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General Washington to General Lee

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GENERAL WASHINGTON TO GENERAL LEE.

Head-Quarters, at Keith' s, December 14th, 1776.

DEAR SIR: I last night received your letter of the 11th instant by Major De Hart. I am much surprised that you should be in any doubt respecting the route you should take, after the information you have had upon that head, as well by letter as from Major Hoops, who was despatched for the purpose. A large number of boats was procured and is still retained at Tinnicum, under a strong guard, to facilitate your passage across the Delaware. I have so frequently mentioned our situation, and the necessity of your aid, that it is painful to me to add a word on the subject. Let me once more request and entreat you to march immediately for Pitt' s Town, which lies on the route that has been pointed out, and is about eleven miles from Tinnicum Ferry. That is more on the flank of the enemy than where you are. Advise me of the time you will arrive there, that a letter may be sent you about your further destination, and such other movements as may be necessary.

The enclosed for Generals Gales and Arnold you will forward by an officer without delay. The former I have requested to come on with the regiments he has, with all possible expedition; the latter to go to the eastward, on the intelligence received from Governour Trumbull. Part of the enemy have advanced as far as Burlington, and their main body, from the best information, is in the neighbourhood of Trenton and at Penny-Town.

The Congress have adjourned from Philadelphia to meet at Baltimore on the 20th instant, and, sensible of the importance of the former, have directed it to be defended to the utmost extremity, to prevent the enemy from possessing it. The fatal consequences that must attend its loss are but too obvious to every one. Your arrival may be the means of saving it; nothing but a respectable force, I am certain, from melancholy experience, can induce the Militia to come in and give their aid. The Roebuck and a sloop of war have arrived in Delaware-Bay, and from the last advices were laying not far within the Capes. I have wrote to General Heath to proceed with his troops, with all possible despatch, to Pitts-Town, where I hope to hear of the arrival of General Gates with the regiments that are with him in a short time, if my information is true.

I am, dear sir, yours, &c,

GO˙ WASHINGTON.

To Major-General Lee.

P˙ S. The letters for Generals Gates and Arnold I have sent by another conveyance.