George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 5 July 1778

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Monmoth 2 miles below the Court House [N.J.]
5th July 1778


I have to Inform your Excellency that the main body of the Enemy lyeth about 3 miles below middleton on a chain of Heights, that reaches from the bay to Shrewsberry River, which is verry narrow and not come[–]at[–]able. By several accounts they have been busy embarkquing since the night before last, (that is their Baggage only & possably some of their Artillery[)]. We have no certainty of any Troops having gone on board though some of the Deserters said there was 3 Regts immediately Imbarked when they tutched the Shore.1 Coll Morgan lyeth about middleton in the day time, and moves a little way back in the nights, the day before yesterday he sent me 4 Prisoners & several Deserters I had in all that day near 20 & yesterday 5 which was the lowest besides they are going to the North, South, and every way.

They have been under great apprehensions of your following them but I suppose they are easie on that head before this no doub⟨t⟩ knowing where your are. A Doctor Muir came to one of my Pickets the day before yesterday with two two horse Waggons loaded with stores for the Wounded Office⟨rs.⟩2 He had a list of the Articles and some Instructions from the Augt General with a Sample of Blarney, which they lavish away profusely in times of their distress; but a sparing of both that and good manners in their prosperity. I sent Coll Shrieve to them and informd them that if they wanted their Waggons should go back, there was two of mine to take up their Stores, that they might take up the two servants they had brought if they pleased, but that neither Servant, driver, nor Waggon, that was at, or would go to the Prisoners should return again while the Enemy stayed in the Jersey; yet your Excellency will see by the Inclosed with what ease Mr Kidd the former Doctor applyeth to Coll Beattie for leave for the whole to return;3 I thought proper to put this in a clear light that your Excellency, nor Coll Beattie might not be deceived; they shall have every asistance in my power, but they shall not have it their own way; I will send Waggons for any necessary they want, or their own Waggons, but they shall be my Drivers I should be glad to know where I shall send the Prisoners to I have and whether I have any Bussiness to send off any of these at the Court House if they are fit to go; one of them I am told has endeavoured to make his Escape. I am your Excellencys Most Obedt Humble Servant

Wm Maxwell


1According to a journal kept by British brigadier general James Pattison, the British army began embarking their artillery, provisions, baggage, and horses on 1 July and embarked the troops on 5 July (Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 263–64).

2Maxwell was probably referring to James Muir, who appears on a 1778 list of British officers in North America as an established mate of the Philadelphia hospital and on a 1779 list as a mate at New York.

3The enclosure has not been identified. Alexander Kidd, like Muir, had served as a hospital mate in Philadelphia.

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