Account of Major Robert Beale, Virginia
By Mark Relation, DLAR Intern
General Lee initially disagreed with Washington, believing that the very fact that the British were evacuating Philadelphia was a great victory, and did want to risk a battle and possibly ruin what success they already had. Lee did not believe that American troops could stand up to British regulars, and was scared that a battle could turn the British evacuation into a British victory and so turned down the command of the attacking force. Command was given to Lafayette, but when the force was established, it was large enough that Lee thought it more fitting the army’s second in command and successfully petitioned to have the command transferred to him. This did not mean that Lee agreed with the plan any more than previously, and was somewhat lethargic in his planning and execution of the campaign. Below, Major Robert Beale of the Virginia Continental Troops details his experience of the actions in the campaign and his opinion of Lee’s command decisions.
Blanco, Richard L., and Paul J. Sanborn. The American Revolution, 1775-1783: An Encyclopedia.