Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington

By Joseph E. Fields; Martha Washington | Go to book overview
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this date in 1779 she was with the General at Middlebrook. See, Writings, 11:63; 14:221.
2.
Robert Hanson Harrison, secretary and aide to General Washington. See supra, December 30, 1775, n. 4.
3.
In 1778 John Parke Custis purchased "Abingdon," along with 900 acres of land, from Robert Alexander. It was situated on the west bank of the Potomac River, north of Four Mile Run (Washington National Airport presently occupies the site). The Custises lived there in proximity to Mount Airy and Mount Vernon. After JPC's death in 1781, his widow, Eleanor, continued to live there until her marriage to Dr. David Stuart. For the disposition of the property, see, Diaries, 4:101; 5:291; Writings, 12:266-269; 27:60. The house is no longer standing.
4.
Elizabeth Parke Custis, Mrs. Washington's eldest grandchild.

To Mrs. John Parke Custis

(Middlebrook, May 15, 1779)

Yesterday I saw the funniest, at the same time the most ridiculous review of the troops I ever heard of. Nearly all the troops were drawn up in order, and Mrs Knox, 1 Mrs Greene, 2 and myself saw the whole performance from a carriage. The General and Billy, 3 followed by a lot of mounted savages, rode along the line. Some of the Indians were fairly fine-looking, but most of them appeared worse than Falstaff's gang. And such horses and trappings! The General says it was done to keep the Indians friendly toward us. They appeared like cutthroats all. 4

Location of original unknown.

1.
Lucy Flucker Knox (c. 1754-1824), wife of General Henry Knox.
2.
Catherine Littlefield Greene ( 1755-1814), wife of General Nathanael Greene.
3.
Billy Lee was the General's mulatto body servant. The General purchased him from Mrs. Mary Lee in 1768 for £ 61/15 s. He had assumed the surname, Lee. He accompanied the General throughout the war. By the terms of the General's will he was manumitted, given an annuity, food and clothing for life. See, Diaries, 2:278; Prussing, The Estate of George Washington Deceased, p. 45; Boston, 1927.
4.
From Lossing, Mary and Martha, p. 85. The letter, if authentic, has undergone editing. The Delaware Chiefs, on their way to Philadelphia, stopped at Middlebrook on May 12, 1779, and were recipients of a speech by General Washington. Writings, 15:53; Thacher, Military Journal, p. 163, Hartford, 1862.

To Elizabeth Schuyler

(Morristown 1780)

Mrs Washington presents her best respects to Miss Schuyler. 1 She sends her some nice powder, which she hopes will be acceptable to her. She is much obliged to Miss Schuyler for her cuffs and thinks them very pretty. 2

A.L. (3rd person) Unlocated.

1.
Elizabeth Schuyler, second daughter of General Philip Schuyler. She married Colonel Alexander Hamilton in December, 1780.
2.
The note was offered for sale by the Walter R. Benjamin Company. The text is taken

-182-

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Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington
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