George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Stewart, 22 October 1777

From Charles Stewart

Haddonfield [N.J.] Wednesday 22d Octr 1777
11 OClock A.M.


Yesterday afternoon I left this place and went to Fort Mercer & hearing at that post about 7 OClock in the evening that the Enemy were advanced as far as this place1 I took back roads through the pines & tho all night & this morning ⟨illegible⟩ I am this moment arrived here, The Enemy left this at half after 4 OClock this morning in Number I beleive about three thousand some say 4000 they have Crossed Bigg Timber Creek at a place called Clements’s Bridge and says they will this day take Fort Mercer,2 they give out that a second Division will cross At Coopers to day and a third to Morrow I understand their are few British Troops they have 16 pieces of Artillery I have sent to Coopers ferry if any intelligence that they bring from thence I will take the liberty to forward speedily I intend to tarry here if possible this day & near it this Night, As the Supplys going to Fort Mifflin &ca are on this Way downwards I have ordered them to halt untill the event of this day is known. I am most respect[full]y Yr Exs. most Obedt Servant.

ADf, MHi: Stewart Papers.

1For accounts of the Hessian crossing of the Delaware River at Cooper’s Ferry and their march to Haddonfield, N.J., on 21 Oct., see GW to Hancock, 21 Oct., and note 4.

2Clement’s Bridge crossed Big Timber Creek near its head of navigation about five miles southwest of Haddonfield and about six miles southeast of Red Bank. Big Timber Creek enters the Delaware River a short distance south of Gloucester, New Jersey. Capt. Johann Ewald of the Hessian jägers says in his diary: “On the morning of the 22d [Oct.], about four o’clock, the corps marched toward Red Bank in the same formation as yesterday, with the slight difference that I formed the rear guard with my company. About nine o’clock we crossed the pass over Timber Creek, which has very marshy banks. A dam of several hundred paces extends across the creek, on which there are two wooden bridges. . . . I was surprised that we did not leave here at least one jäger company to retain the mastery of this pass, since, after all, the success of our expedition was not yet assured. To be sure, there were the two battalions of [British] light infantry ready for the Jersey post at Cooper’s Ferry, but they could not help much if Washington had gotten wind of this expedition, passed a strong corps across the Delaware, and stationed it at Timber Creek” (Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 97). For accounts of the unsuccessful attack on Fort Mercer later on this date, see Samuel Ward, Jr., to GW, 23 Oct., and note 2.

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