
two armies without descending to the particular, because we have not as
yet an Authentick Account, and one cannot depend upon the many Stories
that are told. I think I may assure you that our army is in high
Spirits and is daily growing more respectable in point of numbers.

We are going on within Doors with Tardiness enough – a Thousand little
matters too often thrust out greater ones. A kind of Fatality still
prevents our proceeding a Step in the important affair of
Confederation. Yesterday and the day before was wholly spent in passing
Resolutions to gratify NY or as they say to prevent a civil war
between that State and the Green Mountain Men, A matter which it is not
worth your while to have explained to you.1
Monsr D Coudrays affair is still unsettled. The four French Engineers
are arrivd. They are said to be very clever but disdain to be commanded
by Coudray.2 Mr Comr. D – n continues to
send us French, German & Prussian officers with authenticated
Conventions and strong recommendations. The military Science, for your
Comfort, will make rapid Progress in America. Our Sons and Nephews will
be provided for in the Army and a long and moderate war will be their
happy Portion. But who my Friend, would not wish for peace. May I live
to see the publick Liberty restored and the safety of our dear Country
secured. I should then think I had enjoyd enough and bid this world
Adieu. Yours,

SA

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, American Philosophical Society. A continuation of Adams to
Lee, 26 June 1777.

1 Congress debated the request of Vermont for recognition of its independence
in committee of the whole on 25, 28, and 30 June, before rejecting
the Vermont petition. JCC, 8:497, 507, 509 – 13. See also William
Whipple to Josiah Bartlett 7 April, note 2; James Duane to Robert R.
Livingston, 26 June, and New York Delegates to the New York Council
of Safety, 2 July 1777.

2 Only three French engineers, accompanied by a French lieutenant and a
sergeant, had arrived in Philadelphia. Lewis Le Begue Du Portail,
Obry Gouvion, and Bailleul La Radiere, bearing a 13 February 1777,
contract signed by Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, were
commissioned in the Continental Arrny on 8 July 1777. The fourth
engineer, M. de Laumoy, who had been delayed by sickness in the West
Indies, was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army on
2 October 1777. See Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, 2:269 – 70;
N.C. State Records, 11:486, 492 – 95; and JCC, 8:525 – 26, 538 – 39,
760.