George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain John Barry, 20 March 1778

From Captain John Barry

Wilmington [Del.] March 20th 1778

Dr General

Inclosed You have an Invoice of the Goods taken from On Board the Schooner Alert & Ships Mermaid & Kitty1 the Intrenching Tools You mentioned2 are Stolen by the Inhabitants together with about one fourth Part of the Cargo taken out of the Vessels I Should Be much Obliged to Your Excellency to Appoint Some Person at Middletown or Order them there to purchase what things You may Judge Necessary for the Army as I wish they may have the Preference,3 the Capturers In general Expect the Articles to be sold at Publick sale in about ten days from this Date, I likewise Send You a Rough Draft of New York Island which Probably may Be of Service to You.4

The Enemy have forty Sail of Vessels up Salem Creek & about thirty more On the Delaware abreast of the Creek they have from the Best information I Can collect about fifteen hundred Men Landed & am Satisfied their Intent is for Stock & forage5 Shall By the Earliest Opportunity Transmit to Your Excellency Every movement of the Enemy I Posibly Can Collect. Subscribe myself Your Excellencys Most Obednt Humbe Servt

John Barry


1The invoice has not been identified.

3For discussion of purchases made for GW at the Middletown, Del., sales, see Barry to GW, 6 April.

4This enclosure has not been identified.

5Barry is referring to the British foraging expedition led by Col. Charles Mawhood that landed at Salem Creek, N.J., on 17 Mar. (see William Smallwood to GW, 17 Mar., and note 1 to that document). For a record of the British movements 18–20 Mar. while foraging for cattle and hay, see Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 164–65.

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