George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Adam Stephen, 26 April 1777

From Major General Adam Stephen

Westfield [N.J.] 26th April 1777


I went along the Outposts towards Woodbridge, where the Enemy made their Appearance, & Advancd as far as Col. Hendericks Picket yesterday; Upon the Appearance of Some of our Troops they returnd peaceably.

Capt. Flahen of Col. Ogdens Regimt, was orderd on a patrol the night before last1—He pickt up Some pensylvanians, & Voluntiers, it is Supposd to the Number 25, for I can get No Certain Acct from Col. Dehart or Othrwise—Made an imprudent Attempt it is Supposd, wt. more Courage than Conduct; & is lost, with all his party, killd or taken, or how he Managd utterly unknown—I have orderd that no project Shall be Undertaken without the Approbation of the Officer Comma[n]ding the Corps; & that the partisan shall not keep roads leading to the Enemys post—Nor patrols go Constantly the Same Way—There is a daily desertion on our Lines, by which means the Enemy have perfect Notice of our Manner; & our Officers do not attend to the Alteration Necessary, upon the Enemys Recevg fresh Intelligence[.] I imagine the troops, lying Aboard the Transports in N. River are to Cooperate wt. the Torey Regiments, & pursue the plan I formerly mentiond.2

Last night I sent orders to Col. Mathews in Newerk to Watch & Send a Circumspect Officer wt. a Party towards Hackensack—to Strive to get Boats enough at Newerk to Carry over 600 men; which would put it in our power to spoil their project of making a diversion wt. the tory Regt.

I intend to return to Chatham, by Spank & Quibel town & am with Respect, Sr your most Obt hue Sr.

Adam Stephen


1This patrol was commanded by Capt. John Flahaven of Col. Matthias Ogden’s 1st New Jersey Regiment (see General Orders, 24 Feb. 1777). An anonymous American prisoner, who had been paroled by the British, reported on 20 June 1777 that “Capt. Flahaven was taken within 200 Yards of the Barracks at Amboy—He had attacked the Picketts and after firing 15 rounds each Man, had near taken the whole Party, but unluckily a Scouting Party on their return, came on their Back & took the whole of them—Capt. Flahaven was put into the Dungeon, under pretence that he had broke the Centries Leg after wounding & taking him: but in a few Days was released on the Centinel’s declaring that his Leg was broke by a Bullet” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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