George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Thomas Mifflin, 8 June 1777

From Major General Thomas Mifflin

Coryels Ferry [Delaware River]
8 OClock Sundy Evg [8 June 1777]1

My dear General

I have just arrivd here and to my Surprize find very few of the Boats brought up from Trenton. Mr Coryel has been two days on that Service and says it is with great difficulty they brought up four Boats with 24 Men in 2 days. I send off a strong party this Night for the Boats and will have them up by some Means or other.

We have here 3 large Artillery Flats; four Scows, each of which will carry a loaded Wagon with Horses, 4 flat boats; each to carry 80 Men, 13 Boats on Wagons at this place, and 5 others on the Way 6 Miles from this Ferry, each of which Wagon-Boats will carry 40 Men. All which will transport 3 P[iece]s Artillery with Matrosses & Horses, 4 Wagons & Horses, and 1000 Men at a Trip.

Capt. Montgomery who is well acquainted with the Management of the Boats will undertake to send the Remainder of the Boats from Trenton.2 I shall be glad to know how many Boats we may venture to leave at Trenton & Bristol. General Sullivan may be forced to retire to Trenton or Burlington Ferries & require some Assistance by Boats. I am with much Respect ⟨illegible⟩ Obt

Tho. Mifflin


1Robert Hanson Harrison docketed this letter: “from Genl Miflin at Coryels Ferry, 8th June 1777.”

2James Montgomery (c.1747–1810) of Philadelphia served as a row galley captain in the Pennsylvania navy from August 1775 to August 1776, commanding first the galley Ranger and later the galley Chatham. After resigning his state naval commission on 1 Aug. 1776, Montgomery became a privateer captain. During the fall of 1776, he commanded the privateer brig General Montgomery and captured a number of prizes. Returning to Philadelphia in late November 1776 when GW was retreating across New Jersey, Montgomery on 1 Dec. “offered his service, with that of his crew, as an artillery company, to the Continent.” Congress the next day agreed to take them into Continental service for two months “unless sooner discharged,” and it appointed Montgomery captain of the company (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 6:998). Montgomery in November 1778 took command of the privateer sloop Queen of France, and in March 1779 he was named captain of the privateer ship General Greene, which the state of Pennsylvania had purchased to protect American merchant ships entering Delaware Bay from British warships and privateers. Sailing off the Delaware capes and the New Jersey coast from May to November 1779, Montgomery largely succeeded in that mission and captured several prizes. In April 1780 he took command of the privateer brig George, and in December 1781 he became captain of the privateer brig General Galvez.

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