George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, 19 July 1776

From Brigadier General Hugh Mercer

Eliza. Town [N.J.] 19 July 1776.


After making such preparations as our Circumstances would admit off—I marched about eight o Clock yesterday Evening to the Mouth of Thompsons Creek with the Continental Troops under the command of Major Knoulton—The Rifle Battalions were to follow—The Wind & Tide being against them, the Boats could not be so soon brought to us as we expected—In the mean time the weather became too tempestuous to venture over the Sound in Scows—We remaind on the Shore in hopes of calmer Weather till near Eleven o Clock—but finding no probability of getting over in Time to reach the Enemies Quarters before day were under the Necessity of relinquishing the Enterprize1 It cannot be renewed till we have more Forces here—nor would it be prudent to attempt any Surprize for some days—as our motions are probably communicated to the Enemy. I have the honour to be Sir Your Excellencys Most obedt Servt

Hugh Mercer


1For the planning of this aborted raid, see Council of War, 12 July, Mercer’s second letter to GW of 16 July, and Mercer to GW, 18 July. Mercer informed Hancock about the events of the night of 18 July in a letter written on 20 July: “The first division consisting of Continental Troops under Major Nolton [Thomas Knowlton] march’d with me to the mouth of Thompsons Creek by nine OClock, with design to pass the Sound—Immediately, the two Battalion’s of the Pensylvania rifle Men to geather with the first Battalion of the Pensya Millitia were to follow; the Whole force would then have consisted of about thirteen hundred Men—some of those Troops were rendered unfit for Service, by having had a very fatigueing march from Brumswick, this oblig’d us to think of contracting our plan, but very Tempestious weather comeing on obligd us to desist alltogeather from the enterprise; some Gentlemen well acquainted with the passage there; being of opinion that we should endanger the loss of our whole party, in attempting to cross with such boats as we were provided with” (DNA:PCC, item 159).

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