On December 14, 1776, George Washington sent this letter to Brigadier General James Ewing at Trenton Ferry. Concerned about a possible British advance across the Delaware River, Washington provides strategies for the defense of the troops. Ewing is to spare no expense to procure a spy to send across the river to learn the location and movements of the enemy. Ewing not only obeyed Washington's instructions, but began raiding the British. George Lewis transcribed the majority of this letter; however Washington added the final paragraphs in his own hand. A copy notes this letter circulated to Mercer, Stephen, and Stirling.


LS (Letter Signed) Two pages, with integral letter cover on verso of second page. The last two paragraphs of the letter, the closing, and the letter cover are in George Washington's hand. Small watermark, center of first page. Losses interfere with watermark. Similar to Gravell, FOREIGN WATERMARKS 290. The only difference is that there is no circle surrounding the image in the document's watermark. Large watermark, center of third page. Extremely large losses make the watermark unidentifiable. It is a large circle topped by a crown with writing in the frame of the circle.


December 14, 1776




Ink, laid paper, residue from red wax seal


Overall (open): 12 7/8 in. x 16 1/2 in. (32.7 cm x 41.91 cm)
Other (closed (silking)): 12 7/8 in. x 8 1/4 in. (32.7 cm x 20.96 cm)
Other (closed (image)): 12 7/8 in. x 8 in. (32.7 cm x 20.32 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1913


Fourth page (verso when closed), center, perpendicular to letter's text, in brown ink: To Brigad Genl Ewing / [mutilated]


Second page (left side when open), bottom right, in brown ink: Yr Most Obt Servt / Go Washington

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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