George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Adam Stephen, 17 May 1777

From Major General Adam Stephen

Chatham [N.J.] 17th May 1777


This moment arrivd. I have learnd that The Hessians embarked in the Boats mentiond in my last, amount to about 350—That the troops sent over to the Jerseys was not so much to Execute any present Enterprise, as to guard agt One—Asson [As soon] as the Enemy understood that the Artillery & troops were moved from Newark—They immediatly gave orders for These troops to proceed to the Jerseys—It was reported here that M.G. Tryon was dead: He is neither dead nor wounded.

There is not above 800 Effectives left in N. york—The Circumstance which gives the greatest pleasure & Discovers the Situation of the Enemy more Clearly; is, that the people formerly attached to Governmt; are be come our friends, & would willingly leave N. York if they Could.

On Tuesday last 40 of the Enemy most dangerously wounded on Saturday were Carryd into N. York.

Majr Fraser of the 2d Batt. of the 71t & Capt. Stewart of the Light Infantry were wounded.1

Bergen is in the same Situation as formerly—It must be Attempted to morrow night, or the Tide will not Answer again for a Week—Can so many men be spard from the Lines?2

I have a deserter from Bergen here, but he is so drunk—I have orderd him to sleep.

I hope a parcel of these deserters will be hangd, one on Every Road leading to the Enemys posts. I have the honour to be sr, your Excellency’s Most Obt hule Ser.

Adam Stephen


1The previous Tuesday was 13 May. For accounts of the engagement near Bonhamtown and Piscataway on 10 May, see Stephen to GW, 12 May, and note 3. The wounded officers were Simon Fraser, who had become a captain in the 71st Regiment in November 1775 and was promoted to major in October 1778, and William Stewart (Stuart), who had held a lieutenancy in the 42d Regiment since September 1775.

2Tench Tilghman replied to Stephen on this date: “His Excellency commands me to acknowledge the Rect of yours of this Morning—by Colo. Dayton. You ask if so many Men as are necessary for this attack upon Bergen can be spared from the lines. But you do not say how many you think necessary. The General is therefore intirely at a loss how to answer your Question: He can get no information from Colo. Dayton, who says you did not say much to him upon the Subject. His Excellency therefore desires that you will furnish him with your plan and the force necessary to execute it, and he will give you his Opinion. He thinks you ought to consult Genl Maxwell and the other Genl Officers as to what Force it would be prudent to draw off the lines for this Enterprize. Colo. Dayton and several of his Officers are well acquainted with Bergen, if they can be of any Service, they are willing to be of the party” (NjMoHP).

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