14th. About Noon, intelligence was recd. from Genl. Patterson at West point, that the Enemy were on the No. side of Croton in force—that Colo. Green, Majr. Flag, & some other officers with 40 or 50 Men were surprized & cut off at the Bri⟨dg⟩e & that Colo. Scammell with the New Hampshire Troops had Marched to their assistance. I ordered the Connecticut Troops to move in & support those of New Hampshire.1
In the evening, information was brot. that the enemy (consisting of about 60 horse, & 140 Infantry) had retreated precipitately & that several of our Soldiers had been inhumanly murdered.
1. John Paterson (1744–1808) had served first as a colonel in the Massachusetts militia and after Jan. 1776 in the Continental Army, attaining the rank of brigadier general Feb. 1777. In 1781 he was in command of the 2d Massachusetts brigade, operating around West Point (EGLESTON description begins Thomas Egleston. The Life of John Paterson: Major-General in the Revolutionary Army. New York, 1894. description ends , 124). Paterson’s two letters of 14 May to GW containing this information are in DLC:GW. Col. Christopher Greene, commanding the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and Maj. Ebenezer Flagg, of the same regiment, were part of a small force guarding a ford on the Croton River in Westchester County, N.Y. Both men were killed in a surprise attack just after sunrise on 13 May by a troop of James De Lancey’s Tories. The Americans were particularly incensed by rumors that Greene, wounded in the first attack, was “carried into the woods and barbarously murdered” by the Tories (THACHER description begins James Thacher. Military Journal of the American Revolution, From the commencement to the disbanding of the American Army; Comprising a detailed account of the principal events and Battles of the Revolution, with their exact dates, And a Biographical Sketch of the most Prominent Generals. Hartford, 1862. description ends , 262). See also MOORE  description begins Frank Moore. Diary of the American Revolution from Newspapers and Original Documents. 2 vols. New York, 1859–60. description ends , 2:427–28; GW to Samuel Huntington, 17 May 1781, DNA:PCC, Item 152. A copy of GW’s letter to Paterson, 14 May, ordering him to dispatch troops of the Connecticut Line to reinforce Col. Alexander Scammell’s New Hampshire forces is in DLC:GW. On the same day Paterson informed GW that De Lancey’s force had withdrawn (DLC:GW).
Alexander Scammell (1747–1781) was adjutant general on GW’s staff Jan. 1778–Jan. 1781. He was mortally wounded during the siege of Yorktown under conditions of considerable controversy, the Americans charging that he had been shot after surrendering to a party of British soldiers (see THACHER description begins James Thacher. Military Journal of the American Revolution, From the commencement to the disbanding of the American Army; Comprising a detailed account of the principal events and Battles of the Revolution, with their exact dates, And a Biographical Sketch of the most Prominent Generals. Hartford, 1862. description ends , 280; TUCKER description begins Edward M. Riley. “St. George Tucker Journal of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 5 (1948): 375–95. description ends , 381). At this time he was in command of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment.