George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Smallwood, 5 June 1778

From Brigadier General William Smallwood

Pennsborough [Pa.] June 5th 1778

Dear Sir,

I had Intelligence yesterday afternoon from Newcastle, that upwards of one Hundred Sail of Transport Ships lay off reedy Point, the Admiral off New Castle, & that upwards of fifty Sail more pass’d down yesterday; I have not heard from that Quarter to Day, I have understood that a draft of Marines from each Armed Vessel was ordered up to Philadelphia, and Capt. Rumford informed me four Sloops very full of Men had passed up the Day before Yesterday—I have heard that most of the Transports have come down, & that only some Ships of Force remain above—I imagine the Enemy have few Effective Men on Board their Fleet, & cannot have in view the destruction of our Stores, am therefore prepared to march for head Quarters and only wait Colo. Popes Arrival who I have ordered from Wilmington I shall set of[f] this afternoon or very early in the Morning1—I have received from Maryland 390 Stand of good French Arms all with Bayonets, the Residue after Arming the Troops here, I shall endeavor to carry up with me.

Last Night about 10 Oclock, between the Fort, and Mouth of Christiana, a Corporal & seven Men posted out of Pope’s Party at the Mouth of the Brandewine as a Picquet; attacked and took a Sloop loaded with 300 Bushells of Salt, nine Barrels Limes, two Chests of Tea, twenty four Barrells Flour, several Turtle &c. &c. Commandant & owner David Shoemaker, cleared from Philadelphia for New York; I have order’d Pope to send her up to Christiana, in Charge of an Officer & Six Men, with directions to store securely, & Inventory the Cargo, & wait for further Orders, I remain with great Regard Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Sert

W. Smallwood


1First Lieutenant William Beatty, Jr., of the 7th Maryland Regiment, a member of the detachment under Lt. Col. Charles Pope that was operating in the vicinity of Wilmington, Del., wrote in his diary, “June 5th about 9, o’clock at night We march’d from Wilmington & reached Delworthtown, next morning about 2, o’clock, Where We Stay’d till some time after day than March’d and join’d the 2d Brigade Which lay near Shadsford, in the afternoon We began our march for the Valley Forge this night We Encamped near One Mattocks, June 7 we march’d to the Warren On the Lancaster Road & quartered in that neighbourhood in Barns & Houses it being rainy Weather, June 8th We march’d & Joind the army at the Valley Forge.” Beatty noted that before its withdrawal, his detachment had captured “two British navy officers 11 marines, 60 or 70 Tories” (“Beatty Journal,” description begins “The Journal of Captain William Beatty, of the Maryland Line, 1776 to 1780.” Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America, 2d ser., 1 (1867): 79–85. description ends 82).

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