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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from George Washington to John Hancock [Extracts]
Washington, George, 1732-1799
October 05, 1777 - October 07, 1777
Volume 11, Page 779

[Gen. Washington's Letters, Book 169, Vol. 4, Pp. 31, 32, 33 & 38.]

Camp Near Pennibacker's Mill, Octo. 5th, 1777.


Having received intelligence thro' two intercepted letters that Gen'l Howe had detached a part of his force for the purpose of reducing Billingsport, and the Forts on Delaware, I communicated the accounts to my General Officers, who were unanimously of opinion that a favorable opportunity offered to make an attack upon the Troops which were at and near Germantown.

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Lord Sterling with Nash and Maxwell's Brigades was to form a Corps de reserve.

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Upon the whole it may be said the day was rather unfortunate than injurious. We sustained no material loss of men and brought off all our Artillery. The Enemy are nothing the better by the event, and our troops, who are not in the least dispirited by it have gained what all young troops gain by being in action. We have had, however, several valuable officers killed and wounded—particularly the latter. General Nash is among the wounded and his life is despaired of.

Idem, Octo. 7th, 1777.

I beg leave to mention to Congress that there is a great deficiency of General Officers in this Army. When the detachment coming from Peekskill joins us, we shall have thirteen Brigades. These require as many Brigadiers and half as many Major Generals. Instead of these we shall have only four Major Generals and eleven Brigadiers, and the deficiency will be increased by the Death of General Nash, which from every appearance, is momently to be expected.

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I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Hon'ble John Hancock, Esqr., President of Congress.