George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Caleb Brewster, 8 August 1778

To Lieutenant Caleb Brewster

White plains Augt 8th 1778.


I have received your Letter of yesterday from Norwalk.1 Let me entreat that you will continue to use every possible means to obtain intelligence of the Enemys motions—not only of those which are marching Eastward, upon Long Island, but others—In a more especial manner, I have to request, that you will, by every devise you can think of, have a strict watch kept upon the Enemy’s ships of war, and give me the earliest notice of their Sailing from the hook—To obtain speedy & certain intelligence of this matter may be of great Importance to the French Fleet at, & the enterprize on, Rhode Island; for which reason, do not spare any reasonable expence to come at early & true information; always recollecting, & bearing in mind, that vague, & uncertain accts of things, on which any plan is to be formed or executed is more distressing & dangerous than receiving none at all—Let an eye also be had to the Transports, whether they are preparing for the reception of Troops &ca—Know what number of men are upon long Island—whether they are moving or stationary—what is become of their draft Horses—whether they appear to be collecting of them for a move—How they are supplied with Provisions—what arrivals—whether with Men, or Provisions—and whether any Troops have Imbarked for Rhode Island or else where within these few days. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

G. W——n.

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Caleb Brewster (1747–1827) had been commissioned an ensign in the 4th New York Regiment in November 1776 and a lieutenant of the 2d Continental Artillery Regiment on 1 Jan. 1777. From this time until he left the service in July 1783, Brewster was stationed “on the Sound to keep open a communication with the City of New York by the way of Long Island, for the purpose of [GW’s] secret corrispondence” (GW’s certificate of 10 July 1784, DLC:GW). He was promoted to captain lieutenant in June 1780.

1This letter has not been found.

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