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TO JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON. - 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 JOHN AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Philadelphia County, 18 October, 1777.
Your kind and affectionate Letters of the 21st of Septr. & 2d Inst. came safe to hand.
When my last to you was dated I know not; for truly I can say, that my whole time is so much engrossed, that I have scarcely a moment, but sleeping ones, for relaxation, or to indulge myself in writing to a friend. The anxiety you have been under, on acct of this army, I can easily conceive. Would to God there had been less cause for it; or that our situation at present was such as to promise much from it. The Enemy crossed the Schuylkill which, by the by, above the Falls (& the Falls you know is only five miles from the city) is as easily crossed in any place as Potomac Run, Aquia, or any other broad & shallow water, rather by stratagem; tho I do not know, that it was in our power to prevent it, as their manœuvres made it necessary for us to attend to our Stores, which lay at Reading, towards which they seemed bending their course, and the loss of which must have proved our Ruin. After they had crossed, we took the first favorable opportunity of attacking them.
This was attempted by a night’s march of fourteen miles to surprise them, which we effectually did, so far as to reach their guards before they had notice of our coming; and but for a thick Fog, which rendered so infinitely dark at times as not to distinguish friend from Foe at the distance of thirty yards, we should, I believe, have made a decisive and glorious day of it. But Providence or some unaccountable something designed it otherwise; for after we had driven the Enemy a mile or two, after they were in the utmost confusion and flying before us in most places, after we were upon the point, (as it appeared to every body,) of grasping a compleat victory, our own troops took fright and fled with precipitation and disorder. How to acct for this, I know not; unless, as I before observed, the Fog represented their own Friends to them for a Reinforcement of the Enemy, as we attacked in different Quarters at the same time, and were about closing the wings of our army when this happened. One thing, indeed, contributed not a little to our misfortune, and that was want of ammunition on the right wing, which began the Engagement, and in the course of two hours and forty minutes, which time it lasted, had, (many of them,) expended the forty Rounds, that they took into the Field. After the Engagement we removed to a place about twenty miles from the Enemy, to collect our Forces together, to take care of our wounded, get furnished with necessaries again, and be in a better posture, either for offensive or defensive operations. We are now advancing towards the Enemy again, being at this time within twelve miles of them.
Our loss in the late action was, in killed, wounded, and missing, about one thousand men, but of the missing, many, I dare say, took advantage of the times, and deserted. Genl. Nash of No. Carolina was wounded, and died two or three days after. Many valuable officers of ours was also wounded, and some killed. The Enemy’s loss is variously reported—none make it less than 1500 (killed & wounded) & many estimate it much larger. Genl. Agnew of theirs was certainly killed—many officers wounded among whom some of distinction. This we certainly know, that the Hospital at Philadelphia & several large Meeting Houses, are filled with their wounded besides private Houses with the Horses. In a word, it was a bloody day. Would to Heaven I could add, that it had been a more fortunate one for us.
Our distress on acct. of Cloathing is great, and in a little time must be very sensibly felt, unless some expedient can be hit upon to obtain them. We have since the Battle got in abt. 1200 Militia from Virginia—about the same number have gone off from this State and Jersey but others are promised in lieu of them—with truth however it may be said, that this State acts most infamously, the People of it, I mean, as we derive little or no assistance, from them. In short they are, in a manner, totally, disaffected, or in a kind of Lethargy.
The Enemy are making vigorous efforts to remove the obstructions in the Delaware, and to possess themselves of the Works which have been constructed for the Defence of them.—I am doing all I can in my present situation to save them, God only knows which will succeed.
I very sincerely congratulate you on the change in your Family. Tell the young couple, after wishing them joy of their union, that it is my sincere hope, that it will be as happy and lasting as their present joys are boundless. The Enclosed Letter of thanks to my sister for her elegant present you will please to deliver; and, with sincere affection for you all, I am, &c.
P. S. I had scarce finished this Letter when by express from the State of New York I received the Important and glorious news which follows:—
“Albany 15th Octr., 1777.
“Last night at 8 o’clock the capitulation whereby General Burgoyne & whole Army surrendered themselves Prisoners of War, was signed and this Morning they have to march out towds, the River above Fish Creek with the Honours of War (and there ground their Arms) they are from thence to be marched to Massachusetts bay.
“We congratulate you on this happy event, & remain &c.
I most devoutly congratulate you, my country, and every well wisher to the cause on this signal stroke of Providence. Yrs. as before.1
[1 ]“I congratulate you upon the glorious success of our arms to the northward. The complete captivity of Burgoyne and his army exceeds our most sanguine expectations. I have not yet heard of Sir Henry Clinton’s falling down the North River again, but I imagine he will not remain there after he has heard of Burgoyne’s destruction.”—Washington to Major-General Heath, 22 October, 1777.