Ramsay, Elizabeth

“as if I had been a very great some body”

When George Washington was named commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and sent to Boston in 1775 to organize the resistance to the British, Martha determined to accompany him. She left Mount Vernon on November 16 in the company of her son Jack and his wife Elizabeth “Nelly” Calvert Custis. Traveling via Philadelphia, she arrived in Cambridge a month later. She described what she found in a letter to a young friend, Elizabeth Ramsay, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Cambridge December the 30th 1775Dear miss
I now set down to tell you that I arrived hear safe, and our party all well—we were fortunate in our time of setting out as the weather proved fine all the time we were on the road—I did not reach Philad till the tuesday after I left home, we were so attended and the gentlemen so kind, that I am lade under obligations to them that I shall not for get soon. I don’t doubt but you have seen the Figuer our arrival made in the Philadelphia paper—and I left it in as great pomp as if I had been a very great some body.
I have waited some days to collect some thing to tell, but allas there is nothing but what you will find in the papers—every person seems to be cheerfull and happy hear,—some days we have a number of cannon and shells from Boston and Bunkers Hill, but it does not seem to surprise any one but me; I confess I shuder every time I hear the sound of a gun—I have been to dinner with two of the Generals, [Charles] Lee & [Israel] Putnam and I just took a look at pore Boston & Charls town—from prospect Hill Charlestown has only a few chimneys standing in it, thare seems to be a number of very fine Buildings in Boston but god knows how long they will stand; they are pulling up all the warfs for fire wood—to me that never see any thing of war, the preperations, are very terable indeed, but I endevor to keep my fears to my self as well as I can. . . .
This is a beautyfull Country, and we had a very plasent journey through new england, and had the plasure to find the General very well we came within the month from home to Camp.
I am Dear miss your most affectionate Friend . . . Martha Washington

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