To Brigadier General William Maxwell1
Head Quarters Middle Brook [New Jersey] 25 Feby.
His Excellency has received a line from Mr. Williamson2 informing him of the enemy having entered Elizabeth Town.3 If their design should appear to be any thing more serious than surprising that post, and they should be in force sufficient to approach this army; he desires you will retire gradually harassing and delaying them in their march to give the more time for our dispositions here. You will carefully preserve your communication with this post; and give frequent advice of their progress. The General does not think it probable they have this in view; but he thinks it proper to be upon his guard. You will endeavour to ascertain their force.
I am Sir Yr. Most Obed serv
A. Hamilton A.D.C.
ADf, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. The date line and signature are in the writing of Tench Tilghman.
1. Maxwell was in command of the American forces at Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
2. Mathias (Matthias) Williamson of Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
3. On February 25, the British raided Elizabethtown burning a few houses. They retreated after inflicting only minor damage, and Maxwell pursued them to their boats.