Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Brigadier General William Maxwell, [10 May 1778]

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

[Valley Forge, May 10, 1778]


His Excellency has received yours from Horsam meeting House.1 He is a good deal surprized that you left your Artillery behind as one principal aim of the detachment was to protect the Vessels in the River in which Cannon would be essential. His Question to you on the subject was rather intended to indicate his desire that you should take cannon with your Party.2

He desires you will immediately march towards the River opposite BordenTown and there act according to circumstances. Though you may not be able to do any thing without Cannon, the approach of a body of men whom the Enemy will suppose to be provided with Artillery may possibly alarm and induce them to return. Perhaps by throwing a part of your men on the heights the opposite side of the river, you may be able to give them some Annoyance. This you will best judge of when you get to the Place. A detachment of 200 men will march to join you immediately with two pieces of Artillery and some Provisions. They will take their rout to the Cross roads;3 you will be pleased to leave at that place an Officer with directions how to conduct them to you

I am Sir   Your most humble Servt.

Df, in writing of Peregrine Fitzhugh, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Presumably the same as present-day Horsham, a village in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

2On May 7, Washington had written Maxwell: “The detachment under your comd. is designed to answer the following purposes; become a security to this Camp, and the Country between the Schuylkill and Delaware; interrupt the communication with Philadelphia; obtain intelligence of the motion, and designs of the enemy; and, aided by the Militia, prevent small parties of the Enemy from patrolling, to cover the market people; whilst large Parties, especially if any attempt should be made on this side the Delaware to destroy the Vessels above Bristol, are to be harassed as much as possible, till notice thereof can be communicated to me” (George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.)

3Cross Roads subsequently became Hartsville, Pennsylvania.

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