Sunday, June 21, 2009
Warfare is no reason to be impolite
Despite popular reports from several years ago, General Washington was not made of radiation (Thank you, TV Tropes page for this disturbing video I thought I had forgotten), but he was a pretty impressive figure and wrote some vastly entertaining letters.
1777 was not a really great year for the American forces, as General Howe took New York and then the sort-of capitol of the colonies, Philadelphia. George Washington wrote that circumstances were so bad that, "if [he] could have justified the measure to posterity and [his] own conscience" it would have been better if he had "retired to the back country, and lived in a wigwam."
As amusing as such a phrase is, the Amateur Historian likes this letter best:
Octr 6. 1777
General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe.
Manners were important in 18th century society, after all. I'll bet Washington would have looked up the land permits before building his backwoods wigwam, too.