George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Chase, 15 September 1777

From Samuel Chase

Philada Septr 15. 1777.

Dear Sir

Mr Buchanan, Commissary General of Purchases, informs Me this Morning, that he was at Christiana Bridge on Saturday Afternoon,1 that Colo. Gist was then there, with 400 Maryland eastern Shore Militia, that he informed Mr Buchanan he expected to be joined by 400 more in a few Days, that he had with him three Iron field pieces with 36 Artillerists. That he was informed by several, & by Colo. Gist that Brigadier Smallwood was at Nottingham on Saturday last with about 1000 Militia from the western Shore of Maryland, without any field Pieces. Colo. Gist informed Mr Buchanan that by his Intelligence about 1000 british Troops entered Wilmington on Fryday Night, & took full Possession of the Town and president McKinly before it was discovered they were in the Town.2

General Rodney and Mr John Dickenson was at Xteen [Christeen] with Colo. Gist.

Mr Buchanan informs, that Genl Rodney had with him 150 of the Delaware State before he arrived at Xteen, but that so many of them deserted, that Genl Rodney discharged the Remaining few.

Colo. Gist further informed Mr Buchanan that Genl Rodney had wrote to You on fryday last, giving an account of his and Colo. Gists Situation, & sent the Letter by the usual Road & therefore fears it has fallen into the Enemies Hand.3 if Mr Howe is acquainted with the Circumstances of Colo. Gist, he may be in Danger. I am Sir with Regard & Respect Your Affectionate and Obedt Servant

Saml Chase

Colo. Richardson is sick in Sussex County.


1The previous Saturday was 13 September.

2The previous Friday was 12 September. Capt. John Montresor’s journal entry for 13 Sept. reads: “This day the 71st Regt. took possession of Wilmington, the rebels having left 7 pieces of Cannon unspiked and also 2 Brass field pieces taken from the Hessians at Trenton” (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 , 451; see also Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 112). Captain Muenchhausen says in his diary that “Governor [John] McKinley of Delaware, who was late in leaving the city, was captured by the Scots” (Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 32; see also Howe to Germain, 10 Oct. 1777, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 14:202–9).

3This letter of 12 Sept. has not been found.

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