George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 9 January 1777

To John Hancock

Head Quarters Morris Town 9th Jany 1777


I am honoured with yours of the 1st instant inclosing sundry Resolves relating to this and the Northern Army, those that respect my department shall be properly attended to.

I am obliged by your notice of Colonel Baylor on whom I shall confer the command of Horse, to which you recommend him.

When the Uniform for the Regiment is fixed upon, a Horse properly caparisoned shall be provided and presented to Colo. Baylor. There were no Horses of any Figure or Value taken at Trenton.

Since I wrote to you last, the Enemy have withdrawn all their out Garrisons, and centered their whole force at and near Brunswic, but whether with an Intention to make a stand there or make another push towards Philadelphia I cannot yet determine. Upon the Evacuation of Elizabeth Town Genl Maxwell fell upon the Enemys Rear and made seventy prisoners and took a parcel of Baggage.1 I have the Honor to be Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The Continental Congress executive committee forwarded this letter to Hancock on 14 Jan. (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 6:95–97), and Congress read it on 20 Jan. (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 , 7:51).

1British officer Lt. Col. Stephen Kemble’s account of the evacuation of Elizabeth, N.J., differs from the accounts given by GW and other Americans. According to Kemble, the orders to evacuate the town were issued on 7 Jan. and carried into effect the next day when the Waldeckers and 71st British Regiment marched to Perth Amboy, and the 7th and 26th regiments marched to Elizabeth Point and were transported to Staten Island. Although Kemble does not mention the loss of any men during the evacuation, he says that “about 3 in the Afternoon sent the Flat Boat for some Rum and Provisions that had been carried by mistake to the lower ferry, in the attempt to take which off She was seized by the Rebels, and a Sloop fired upon” (Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:106). In another version Philipp Waldeck, the chaplain of the 3d Waldeck Regiment, inexplicably dates the evacuation 9 Jan. in his diary (see Learned, Waldeck’s Diary description begins Marion Dexter Learned, ed. Philipp Waldeck’s Diary of the American Revolution. Philadelphia, 1907. description ends , 26–27). For accounts similar to the one that GW sent to Hancock, see Nathanael Greene to Thomas Paine, 9 Jan., in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 2:3–4, William Heath to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 12 Jan., MHi: Heath Papers, and Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 118. Heath, who identified the prisoners captured as Waldeckers and Highlanders, says the baggage was taken from an enemy schooner.

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