George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 19 June 1778

From Major General Philemon Dickinson

Slab Town1 [N.J.] 19th June 1778
3, OClock P.M.

Dear Sir

I am just returned from Mount holly—Genl Maxwell with his Brigade, are on their march to the Black horse2—The Enemy have advanced as far as Eyres Town, three miles below Holly,3 & are busily engaged, in repairing the Bridge, which was destroy’d—a party of Genl Maxwells Brigade, now lay on this side the Creek, & will delay their operations a little—there was a brisk fire for a few minutes, in which several of the Enemy were killed—as I am informed by a Deserter, since the Action4—from the best accounts, they are advancing on the Evesham road, in three Columns5—I lost a Militia Captain, who was reconnoitreing this Morning This Evening or tomorrow, Genl Maxwell & myself will send down many Parties—have given Orders for the Militia, to possess themselves of the most advantageous passes, & annoy them by every means in their Power, after taking up the Bridges, & settg Fires in proper Places—shall be in tolerable Strength to’morrow. many Deserter came in to Day, tis reported, they advance upon the same Road, but their Columns, at the distance, of six or seven Miles—several Parties, of Horse & foot, are now on the lines—expect further information in the Eveng, the common report amongst the Enemy, is, that they shall only march 9 or 10 Miles a day—the Opinions are various, respecting their movements, some think, this is only a faint, to cover their retreat, on board their Ships, others, they intend to march thro’ the State—a short time, will now determine the affairs—if they go thro’ Jersey, their Conduct I think, is more unaccountable, than their landing at the Head of Elk—Your Excellency must have much better Information, what is doing below, than I can give you—a proper Person, is now sent down, for intelligence.

If they advance beyond Mount holly, they most certainly intend for Amboy—they give much more Time for preparation, than we could have expected. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s most Obt

Philemon Dickinson


1Slabtown was a hamlet in Burlington County, N.J., about four miles north of Mount Holly.

2The enclosed letter from Brig. Gen. William Maxwell to Dickinson, dated “4 oclock P.M.” on 18 June from Mount Holly, reads: “the Enemy set off late to day from Hadden field & is coming on the Road to Eves:Ham. they got a full fire from Capt. Ross this morning with 50 Men which threw them into great confusion he came off some distance & left them to give them More in another place, to appearance it is now beyon dout they are coming through this way but I still have thought that they would come as far as they will to night if they Intended to go the other way, but I think We ought to prepare for them as though they were coming this way certain. I will change my position this night or to morrow Morning if I find they come on, to the black horse or that Road I think you and the Militia should be preparing as fast as possable to form a line on their left and Provisions ought to be collected so that it might be handy…I had good ashurance that the Enemy was all out of Philidela yesterday in the afternoon” (DLC:GW).

3The village of Eayrstown was located in Burlington County, N.J., on the south branch of Rancocas Creek a little over three miles southwest of Mount Holly.

4A British brigade order book recorded that Gen. Henry Clinton’s troops marched to Haddonfield on this date without interruption, “except from a few stragglers supposed to be militia, who by a scattered and concealed fire wounded the surgeon’s mate and a soldier of the 55th, and killed a dragoon’s horse” (Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 65).

5The road leading east from Haddonfield passed through Evesham, a village about eight miles southwest of Mount Holly.

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