George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Adam Stephen, 14 April 1777

From Major General Adam Stephen

Chatham [N.J.] 14h April ’77


Inclosd I send your Excellency a Return of the men of my division, exclusive of General Maxwells Brigade, of which I have got no return yet.1

I go on the Out posts to day, and do not approve of the mens being so dispersd as not be Able to support one Another—The troops at Quibble town were kept in Awe by Appearances yesterday; had they happily reinforcd their pickets a little; or Shou’d some men dispersd behind them, here & there; & marched wt. the Rest to Bound Brook—Their appearance would probably have occasiond a precipitate Retreat of the Enemy.2

There is a Certain Capt. Russel who commanded a Company raisd in Loudon County for a Year only—He is now come up to this place; & has been in Pennylva Since we arrivd in October, but never joind us before, nor has he done a days duty, these Six months—Has no Company The men have all gone home, except a few which are inlisted into other Companies—His Lt Mucklehanny is likewise here—he has been all the Winter wt. the Sick at Wilmington3—I would be glad to have your Excellency Orders about them—Col. Johnston knows the Gentl. Men—They never applyd for Orders to go Recruiting, & the time of their Companie’s Service expird in February, and I dare say many of them Stragled home without being paid Which hurts the recruting greatly.

I expect Some intelligence from York—Paulus Hook, Bergen, & Staaten Island; & have the honour to be Sir, Your most Obt Ser.,

Adam Stephen

p.s. Our people Catchd another of the Wretches in Cedar Swamp. If your Excellency has no particular Commands at present, I think it best that General Mulhenberg should go on the Lines get acquainted with the Country, & a habit of looking at the Enemy.


GW’s aide-de-camp George Johnston replied to this letter later on this date: “Your favour of this date was delivered to his Excellency this Moment—I have it in Orders from him to inform You, that he directs a Court of Inquiry may immediately examine into Capt. Russell’s behaviour, of which Report must be made, to enable his Excellency to form some Idea of the Measures proper to be adopted respecting him.

“His Excellency thinks, that Genl Muhlenberg can & will be of much greater advantage to the service by equipping & preparing his Brigade for the Field, than getting acquainted with the Lines, in which nothing will be done after the Enemy take the Field—Genl Muhlenberg will therefore attend to the Orders he received Yesterday.

“The great differance in the state of Rawlings’ Battalion between the last Reto. [return] & that of about a Month past, & which was the subject of a letter to you some time since, His Excellency wishes to have accounted for.

“Lieut [William] Bradford of Capt. [Alexander Lawson] Smith’s Compy in the same Battn has been here to excuse his absence from duty since December last—His Excellency will determine nothing ’till You (after making Inquiry by means of the same Court that examines Capt. Russell) report how the Affair stands” (DLC:GW). For the proceedings of the court of inquiry, which met on 17 April, see GW to Stephen, 20 April, n.1.

1The enclosed return has not been identified.

2For an account of the British raid on Bound Brook on 13 April, see GW to Owen Biddle, 14 April, n.3. Quibbletown was about five miles northeast of Bound Brook.

3Andrew Russell (1738–1789) of Loudoun County, Va., who had been commissioned a captain in the 5th Virginia Regiment on 25 Mar. 1776, was tried for neglect of duty by a court-martial on 14 May and was acquitted of the charge (see GW to Stephen, 20 April, Stephen to GW, 15 May, and General Orders, 23 May). Russell became major of the 5th Virginia Regiment on 19 June 1777, and he retired from the army in September 1778. James McIlhaney (1749–1804) of Loudoun County, Va., was appointed a first lieutenant, apparently in the 5th Virginia Regiment, on 25 Mar. 1776, and he became a captain in the 10th Virginia Regiment on 5 Nov. 1777. After resigning his Continental commission in June 1778, McIlhaney served as an officer in the Loudoun County militia.

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