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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VI (1777-1778).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp, 19 September, 1777.
I was honored this morning with your favors of the 17th & 18th with their Inclosures.
I am much obliged to Congress for the late instance of their confidence, expressed in their Resolution of the 17th, and shall be happy if my conduct in discharging the objects they had in view should be such as to meet their approbation.1 I am now repassing the Schuylkill at Parker’s Ford, with the main body of the army, which will be over in an Hour or two, tho’ it is deep and rapid.1 Genl Wayne, with the division under his command, is on the rear of the Enemy, and will be joined to-morrow or next day, I expect, by Genl Smallwood and Colo Gist with their corps.2 As soon as the troops have crossed the river, I shall march them as expeditiously as possible towards Fatland, Swedes’, & the other fords, where it is most probable the Enemy will attempt to pass.
When I left Germantown with the army, I hoped I should have an opportunity of attacking them, either in Front or on their flank, with a prospect of success; but unhappily a variety of causes concurred to prevent it. Our march, in the first place, was greatly impeded thro’ want of provisions, which delayed us so long that the enemy were apprized of our motions, and gained the grounds near the White Horse Tavern, with a part of their army turning our right flank, whilst another part, composing the main body, were more advanced towards our left. We should have disappointed them in their design by getting on their left; But the Heavy rain, which fell on Tuesday evening & in the course of that night, totally unfitted our Guns for service and nearly the whole of the ammunition with which the army had been compleated a day or two before, being forty rounds p. man. At first I expected that the loss was by no means so considerable, and intended only to file off with the troops a few miles to replace it & clean the arms, & then to proceed on my original plan; but on examination I found it as I have mentioned, and that we had not a sufficient supply with us to furnish the men with the necessary complement. In this situation it was judged necessary, that we should proceed as far as Reading Furnace for the security of the army.1 On these accounts, particularly the latter, matters have not been conducted as I intended & wished, & the enemy have had an opportunity of making their advances without being attacked. I yet hope, from the present state of the river, that I shall be down in time to give them a meeting, and if unfortunately they should gain Philadelphia, that it will not be without loss. I have the honor to be, &c.
[1 ]In the prospect of the speedy removal of Congress from Philadelphia, and the uncertainty as to the time of the next meeting, enlarged powers were delegated to the Commander-in-chief, suited to the exigency of the occasion, and involving a high responsibility.—“Resolved, that General Washington be authorized and directed to suspend all officers who misbehave, and to fill up all vacancies in the American army, under the rank of brigadiers, until the pleasure of Congress shall be communicated; to take, wherever he may be, all such provisions and other articles as may be necessary for the comfortable subsistence of the army under his command, paying or giving certificates for the same; to remove and secure, for the benefit of the owners, all goods and effects, which may be serviceable to the enemy; provided that the powers hereby vested shall be exercised only in such parts of these States as may be within the circumference of seventy miles of the head-quarters of the American army, and shall continue in force for the space of sixty days, unless sooner revoked by Congress.”—Journals, September 17th.
[1 ]“His Excellency General Washington was with the troops who passed us here to the Perkiomen. The procession lasted the whole night, and we had all kinds of visits from officers wet to the breast, who had to march in that condition the cold, damp night through, and to bear hunger and thirst at the same time. This robs them of courage and health, and instead of prayers we hear from most, the national evil, curses.”—Muhlenberg’s Diary, 19 September, 1777.
[2 ]On this day Wayne was at Paoli. Gist had formed a junction with Smallwood on the evening of the 18th, and the combined detachments were near James Milligan’s tavern on the 19th.
[1 ]“Yesterday the enemy moved from Concord by the Edgemont road toward the Lancaster road, with evident design to gain our right flank. This obliged us to alter our position and march to this place, from whence we intend immediately to proceed to Warwick. We suffered much from the severe weather yesterday and last night, being unavoidably separated from our tents and baggage which not only endangers the health of the men; but has been very injurious to our arms and ammunition. These, when, we arrive at Warwick, we shall endeavor as soon as possible to put again into a proper condition; to do which and to refresh the men, are two principal motives for going there.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 17 September, 1777. He was then at Yellow Springs.