George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 12 August 1776

From Major General Nathanael Greene

Camp at Brookland Augt 12–1776

Dear General.

Colo. Hand reports this morning a twenty Gun Ship that came in last Evening fird as She past through the Narrows—and was Answerd by the Admiral—Four Ships went through the Narrows Yesterday—they are at Anchor along New Uttrect Shore. Twenty five Sail of ships are seen at a great distance at Sea coming in.1

If your Excellency think Col. Varnum deserveing promotion and another Brigadier is to be appointed I wish he may be Appointed.2 I am your Excellencys Obedient Servant

N. Greene


1These ships were part of the British fleet bringing additional Hessian soldiers. “This Morning, as soon as it was light,” British observer Ambrose Serle wrote in his journal entry for this date, “we were gladdened with the Sight of the grand Flight [i.e., fleet] in the offing. The Joy of the Navy & Army was almost like that of a Victory. . . . The Fleet came up this Evening to the number of 107 Sail. . . . So large a Fleet made a fine Appearance upon entering the Harbor, with the Sails crouded, Colors flying, Guns saluting, and the Soldiers both in the Ships and on the Shore continually shouting. The Rebels (as we perceived by the Glasses) flocked out of their lurking Holes to see a Picture, by no means agreeable to them” (Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 62).

2Varnum’s disappointment at not being promoted prompted him to threaten to resign his commission two days later (see GW’s first letter to Hancock of 14 Aug.). Congress included Varnum among the additional brigadier generals that it appointed on 21 Feb. 1777 (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:141).

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