"We are now, thank God, and the inertness of the Enemy, in a very tolerable secure condition"
General Charles Lee's November 2, 1776, letter came at the breathing point between the Battle of White Plains and the total collapse of American efforts to keep the British Army contained in the vicinity of New York. Following the Battle of Pell's Point, Washington withdrew the Continental Army to the small village of White Plains, near which he fought General William Howe's redcoated forces on October 28th. The British succeeded in driving Washington off the high ground near White Plains, but did not destroy or seriously maul his forces. In the aftermath of that engagement, Washington held a council of war to determine the best strategy for the upcoming winter season. As a result of that meeting, Washington divided his forces into three parts. One, under Lee's command, took post on the eastern shore of the Hudson to prevent at British attempts to invade New England. General William Heath took another detachment further up the river to guard against any attack on Albany. The final portion of the army, under Washington's personal command, took post at Fort Lee, across the North River from Fort Washington. From this relative point of security, the Continentals waited to see what the British forces would do next. As Lee's letter below demonstrates, the general lost no time in writing to Pennsylvanian Dr. Benjamin Rush, waxing eloquent on the past campaign and lodging a series of complaints about various shortcomings. See the full text of the letter below, as painstakingly transcribed by Library volunteer Andrew Dauphinee. The entire staff can attest to the difficulty of reading the good general's handwriting!
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