A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0261

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

It is now no longer a Secret, where Mr. Hows Fleet is. We have authentic Intelligence that it is arrived, at the Head of Cheasopeak Bay, above the River Petapsco upon which the Town of Baltimore stands.1
I wish I could describe to you the Geography of this Country, so as to give you an Adequate Idea of the Situation of the two great Bays of Cheasopeak and Delaware, because it would enable you to form a Conjecture, concerning the Object, he aims at.—The Distance across Land from the Heads of these Bays is but small, and forms an Istmus, below which is a large Peninsula comprehending the Counties of Accomack and Northampton in Virginia, the Counties of Somersett and Worcester in Maryland, and the Counties of Kent and Sussex on Delaware. His March by Land to Philadelphia, may be about sixty or seventy Miles.2 I think there can be no doubt that he aims at this Place, and he has taken this Voyage of six Weeks, long enough to have gone to London, merely to avoid an Army in his Rear. He found he could not march this Way from Somersett Court House, without leaving G. Washington in his Rear.
We have called out the Militia of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pensilvania, to oppose him,3 and G. Washington is handy enough, to meet him, and as G. Washington saved Philadelphia last Winter, by crossing the Delaware and marching to Morristown, and so getting in the Rear of Howe, so I conjecture he will still find Means to get in his Rear between him and Cheasapeak Bay.
You may now sit under your own Vine, and have none to make you afraid.—I sent off my Man and Horse at an unlucky Time, but, if We should be obliged to remove from hence, We shall not go far.
If Congress had deliberated and debated a Month they could not have concerted a Plan for Mr. Howe more to our Advantage than that which he has adopted. He gives Us an Opportunity of exerting the Strength of all the middle States against him, while N.Y. and N.E. are destroying Burgoine. Now is the Time, never was so good an Opportunity, for my Countrymen to turn out and crush that vapouring, blustering Bully to Attoms.
1. See an entry under 22 Aug. in JCC , 8:665, and note there.
2. For geographical details in this and following letters, see James Lovell's MS { 326 } map, enclosed in his letter to AA of 29 Aug. (below), which is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume.
3. See resolutions of 22 Aug. in JCC , 8:666–667.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

We have an Express, today from Governor Johnson, Captn. Nicholson and several other Gentlemen with an Account that the Fleet, to the Number of Two hundred and Sixty Three Sail, have gone up towards the Head of Cheasapeak Bay.1 They lie over against the Shore between the River Sassafras and the River Elke.
We have also a Letter from General Washington acquainting Us that Tommorrow Morning at seven O Clock, he shall march his Army through the City of Philadelphia, along Front Street, and then turn up Chesnutt Street, in his Way to cross over the Bridge at Schuylkill River, so that General How will have a grand Continental Army, to oppose him, in very good Season, aided by a formidable Collection of Militia.
I like this Movement of the General, through the City, because, such a show of Artillery, Waggons, Light Horse and Infantry, which takes up a Line of 9 or 10 Miles upon their March and will not be less than 5 or 6 Hours passing through the Town, will make a good Impression upon the Minds of the timourous Whiggs for their Confirmation, upon the cunning Quakers for their Restraint and upon the rascally Tories for their Confusion.
I think there is a reasonable Ground for Confidence with the Favour of Heaven that How will not be able to reach this City.—Yet I really doubt whether it would not be more for our Interest that he should come here and get Possession of the Town.
1. Because there are Impurities here which will never be so soon or so fully purged away, as by that Fire of Affliction which How inkindles wherever he goes.
2. Because it would employ nearly the whole of his Force to keep Possession of this Town, and the rest of the Continent would be more at Liberty.
3. We could counteract him here better than in many other Places.
4. He would leave N. England and N.Y. at Leisure to kill or catch Burgoine.
{ 327 }
In all Events I think you may rejoice and sing, for the season is so far gone, that he cannot remove to you.
1. See JCC , 8:668, and note.