George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Beatty, 18 July 1778

From John Beatty

Elizth Town [N.J.] July 18th 1778


I am now to Inform you, that Yesterday I effected the Exchange, of all the Privates in the Enemy’s Hands—except those in the Hospital & a few out at work—Amounting in the whole to less than a Hundred—Those Mr Loring has promised, shall be sent out in the Course of a week or ten days.

The Prisoners are in General in good Care—have therefore dispatched all the Continental Troops to Head Quarters, under the Care of Capt. Forman1—I must refer Your Exelly to Coll Scammel for the Number of those—the Militia—Sailors &ca—making up in the whole 647—In order to determine, among the militia, who were not in actual Service I oblidged them, before they were discharged to make exact returns to me, of their Number Regt—State—& time when taken—From this measure I find 15. men sent out here—who were taken from their own Houses & many of them out of their Beds—These I told Mr Loring I could not receive in any other Light than Citizens, nor would I return any Equivalency for them—he pretended entire Ignorance of their being so taken & said they were returned to him as Prisoners of war—after Quarreling some time—we Omitted giving Credit for them & refer’d it to a future day.

I can discover little from the Prisoners, who are come out—They seem generally to concur in saying, that they are removing—the Cannon—Stores—Baggage &ca from Staten Island—& I can not but add that from several circumstances—as that of a great Number of Small Craft plying between that & New York—a great Appearance of Tents, without men—The Crossing over a Body of Troops to Long Island—& indeed a general confusion seems to subsist among the whole—I am inclined to beleive that an Evacuation, will soon take place unless the Fleet at Sandy Hook, should remove. They hesitate no longer in saying a French war must take place—& that Brittain will now be oblidged to Exert herself.

Should Your Excelly have any Commands for me—please to direct to me at Princeton. I am Sir your most Obedt & very Hume Sert

Jno. Beatty.


1Both Jonathan Forman (1755–1809) and Thomas Marsh Forman (1758–1845) were stationed at Elizabeth at this time. Jonathan Forman, who had served as a lieutenant of Monmouth County militia in 1775 and became a captain in Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Heard’s Brigade of State Troops in June 1776, was commissioned a captain in the 4th New Jersey Regiment in November 1776 and joined the 1st New Jersey Regiment in February 1779 when the 4th Regiment was disbanded. He was promoted to major in May 1782 and became lieutenant colonel of the 2d New Jersey Regiment in February 1783. After the war, he served as lieutenant colonel commanding New Jersey troops during the Whiskey Rebellion and briefly as a brigadier general of New York militia. Thomas Marsh Forman, a nephew of Brig. Gen. David Forman, served for several months as a lieutenant in the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment before being appointed a captain in his uncle’s Additional Continental Regiment in April 1777. He was made aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Stirling in January 1779 but resigned in May of that year. In the 1790s Thomas Marsh Forman represented Cecil County in the Maryland House of Delegates, and he served as a brigadier general of Maryland militia during the War of 1812.

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