George Washington Papers

Circular to Nicholas Cooke, Lord Stirling, Brigadier General William Thompson, and Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 27 March 1776

Circular to Nicholas Cooke, Lord Stirling, Brigadier General William Thompson, and Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Head Quarters Cambridge 27th March 1776


I take this earliest opportunity to acquaint you that the Men of War and Transports with the Ministerial Troops sailed this afternoon from Nantasket Harbour. There is only a Man of War and two or three other armed Vessels now remaining there.1

In consequence of this movement I have ordered a Brigade to march to morrow morning for New York,2 and shall follow with the remainder of the Army as soon as I can receive certain information of the Fleet being clear of3 the Coast, and that we are in no further danger of their returning to attack us at a disadvantage. I shall leave a few Regiments at Boston to protect the Continental Stores, and to assist in fortifying the Town and Harbour agreeable to the directions that may be given by the General Assembly of this Colony. I have the honor to be most respectfully Sir Your obedient humble Servant

G. Washington

LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; LB, DLC:GW; two Varick transcripts, DLC:GW. One of the Varick transcripts is addressed to Cooke and Trumbull, and one is addressed to Stirling and Thompson. The letter-book copy in DLC:GW is addressed to all four recipients.

1Earlier this day Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Col. Loammi Baldwin: “His Excellency desires that you will Inform him by return of the bearer of the weights of the Anchors our people got at Noddles Island or elsewhere; Also of any movements you may have discovered among the Enemies fleet, & that you will be very attentive to ’em & make report everyday” (MH: Baldwin Papers). At eight o’clock this morning Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham made the signal for sailing, and at three o’clock in the afternoon he ordered the fleet to weigh anchor (see journals of H.M.S. Chatham and H.M.S. Centurion, 27 Mar. 1776, in Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 4:537–39). Most of the fleet arrived at Halifax on 2 April.

2The brigade commanded by Gen. John Sullivan did not march for New York until 29 March. See General Orders, 28 Mar. 1776.

3The letter-book copy in DLC:GW and both of the Varick transcripts read “off.”

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