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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0267

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Newspapers enclosed, will give you, all the Intelligence, of any Consequence.
General Washington with a very numerous Army, is between Wilmington and the Head of Elke. How will make but a pitifull Figure. The Militia of four States, are turning out, with much Alacrity, and chearfull Spirits. The Continental Army, under Washington, Sullivan and Nash, besides is in my Opinion more numerous, by several Thousands, than Howes whole Force. I am afraid that He will be frightened and run on board his ships and go away, plundering, to some other Place.
I almost wish he had Philadelphia, for then he could not get away. I really think it would be the best Policy to retreat before him, and let him into this Snare, where his Army must be ruined.—However this Policy will not be adopted.
In a Letter from good Authority, Mr. Paca,1 we are informed that many dead Horses have been driven on the Eastern shore of Maryland.—Horses thrown overboard, from the Fleet, no doubt.
Price current. £4 a Week for Board, besides finding your own Washing, shaving, Candles, Liquors, Pipes, Tobacco, Wood &c. Thirty shillings a Week for a servant. It ought to be 30s. for the Gentleman and £4 for the servant, because he generally eats twice as much and makes twice as much trouble.
Shoes five Dollars a Pair. Salt, 27 dollars a Bushell. Butter 10s. a Pound. Punch twenty shillings a Bowl.
All the old Women and young Children are gone down to the Jersey shore to make Salt. Salt Water is boiling all round the Coast, and I hope it will increase. For it is nothing but heedlessness, and shiftlessness that prevents Us from making Salt enough for a Supply. But Necessity will bring Us to it.
As to sugar, Molasses, Rum &c. We must leave them off. Whisky is used here instead of Rum, and I dont see but it is just as good. Of this, the Wheat and Rye Countries2 can easily distill enough, for the Use of the Country.
If I could get Cyder, I would be content.
The Business of the Continent has been in so critical and dangerous a situation for the last 12 Months, that it was necessary the Massachusetts should have a full Representation, but the Expences of living are { 333 } grown so enormous, that I believe it will be necessary to reduce the Number of Delegates to three after this Campaign is over.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. Paca's letter has not been located.
2. Thus in MS, but JA may have meant to write “Counties.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0268

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-29

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

It is probable that Genl. Howe will waste the fall of this year between Chesapeak Bay and Delaware River. I send you a copied sketch of part of the country to which the Gazettes will frequently refer; as I know You give singular attention to the interesting concerns of America in the present struggle.
This knowledge is only part of the foundation of my affectionate esteem of you. Nor will I mention the whole.
I shall rather apologize for what there is already of Gallantry in my manner of conveying this little Present to your hand.
I could, it is true, have delivered it to your Husband. But, I could not with delicacy have told him, to his face, that your having given your heart to such a man is what, most of all, makes me yours, in the manner I have above sincerely professed myself to be.
[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams at Braintree near Boston Mr. Clymer To the Care of Isaac Smyth Esqr. in Boston”; franked: “free Jas. Lovell.” Enclosure: MS map, in ink, in James Lovell's hand, one folio sheet, 12 5/8″ x 8″, representing the region lying between Philadelphia on the northeast, Delaware Bay and New Jersey on the east, the upper part of Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore on the south and southwest, York on the northwest, and Lancaster on the north. This map is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume; see James Lovell's Map of the “Seat of War” in the Fall of 1777 facing 262Descriptive List of Illustrations.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0269

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Friend

A Letter from General Washington, was received last Night by the President, which I read. It is dated the 29th. Yesterday.1
The Enemy are in Possession of the Head of Elke, a little Town, at the Head of the River Elke, in which they found a Quantity of { 334 } Corn and Oats, belonging to the States. Waggons were so universally taken up, in conveying away the valuable Effects of the Inhabitants, that none could be procured to transport this Grain. Part of their Army, is advanced to Grays Hill about two Miles from the Head of Elke, but whether to take Post there, or only to cover while they remove their Plunder, from the Head of Elke is uncertain.
Our Army is at Wilmington. We have many Officers out reconnoitring the Country and the Enemy. Our Scouting Parties have taken between Thirty and Forty Prisoners, and Twelve Deserters are come in from the Fleet and Eight from the Army.
They say the Men are generally healthy, but their Horses have suffered much by the Voyage.
These Prisoners and Deserters are unable to give any other Intelligence. The Enemy give out, that they are Eighteen Thousand strong. But these are like Burgoines “Make Believes” and “Insinuations.” We know better; and that they have not Ten Thousands.
The Militia from four States are joining General Washington, in large Numbers.
The Plan of their military Operations, this Campaign, is well calculated for our Advantage. I hope We shall have heads and Hearts to improve it.
For my own Part, I feel a secret Wish, that they might get into this City, because I think it more for our Interest that they should be cooped up here than that they should run away again to N. York. But according to present Appearances they will not be able to get here. By going into Cheasapeak Bay, they have betrayed a Dread of the Fire Works in the River Delaware, which indeed are formidable.—They must make the most of their Time, for, They cannot rationally depend upon so fine a Season, late in the fall, and Early in Winter, as they had the last Year. September, October, and November are all that remain.
We expect Hourly, Advices from Gates and Arnold. We have Rumours of an Expedition to Long Island under Parsons, and another to Staten Island, under Sullivan, but no regular Accounts. I suppose it certain that such Expeditions have been made, but know not the success.
1. From Headquarters at Wilmington; read on the 30th in Congress (JCC, 8:697); printed in Washington's Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:145–146. The following three paragraphs in JA's letter paraphrase Washington's letter.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.