George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 9 November 1776

To John Hancock

White plains Novr the 9th 1776


I have the honor to transmit you a Copy of a Letter from Genl Gates to Genl Schuyler, and of another paper containing intelligence respecting the Northern Army, and the situation of the Enemy in that department. they this minute came to hand, and to them I beg leave to refer you for particulars.1

By every information I can obtain, and the accounts I had last night by Two deserters, who were very intelligent and particular, Genl Howe still has in view an expedition to the Jerseys, and is preparing for it with the greatest industry. I have detached the first division of our Troops, which was thought necessary to be sent, and which I hope will cross the River at Pecks Kills to day. The Second I expect will all march this Evening, and to morrow morning, I propose to follow myself in order to put things in the best train I can, and to give him every possible opposition. I hope when the two divisions arrive and are Joined to such other force, as I expect to collect, to check his progress, and prevent him from penetrating any distance from the River if not to oblige him to return immediately with some loss.2 Whatever is in my power to effect, shall be done. I have the Honor to be with great esteem Sir yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter and its enclosures on 12 Nov. (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 , 6:944).

1The enclosed copies of Gates’s letter to Schuyler of 31 Oct. and Joab Hoisington’s letter to Gates of 12 Oct. were made from the copies of those documents that Schuyler enclosed in his letter to GW of 3 Nov. (see note 1 to that letter). The particular copies enclosed in this letter are in DNA:PCC, item 152.

2The draft reads: “When the Two divisions arrive & Join such Other force as I expect to collect, I hope to check his progress and prevent him from penetrating any distance from the River if not to oblige to return immediately.” Gen. Israel Putnam’s division crossed the Hudson River in stages on this and the following two days and proceeded south to New Jersey (see GW to Putnam, this date, Stirling to GW, 10 Nov., and GW to Hancock, 11 November). Gen. William Heath’s division arrived at Peekskill on the afternoon of 10 November. It did not join Putnam’s division in New Jersey, however, because renewed uncertainty about Howe’s intentions caused Washington to hold Heath’s troops in the general vicinity of Peekskill to protect the Hudson highlands (see GW to Heath, 12 November).

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