Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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*To WILLIAM RAMSAY
Cambridge, November 1775.
Sir: By Mr. Harrison I have been favour'd with your Letter of the 16th. Ulto. and am glad to find that my address to the People of Canada, and Corrispondance with genl. Gage have Merited the approbation of the Publick. I am not without my hopes that Arnold, and his Detachment have got into good Quarters in Quebec, long before this. I have heard nothing (directly) from him since the 13th. Ulto. which, although it may be consider'd in a favourable point of view, keeps me in a very disagreeable state of Suspence.
A Number of Transports are just arriv'd at Boston, and from our Acct. from thence, 2500 Troops are Landed; the truth, as yet, we know not. Our time of late hath been much taken up in building Barracks, and putting our Men undr. Cover; which, in ten or twelve days more I hope will be compleated. Whether Genl. How after receiving such a Reinforcement will remain quiet in his Quarters, is a matter to be determined; on thursday last about four or five hundred of them taking advantage of a very high Tide, landed at a place called Litchmores Point (opposite to Boston and then an Island) distant about ¾ of a Mile from our Lines on prospect Hill, but upon the appearance of two Regiments advancd towards them, over a Causey (waste deep in Water) they retreated having first killed and carrd. of 10 head of Cattle, but with the loss of two of their Men (so near were our Regiments to them). We had three Men wounded; two I fear mortally.
The destruction of Falmouth, and the Inclination which has been shewn of bestowing the same favour on other Towns (which, by being prepard for their reception, have averted the blow) is evident proof of the diabolical designs of Administration to prosecute, with unrelenting Fury, the most cruel, and
Savage War that ever a Civilized Nation engagd in as it also is, of the necessity of adopting every means which can be devis'd for the preservation of property; this led me to hint to your part of the Country through Lund Washington, the expediency of stopping the Navigation of the Potomack without loss of time; conceiving that at an Expence, not amounting to one tenth of the damage which the Estates on the River may sustain in the course of next Summer, such obstruction's may be laid as to prevent any Armed Vessel from passing. I do not pretend to point out the place where or precise manner how, this is to be effected. In Delaware they have attempted it by sinking of Chevaux, de Frieze, and Row Gallies. In Potomack I think it might be done by Chevaux de Frieze (or sinking of Vessels) and Batteries on one, or both sides of the River as Circumstances might require. I have often heard, that some where below Quantico the Channel was so narrow as to [
32 ] so, and the Land adjoining is proper, what [
] the attempt? Highland is the [ ] these kind of Batteries; because [ ] from thence [ ] at the same time [ ] it [ ] receive no kind of Injury; where Batteries upon a Level are [ ] Silenced. Guns dismounted by the ships. If Such a Situation [ ] Colo. Fairfax could be found [ ] it would be impassible; because [ ] Vessel is Raked from Stern to Stern from the time she gets within reach) of your Guns, till she is directly under them; and from Stem to Stern till she is out of reach of them, after passing; and this without bringing more than one or two guns to bear on you, without heaving too which would protract her passage. I mention this matter, because I am very willing to have my property taxed to its proportionate amount to effect a Plan of defence to it, with sincere regard for Mrs. Ramsay, yr. Family, and all friends I remain Dr. Sir, etc. 33
[Note:The spaces between brackets indicate mutilated manuscript. ]
[Note:The editor is able to print this letter through the kindness of Mrs. Robert M. Reese, of Alexandria, Va., whose family possesses it. ]