George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 26 August 1777

From Major General Philemon Dickinson

Middletown [Del.] 10, OClock Tuesday Morng.
[26 August 1777]1


I this moment met with the Bearer Mr Hindman, who is just returned from viewing the Enemy;2 he saw them land, & can give your Excellency a very particular account, for which reason, I have desired him to wait upon you immediately. Mr Hindman thinks, they finished their debarkation last Evening, he saw both Horse & Infantry paraded.

Mr Hindman is an Inhabitant of Maryland, which he left Yesterday, & says, the Militia are in great Confusion for want of some proper Person to head them; having no Orders given them, but from the Lieutenant of the Counties, & those very irregular3—he is of Opinion, that if your Excellency would appoint some Officer to command them, it would answer a valuable purpose—Gen. Cadwalader resides in Maryland, if your Excellency thinks proper to make that requisition from him, I make no doubt of his Compliance—If your Excellency rather inclines to send down a Continental officer for that purpose, it will answer the End. In great haste, I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s, most Obt

Philemon Dickinson


1The manuscript is docketed: “From M. Genl Dickinson Augt 26. 1777.” That date was a Tuesday.

2“Mr Hindman” may have been one of the five sons of Jacob Hindman (c.1713–1766), all of whom lived in Talbot County, Maryland. The eldest son, James Hindman (1741–1830), a planter and merchant who had served as lieutenant colonel of the 5th Maryland Regiment, December 1776–April 1777, was a member of the state executive council 1777–79 and 1786–89 and a member of the general assembly 1780–84. The second eldest son, William Hindman (1743–1822), an attorney, was a member of the general assembly 1777–85, 1791–93, and 1798–1800. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress 1784–86, a representative in the U.S. Congress 1793–99, and a U.S. senator 1800–1801.

3British chief engineer Capt. John Montresor says in his journal that when Howe’s troops began landing at Elk Ferry on 25 Aug., “the rebels consisting only of 4 Companies militia under a Colonel [Charles] Rumsey fled without firing a shot” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 442).

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