George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 2 September 1777

From Major General Nathanael Greene

Camp [Red Clay Creek, Del.] Sept. 2d 1777

Dear Sir

Inclosd is a letter from Mr Levi Hollingsworth relative to the situation of the Stores in that quarter1—General Mughlenburg has marched with his detachment to cover the removeal of the Stores—If your Excellency thinks any additional force is necessary it shall be sent immediately—I wait your further Orders and am your Excellencies Most Obedient & very humbl. Servt

N. Greene


Robert Hanson Harrison wrote Greene at 9:00 P.M. on this date: “I am directed by his Excellency [GW] to inform you, that Genl Maxwell by a Letter from him, dated at 6 OClock this Evening, is more and more of Opinion from the intelligence he received this Afternoon, that the Enemy will be in motion in the Morning. His Excellency leaves it to your discretion to send down or not the Two Hundred Men mentioned this Afternoon—and to give Genl Muhlenburg such Orders as you may think necessary” (DLC:GW). Maxwell’s letter has not been found.

1Levi Hollingsworth (1739–1824), a wealthy Philadelphia flour merchant, served as quartermaster for the Philadelphia light horse from December 1776 to January 1777, and he subsequently assisted in procuring provisions for the Continental army. His letter to Nathanael Greene of this date, which was written from New Munster, Md., “6 Miles above Elk,” reads: “I arrived here last night and find this side of the Country open to the Enemy, and that they are daily driving off Stock and removing publick Stores from Elk Forge, 4 miles above the landing &C. and as this Side of the Country is by nature Strong and well Supply’d with Stock & forrage, besides its being the deposit for all the Corn & Salt provisions of our army provided at the head of Elk, I can not omit mentioning it to your Honour, that unless a detachment of 1500 or 2000 men be speidely Sent to Support the removing the Stores with Waggons, they will fall into the hands of the Enemy.

“The Iron Hill may be a good advanced post to Wilmington, as it lais in a Line of direction between that post and the Head of Elk, but as the Body of our Magaziens are in the Several mills of Elk & Nottingham distant from 4 to 10 Miles North & West of the Head of Elk, it would be of great Service to have Troops posted in this Quarter, My Brother Zebulon Hollingsworth hath now Several Teams Collected at Capt. Amos Alexander, ready to remove what Stores May remain at the Forge, but as the Enemy have been there in Small parties he Cannot proceed with out troops to Cover his wagons, Mr Jno. Rudulph was there yesterday & says he Could have Loaded any number of waggons with Corn, Salt &c. and believes it may be done yet; Your Honour will make what Use of this Letter you may think proper, Should it appear an object worthy your notice, I would recomend the Troops being posted at or near Major [Thomas] Strawbridge, on the road from Newark to Notingham, & at Nottingham.”

In a postscript to the letter Hollingsworth gives the locations of public and private provisions stored at various places on the Elk River above Head of Elk. In a second postscript he provides the location of a supply of corn on the Little Elk River and the following intelligence: “Mr Jno. Rudulph who was reconoitering wt Capt. [Henry] Lee yesterday near the head of Elk, says they Saw Signs of a Detachment of Troops from the Enemy haveing gon towards Nottingham[.] Capt. Lee Supposed them by their tracks to be about 500, horse & foot” (DLC:GW).

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