George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson, 13 February 1777

From Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson

Bells Farm [N.J.] 13th Feby 1777


The Person who obtained Mr Morgan’s releasment, returned from New York with Doctor Vanderveer Yesterday, upon the same terms which were mentioned to your Excellency1—The Intelligence recieved, is, The Prisoners at New York treated much better than they were, within a very short time past, in real want of nothing but cloathing, their distress great on that account—Troops arrived at Hell-gate from Rhode-Island, whether the whole or not, uncertain; very few Men in N. York, not many hundreds—six hundred Hessians arrived at Amboy on Tuesday last, & six field pieces sent by Water to Brunswick 6. days ago, in the latter place matters in the same state, they were.2

Yesterday a scouting Party of mine took a Light Infantryman belongg to the 40th Regiment, just by their lines, he says their living is bad, Pork & Peas plenty, but in want of fish Meat & Flour—a great scarcity of forage, their Horses very thin; both those accounts are confirmed by Doctor Vanderveer & the Person with him; they paid in N. York 4/ for a dinner, & 1/per pd for Beeff, a blessed time the refugees have of it—A Hessian from the advanced Post of the Enemy came in Yesterday, says their living is bad, & many would desert but are strictly watch’d, shall send him & the Prisoners down to Philada unless your Excellency would chuse to see them.

My Brigade, would have been very considerably increased but many Battalions on their march to join me, are detained at Princetown by Genl Putnam—I am going to try an Experiment with the Sussex Militia, who are extremely unfriendly to the cause in general, therefore I have sent up Col: Thomson with the small remains of his Battn & a party of Light-horse, in order to bring out ⅓ part of his Battn I hope it will succeed tolerably well, nothing else will do3—I would chuse to have your Excellency’s Orders respecting the Tea, or it must remain in its present state, being a matter of too much Consequence, for me to determine.

Capt. Morrison says, he does not belong to Major Proctors division, that his Compy was enlisted for one year, which expires in March, that his Gunner is a Volunteer, & joined him in Philada just as he marched for this State, his Wife is very ill, & he insists upon returning—they are greatly dissatisfied, as Capt. Browns Compy they say is returned, that is run off. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s Most Ob. Sevt

Philemon Dickinson

P.S. being informed, that two waggoners belongg to the Enemy lay in a house near their lines, with the Small-pox, I sent a party with a Sleigh & brought them off.

ALS, DLC:GW. A note on the cover in the writing of GW’s aide-de-camp George Johnston reads: “Tea ordered for the Hospitl Scarcity in New York.”

1Jeremiah Morgan was a ship captain from Bermuda who was captured when his armed sloop, the Mary, was taken near Cape May by H.M.S. Lively on 1 Nov. 1776, while sailing from Bordeaux for Philadelphia with a cargo of “Small Arms & Powder” (Journal of H.M.S. Lively, Captain Thomas Bishop, 1 Nov. 1776, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 7:10; see also Henry Tucker to St. George Tucker, 5 Jan. 1777, ibid., 863–64). Morgan was released for exchange in early January 1777 (see American Prisoners Landed at Cape Henlopen for an Exchange, 30 Dec. 1776, and Robert Morris to Silas Deane, 11 Jan. 1777, ibid., 628–29, 929–32). Lawrence Van Derveer (d. 1815) of Somerset County, N.J., was in 1766 a founding member of the New Jersey Medical Society.

2The previous Tuesday was 11 Feb. 1777. On 14 Feb. “six English regiments” also landed at Perth Amboy, N.J. (see 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 , 83).

3Mark Thompson (c.1739–1803) of Hackettstown, N.J., who had been appointed lieutenant colonel of Col. Charles Stewart’s regiment of New Jersey minutemen in February 1776, was appointed colonel of the 1st Regiment of Sussex County militia in July 1776.

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