George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 8 August 1778

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

Hd Qrs [White Plains] 8th Augst 1778


I am uncertain whether you may not already have a party somewhere in Monmouth County but however this may be, it is my wish you should without delay have one of 50 Men stationd under a very vigilant and intelligent Officer, at some place in that County most convenient for commanding a view of the Hook & its environs; in order to watch the motions of the Enemy’s Fleet and to advise me from time to time of every thing that passes. of all Vessels that arrive to them, or go out from them. Lt Colo. Brearly, Ray or Major Howel would either of them be very proper for this business. I would wish the officer who is to have the charge of the party to go instantly on & his party to follow as soon as possible. If you have any Militia Horse it would be desireable to send a few with him, & to remain with the party.

For conveying any important intelligence with dispatch, I inclose you a letter to Mr Caldwell directing him to station expresses at proper distances between the party you send and Elizabeth Town;1 & I shall expect whenever it comes to you, you will not lose a moment in forwarding it to me, by a trusty hand, on whose activity & care you can depend; and when there is any thing particularly interesting you will send duplicates for fear of accidents. as the obtaining good & certain intelligence is a matter of great importance to us, I must intreat you to continue you[r] other exertions for procuring such as may be depended on—I am &c.

G. W——n

P.s. I just now rec’d your favor of yesterday & the intelligence it contains respecting the Fleet seems so certain that it cannot well admit of a doubt2—Yet should it be otherwise, I must request you to give me the very earliest information of it. The importance of such a circumstance you must be fully sensible of, & therefore I make no doubt you will upon similar occasions have the fullest proof before you hand it to me as fact—I have transmitted a Copy of that part of your letter which Count D’Estaign is so materially interested in, to him.3 You will be pleased to Seal the inclosed before you forward it.


G. W——n

Copy, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW’s letter of this date to Assistant Deputy Quartermaster James Caldwell reads: “To-day I have directed Genl Maxwell to station a party of men in Monmouth for the purpose of watching the motions of the enemy. for the better facilitating their discoveries to head Quarters you will be pleased instantly on receipt of this to establish a train of expresses between the situation of this party and Elizabeth Town, that there may be the least possible delay in the communication of intelligence” (Df, DLC:GW).

2Maxwell’s letter to GW of 7 Aug. has not been found, but for the intelligence, see GW to Lt. Col. John Laurens, this date.

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