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Letter from Henry Laurens to Richard Caswell
Laurens, Henry, 1724-1792
May 26, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 137-138

[From Executive Letter Book.]

York Town, 26th May 1778.


Since my last of the 11th Inst. by Post, I have had the Honor of presenting to Congress your Excellency's several favours of 26 April, 2d and 6th Inst. which remain subjects for consideration. Capt. Blount is here and will probably be the bearer of the Resolutions of Congress respecting them.

In the mean time this will serve to cover an Act of the 22d recommending to the several States to exémpt from the Militia service and to disqualify for acting as Substitutes all prisoners and deserters from the British Army and Navy.

Daily accounts repeat the Enemy's preparations for evacuating Philadelphia, there can be no doubt of the appearance but time will show the reality. I have not had a letter from Genl. Washington later than the 18th, the Genl never trusts appearances.

The Marquis de La Fayette lately detached upon a command of observation, with about 2,200 chosen men and officers, had nearly been surrounded by 7,000 from the city, betrayed undoubtedly by a Tory or Deserter. The Marquis displayed great Generalship, in his retreat, which he effected without loss of men, cannon or baggage.

Intelligence of his alarming situation reached the Camp at Valley Forge, this was announced by the usual means of firing three Cannon. To the honor of Major General Baron Steuben, the whole army in fifteen minutes were under arms, formed and ready to march, but the enemy who had reached one Bank of the Schuylkill

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just as Marquis de La Fayette had gained the opposite, contented themselves with giving him a look, perhaps a smile, and returned to Philadelphia, the Marquis continues abroad with his detachment of observation. I have the honor to be with the greatest esteem and respect Sir,

Your Excellency's mo. ob. hue. Servt.
Prest. Congress.