When General Washington decided to keep his army between Howe and the Continental Army's supply line deeper in Pennsylvania, he sent Hamilton on a mission to destroy a supply of flour and prevent other supplies from falling into British hands as they marched toward Philadelphia. Hamilton now led a group of eight cavalrymen which included Captain Henry Lee, and was about to burn the mill at the small village of Valley Forge when two sentries fired warning shots from their posts. The force of British Cavalry, largely outnumbering Hamilton's force, at first chased Captain Lee who took flight across the millrace with a pair of mounted American cavalry. The British dragoons gave up the chase with Lee and went after Hamilton. While Hamilton attempted to cross the Schuylkill River in a scow, the green-coated dragoons fired numerous volleys at him and the remainder of his party. The musketry wounded one man, killed another, and crippled Hamilton's horse. Hamilton had no choice but to swim to the other side of the river whereafter he wrote to John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, the British had potential to be in Philadelphia that evening. Upon returning to Washington's headquarters, Hamilton was chagrined to find out that he had been given up for a casualty by word of Lee. Meanwhile, the Continental Congress and Philadelphia patriots were in a panic, securing valuables, and leaving the city.


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