George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Generals Benjamin Lincoln and John Sullivan and Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson, 22 February 1777

To Major Generals Benjamin Lincoln and John Sullivan and Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson

Head quarters—Morris Town.
22d [February] 1777


An Inconvenience of considerable Magnitude arising from the Practice of carrying Household furniture &C. in Waggons & Carts to the Enemy has determined me to direct that in future nothing shall be transported that way—I do not mean to prevent such of the Inhabitants as choose to withdraw within the Enemy’s lines from taking with them all their Apparel & Household furniture as usual if they can do it in any other manner than this, neither would I object to this mode, were I confident that the Enemy would return the Waggons & Horses—but this may be doubted—You will therefore observe that the strictest Attention is paid to this Order. I am yr most Obedient Servant

Go: W——n

P.S. “Genl Dickinson only.” Colo. Duykins must have made up his Mind on my Proclamation before he left Brunswic—His Inclinatn to return justifys so well grounded a Suspicion of his Character as to induce me to forbid it.1

P.S. “Genl Sullivan only.” I would not have too much rigour used in executing the Proclamatn—’Tis bad Policy.

Df, addressed to Sullivan, Lincoln, and Dickinson, in George Johnston’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, , addressed to Dickinson DLC:GW; Varick transcript, , addressed to Sullivan and Lincoln DLC:GW. Johnston inadvertently omitted the month from the dateline when making the draft, but both of the Varick transcripts contain the date 22 Feb. 1777. The dates on the Varick transcripts apparently were taken from a pass written on the back of the draft by Caleb Gibbs for Ebenezer Clarke, Zebulon Richmond, and Jonathan Whiston, three soldiers in GW’s guard, to travel to New England.

1Col. John Duyckinck of the Middlesex County militia had sworn an oath of allegiance to the king and sought protection of the British army when it occupied New Brunswick in 1776. After GW issued his Proclamation concerning Persons Swearing British Allegiance on 25 Jan. 1777, Duyckinck returned from New Brunswick to “avail himself of the Benefits” resulting from the proclamation, but he was detained by Dickinson and sent to GW’s headquarters. “From the whole of his Conduct,” Adj. Gen. George Weedon wrote to the Pennsylvania council of safety on 24 Feb. 1777, “it appears his Business out, was more to gain a Knowledge of our strength & situation than any other Motive, circumstances at present renders it impossible to fix the matter on him as a spy, [GW] desires he may be taken proper care of in your Goal till a future day” (DLC: Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection; see also Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:241–42, and William Livingston to GW, 14 April 1777, in DLC:GW).

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