Letter from General George Washington to John Hancock, President of Congress, 12/04/1775  (detail)
During the seige of Boston in the early part of the American Revolution, George Washington sent this letter to Congress in which he passed along information he had heard from a sailor: that British General William Howe was sending people out from Boston who had been deliberately infected with smallpox so that they might pass on the disease to the Americans surrounding the city. After seeing an increased number of cases in those leaving the city, Washington came to believe that smallpox was indeed "a weapon of Defence they Are useing against us."

Washington’s letter and other gripping eyewitness acounts from U.S. History are part of the Eyewitness exhibit–travelling to museums nationwide through 2008.

Read more of Washington’s suspicions of Bioterrorism in Eyewitness

Today’s Document from the National Archives

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