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Letter from Cornelius Harnett to William Wilkinson
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
December 12, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 819-821


Favoured by Mr. Cochran

York Pennsylvania Dec 12 1777

Dear Sir

I wrote you a few days ago by Post since which I rec'd your favour of the 11th Ulto. Genl. Howe marched out of Philadelphia

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on Friday last with his whole force with the intention as was imagined to attack Genl. Washington in his lines at White Marsh, the two Armies remained in sight of each other until Sunday the 7th. Our Militia under the Command of Genl. Potter Schyrmished with them, & in the evening Colo. Morgan with his Rifle Men had a severe action with the Enemy's right wing, or rather a part of it, the report is that they lost a great many men killed, upwards of an hundred. Our loss but trifling we drove the Enemy and kept the ground. Genl. Howe filed off his Army in three Columns, & is returned to Philadelphia, & has thus prevented the drubbing you wish for. Jackey remains still at Burlington & is well, it is impossible for me to see him there, but I have wrote Mr. Mitchel to let him come to me; there is a very good school in this Town, where I could have him under my own eye, and could bring him home to you in the Spring, or let him remain in this Country, as time and Circumstances might admit. Genl. McIntosh only stayed a Day here & proceeded this morning to Head Quarters. Whether the Enemy will keep possession of the City this winter I know not, but should they remain there, they will I think have a very uneasy time of it.

I am sorry to find the Prices of every thing with you so very high, the vilanous practice of raising the price of all the Necessaries & Conveniences of life is spreading all over the Continent. I hope the several Legislatures of the States, will immediately pass Laws to prevent this growing evil, America has more to apprehend from the Consequences of this Avaritious Spirit, than from two such Armies as Genl. Howes. I find in the Wilmington papers an extract from one of my Letters; what I write my friends in hurry is not intended for the Press, I hope they will in future, should they think proper to publish any intelligence I may send, to do it at least by way of Extract from a Letter received from a Gent at York to his friend in Wilmington. Many Resolutions and recommendation of Congress have been lately sent to the Legislatures of the several States, which will I think (if attended to) answer many very Salutary purposes. Mr. ——— called on me this morning about 8 o'clock & sets off early in the morning, I have been obliged to attend the Treasury board, & could not sit down to write before 10. I have not time to mention several matters to you, which I must defer for the present. But remember your Bills

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drawn by Kennon Ought to be immediately to be forwarded, I am sorry you did not take our Treasurers, insted of them, exchange them if you can for such. It ran in my mind that our Election was to have been in the Fall, but I find it is to be in the Spring we have as yet no news paper here, which is unpardonable. Give my Compts. to Phillis & tell her her Mother I could not get a sight of, it was long before I could hear of her, and just as I had got into a train of finding her we were obliged precipitately to retreat from Philadelphia. Should Genl. Howe remove, I will still find her out. Write me I desire by every Post I am

Dr. Sir
Your Afft. & Obedt Servt

My Compts to Miss Quina Ancrum, Clayton, Brice, Craike, &c