George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson, 9 February 1777

From Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson

Bells Farm [N.J.] 9th Febry 17771


Your Excellency’s of the 5th Inst. did not come to hand till last Evening,2 I reced the Money for your Excellency’s mare by the Express; Capt. Morrison says, his Company was raised by the State of Pennsylvania, for the particular defense of that State, but that he was order’d into Jersey, by the Council of Safety3—I mentioned several Days ago to your Excellency, that I had order’d four chests of Bohea Tea to be taken Possession of, being the property of a certain Mr Richmond now in Brunswick, & very active in favor of the Enemy—This Information I have received, well authenticated, should be glad to recieve Orders, respecting the same.4

We had a great deal of marching, & countermarchg yesterday, but to no purpose—an Officer of mine who was out with a marching party, saw seven Divisions of the Enemy cross the Landg bridge, supposed to be about 2,000 Men, with a number of Waggons5—There was a considerable fireing towards Quibble-Town, & by a Light-horse sent on purpose to get Intelligence—I am informed, that Col: Scott wth two Battalions detached from Genl Warner’s Brigade, fell in with a Party of the Enemy, & routed them, with the loss of three Men killed in Col: Scotts Battn.6

The Captains of the Wyomin rangers inform me, that their Men have never received more than 10 Dolrs bounty, there are many of them sick, & in great want of the remainder, therefore they beg, Your Excellency will be pleased to order the remaing 10 Dolrs paid to them. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s most Ob. Sert

Philemon Dickinson

P.S. We killed one regular Yesterday, whom we brought in.

ALS, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp Robert Hanson Harrison wrote on the letter’s cover a docket that reads in part “Ansd 10th” and a memorandum that reads: “To send up Morison for Clothes if his Company is raised for any length of time—to do with Tea as he pleases—The Wyomen Ranger Captains to make out Rolls & come & Obtain Warrants for ballance.” The letter of 10 Feb. to Dickinson has not been found.

1Bell Farm was in Middlesex County on the Raritan River about three miles above Bound Brook (see Dickinson to GW, 13 Mar. 1777).

2This letter has not been found.

3James Morrison of Lancaster County, Pa., was a captain in Col. Thomas Porter’s Pennsylvania militia regiment, originally raised for the emergency defense of the state. The Pennsylvania council of safety sent the regiment to reinforce the Continental army in New Jersey in August 1776.

4Bohea tea, considered to be China’s finest black tea in the eighteenth century, was named after the Wu-i hills of China where it was grown. “Mr Richmond” may be James Richmond, who furnished tea and coffee to British and Hessian soldiers in the New Brunswick area (see Coldham, American Loyalist Claims description begins Peter Wilson Coldham. American Loyalist Claims. Washington, D.C., 1980. description ends , 67).

5Raritan Landing, located on the Raritan River about two miles upstream from New Brunswick, was the head of navigation for the numerous small vessels that transported wheat and produce down to the Raritan Bay and to New York. A log bridge was constructed at the Raritan Landing by the British and Hessian troops quartered in the area (see Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 51, and Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 87).

6The attacks on British foraging parties by American troops under the command of Col. Charles Scott of the 5th Virginia Regiment are described by British officer Archibald Robertson in his diary entry for 8 Feb: “Went on a Strong foraging Party to Quibble Town. The Guards covered us towards Bound Brook, 2 Battalions of Grenadiers and 1 Light Infantry march’d the Quibble Town Road above the landing, all the Waggons with the 49th and 5th Regiments march’d the Middle Road and 1 Battalion 42nd covered the Right Flank. The advanced partys had some skirmishing in which the Rebels had 6 men kill’d. On our Return they likewise Attack’d our rear. On the whole we only had 4 men wownded. Lord Cornwallis, General Grant, Brigadier Generals Leslie, Mathews, and Erskine were all out this day. Likewise Major General Vaughan who foraged on our Right the same day from Amboy” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 124). Another British account was published in the New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury on 17 Feb. 1777.

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