Dear Sir; Chantilly in Virginia Augst. 2. 1781
An express from your State has put into my hand a letter directed to Wm Washington Esqr. which I observe has your name on the back of it - I judge of the business it relates to by a letter that the same express brings to me from Mr Thos. Rupell. Mr. Wm Washington, and his uncle John Washington the acting executor of Coln. Augustine Washingtons will, are both at this time up the country at some distance from hence, but the latter is daily expected at home and I will deliever him both Mr. Washingtons letter and Mr. Rupells to me as soon as he arrives. I was named an executor in Coln. Washingtons will but I have no otherwise concerned myself with that trust than to give my advice when it was asked. I have however a perfect knowledge of Coln. Augustine Washingtons interest in the Iron works under direction of Mr. Mrs. Rupell - it was 1/12 part, the profits of which were pretty regularly received by (Page 2) the Colonels widow for some time after his death. Coln. Washinton directed his share in the works to be sold for payment of the legacies to his younger children, but this I know has not been done, tho it has been often attempted. I make no doubt but that the justice of the State, and your friendship for the family will prevent them from receiving any injury in this case.
Give me leave now Sir to trouble you with an affair that I have wished for a good opportunity of writing to you about. On the east side of the river St. Mary=s in the county of St. Mary are two deserters form our line of the Continental army, who fled to a woman of St. Georges Island - They have twice deserted and are bad men, they lately came over here with another man in a small boat, they were armed, and threatened to plunder the inhabitants. I sent presently in quest of them, but two McKennys had made their escape - there is another deserter (Tarpley Nash) who has disappeared since these men men were over, and it is supposed, that having removed his wife, he is gone (Page 3) to join the McKenny=s - There are some circumstances which lead to the opinions that these men came over to Virginia to try if they could make up a crew from among their old acquaintances to pursue the piratical practice which has so much distroyed the shores of both States - Be this as it may - they are deserters from the service of their country, and as such deserve to be apprehended and punished - this being done, may prevent the execution of the piratical plan if they have such thing in contemplation. If your Excellency will order them to be seized and sent across the river to me, I will take care that they shall be conveyed to the army.
I have the honor to be with much esteem dear Sir your most affectionate and obedient
Richard Henry Lee
N. B. John McKenny sometimes goes by the name of Moore.
On the reverse:
2d August 1781
Rich. Henry Lee-