George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General James Clinton or the Commanding Officer at Fort Montgomery, 5 April 1777

To Brigadier General James Clinton or the Commanding Officer at Fort Montgomery

Head quarters. Morris Town. 5th April 1777.


In order to shorten the March of the Massachusett’s Regiments intended for this quarter, They are directed to take their Route thro’ the Greenwoods to Kinderhook, Claverack or Red hook, from whence they are to fall down to Fort Montgomery by water. If none of the Enemy’s Vessells should be in Haverstraw bay, they may proceed down the River by Water, and disembark at Peek’s kill or in Jersey, as there may be Occasion. When the Sloops with the Troops arrive at Fort Montgomery, You are immediately to dispatch two boats to Haverstraw, to see if any of the Enemy’s shiping are in the Bay; If there are not, one of the Boats to return and report to You; the other to remain in the Bay near Verplank’s point:1 The Vessels then to go down with the tide of Ebb, and land the Troops where directed. Signals to be fixed upon, and given by the boat that remains below, in case any of the Enemy’s Vessells should be seen coming up, whilst ours are going down.

If you should have Occasion to be absent from the Garrison, for ever so short a time, be sure to leave a Copy of these Orders, with the next in Command. I am Yr most Obt Sert

Go: Washington

LS, in George Johnston’s writing, NjMoHP; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the cover of the LS, which Johnston addressed to: “The Honourable Brigadier General James Clinton in his absence The commanding officer at Fort Montgomery.” In the upper left corner of the cover, Tench Tilghman wrote: “To be left at Peekskill.”

1Verplanck Point, a low, sandy peninsula located on the east side of the Hudson River about six miles down the river from Fort Montgomery and about three miles below Peekskill, was a strategically important place during the Revolutionary War, being the eastern terminus of King’s Ferry, which crossed the river to and from Stony Point on the western shore. Haverstraw Bay is the broad six-mile-long stretch of the Hudson immediately below Verplanck and Stony points. The town of Haverstraw is on the west side of the Hudson about three-and-a-half miles below Verplanck Point.

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