George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Smallwood, 22 May 1778

From Brigadier General William Smallwood

Wilmington [Del.] 22d May 1778

Dr sir,

The Officer detach’d to Annapolis has just return’d with dispatches from Governor Johnson which I now forward per Express1 & it is with pleasure I am led to acquaint you that I think the full Complement of your requisition will shortly rendevous at the head of Elk. Three Hundred recruits have ariv’d here within this three days and near as many more expected daily—Colo. Pope has swept Bomba Hook & the Creeks below he has taken a Number of Prisoners among whom are a Capt. & Lieut. of a sloop of war & 14 Seamen with three Barges & some Refugees but Clows & his party did not stand a shot but escaped on board the shipping except a few who swam the Creek who perhaps may yet be fallen in with. Our party lost none & had but one Officer badly wounded & 2 men Slightly touch’d. Colo. Pope does not mention the Number of the Enemy Kill’d or wounded.

Inclosed is a request from Theodore Maurice late Clerk of Newcastle County who is desirous of leaving the Country,2 he has been represented & Acknowledges himself a Friend to Government but has observ’d a strict Nutrality & I’ve understood is a Man of Honor. you’l judge of the Propriety of granting his request and Signify your Pleasure therein which shall be Complied with—I have had some fresh Intelligence from Philada which Indicates a Speedy Movement of the Enemy somewhere they are making great Preparations from their own Acct & denounce Vengence against this post, and are much rous’d on Account of their Intercourse on Bomba Hook & the Creeks below being Intercepted, One of our party’s the other day took a Refugee Sloop loaded with flour, Bacon wheat &c. about 5 Miles above this on board of which I got a Ledger which brings to light the Intercourse & Transactions of a Number of People some wealthy in the Neighbourhood of Appaquimina, Duck Creek & Bomba Hook who have kept up a Constant trade & Communication with the Enemy. I have Transmitted Pope the black List & ordered them to be Apprehended to the Amount of Eighty—with every sentiment of Attachment & regard I have the Honor to remain Your Excellency’s most Obdt & Very Hble servt

W. Smallwood


Another letter from Smallwood of this date, written at Wilmington to either GW or one of his aides, reads: “About five weeks ago Colo. Bedford late of the Deleware Regt apply’d to me for a pass for his wife and one Pharis to go into Philada to recover some Negroes of his who had run off to the Enemy which I refused urging that Pharis was disaffected but that if he would get any other person to wait upon his Wife whose Principles & Attachment to the Cause of America I could entertain no doubt off I would give them a pass for that purpose Colo. Bedford then apply’d to me to know if I should have any Objection to Mr McLonen’s waiting on Mrs Bedford—having the Strongest Assurance and from the best Authority that McLonen was well attach’d to the Interest of America, I sent him a pass to permit Mrs Bedford & Mr McLonen to go to Philada for the abovesd purpose. I have understood from Mrs Bedford that the refugees Inform’d against McLonen for having aided in Apprehending & securing five British Seamen who had Straggled on shore which I know to be a fact, upon wich Mrs Bedford return’d with the pass leaving him in Confinement Sometime after which he obtain’d leave to come out, and was taken up by some of Colo. Morgans riffle Men who at that time were Commanded by Capt. Posey & carried to head quarters where asserting he had obtain’d a pass from me and that Mrs Bedford had return’d with it he was ordered down to me for Tryal under Charge of a Serjt & two of the said Rifflemen at the same time I recd a letter from Capt. Posey requesting that I would send back McLenons horse by the Serjt which with other Property had been Condemned by a Court Martial as Capt. Posey wrote me; Tho McLenon Urges there was no Court Martial which is probable, as He was ordered to this post for Tryal where the facts could be best Ascertain’d McLenon Urges they took One half Joe—3 ½ Silver Dollars. 16 Continental, 1 beaver hatt, 1 Silk handkf 1 per silver Knee buckles, 1 lb. Tea, 1 per new buckskin Gloves Some Tobacco & Snuff. the Men treating him very Harshly, but the Officers useing him Politely, Now as McLonen obtain’d my Permit and has ever Demonstrated his Attachment to the Liberty of America It is but just that restitution of his Affects should be made. I have therefore given this State of the Matter as he seems desirous that it should be addressed to his Excellency in order to obtain his Property.” A note appended to the bottom of the letter and signed by Daniel McLonen reads: “As I am a Man whose circumstances in life are but indifferent—I am induced to rely upon your Excellency’s goodness to interfere in my behalf for a recovery of my Property lost as appears by the above recommendation—Your Excellency will therefore be pleased to impower Capt. Anderson of the Delaware Battalion to receive the said Articles for me” (DLC:GW).

1The enclosed dispatches may have included Johnson’s letters to GW of 20 and 22 May.

2The enclosed undated letter from Theodore Maurice to Smallwood reads: “Mr Maurice’s respectful Compts to General Smallwood, & would beg the favor of a flag of truce to put him on board any of the British Ships in the river having a permission for that purpose from the President of this state” (DLC:GW). Maurice immigrated to America from England in 1754 and served before the war as prothonotary in New Castle County, Del., and as a comptroller of the customs in Boston. He left the country for England in June 1778.

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