George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 14 June 1778

From Major General Philemon Dickinson

Trenton [N.J.] June 14th 1778

Dear Sir

A very Intelligent young Man, who left Philadelphia yesterday afternoon at 3, OClock, gave me the following intelligence—that the Enemy for several Nights past, had been crossing over to the Jerseys, the greater part of their Army, supposed to be on this side, the River1—more officers than Soldiers, walking the Streets, those in the City uneasy at their situation—many Artillery Waggons had crossed, he saw near one hundred standing on the different Wharfs, for the same purpose. about seventy Sloops & Schooners fitted for Horses—some of them had fallen down—several officers, belonging to the Roman catholick regiment, with whom he was acquainted, offer’d to resign their Commissions, but were refused—much distressed on the occasion—no Guards on the Frankford road, beyond the Redoubts—Bird a Butcher, an american, supposed to be, between 30 & 33 years of age, about 5 feet 2 Inches high—swarthy complexion—& Rhines, a Roman catholick; an Irish man, about 40 years of age, 5 feet 7 Inches high—very full faced—have both been employed as Spies for a long time past, & have been frequently in your Excellencys Camp. The Informants, lived next door to one of those men & is well acquainted with his Mother, who has often expressed great concern, at her Son’s conduct.

General Maxwell informs me, there are on this side the River, 300 two Horse & 110 four horse Waggons, nothing more particular. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s most Obdt

Philemon Dickinson

P.S. Col: Moylan takes charge of the Turtle.


1Gen. Henry Clinton surreptitiously was transferring some of his British and Hessian troops over Cooper’s Ferry to the east side of the Delaware River in preparation for the evacuation from Philadelphia on 18 June. British captain John Peebles wrote in his diary on 12 June, “the 46th. gone over to the Jerseys two days ago,—things slipping over by degrees”; and on 15 June he wrote, “a Regt. of Cavalry & a Brigade of Hessians cross’d over to the Jersey The Officers Bat Horses and all the Baggage they can spare likewise sent over—it is supposed we shall all soon follow” (Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 188–89; see also Allen McLane to GW, this date).

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