George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Mordecai Gist, 15 September 1777

From Colonel Mordecai Gist

Christeen Bridge [Del.] 15 septr 1777


In obedience to a resolve of congress forwarded to me through the hands of General Smallwood, I am preparing to march the Troops in my command to Join the main Army, and propose reaching New Ark to Night.1

the sick and Wounded of the Enemy came into Wilmington Yesterday with the prisoners they took in the late Engagement. they brought with them five peices of Artillery and have a Guard of Near 1000 Men, chiefly Highlanders and Hessians, who are busily employd in fortifying the Heights, particularly round the Accademy.2

I dispatchd a party last Night to Surprise and bring off their Picket Guard, but through the Misconduct of the Guide, faild in the Attempt. our party drove them in to their Main Body, and returnd with one Man Wounded.

I have this Moment recievd an Express from General Smallwood with your orders to Join him, which I shall comply with Immediately.3

General Rodneys Men having all deserted him to about 75, he left me at this place on the Evening of the 13th Inst. I shall send an Express to him with your orders. I have the Honor to be sir Yr Mo. Humble servant

M. Gist

LB, NN: Myers Collection.

1Congress resolved on 12 Sept. “that expresses be sent immediately to General Smallwood and Colonel Gist, directing them to come forward, with all possible despatch, with the continental troops and militia under their respective commands, to reinforce the army, under General Washington, and that for greater despatch, they disencumber themselves of all heavy and unnecessary baggage” (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 , 8:736).

2Major Baurmeister says that “Colonel von Loos with the Combined Battalion was ordered to escort all the sick and wounded to Wilmington early on the 14th, to establish a hospital there, and to remain until further orders. This was accomplished without the least interference, in spite of the fact that the road through Kennett Square was made rather unsafe by scattered hostile parties” (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 , 112–13; see also 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; 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 , 451–52; and 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).

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